By Ron Kotrba | September 11, 2014

Welcome to the Quality, Testing & Standards issue of Biodiesel Magazine. In the world of biodiesel, quality is one of those topics that is as important as they come. Quality concerns from the early days of biodiesel helped shape the current ASTM specifications for biodiesel, which, in turn, helped vastly improve the quality of fuel in the marketplace. This, of course, instilled confidence in blenders and distributors, many of whom also rely on BQ-9000 and their own independent specs, to move more product with assurance and faith. But in the biodiesel industry, it’s not just the fuel product itself that has needed quality interventions.

As you know all too well, the RINs associated with biodiesel have had their own infamous quality disasters. This led to the formation of an NBB RIN integrity task force and eventually a complex, costly and burdensome set of proposed “voluntary” regulations that U.S. EPA set forth in early 2013. A year and a half later, EPA finalized the rule, which you can read about on page 26 in “QAP 2.0: The Final Rule.”

If it’s fuel quality you want more perspective on, however, then this issue of Biodiesel Magazine has that as well. I sat down with Scott Fenwick, the National Biodiesel Board’s technical director, to talk about quality improvements over the years, the latest on the ASTM front and much more in “A New Era of Technical Leadership,” on page 20. In addition to information about quality and standards, here you can read about a variety of related topics, from how Fenwick deals with the inquiry of how higher blends of biodiesel will affect warranties on diesel vehicles from manufacturers that only approve up to B5, to his thoughts on what a “drop-in” fuel is, to the industry's greatest challenges and accomplishments. But the coverage of fuel quality doesn’t end there.

Our Legal Perspectives columnist James L. Pray with BrownWinick gives us a compelling article on the legal ramifications of selling off-spec fuel, detailing what could happen and offering guidance on how to avoid off-spec fuel issues. Be sure to check out “Legal Liabilities for Sale, Shipment of Off-Spec Biodiesel” on page 6.

And if it’s testing that gets your blood pumping, we bring you Eurofins QTA President Kangming Ma’s Talking Point column on page 7, “Eurofins QTA to Introduce In-Line Analysis for Biodiesel Production.” Many of you use QTA and this is one more service from which you could undoubtedly find value.
I hope you enjoy this issue, and keep making quality fuel, biodieselers!

Author: Ron Kotrba
Editor, Biodiesel Magazine

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