ASTM initially denies biodiesel favorable status

By | March 01, 2004
The chances of biodiesel passing the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) vote for "Fill and Go" diesel fuel looks more dubious after its re
cent Phoenix meeting.
It was noted during the meeting that biodiesel blends, especially those greater than 5 percent, would not meet the existing distillation limits currently in place for petroleum diesel. Changing the existing diesel distillation standards would require the acceptance of engine makers and was deemed unlikely to happen. Other potential barriers, such as viscosity limits and the need for new test methods, were also noted during the meeting. The initial vote was "no go"-but it is not the end of the line. The ASTM process provides a structure for continued discussion and compromise.

Biodiesel currently is covered by its own specification, ASTM D6751, for pure biodiesel used in blends of up to B20. Biodiesel's D6751 spec took years of sustained effort to develop and approve. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and others are working to gain acceptance of biodiesel in a "Fill and Go" specification. "Fill and Go" would provide wider acceptance of finished biodiesel blends and fit within the existing D975 petroleum diesel specification. This expanded specification would make buying biodiesel easier, especially for government and military fleets.

ASTM is the lead U.S. organization that defines the standards for fuels and other materials. The organization uses volunteer committees that come to decisions by consensus. The ASTM's often lengthy process helps insure that the final standards are accepted by engine and equipment manufacturers, fuel producers and end users.
 
 
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