ASTM biodiesel standards undergo changes

By | August 01, 2006
ASTM International's Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants convened in Toronto at its semiannual meeting in late June, where two changes to the ASTM standard D 6751, the standard specification for biodiesel fuel blend stock (B100) for middle-distilate fuels, were approved.

According to Steve Howell, chairman of the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force, ASTM will publish a new version of D 6751 on its Web site within two or three months of passage; once published, the standard will supersede the current version, ASTM D 6751-06e1. The National Biodiesel Board recommends adoption and use of updated ASTM D 6751 versions as soon as they are published, Howell said.

The first ballot passed by the main committee combined calcium and magnesium-five parts per million maximum-using method UOP 389. The second ballot provided a scope change, allowing biodiesel to be blended with diesel fuel not meeting lubricity and cetane prior to blending. Blending with D 975 out of specification for aromatics and sulfur is already allowed in the current scope. All finished blends must meet pertinent local and state regulations.

The fall meeting of the D02 main committee will have seven new ballot items, which were passed in June by Subcommittee D02.E. Ballot results will be discussed at the December D02 meetings scheduled for Dec. 3-7 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Two of the subcommittee items related to flashpoint. One added an Alcohol Control Parameter to Table 1, which provides for either a percent of methanol by gas chromatography of 0.2 percent maximum, or a flash point of 130 degrees Celsius. Another changed the flash point line in Table 1 to a value of 93 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit). "With methanol controlled via other means, the purpose for flash point is strictly safety and handling issues," Howell said. "Producers can use the flash point for methanol control if the flash is over 130 degrees Celsius." A 200 degree flash point coincides with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) non-hazardous rating.
Another ballot put more emphasis on incorporating biodiesel into finished fuel specifications. It is a scope change that removes references to D975, and turns D 6751 into a blend stock specification, which can be used for any fuel. The current scope limits blending biodiesel into on- and off-road fuel only, Howell explained. This change was needed to allow the use of D 6751 for inclusion of biodiesel into the heating oil specification, D 396, and potentially other ASTM distillate fuel specifications.

Another item made the Ignition Quality Tester (D 6890) an allowable option for the cetane number using the cetane engine, D 613. The Automatic Cloud Point method D 5773 was also allowed as an option for the manual cloud point D 2500.

Finally, the last ballot requires Rancimat stability-a measurement of an oil's degree of resistance to oxidation-for a minimum of three hours. The passage of the stability in D 6751 is needed prior to moving forward on B5 and B20, according to Howell. He added that passage through D02 by August would allow voting on subcommittee ballots of B5 and B20 in December.

For more information on participation in Committee D02, visit or contact David Bradley, D02 staff manager at ASTM International, at [email protected]
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