Magellan, PAC host biodiesel test methods training

By | November 10, 2006
This summer, three cities hosted biodiesel test methods training, a brainchild of Steve Howell of the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). He envisioned a training course that would teach biodiesel producers how to run test methods and where to purchase testing equipment. At his request, Magellan Midstream Partners LP, a company involved in biodiesel test methods, and Petroleum Analyzer Company (PAC), a vendor of analytical equipment, jointly developed the training course.

Attendees learned what test methods are associated with the ASTM standard for biodiesel and how to obtain a representative sample. "We also covered the testing requirements associated with the BQ-9000 program and how specifications are applied downstream of the biodiesel plant," said Rod Lawrence, manager of quality and analytical services at Magellan.

Training courses were held in Houston in June; Kansas City, Mo., in July; and Minneapolis in August. Each session had between 10 and 18 attendees, which included producers, investors, academics and those from regulatory agencies. Lawrence said each training station added a different perspective to the course curriculum. For example, the Houston attendees were mostly future producers or in government, while those in Minneapolis were mostly current producers.

Consistent throughout the training was a testing commitment from the participants. "I was very pleased with the commitment of the participants to test all batches of biodiesel produced at the plant using standard test methods, and their general commitment to the notion that it's in the industry's best interest to have only high-quality biodiesel in the marketplace," Lawrence said.

Magellan and PAC started the training to meet a perceived need within the industry. "The variability in test results that we saw from different laboratories last year indicated that the precision associated with the test methods needs to be improved," Lawrence said.
Magellan and PAC intend to conduct test method training in spring 2007, probably in Houston. The curriculum will be changed to reflect the changes to the ASTM standard, Lawrence added.
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