New certified reference material developed for biodiesel CP, CFPP

By The European Commission's Joint Research Centre | August 01, 2016

Scientists at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre have developed and produced a new certified reference material (CRM) for the cold filter plugging point (CFPP) and cloud point (CP) temperatures of biodiesel. This material helps laboratories accurately establish the lowest temperature at which biodiesel can be used, supporting the implementation of the EU policy on the use of biofuels for transport.

The CP and CFPP of a fuel are those temperatures where upon cooling the first precipitates become visible (CP) or block a filter (CFPP). Therefore they are vital for the practical use of any fuel during winter and are also important quality parameters for biodiesel. Accurate measurements are required to ensure that fuel filters are not blocked during cold periods. Consequently, the reliability of measurement results influences the use of biodiesel.

In an effort to reduce emission of CO2 and to limit global warming, the European Union is promoting the use of renewable energy sources. Directive 2009/28/EC sets a target of a 20 percent share of energy from renewable sources in overall energy consumption by 2020 and a mandatory 10 percent minimum for the share of all biofuels in transport by 2020. To support these goals, the JRC released ERM-EF001, its first biofuel CRM, in 2014. While this CRM carries certified values for many parameters relevant for biodiesel, the CFPP and CP were not certified. The new CRM, named ERM-EF002, closes this gap.

The JRC processed a batch of biodiesel and extensively characterized the homogeneity and stability of the material. Subsequently, an intercomparison study amongst 11 expert laboratories from nine different EU countries was organized to establish the CP and CFPP values. After a technical evaluation of the results, the certified values were assigned in line with all requirements of ISO Guide 34. The newly released ERM-EF002 will be used by laboratories to demonstrate the accuracy of their measurement results for CP and CFPP.

Details of the work are described in the additional certification report. The report and the certificate are available in the JRC’s online catalogue.

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