Biodiesel technical progress achieved at ASTM, NREL

By Staff | March 10, 2014

The technical data needed to ballot legacy-safe blends of biodiesel-blended heating oil up to B20 has finally been obtained, a necessary step to ballot the measure at ASTM, according to Steve Howell, with Marc-IV Consulting and senior technical advisor for the National Biodiesel Board, and Scott Fenwick, NBB’s technical director. This will broaden the market opportunities for biodiesel, particularly in the Northeast, for higher biodiesel blends in existing oilheat burners.

In addition, one major limiting factor to shipping biodiesel through pipelines has been concerns of jet engine manufacturers that biodiesel trailback into jet fuel batches would cause contamination and potentially compromise jet fuel quality, putting airline passengers at risk. A 5 ppm limit, a level nearly impossible to detect, has virtually kept biodiesel out of the pipe, disallowing the cost benefits associated with pipeline product movement.

After years of work testing jet fuel with 400 ppm of biodiesel, a level four times that being sought for approval, Howell says a measure to allow up to 100 ppm of biodiesel in jet fuel will be balloted next semester.

Finally, Howell notes at the national event that Golden, Colo.-based NREL has finally concluded a long study that demonstrates antioxidant-dosed biodiesel can remain on-spec for up to three years.

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