REG trademarks REG-9000 specifications

By Anduin Kirkbride McElroy | May 14, 2008
In April, Renewable Energy Group Inc. announced it had trademarked its own product quality specifications for biodiesel produced at all of its plants. The company introduced three products under the trademarked name REG-9000: REG-9000-1, REG-9000-5 and REG-9000-10.

"The '9000' refers to the fact that it comes from BQ-9000-certified plants," said REG Director of Marketing Jon Scharingson, referring to the quality assurance program developed by the National Biodiesel Board. "The 1, 5 and 10 refers to (the temperature in Celsius of) the cloud point. A lot of customers buy based on feedstock, but feedstock shouldn't matter.

We're promoting the attributes of the fuel."

REG said all three products offer improved oxidation stability and enhanced purity, compared with other B100 biodiesel available in today's marketplace. The products adhere to product specifications that meet or exceed ASTM D 6751 biodiesel specs. REG-9000-1 has a cloud point ranging from 0 to 2 degrees Celsius, a cetane level from 47 to 50 and an oxidation stability of three to six hours. REG-9000-5 has a cloud point ranging from 4 to 6 degrees Celsius, a cetane level from 50 to 53 and an oxidation stability of five to eight hours. REG-9000-10 has a cloud point ranging from 8 to 12 degrees Celsius, a cetane level from 53 to 59 and an oxidation stability of seven to 10 hours. The minimum ASTM requirement for cetane is 47, while oxidation stability is three hours. REG can add an antioxidant to meet any customer stability requirement up to 10 hours.

The three different products are offered to meet different customers' needs and budgets. "Customers differ by geography and environment," Scharingson said. "In warmer months, most customers don't have issues with buying REG-9000-5 or REG-9000-10. A lot of our customers are excited about the higher cetane values."

The new specifications were developed in response to customer demand because many current REG customers have their own internal specifications. "This was our attempt to issue specifications that were as tight or tighter than many of the customer specifications," Scharingson said. "We figured if we can meet customer specifications at all of our plants, we
should make it public that we're cranking out much higher quality."

Higher-quality specifications include reduced free and total glycerin levels, a reduced acid number, reduced sulfur content, and reduced free water and sediment. REG's specifications also require that internal tests are performed, which aren't currently required by ASTM. These include tests for monoglycerides, diglycerides and triglycerides; tests for total biodiesel moisture; and a cold soak filtration test, which indicates how well the biodiesel will perform in cold weather.

Scharingson said REG is able to meet this level of quality because it's committed to continuous improvement. "What differentiates us is we are continuously making product improvements," he said. "Some people don't change their engineering once they start churning out biodiesel, but we make a tremendous effort to improve the quality of our biodiesel. One of the fruits of this labor is the REG specification that we released."

National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe said he is pleased with REG's new program. "ASTM D 6751 defines the minimum requirements for biodiesel that is 'fit for purpose' for blending up to 20 percent with petro-diesel, and the BQ-9000 program, which Renewable Energy Group Inc. was a leader in, requires D 6751 compliance on every lot," he said. "REG has once again proven itself as an industry quality leader by committing its product to a quality level that goes above and beyond the ASTM requirements."
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