Germany's AGQM publishes list of no-harm biodiesel stabilizers

By Susanne Retka Schill | February 10, 2009
The German biodiesel quality management working group AGQM EV published a list of 13 biodiesel stabilizers this winter that fulfill its no-harm criteria for diesel engines.

The AGQM, which stands for Arbeitsgemeinschaft Qualitatsmanagement Biodiesel, spent the past year evaluating a number of oxidation stabilizers introduced alongside butyl-4-hydroxytoluene (BHT) for compliance with "no-harm" criteria. The tests were conducted using methods agreed upon between European oil companies, fuel suppliers and the AGQM, including tests for compliance with European quality requirements, filtration and engine compatibility.

Dieter Bockey, manager of the AGQM project, said the testing resulted from concerns raised by major oil companies supplying the German and European markets. "The mineral oil companies were concerned about the oxidative stability of biodiesel with the standard being raised to B7," he said. Germany planned to introduce its standard for B7 in February.

Other member states of the European Union are expected to adopt B7 standards throughout the coming year.

The AGQM compiled a list of products passing the tests, and additional additive suppliers can file an application for testing at any time. "These additives are approved for the German standard," Bockey said. Companies delivering biodiesel must confirm which additives have been used. He added that the AGQM had already evaluated a number of these additives for use in B100. The testing done over the past year confirmed that the stabilizers used in biodiesel were not interacting with additives used in the diesel portion of the blend.

source: AGQM EV

Another dimension of the tests evaluated product efficiency. "One product might be a bit more expensive than another, but it may actually be cheaper when you consider the volumes required to achieve the results," Bockey said. The relative efficiencies of the listed stabilizers in comparison with BHT can be disclosed with the approval of the respective companies, he added. The final project report and test procedures are available for a fee on the AGQM Web site "It was a very comprehensive project," Bockey said, adding that it included engine tests to examine nozzle-fouling issues.

The AGQM has also begun work on a far-reaching project to examine the feasibility of midlevel blends. The studies will evaluate the behavior of B10 in engines with different aftertreatment systems to address the postinjection issue that may ultimately limit the use of biodiesel in engines designed to meet more stringent emissions standards. B10 is being rejected by German car companies that believe the higher blends lead to a dilution of the engine oil due to the different boiling point of biodiesel. Depending on the engine loading, biodiesel does not evaporate like diesel because of the longer carbon-chain length of biodiesel. German, Italian and French car manufacturers are taking different approaches to where they inject fuel to burn particulate matter-the soot-out of the filter. "It is a crucial issue," Bockey said. Some German vehicle manufacturers are proposing that the limit for biodiesel be kept at B7, and that the remaining 3 percent required in the newly adopted European Union directive for 10 percent renewable content in transportation fuels come from hydrogenated vegetable oil coprocessed with mineral oil.

"The AGQM position concerning the future of biodiesel is clear," Bockey said. "The increasing emission demands are the technical challenge with biodiesel as a blend component in the market." Biodiesel will need to compete with the simultaneous improvements in diesel quality in regard to low sulfur and aromatics, he added.
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