BASF testing procedure for B100 adopted by ASTM

By Luke Geiver | July 13, 2011

The ASTM D6751 biodiesel specification will soon include three additional test methods for B100. The tests methods will use a BASF patented infrared spectroscopy process for the rapid analysis of total glycerin, free glycerin and cloud point. “Total and free glycerin analyses are some of the more challenging analyses when monitoring biodiesel quality,” according to Kyle Anderson, technical project manager for the National Biodiesel Board, “yet arguably two of the most important properties to ensure high-quality fuel.” The new method of testing, Ck 2-09, will allow BQ-9000 testing facilities to test biodiesel samples using only a drop of fuel in roughly two minutes without sample preparation or the use of chemical reagents, according to Quality Trait Analysis, a BASF company based in Ohio.

The Ck 2-09 method combines attenuated total reflectance (ATR) with the infrared spectrometer. The ATR technique is what makes the rapid analysis possible, as the method can work for a solid, liquid or gas without the need for preparation. During the process an infrared beam of light is reflected off an ATR crystal that shows or reflects off the internal surface that is touching the sample. That reflected beam is then collected by a detection device and can be analyzed for traits like total glycerin, free glycerin or cloud point.

The QTA system has a proprietary database of calibration algorithms managed centrally, according to QTA, which can be accessed by individual method users via a secure website. “The spectra of the biodiesel is collected on the local spectrometer, and then transmitted to QTA’s central database, where the algorithms are used for prediction. Results are then transmitted back to the user’s computer,” QTA explained.

The alternate Ck 2-09 method, Anderson said, “allows biodiesel producers to conduct a rapid determination of free and total glycerin in their product to ensure it meets the limits in ASTM D675.” But, the testing procedure did go through numerous round robin studies and statistical analysis in comparison with existing methods before being approved. QTA’s testing platform, launched in 2006, has tested over 2 million biodiesel samples. To test the Ck 2-09, QTA evaluated feedstocks including soybean oil, canola oil, a blend of tallow and chicken fat, a blend of white grease, tallow and poultry fats and a blend of soybean oil and poultry fat.

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