Government Fleet Top News

Biodiesel Fuel Quality Program Continues to Expand

February 14, 2007

SAN ANTONIO, TX – After three years of growth that has seen biodiesel demand triple annually, the industry continues to gain ground in the challenge of enforcing fuel quality standards, according to the Web site www.usagnet.com. During the recent National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in San Antonio, the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission announced that six more companies achieved BQ-9000 accredited status. BQ-9000 is a voluntary quality control program.

There are currently six BQ-9000 certified biodiesel marketers and 17 accredited biodiesel producers, which account for 40 percent of the biodiesel production capacity in the U.S. The new accreditations go to Seattle Biodiesel, Western Iowa Energy of Wall Lake, Iowa, and Stepan Company of Northfield, Illi. Newly certified marketers include Denver-based TransMontaigne, Western States Petroleum of Phoenix, Ariz., and FUMPA Biofuels of Redwood Falls, Minn.

BQ-9000 helps companies improve their fuel-testing procedures and reduces the chances of producing or distributing out-of-spec fuel. The program helps companies adhere to the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D-6751, through quality control systems that include storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices. Companies must develop a quality control manual and pass a rigorous review of their quality control processes by an independent auditor.

State and federal fuel quality outreach programs are also part of the industry’s efforts to enhance biodiesel fuel quality. The NBB has asked government agencies to adopt fuel quality standards for biodiesel and enforce them. This summer, NBB board members approved a comprehensive fuel quality policy that directs the NBB to work diligently with all state and federal agencies with authority to regulate and enforce fuel quality.

NBB’s Fuel Quality Outreach Program has made contact with all state Divisions of Weights and Measures and encouraged them to adopt ASTM D-6751. At the January National Conference of Weights and Measures meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., NBB recommended states aggressively enforce ASTM D-6751 by taking samples of B100 (pure biodiesel) at biodiesel plants, pipelineterminals and bulk distributors, and taking appropriate legal action if they find out-of-spec fuel.

NBB has developed an online Fuel Quality Enforcement Guide (www.biodiesel.org) that provides guidance on actions for anyone who has concerns about the quality of their biodiesel fuel. The organization also hosts webinar training on fuel quality.

Also at the conference, the National Biodiesel Foundation announced that it will offer nine $10,000 grants to Clean Cities coalitions for the development of educational workshops or industry stakeholder meetings on biodiesel quality. The purpose of the workshops will be to educate petroleum marketers, fleet managers, and other officials about biodiesel fuel quality and management practices. Clean Cities, a U.S. Department of Energy program, advances the economic, environmental, and energy security of the United States by supporting local decisions to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector.

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