Ensuring that consumers have a high level of confidence in the biodiesel they purchase is a top priority for biodiesel manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
The biodiesel industry has been active in setting standards for biodiesel since 1994 when the first biodiesel taskforce was formed within the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). ASTM approved a provisional standard for biodiesel in 1999 and developed a final specification (D 6751) in 2001 called “Standard Specification for Biodiesel Fuel (B100) Blend Stock for Distillate Fuels”. Copies of the specifications are available from ASTM at www.astm.org.
How is biodiesel defined?
Biodiesel is a specific fuel made by a specific process. It is defined as the mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats. Biodiesel is produced when oil or fat is chemically reacted with an alcohol to produce a new compound that is known as a fatty acid alkyl ester. A catalyst such as sodium or potassium hydroxide is required and glycerin is produced as a byproduct.
What is not biodiesel?
Raw vegetable or animal oil is NOT biodiesel. Ethanol-diesel blends (known as E-diesel) are NOT biodiesel. Today, alkyl ester is not considered biodiesel until it meets ASTM D 6751.
When biodiesel meets its specification and is handled according to proper fuel management techniques, the result is a high quality, premium fuel which has been shown to perform well in virtually any unmodified diesel engine. However, use of any fuel that does not meet its quality specifications could cause performance problems or equipment damage, and this includes biodiesel. Sale of off-spec fuel is a violation of federal and state law. Several federal and state government agencies are responsible for the regulation and enforcement of fuel quality in the United States.
All biodiesel sold within the Portland area has been rigorously tested and meets ASTM D 6751 specifications.