The National Biodiesel Board has issued a “winter weather advisory” after discovering a third of the biodiesel samples tested were out of spec. A national fuel quality testing project, co-funded by NBB and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, checked samples from November 2005 to July 2006; a third of the samples were out of spec for incomplete processing, which is the same issue that caused filter-clogging problems in Minnesota last year.
Cold weather can intensify problems caused by out-of-spec fuel, and ensuring consumer confidence in the fuel is a top board priority, says Joe Jobe, board chief executive officer. “NBB views these results as unacceptable,” Jobe says. “This underscores the need for enforcement agencies to take action against those who aren’t producing biodiesel that meets the existing standard, ASTM D-6751.”
After Minnesota’s problems, NBB approved a Fuel Quality Policy that demands the board work with state and federal agencies that regulate fuel and enforce quality; they have encouraged states to adopt ASTM D-6751. Currently, half of the states use that standard, and an additional 13 states are planning to adopt it or are considering it; 10 states, including Minnesota, now proactively test biodiesel or biodiesel blends.
There are 17 accredited biodiesel producers and certified marketers, representing more than 40 percent of the biodiesel production capacity on the market; seven more are expected to be accredited by 2007. The board recommends out-of-spec biodiesel be reported to the proper authorities, which can be found in the State Fuel Quality Index at www.biodiesel.org. Also recommended is purchasing fuel from BQ-9000 accredited producers or certified marketers, a list of which is available at www.bq-9000.org.