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Biodiesel Standards

Internationally, there are a number of biodiesel standards. Although they all vary slightly they all have the same objective. They all seek to guarantee the quality of fuel that is produced commercially.

The two major standards are:

  • ASTM D6751 in the United States
  • EN 14214 in the European union

There are a number of other national standards which are based on the above two. For example, SANS1935 in South Africa is based on the European standard.

Most national standards will differ in that the standard is tailored to the infeed materials that are available in the country. For example, the European standards is skewed towards biodiesel manufactured from rapeseed, while the American standard is more compatible with soybean biodiesel.

The major factors that are specified in the standards are:

  • Removal of free glycerin.
  • Removal of all alcohol's.
  • The removal of the catalyst.
  • The absence of free fatty acids.
  • A complete reaction, the removal of bound glycerin
  • Cold-weather properties.
  • Sulfur content.
  • Acid value.

One of the major issues that faces small-scale biodiesel producers is the availability and cost of accurate tests. In many cases, the cost of testing your fuel against one of the major standards will cost more than the value of the fuel itself. Additionally, the length of time that it takes before external lab tests are reported on is an issue.

The lab equipment that is needed to run a complete suite of tests is also very expensive.

Without the positive feedback of a quality testing program, it is almost impossible to guarantee the quality of fuel from small and medium-sized facilities. For this reason, small home producers need to be cautious in providing other people with fuel. If for any reason, a vehicle should breakdown the onus will be on the biodiesel supplier to prove that his fuel was up to standard. If   lab tests have not been done for each batch that is made, this is impossible to do and the manufacturer will face liability. I mention this not because I think that biodiesel will break people's vehicles but because vehicle manufacturers are notorious for shifting blame when it comes to honoring guarantees. The small producer does not generally have the resources to take on the motor industry.



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