|Adopting BQ-9000 is one of the recommended steps.|
The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and the Minnesota Biodiesel Council (MBC) today presented an action plan to the Minnesota Department of Commerce to increase quality control measures and ensure that only high-grade biodiesel is released into the state’s diesel fuel pool.
Quality problems that lead to clogged fuel filters resulted in a 21-day suspension of the state’s new B2 regulations requiring that all diesel in the state must be sold with a minimum 2% biodiesel component. (Earlier post.)
NBB and MBC worked with state agencies and petroleum companies to analyze the situation, and determined that out-of-spec biodiesel was responsible for at least some of the filter plugging.
Their recommendations include:
Procedures requiring biodiesel companies to provide a certificate of analysis for each batch of fuel;
Having all biodiesel producers become accredited under the existing BQ-9000 program. The program is a combination of the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D 6751, and a quality systems program that includes storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel-management practices.
Strong enforcement procedures from the Minnesota Department of Commerce. This would include suspensions and fines for producers who sell out-of-spec biodiesel.
We want Minnesota truckers, petroleum distributors and other residents to know that we take biodiesel fuel quality extremely seriously. We are taking an aggressive stance to ensure that the biodiesel produced and used in the state meets the national specification for the fuel and is trouble-free. Our organizations thank the hundreds of loyal customers in Minnesota and across the nation who successfully use biodiesel in all kinds of climates and conditions.—NBB CEO Joe Jobe
NBB and MBC originally called for a temporary waiver from the B2 mandate on Dec. 22 to allow terminals to test their biodiesel and re-supply if necessary. The Department of Commerce put a waiver in place, which is scheduled to end Jan. 13, 2005.
Although investigations have indicated that other factors unrelated to biodiesel may have led to at least some of the filter plugging reports in Minnesota, there’s no question that off-spec biodiesel can have a severe reaction in cold weather, even in low blends.
There’s no room for poor quality biodiesel in the marketplace—Steve Howell, NBB technical director
NBB and MBC believe the Department of Commerce should keep the variance in effect for up to an additional 30 days or until the department is satisfied that all of the recommended quality control and enforcement procedures are fully implemented, whichever is shorter.
A Diesel Helpline has been established through the University of Minnesota Center for Diesel Research. Minnesota residents experiencing a problem are urged to call 800-929-3437. The helpline is working to document, confirm and quantify diesel fuel issues.