ASTM ushers in new biodiesel standard

VANCOUVER — As expected, the ASTM International D02 Main Committee to approved a trio of long-awaited ASTM specifications for biodiesel blends.

After more than five years of extensive research and subsequent balloting by the ASTM fuel experts in the blended fuel balloting process, ASTM has voted to approve three key sets of biodiesel specifications that should bolster automaker support and consumer demand for biodiesel.

The changes include: Changes to the existing B100 biodiesel blend stock specification (ASTM D6751), finished specifications to include up to 5 percent biodiesel (B5) in the conventional petrodiesel specification (ASTM D975), and a new specification for blends of between 6 percent biodiesel (B6) to 20 percent biodiesel (B20) for on and off road diesel.

“The new ASTM specifications for B6-B20 blends will aid engine manufacturers in their engine design and testing processes to optimize the performance of vehicles running on biodiesel,” said Steve Howell, chair of the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force. “The new specifications will also help ensure that only the highest quality biodiesel blends are made available to consumers at the retail pump.”

A definitive standard has been developed for
biodiesel blends.

Automakers and engine manufacturers have been requesting a finished blend specification for B20 biodiesel blends for several years, with some citing the need for that spec as the single greatest hurdle preventing their full-scale acceptance of B20 use in their diesel vehicles.

“The new ASTM spec for B6 – B20 is a major building block in GM’s efforts to elevate biodiesel as part of our overall energy diversity strategy,” added John Gaydash, director of marketing for General Motors Fleet and Commercial Operations. “We are eager to work with the National Biodiesel Board on efforts to continue to ensure biodiesel fuel quality, as well as to increase our support for biodiesel use in our diesel vehicle lineup.”

The approval of ASTM specifications for inclusion of up to 5 percent biodiesel (B5) in the regular diesel fuel pool also means that biodiesel could soon become more readily available at retail fueling stations nationwide.

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