Quality Matters In Biodiesel

I saw an interesting post over at Biodiesel Basics http://groups.yahoo.com/group/biodieselbasics

Here’s the link to the thread:

Essentially, a guy asked DaimlerChrysler about biodiesel….(you know, the Dr. Z commercials).

Here’s what he got back:
Original Message Follows:

New Vehicle Information – ASKDRZ Brand Site
Brief Description:
Does Daimler Chrysler support B100 Biodiesel in their diesel motors and are the new motors biodiesel compatable?

Dear Brian:

Thanks for contacting Dr.Z. Your message has been forwarded to us for response.

Diesel engines provide a 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 percent compared with gasoline engines. These benefits can be increased even further with the use of biodiesel fuel because biodiesel is made from renewable resources, reducing dependence on petroleum for our transportation needs.

Biodiesel fuel specifically reduces emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. In addition, the biodiesel portion of the fuel is virtually carbon dioxide neutral; that is, the amount of carbon dioxide released when the fuel is burned is matched by the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by soy plants during growth. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has been linked to the potential for climate change.

Dodge Ram diesel pickup trucks have run successfully on B20 (20 percent biodiesel) in fleets required to use alternative fuels by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT). However, there are currently no standards to guarantee consistent quality of B20 fuels.

[comment]They are DEAD on!!! This is why we won’t see more adoption of Biodiesel by auto manufacturer’s. They can’t guarantee the quality of the fuel you put in them so they’re not about to stick their neck out & warranty it. Hell, they can’t even guarantee what COMMERCIAL PRODUCERS are making (which is at times a lot of crap)[/comment]

Thus, DaimlerChrysler currently recommends its diesel vehicles be run on a biodiesel blend of maximum 5 percent (B5).

The company is working with the biodiesel industry, petroleum industry, government, and standard-setting organizations to establish standards for biodiesel.
[comment] YEAH!!!! IT’S ABOUT TIME!!![/comment]

Conventional diesel fuel is currently available in about one-third of all filling stations in the United States.

Biodiesel blends of up to 5% concentration (B5) are available in public fueling stations at certain locations across the country, particularly in areas with substantial soybean farming. B5 fuels are already widely used in Chrysler Group diesel engine vehicles in Europe, where DaimlerChrysler has gained considerable experience with the fuels.

Vielen Dank for your “Z”mail.


Senior Staff Representative
Dr.Z’s Product Information Team

[My Additional comments]
Everybody and their dog that’s into Biodiesel whines about the auto industry’s lack-luster attitude toward adopting Biodiesel in it’s full form (B100). Well, I got news for ya, it’s not their fault. It’s the Commercial Biodiesel Industry’s fault.

The industry’s lackadazical attitude to enforcing quality (beyond BQ-9000 there really isn’t any and BQ-9000 isn’t being adopted very fast–costs money) is causing the problem. If they’d just all step up to the plate and put a quality program in place (much like the Diesel Fuel regulations have), then we’d see a MUCH wider adoption of Biodiesel by the auto industry.

This email response from Daimler Chrysler hit’s the problem dead on.

Either the Federal Government has to get off their proverbial ass and mandate that commercial biodiesel be sold and mandate a testing program to ensure that it IS ASTM spec 100% of the time or the industry needs to get off their ass & do the same.

Until that time, we just aren’t going to see a wide adoption of Biodiesel by the auto industry.

Anyone that attended the Biodiesel Conference in Colorado & went to the Gas Chromotography presentation know’s what I’m talking about.

The presenter indicated that he really doesn’t think there are a lot of commercial producers producing ASTM Biodiesel all the time.

I’d go as far as to say that they’re not producing ASTM Spec Fuel MOST of the time.

It’s not easy to produce ASTM Spec Bio unless you’re being extremely careful and you’re checking it ALL THE TIME!!!

That’s why I was clapping (I know, I was the only one, but I’m big on this) when he said that he tests every batch of fuel they make and said that he won’t let fuel go out his door unless it’s 0.16 or lower on the total glycerin scale (0.24 is the standard).

Soooooo….if we all want to see Biodiesel be warranted by the auto manufacturer’s we all need to push the commercial producers of the stuff to get with the program and either self-regulate themselves to produce ASTM Spec Biodiesel 100% of the time or push for regulations to do so.

Until one or the other happens, we’re just not going to see a wide adoption by Auto Makers of high blends of biodiesel. They’re just not going to do it…..and I for one don’t blame them.

Interestingly enough, the presenter at the conference mentioned that most home-brew biodiesel is extremely clean most of the time and that when “best practices” are followed (ie. good conversion rates, good quality testing, good washing of the fuel, & allowing it to dry properly), the fuel is usually fairly close to spec…at least in the Glycerin categories (Total & Free Glycerin).

Anyway, I firmly believe that we can make Biodiesel a bigger thing in the US and in other countries if we’d all just push a little harder on our legislators or on the Commercial Biodiesel Industry to regulate the quality of the fuel that’s made.

This is EXACTLY why I think the pHLip test is soo cool! It allows END USERS to help to start to regulate the fuel quality. Sure, it’s not the end all, it’s not the panacia, but it’s at least a START in the right direction to help us begin to catch bad fuel before it hit’s our gas tank.

Who know’s, with enough of us armed w/ tests like this (whatever they may be, pHLip test or otherwise), maybe the industry will wake up & come to the table & get off their butt’s & start making and enforcing ASTM Spec Fuel from the point of production, through the distribution chain, and right to the pump.

[now stepping down off of my Quality Is Important Soapbox]

Advocate of quality fuel
(Because I REALLY wanna own a Honda Diesel Accord AND fuel it with Biodiesel AND allow it to still carry a warranty)

About Utah Biodiesel Supply

Utah Biodiesel Supply is an industry leader in offering innovative ways to empower our customers to produce Biodiesel. From free online instructional videos on how to get started making this great renewable fuel to promotional items to help our customers proclaim their energy independence, Utah Biodiesel Supply has it covered. With the widest selection available of Biodiesel equipment, supplies, and promotional items, you're sure to learn something new about Biodiesel every time you visit.

One comment on “Quality Matters In Biodiesel

  1. graydon…. have you heard of the magnesunn- moss (spelling?) act? It was enacted in 1975 and it may contain an answer to your desire to own a diesel honda accord.

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