New ASTM Biodiesel Test Specification for Cold Weather Operability
The American Society for Testing of Materials has recently added a new test requirement to the D6751 Biodiesel Specification.
This new requirement is referred to as ASTM 6217 or as Annex A1 of ASTM D6751– Cold Soak Filterability.
Cold Soak Filtration Analysis is defined as: The time in seconds that it takes for cold soaked biodiesel to pass through two 0.8 micron filters and the amount of particulate matter expressed in milligrams per liter (mg/l) collected on the filter.
What does this mean? When biodiesel is stored in temperatures below 40°F for extended periods of time, certain components will precipitate (fall) out of solution and fall to the bottom of the storage tank. This precipitate will build in a thickening layer at or near the tank bottom. In general the colder the temperature and the longer the biodiesel stays at a given temperature, the more material will fall out.
This material can very quickly plug filters and shut down engines, usually at the worst time.
What is this material? It can have to do with the feedstock from which the biodiesel is created. Certain feedstocks, particularly Used Cooking Oils (UCO), Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO), and Animal Fats (Tallow) will produce high levels of precipitate. The material can also be due to incomplete removal of glycerin during the transestrification process.
This new test is a positive step in making biodiesel a more consistent user friendly product.
Copyright 2009© - William Richards