Biodiesel is one of the simplest, most effective fuels for reducing carbon emissions. It’s also a high-quality fuel that must meet stringent standards to ensure good fleet performance.
Like nearly all products — including other types of fuel — there are differences between manufacturers. Here’s how Renewable Energy Group sets the standard for product quality in the clean fuels industry.
Advanced quality control measures
After more than 25 years as an industry leader and billions of gallons produced, REG knows biodiesel. ASTM International has established standards to ensure fuel quality — in biodiesel’s case ASTM D6751 — but REG goes above and beyond that by participating in the BQ-9000® program as a fuel producer and marketer. BQ-9000 combines ASTM specs with additional quality assurance steps on biodiesel production, distribution and storage. Our fuel meets or exceeds ASTM requirements so our customers can get the most benefits possible from using biodiesel.
Biodiesel also exceeds some key petroleum diesel specs:
Cetane — The ASTM specification for biodiesel requires a minimum Cetane number of 47, compared with the ASTM diesel spec of 40. Higher Cetane equals a shorter ignition time and better performance. REG biodiesel is typically above 50.
Lubricity — ULSD is almost completely lacking in lubricity. But as little as a B2 blend provides the lubricity fleets need. This too is critical for performance. Modern diesel engines rely on fuel to aid in the lubricating process and
provide protection against wear and damage. Proper lubricity management can also help engines run smoother, cooler and more quietly.
Proprietary pretreatment process
A key factor in our fuel quality is our proprietary pretreatment process, in which the feedstocks used to create biodiesel are refined to a very clean and pure material before actual biodiesel production begins. In addition to contributing to a high-quality finished fuel, this allows us to use multiple feedstocks, including lower-cost feedstocks that may have higher contaminants, without the quality of the fuel suffering. We are able to refine them into a pure, clean product.
This feedstock flexibility, as we call it, benefits our customers in multiple ways:
Predictable pricing and availability — We are insulated from some of the instability in commodity markets. When supply or pricing on a particular feedstock is unfavorable, we can easily switch to another feedstock without negatively impacting the finished product.
Ability to combine various feedstocks — We can combine different feedstocks and capture the best properties from each, creating a finished fuel with the specifications our customers want.
Lower emissions — We can use feedstocks with lower carbon intensity scores, allowing us to produce fuel that does an even better job at helping fleets reduce their carbon footprints.
Some of our fuel goes through the distillation process, which is a method for purifying liquids. There are a variety of customer benefits with distillation:
Superior cold weather performance — Distillation does a better job than other purification methods at removing what are known as minor components, which can contribute to filter plugging.
The potential for even cleaning-burning fuel — Some of the feedstocks with favorable carbon intensity scores can result in biodiesel with a higher Cloud Point, which is an indication of cold weather performance. The higher the Cloud Point, the greater the concern for cold temps. But with cold weather being less of an issue with a distilled product, our customers can get a fuel with lower carbon intensity that helps them reduce harmful emissions and reach sustainability goals.
Easier blending with petroleum diesel — Distillation helps create one of the purest types of biodiesel, which makes it easier to fully mix the biodiesel molecules and petroleum diesel molecules.
Additional testing and technical services
Choosing the right fuel can be a challenging process; however, if you run into fuel-related questions, we believe our Technical Services team is unmatched in the industry. They provide fuel sample testing, filter analysis and technical advice on storing, handling and blending fuel. In addition, we provide technical guidance on fuel properties for our customers for their specific operations. Fuel testing is completed at our state-of-the-art REG Research Center.
All REG biorefineries have an on-site lab as well.
The main focus is to ensure the quality of the incoming and outgoing materials by testing the incoming feedstocks and chemicals, in-process samples, and finished fuel and co-products.
Get the best biodiesel
Biodiesel has many important benefits, including reducing emissions and enhancing performance through higher Cetane, added lubricity and a cleaner burn that puts less stress on diesel particulate filters. That’s why we make sure REG biodiesel is put through a rigorous process to produce the highest-quality fuel for our customers.
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