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Biodiesel producer pushes quality standards

Agriculture.com Staff 11/09/2006 @ 6:28am

A senior executive of one of the nation's top biodiesel producers this week outlined his company's testing process in response to a recent independent study that says some biodiesel producers are not meeting industry standards.

Myron Danzer, Vice President of Customer and Technical Services for Renewable Energy Group, Inc., says his company stands by its quality and testing procedures. "For the past 10 years, Renewable Energy Group has been producing biodiesel that meets or exceeds industry standards," Danzer says.

The national study, released Wednesday by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Biodiesel Board, found that one-third of biodiesel samples taken between November 2005 and July 2006 did not meet industry specifications. The samples used in the study were taken from those who handle fuel in biodiesel distribution channels following production, not the production plants themselves.

Danzer says fuel quality does not stop at the production plant gate. "More fuel distributors should have binding industry standards in handling biodiesel. This way more consumers will know they will be getting the best product available," he says. "We work closely with all of our customers to ensure our biodiesel is handled with care all the way to the pump."

In the production of biodiesel, Renewable Energy Group has been proactive in aggressively achieving quality in its biodiesel and setting industry-wide standards. The company goes to extensive lengths to guarantee its biodiesel meets specifications at the production site before leaving the plant for distribution.

"There is a standard for biodiesel, and there are ways for plants to improve and meet quality specifications, which is achievable thorough BQ-9000 Accreditation," Danzer says.

The voluntary BQ-9000 Accreditation program is a grouping of the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) biodiesel standard and a quality systems process including storage, testing and distribution practices. Twelve of the 86 biodiesel plants in the nation are BQ-9000 Accredited, and two of the accredited plants are managed by Renewable Energy Group.

Danzer, who is also a quality standards commissioner for the National Biodiesel Board, stresses the importance of BQ-9000 Accreditation when speaking to a group of biodiesel producers at the same meeting where the study’s results were announced. BQ-9000 Accreditation, he says, is a way to assure marketers and consumers that they are getting a premium product from biodiesel producers.

Renewable Energy Group produces and markets SoyPOWER biodiesel, which is tested frequently. This testing is conducted several times before and during production, again as the finished product is stored, and once more as it comes out of storage and is sent to fuel marketers via railcar or truck. Before it is shipped out, each batch of SoyPOWER biodiesel is given a certificate of analysis saying it has met all 16 BQ-9000 standards.

As other companies strive to achieve this level of quality on a consistent basis, Renewable Energy Group continues its work with the National Biodiesel Board and the ASTM standards committee to ensure that all biodiesel nationwide meets the high standards and performance expectations of its heaviest users.

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