When is "bio-diesel" not "biodiesel"?
I've been searching for the answer to this Q:
"Who can supply D5761 BD in 1000 litre quantities five times a year
within 50 miles of 98368, who also uses domestic feedstock(s) or second-use oil to produce BD . . . "
. . . and whose quality is such that I don't end up with a batch of "ASTM-spec" (!!) fuel like the batch we received from a large "reputable" Seattle-area BD supplier 27 mos. ago, which clogged members' filters and caused me to have to do a tank drop on at least one member's vehicle (see the thread, "Floating crap in our totes" on the biodieselnow site: http://biodieselnow.com/forums/p/6669/48513.aspx for horrible the-aliens-are-here pictures)
A few days ago, I saw this intriging ad on the local CraigsList (http://seattle.craigslist.org/sno/for/760619164.html
Bio-Diesel For Sale (Arlington)
Reply to: email@example.com
Date: 2008-07-18, 4:28PM PDT<br>
Looking for Affordable Bio-Diesel. Here it is!!! Only from Waste Vegetable Oil
Can Deliver for free in Snohomish County (Minimum delivery amount 300 gallons)
Exit 210 off I-5
Only building visible on west side of the freeway.
23810 Old 99 N
Arlington WA 98223
ASTM Certified Fuel
EPA Certified Fuel
- Location: Arlington
- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
The address looked familiar, and it wasn't hard to discover that it's the address for Standard Biodiesel. While not meeting my criteria of being somewhat close geographically, Standard Biodiesel
is based in Arlington (about 45 min. north of Seattle). As of today, their website includes the the following bites:
Standard Biodiesel wrote:About Standard Biodiesel
Standard Biodiesel provides biodiesel to be used in engines, generators, and furnaces. . . .
. . . The renewable diesel meets ASTM specifications for "diesel fuel" but remains an alternative fuel derived from recycled materials.
Standard Biodiesel produces biodiesel fuels from recycled vegetable oils in the Puget Sound region. Biodiesel can be delivered full strength or blended with petroleum diesel at product concentrations ranging from B5 (5% biodiesel) to B95 (95% biodiesel).
Biodiesel (mono alkyl esters) is made from natural, renewable sources . . .
Unfortunately, I discovered yesterday that what Standard Biodiesel is currently selling is not ASTM D6751 biodiesel.
I had to take a day off and take a ferry to Edmonds anyway, so I thought I'd make the best of it and go buy 275G of biodiesel while I was paying the ferry fare anyway. I borrowed a (diesel) truck for the day.
I called ahead the day before, because it seems odd that Standard Biodiesel would be running a CL ad but not include their name. The woman answering the phone confirmed that the CL ad is theirs, and that I could fill a tote's worth (their website states both "wholesale only" and "300 gallon minimum"). I let her know I'd be bringing my empty tote the next afternoon.
When I arrived, sandwich board signs on the road helped me find their operation. I pulled up to the dispensing station, which is fairly neat and relatively clean. An employee, "Hav", greeted me and said he had been expecting me. The clipboard next to the pump indicated that several fuel sales had preceeded me that day, all under 100G each.
We removed the tote's 6" fill cap and began filling. I noticed the color seemed pretty dark, even for reclaimed feedstock, and foam seemed more than usual too. Mark, who was with me, inquired about process details while I was preoccupied with other stuff (getting air in the truck's tires). The tote was filled, and then it was related that this fuel does not meet ASTM D6751 spec. "Hav" and "John" we (at that point) clear that they are selling renewable diesel
and not biodiesel; they said their fuel meets D975 (the diesel spec, not the biodiesel spec).
I was told that Standard Biodiesel is no longer using an alcohol transesterification process, as the cost of methanol is now too high for their business model to sustain. They are using a "binding agent" and the glycerol is left in the product. The product they sell does have a significant percentage of a petrodiesel component.
Everyone was friendly and helpful, and "Hav" was able to remove the tote's-worth of fuel. As we had already filled one of the truck's two tanks with it, I purchased that fuel, and after about an hour we headed back south.
Moral of the story: "bio-diesel" may not be "biodiesel, even if the website claims it is.