Quality of Biodiesel

In Europe, EN 14214 biodiesel standard (based on former DIN 51606) was finalized in October 2003. The US and EU standards have international significance; they are usually the starting point for biodiesel specifications developed in other countries.

EN 14214 establishes specifications for fatty acid methyl esters for diesel engines. In contrast to ASTM D6751, B100 that meets this standard could be used unblended in a diesel engine (if the engine has been adapted to operate on B100) or blended with diesel fuel to produce a blend in accordance with EN 590, the European diesel fuel specification. EN14214:2012 introduced a number of changes including an expansion of the scope to cover heating oil applications and updates to cover blends up to B10. An additional set of climatic classes based on monoglycerides content was also established. Biodiesel/diesel fuel blends are covered by EN 590. EN 590:2004 allowed blends up to 5% of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) in diesel fuel while EN 590:2009 increased the allowable FAME content to 7%.

Biodiesel specifications and test methods according to ASTM D6751 and EN 14214 are compared with those of petroleum diesel in Table 1. Both ASTM D6751 and EN 14214 establish specifications for key fuel properties for biodiesel—the former for the biodiesel blend component, the latter for both blend stock and neat biodiesel automotive fuel.

The European biodiesel specification, EN 14214, is more restrictive and applies only to mono-alkyl esters made with methanol, fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). The minimum ester content is specified at 96.5%. The addition of components that are not fatty acid methyl esters—other than additives—is not allowed.