oregon to begin testing biodiesel quality

The Oregon Department of Agriculture next month plans to begin testing biodiesel sold within the Portland city limits to ensure the fuel meets quality standards.

Dirty biodiesel can clog fuel filters and cause engines to run inefficiently.

“It is a huge concern for the (fuel) industry right now,” Rick Wallace, senior energy analyst for the Oregon Department of Energy, said. “They want to make sure they’re getting good product out there.”

The City Council to grant as much as $140,000 to the department’s Measurement Standards Division to hire a new staff member and to pay for other costs associated with the testing, the Associated Press reported.

Quality testing for the city will also help the Department of Agriculture prepare for the statewide renewable fuels mandate, which takes effect when certain in-state biofuels production goals are met. The new state law will require all diesel fuel sold in the state to contain at least 2% biodiesel and all gasoline to contain 10% ethanol.

The law also requires all fuel sold in the state to meet ASTM International standards for quality, which help ensure engines will run properly when burning the fuel. ASTM develops and publishes voluntary technical standards around the world. The state Measurement Standards Division already oversees fuel testing and quality assurance for petroleum based fuels in Oregon. The division will test fuel at every step along the path to consumers: biodiesel production, fuel truck delivery and the gas station pump.

The tests also will ensure gas station compliance with the city’s biofuels mandate, which will require all diesel fuel sold in Portland to contain at least 5% biodiesel and all gasoline sold to contain 10% ethanol, starting Aug. 15.

All gas stations in Portland will be tested three times each year. The city will cover enforcement. Retailers, distributors and producers that fail to meet the city’s regulations will face fines of up to $10,000 for each violation, the report said.

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