ASTM Fuel Oil Standard Revised to Accommodate B6-B20 Blends

From OPIS:

ASTM International announced today new performance specifications for fuel oils(D396) that will accommodate blends of 6% to 20% biodiesel in conventional fuels.

The revised standard, to be known as D396-15a, will go into effect as soon as it is published, which ASTM said would be “soon.”

The blend is branded Bioheat (R) fuel. The fuel oils covered by D396 are used in home heating and hot water applications, as well as industrial boilers and burners.

The existing No. 1 and No. 2 grades in ASTM D396 already cover 5% biodiesel or less.

“The oilheat industry is reinventing itself as a 21st-Century fuel by moving to higher blends of low-carbon biodiesel and ultra-low sulfur levels across the board,” said John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), in a statement provided by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB). NBB and NORA have worked together on Bioheat (R) fuel certification, testing and user education.

The new B6-B20 grade is a blend of all the parameters contained in the existing No. 1 and No. 2 oilheat grades, but adds parameters for stability and allows a slightly higher distillation temperature for the blends. The changes are the same as those for B6-B20 in on-and-off-road diesel fuel passed by ASTM in 2008.

“The data set behind these changes is one of the most extensive I’ve seen in more than 20 years at ASTM,” said Steve Howell of M4 Consulting, an ASTM Fellow who chairs the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force. “Having an official standard for higher biodiesel blends in heating oil will help foster consumer confidence, and give blenders and distributors a needed tool to incorporate more low carbon, ultra-low sulfur biodiesel into heating oil.”

Research will continue to support official specifications for higher- concentration blends of biodiesel in heating oil, all the way to B100, according to NBB.

“Brookhaven National Laboratory surveys of customers already using biodiesel blends not only showed similar or better experience than with traditional fuel oil, they also showed many already use B20 or higher blends with great success,”
Howell said.

The official vote to change the standard took place at the December 2014 ASTM meeting.

–Kevin Adler, OPIS¬† (