Biodiesel fuel quality standard
The Fuel Standard (Biodiesel) Determination 2003 defines biodiesel as ‘a diesel fuel obtained by esterification of oil derived from plants or animals’. Put simply, it is a fuel derived from plant and/or animal matter rather than petroleum sources.
Internationally, biodiesel is used as a transport fuel in its own right (known as B100) or in blends with petroleum diesel. Most common blends used are 5% biodiesel (B5) and 20% biodiesel (B20).
The department has developed an Australian fuel standard for biodiesel as part of its responsibilities under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000. The Australian Government aims to set fuel quality standards that allow for optimum vehicle and environmental performance.
The process to set a biodiesel standard commenced in 2002, with the appointment of a consultant to produce a technical paper on biodiesel. The paper covered the production and use of biodiesel as a transport fuel in Australia and its impacts on vehicle emissions and engine operation.
The technical paper was used to form the basis of the National Standard for Biodiesel - Discussion Paper 6. The objective of the discussion paper was to inform stakeholders and generate comment on setting a standard for biodiesel.
Following consideration of the submissions received on the biodiesel discussion paper, the Australian Government developed a Draft Standard for Biodiesel.
The biodiesel standard is summarised in the following table. The legal instrument implementing the standard is:
|Parameter||Standard||Test Method||Date of effect|
|Sulfur||50 mg/kg (max)
10 mg/kg (max)
|ASTM D5453||18 Sep 2003
1 Feb 2006
|Density||860 to 890 kg/m3||ASTM D1298||18 Sep 2003|
|Distillation T90||360C (max)||ASTM D1160||18 Sep 2003|
|Sulfated ash||0.020% mass (max)||ASTM D874||18 Sep 2003|
|Viscosity||3.5 to 5.0 mm 2 /s @ 40°C||ASTM D445||18 Sep 2003|
|Flashpoint||120.0°C (min)||ASTM D93||18 Sep 2003|
(10% distillation residue)
|0.30% mass (max)||ASTM D4530||18 Sep 2003|
|Water and sediment||0.050% vol (max)||ASTM D2709||18 Sep 2003|
|Ester content 2||96.5% (m/m) (min)||EN 14103||18 Sep 2003|
|Phosphorus||10 mg/kg (max)||EN 14107||18 Sep 2003|
|Acid value||0.80 mg KOH/g (max)||ASTM D664||18 Sep 2003|
|Total contamination||24 mg/kg (max)||EN 12662||18 Sep 2004|
|Free glycerol||0.020% mass (max)||ASTM D6584||18 Sep 2004|
|Total glycerol||0.250% mass (max)||ASTM D6584||18 Sep 2004|
|Oxidation stability||6 hours @ 110°C (min)||EN 14112
|18 Sep 2004|
|Metals||≤ 5mg/kg Group I (Na, K)
≤ 5mg/kg Group II (Ca, Mg)
|18 Sep 2004|
|Methanol Content||≤ 0.20% (m/m)||EN 14110||18 Dec 2004|
|Copper strip corrosion (3 hrs @ 50°C)||if the biodiesel contains no more than
10 mg/kg of sulfur - Class 1 (max)
if the biodiesel contains more than
10 mg/kg of sulfur - No. 3 (max)
|EN ISO 2160
|18 Dec 2004|
|Cetane number or Derived cetane number||51.0 (min)||ASTM D613
|18 Sep 2005|
2 If biodiesel contains C-17 methyl esters, the ester content may be measured by using the modified procedure set out in S.Schober, I.Seidl and M. Mittelbach, Ester content evaluation in biodiesel from animal fats and lauric oils, European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology 108 (2006) 309-314.
- National standard for biodiesel - Discussion paper 6 - 2003
- Discussion paper submissions - 2003
- Draft standard for biodiesel - 2003
In September 2005 the Prime Minister released the report of the Biofuels Taskforce and announced a package of measures to help address market barriers and restore consumer confidence in the biofuels industry.
Among these measures the Prime Minister announced that the Government would work with Australian fuels and transport industries to establish standard forms of biodiesel to provide certainty to the market. The objective of this discussion paper was to seek stakeholder comment on management options for standardising diesel/biodiesel blended fuels.
The Australian Government released a position paper on the preferred management approach to diesel/biodiesel blends to help provide certainty to consumers and industry. The position paper was open for public comment until 31 March 2008. The objective of the paper was to seek stakeholder comment on the position prior to amending the relevant legislation.
- Proposed management of diesel/biodiesel blends - Position Paper - January 2008
- Position paper submissions - March 2008
- Standardising diesel/biodiesel blends - Discussion paper - November 2006
- Discussion paper submissions - April 2007
The information contained on this page is of a general nature only and should be read in conjunction with the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000, Fuel Quality Standards Regulations 2001, and the Fuel Standard (Biodiesel) Determination 2003. Fuel suppliers may wish to seek legal advice about their obligations under this legislation.
New E85 fuel quality and fuel quality information standards
A fuel quality standard and a fuel quality information (labelling) standard have been made for E85 automotive fuel. The new E85 standards commence on 1 November 2012.