International interlaboratory comparison for bio-ethanol test methods

The BIOREMA project – part 3: "International interlaboratory comparison for bio-ethanol test methods" Van der Veen AMH, Ent H, Baldan A., Cunha VS, Daroda RJ, Lang B, Schantz M, Ulberth-Buchgraber M, Held A, Hearn R, Brown RJC and Brewer PJ, Accred Qual Assur (2013) 18:41-50.

The main objective of the reference materials for biofuel specifications (BIOREMA) project is the development of two test materials (one bio-ethanol material and one biodiesel material) with well-established reference values. Of a series of three papers, this part describes the material preparation, homogeneity study, stability study, and characterisation of the bio-ethanol material. The test material thus obtained was used in an interlaboratory comparison (ILC) to assess current practices and comparability amongst laboratories providing bio-ethanol testing services. Only 13 participants provided data, resulting in a small dataset for evaluation. Further, it appeared that for a number of laboratories, there was not sufficient material for the determination of all requested parameters. In most cases, as far as the data permit, it can be concluded that the consensus values (based on participant’s results) are in good agreement with the reference or the BIOREMA values (obtained by NMIs participating in the project). For three parameters, namely ethanol content, water content, and density, there is good agreement between the reference and consensus values. For these parameters, the reproducibility standard deviation is close to, or even smaller than, the expanded uncertainty associated with the reference value. A number of parameters show very poor reproducibility, for example, pHe, electrolytic conductivity, and acidity. The same applies to sodium and copper content, which are very low and therefore challenging parameters to measure accurately. The results of the ILC underpin the need for certified reference materials and demonstrate the requirement for more robust quality control to improve the precision and trueness of the results from testing laboratories.

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