Towards international comparability for biofuel analysis

The BIOREMA project – part 1: “Towards international comparability for biofuel analysisAnarita Baldan, Hugo Ent, Adriaan M.H. van der Veen, Andrea Held, anuela Ulberth-Buchgraber, Romeu J. Daroda, Valnei S. da Cunha, tephen A. Wise, Michele Schantz, Paul J. Brewer, Richard J.C. Brown and Gavin O’Connor Accred Qual Assur (2013) 18:19-28.

There is an increasing demand to accurately measure the quality of biofuel products (e.g. biodiesel and bio-ethanol). This demand is driven in Europe by directives promoting the use of renewable sources of energy and worldwide by national and international legislation setting out quality requirements for these fuels. Until now, there has been no international consensus on the minimum technical specifications to ensure biofuel quality. Furthermore, it is unclear which reference materials and measurement techniques are needed to provide the quality assurance and quality control framework to underpin these legislative requirements. As part of the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme, the BIOREMA project (REference MAterials for BIOfuel specifications) demonstrated the feasibility of preparing biodiesel and bio-ethanol reference materials with reference values traceable to the international system of units for a range of parameters at levels relevant to technical specifications. However, the project concluded also that further research is needed to improve the current measurement capabilities for some parameters. Within the BIOREMA project, two global interlaboratory comparisons were carried out, using the biodiesel and bio-ethanol test materials prepared during the feasibility stage of the project, as well as two biodiesel standard reference materials from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, USA). The exercises showed that the measurement capabilities of the field laboratories were in many cases satisfactory, whereas for other laboratories the availability and regular use of certified reference materials would likely enhance the measurement capabilities for many of the parameters studied. A general overview of the BIOREMA project is presented in this paper. The details of the production of the two types of BIOREMA reference materials, and the results of the interlaboratory comparison for the bio-ethanol and biodiesel study materials, are discussed in parts 2 and 3 of this series of papers.

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