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A new certified reference material for cold filter plugging point in biodiesel

3 June 2016

Scientists of the JRC have developed and produced a new biodiesel certified reference material (CRM) certified for the cold filter plugging point (CFPP) and cloud point (CP). This material helps laboratories to accurately establish the lowest temperature down to which a biodiesel can be used, thus supporting the implementation of the EU policy on the use of biofuels for transport.

In an effort to reduce emission of CO2 and to limit global warming, the European Union is promoting the use of renewable energy sources. Directive 2009/28/EC sets a target of a 20 % share of energy from renewable sources in overall energy consumption by 2020 and a mandatory 10 % minimum for the share of all biofuels in transport petrol and diesel by 2020. To support these goals, the JRC released ERM®-EF001, its first biofuel CRM, in 2014. While this CRM carries certified values for many parameters relevant for biodiesel, the CFPP and CP were not certified. The new CRM, named ERM®-EF002, closes this gap.

The CP and CFPP of a fuel are those temperatures where, upon cooling, the first precipitates become visible (CP) or block a filter (CFPP). Therefore they are vital for the practical use of any fuel in wintertime and are also important quality parameters for biodiesel. Accurate measurements are required to ensure that fuel filters are not blocked during cold periods. Consequently, the reliability of measurement results influences the use of biodiesel.

The JRC processed a batch of biodiesel and extensively characterised the homogeneity and stability of the material. Subsequently, an intercomparison study amongst 11 expert laboratories from 9 different EU countries was organised to establish the CP and CFPP values. After a technical evaluation of the results, the certified values were assigned in line with all requirements of ISO Guide 34. The newly released certified reference material ERM®-EF002 will be used by laboratories to demonstrate the accuracy of their measurement results for CP and CFPP.

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