How to Ensure Biodiesel Quality

To reap all the benefits biodiesel offers, you have to begin with a quality product. Biodiesel must meet strict quality standards before it enters the fuel distribution system, but protecting product quality does not end there. It is essential to work with your fuel supplier to ensure consistent delivery of a quality product and to maintain the biodiesel’s integrity while it is stored.

To help accomplish these goals, follow these best management practices:

  • Search out BQ-9000®. Biodiesel must meet the ASTM D6751 standard to be legally defined as and sold at retail fueling stations. The National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission created a voluntary accreditation program—BQ-9000—in 2005 to establish additional quality systems for producers and marketers of biodiesel in the areas of storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution and fuel management practices. Purchasing biodiesel from companies with this designation helps make sure biodiesel delivered to your business is always of the highest quality.
  • Purchase preblended biodiesel products. Most biodiesel blending takes place right at the terminal before it ever gets to your business. You can elect to blend your own fuel instead, but purchasing preblended products saves you a step, reduces any potential incomplete-blending issues and cuts down on storage facility needs at your place of business. If you decide to blend your own fuel, get detailed recommendations from your supplier before attempting.
  • Take fuel samples at delivery. Fuel should be clear and bright. If this is not feasible for you to do on your operation, ask your supplier to help.
  • Obey the six-month shelf-life rule. Just like any ultra low sulfur diesel fuel, biodiesel has a recommended shelf-life of six months to avoid microbial growth and product degradation. Proper housekeeping and additives can extend shelf-life. Work with your supplier for recommendations and testing to ensure product quality if you must extend storage beyond six months.
  • Keep storage tanks clean and free of water at all times. Water can promote fuel system corrosion and microbial growth, so keep it out of all storage facilities. Limit “head space” in storage tanks to avoid condensation and water accumulation, particularly when temperatures vary significantly from day to night.
  • Communicate with your supplier. Tell your supplier how you use the fuel, how long you keep it in storage and if you experience any issues. They will work with you to ensure you have what you need to succeed.

These tips will better enable your vehicles engines to utilize biodiesel to the highest potential. Always remember that unprocessed, raw vegetable oils and animal fats are NOT biodiesel.

This information was compiled from National Biodiesel Board, National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission and Illinois Soybean Association resources and funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff.

The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers. The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions, and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs. For more information, visit:

For more information or to request an interview, contact:

Amy Roady
309-808-3610 309-663-7692

Rebecca Richardson