JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The nonprofit Iowa Central Testing Laboratory in Fort Dodge, Iowa, has raised the bar on biodiesel fuel quality testing, and other labs are likely to follow its lead, according to the National Biodiesel Board. 

The Iowa Central Fuel Testing Laboratory, based at Iowa Central Community College, has become the first to earn accreditation as a BQ-9000 laboratory. BQ-9000 is a voluntary program for the accreditation of producers and marketers of biodiesel fuel. The program employs a combination of the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D6751, and a quality systems process that addresses storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution and fuel management practices.

BQ-9000 is open to any manufacturer, marketer or distributor of biodiesel and biodiesel blends in the United States and Canada.

BQ-9000 helps companies improve their fuel testing and greatly reduce any chance of producing or distributing inadequate fuel, NBB said. To receive accreditation, companies must pass a rigorous review and inspection of their quality control processes by an independent auditor.

The program's goals are to promote the commercial success and public acceptance of biodiesel and to help assure that biodiesel fuel meets the industry standard, ASTM D6751.

"Not every biodiesel plant has an onsite laboratory to test fuel, so there is a need for qualified, credible laboratories to test fuel samples," said Steve Howell, NBB technical director. "This will help streamline the process of ensuring only high-quality biodiesel makes it into the commercial marketplace." 

The lab offers testing for biodiesel producers nationwide, as well as for petroleum distributors and government agencies tasked with fuel quality monitoring. The lab also tests other fuels such as ethanol and petroleum. 

BQ-9000 is overseen by the independent National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission. To date, 62 biodiesel producers and marketers are now BQ-9000-certified companies, representing 75-80 percent of the U.S. biodiesel production volume.