Product Announcement from Wilks Enterprise, Inc.
In October 2005, Governor Edward G. Rendell announced that Pennsylvania would replace millions of gallons of conventional diesel with fuel made within the state and reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels. This would help boost the state's economy by creating new jobs associated with the alternative fuel -- from farmers and producers to distributors and retailers. In July 2008, a House bill signed into law a state renewable fuel standard mandating the percentage of biofuels available to consumers to increase along with in-state production. As of September 2008, the first production level of 40 MMgy of biodiesel was attained and effective May 1, 2010, all diesel fuel sold at retail stations throughout Pennsylvania must contain 2% biodiesel.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) is responsible for assuring compliance with the law. The PDA believes that a strong quality and oversight program is essential to the success, sustainability and commercialization of their renewable fuel standard. Testing the fuel at the 1200 retail motor fuel locations throughout the State for 2% biodiesel is one of their responsibilities.
The PDA chose the InfraCal Biodiesel Blend Analyzer manufactured by Wilks Enterprise, Inc. to use for compliance monitoring because the analyzer could be used in the field and had the required accuracy of 0.2 percent. They recently purchased eight InfraCal Analyzers -- one for each of their seven regions (to be shared by 33 field staff) and one for their headquarters. While testing has not yet come into full swing, Mike Rader, the lead person on all renewable and alternative energy efforts for the PDA, estimates that they will run approximately 2000 samples annually for the on-road program. If pending legislation that includes a biodiesel mandate for both bio-heat and off-road fuel goes through, another billion gallons of biodiesel blended fuel will be added to the 1.6 billion gallons now in circulation for on-road diesel use. This would easily add another 2000 biodiesel blend tests per year for the PDA.
The InfraCal Biodiesel Blend Analyzer is a portable mid-infrared analyzer. The approved methods for biodiesel measurement are ASTM D 7371 in the US and EN 14078 in Europe -- both specify mid-infrared for the measurement of the biodiesel or FAME (fatty acid methyl ester) blend ratio. Infrared analysis works well for FAME because the biodiesel ester has characteristic infrared absorption due to the carbonyl band at 5.7 micrometers or 1745cm-1. As the concentration of biodiesel goes up, the infrared absorbance at that wavelength increases. The infrared absorbance can be directly calibrated to readout in percent biodiesel.
Since the InfraCal Biodiesel Blend Analyzer is small (6 inches square), lightweight ( less than 5 lbs), rugged (no moving parts) and can be operated from a battery pack or a cigarette lighter adapter cable, it fits the requirements needed for traveling to retail stations to make on-site measurements. The operation simply involves putting a sample on the exposed sample plate, pressing the "run" button and in less than a minute, the display reads the percent biodiesel in the fuel sample.
When the PDA finds a fuel that is out of compliance, a sample is sent to the headquarters for further testing. If that sample is verified as out-of-compliance, the department checks the required bill of lading tracking system that follows the fuel as it travels from the biodiesel producer to the blender, to the distributor, and finally to the retail location. With this paper trail, the PDA can identify the entity responsible for the out of compliance fuel and a correction can be enacted.
For further information on the InfraCal Biodiesel Blend Analyzers, please contact: Wilks Enterprise, Inc., 25 Van Zant Street, Ste. 8F, E. Norwalk, CT 06855 TEL: 203-855-9136; FAX: 203-838-9868; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or the information can be downloaded directly at http://www.wilksir.com/biofuel-analyzers/