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Biodiesel Acceptance Among OEMs: Part 1

Posted in: Fuel and Trucking, Biodiesel


/// Guest post by contributor Jon ScharingsonRenewable Energy Group

The auto manufacturing industry puts a lot of time, effort and money into guaranteeing their product. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that the biodiesel industry provide the utmost quality fuel to be used in these engines. The biodiesel industry works closely with the on-road and off-road OEM community fostering support for biodiesel. To date, all major OEMs selling diesel vehicles and equipment in the U.S. support the use of at least B5 biodiesel blends. More importantly, 78 percent of the OEMs support B20 biodiesel blends in their vehicles and equipment.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Jennifer Weaver, OEM Outreach and Education Program Specialist for the National Biodiesel Board, regarding how the OEMs view biodiesel.

What is the current state regarding engine manufacturer acceptance of biodiesel in the industry right now?
OEM support for biodiesel is very positive and growing. I’ve been working with OEMs for more than 10 years on behalf of the National Biodiesel Board. When I first started, we really only had one or two OEMs ― mostly agricultural equipment manufacturers ― that supported biodiesel at a B2 or B5 biodiesel blend. Today, within the medium- and heavy-duty truck categories, about 90 percent of those manufacturers support a B20 biodiesel blend. So, we have garnered great support from the OEM community over time and we continue to work with the OEMs to expand support for biodiesel.

Why is OEM support so important to the biodiesel industry?
The partnership that we’ve been able to develop with these auto and equipment manufacturers has enabled them (OEMs) to feel confident in supporting the use of biodiesel blends in their vehicles and equipment. Biodiesel has a robust ASTM specification and the BQ-9000® quality accreditation program. These programs are looked upon favorably by the OEM community, because the higher the quality assurance offered by the biodiesel industry, the more confident OEMs can feel in supporting the fuel.

How do you foster OEM relationships and grow support for biodiesel?
The first step is to identify biodiesel champions within the automotive and equipment industry. We try to identify individuals with fuel, powertrain and marketing backgrounds ― basically we are building a team of supporters within the various OEM companies. It is also important to recruit individuals who are willing to have an open and honest dialogue about biodiesel. The biodiesel industry has earned a lot of respect within the automotive and truck community for doing what it takes to address questions and concerns, find solutions and put in place practices that improve the fuel. Some of these programs include: 

Dealer Education and Support Program – Conduct training on biodiesel with the OEMs dealer networks, delving into the research that went into developing the OEMs support for biodiesel and providing the dealer network with information that can help them answer customer questions regarding biodiesel. We also share the necessary information about what their OEM warranty statements support as it relates to biodiesel and biodiesel blended fuel. 

Biodiesel for Diesel Technicians –This training curriculum is for diesel technicians to help them understand biodiesel and how to correctly diagnose fuel related engine issues. The curriculum is accreditation under the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the Continuing Automotive Service Excellence (CASE) program. To date, more than 2,200 diesel technicians have been trained. 

American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) – We also partner with the ASTM community on fuel quality standards. We’ve been able to work with the OEMs and be part of the ASTM standard setting process and protocol. This enables us to work directly with the OEMs to determine their fuel related issues, find specifications that will address the automotive community issues, as well as the biodiesel producer and distributor community, and strike a good balance in between the varying needs of all of those parties.

Next month we will continue our interview with Jennifer proving insight into the testing conducted by OEMs and how all of this will benefit the fuel retailer.


/// Read more guest posts on biodiesel posts here

{Guest Post} Guest post provided by NATSO Chairman's Circle member Jon Scharingson, Renewable Energy Group. Renewable Energy Group® is a leading North American biodiesel producer with a nationwide distribution and logistics system. With more than 210 million gallons of owned/operated annual production capacity at biorefineries across the country, REG is a proven biodiesel partner in the distillate marketplace. Learn more about Renewable Energy Group.

The opinions and advice given by guest post contributors are not necessarily those of NATSO Inc. The posts should not be considered legal advice. Qualified professionals should be sought regarding advice and questions specific to your circumstances.

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About the Author

Jon Scharingson

Jon Scharingson