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Development of Measurements and Standards for Biofuels


With concerns over the limited supply of non-renewable forms of energy, there is growing interest in renewable sources of energy such as biofuels. The change to renewable energy, however, presents new questions as combustion engines are modified, and many properties of biofuels change with environmental conditions. In conjunction with organizations within the European Union (EU), Brazil, and U.S. stakeholders, NIST is assessing the measurement and standards needs to support the use of biofuels. The Chemical Sciences Division is working with institutions in the EU and Brazil to develop certified reference materials that are characterized for chemical and physical properties of importance for biofuel use and international trade.


Representatives from NIST have worked with biofuel experts from the U.S., EU, and Brazil, the world’s major producers of biofuels, to harmonize biofuel specifications among the three regions. Recognizing that many issues relating to variations in specifications can be traced to different measurement procedures and methods, NIST and Brazil’s National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality (INMETRO), are collaborating on the development of certified reference materials for biodiesel and bioethanol that will have values assigned for the key chemical and physical properties. NIST is also collaborating with the Institute of Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM), the national metrology institute representing the European Commission, to develop reference materials representative of biofuels currently used in Europe. NIST is also involved in another partnership, known as BIOREMA, with the Netherlands Metrology Institute Van Swinden Laboratorium (NMi VSL), National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom, IRMM, and INMETRO. BIOREMA will focus on the development of biofuel reference materials specific to EU needs and the assessment of the quality of biofuel measurements through an interlaboratry proficiency testing scheme for biofuels. NIST will contribute to the BIOREMA program by providing measurements to assist in the value assignment of the certified reference materials and proficiency testing materials.

Additional Technical Details:

biofuels start to finish

Start Date:

October 1, 2007

End Date:


Lead Organizational Unit:




Brian Lang
Arno Laesecke
Kenneth Pratt
Michele Schantz
John Sieber
Laura Wood

Related Programs and Projects:

Associated Products:

SRM 2772 Biodiesel (Soy-Based)
SRM 2773 Biodiesel (Animal-Based)
AEAC Bioethanol (Anhydrous)
AEHC Bioethanol (Hydrated)

Associated Publications/Reports:


Stephen A. Wise
Phone 301-975-3112

Michele M. Schantz
Phone 301-975-3106