05 February 2008 19:53 [Source: ICIS news]
ORLANDO, Florida (ICIS news)--Resistance to allowing biodiesel into the US pipeline system was widespread, but the issues can be resolved as shown by European experience, a major fuel distributor said on Tuesday.
A lack of government mandate was top of a list of 10 reasons why pipelines have not embraced biodiesel blends, Mike Reed of Northville Products Services said in a presentation to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) annual conference.
Other key issues were wariness about biodiesel's quality and methyl ester content, uncompetitive pricing of the biofuel and a lack of market liquidity, the need for investment in segregated tankage, and a lack of awareness about biodiesel properties among major offtakers from pipelines.
In 2006, Northville conducted test programmes of 5% bio-blended diesel (B5) with Colonial Pipeline, which is owned by a consortium of oil companies.
The Colonial Pipeline moves around 655,000 bbl/day of petroleum diesel from the US Gulf to the ?xml:namespace>
Further testing of B5 was underway with Colonial and other pipelines.
Railway companies and airlines, both significant end-users of fuel delivered by pipeline, have not been sufficiently educated about biodiesel, Reed said.
Some rail firms fear any quality issues with biodiesel could void their engine warranties.
Similarly, airlines were concerned that their engine warranties could be voided if their jet fuel shared a pipeline with biodiesel and became contaminated with methyl ester.
But the experience of Spanish operator Compania Logistica de Hidrocarburos shows B5 can be moved in pipelines, Reed said.
Proven technologies to detect methyl ester content to less than 10 parts per million have not been developed or marketed effectively for pipeline companies to get comfortable with blends, he said.
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