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Fuel Regulations

Japan: Biodiesel Fuel

Quality Assurance Law Specifications

There are two quality standards for biodiesel fuels in Japan: a mandatory standard specified in the “Law on the Quality Control of Gasoline and Other Fuels” (“Quality Assurance Law”) and a voluntary Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS).

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The Quality Assurance Law has been amended to allow up to 5% Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME) by mass (in the USA and Europe, blending is by volume) and to prevent the use of unprocessed vegetable oils. The requirements take effect in March 2007. The diesel fuel properties specified in this law are sulfur, cetane index, T90 distillation temperature and upper limits on FAME and triglicerides. For biodiesel, additional requirements include limits for methanol, total acid number (TAN), low molecular weight acids and oxidation stability. Both diesel fuel and biodiesel/diesel blends have limits on FAME and triglicerides to clearly distinguish between the two and to prevent the use of unprocessed triglicerides. Table 1 shows the regulated limits for diesel fuel containing up to 5% biodiesel in the Quality Assurance Law.

Table 1
Japanese Biodiesel Blend Specifications (Quality Assurance Law)
Fuel Property Test Unit Biodiesel Blend Diesel
Cetane Index1, min JIS K2280   45 45
Sulfur, max JIS K2541 -1, -2, -6, or -7 % mass 0.005 0.005
Distillation, 90% v/v rec., max JIS K2254 °C 360 360
FAME, max   % mass 5.0 0.1
Triglycerides, max   % mass 0.01 0.01
Methanol, max   % mass 0.01 -
Total Acid Number, max   mg KOH/g 0.13 -
Formic, Acetic and Propionic Acids, max   % mass 0.003 -
Oxidation Stability, max acid number increase   mg KOH/g 0.12 -
1 - Cetane number may also be used

JIS Standard

Table 2 shows the proposed voluntary JIS standard for biodiesel. It is similar to the European biodiesel standard with several exceptions. The European standard is for use as a blending stock for diesel fuel or as a neat B100 fuel. Japan limits the biodiesel content to 5% so B100 is not allowed. The oxidation stability requirement for Japan is set on the B5 blend and not on the neat biodiesel as is done in Europe. The Quality Assurance Law also places additional requirements on acid number and low molecular weight acids for the B5 blend that are not required in Europe.

Table 2
Proposed Japanese Biodiesel Specification (JIS)
Fuel PropertyUnitLimitTest Method
Ester content, min% mass96.5EN 14103
Densityg/ml0.86 - 0.90JIS K 2249
Kinematic Viscositymm2/s3.5 - 5.0JIS K2283
Flash Point, min°C120JIS K2265
Sulfur, maxppm10JIS K 2541-1, -2, -6 or-7
10% Carbon Residue, max% mass0.3JIS K2270
Cetane Index, min51JIS K2280
Sulfated Ash, max% mass0.02JIS K2272
Water, maxppm500JIS K 2275
Particulate, maxppm24EN 12662
Copper Corrosion, max1JIS K2513
Acid, maxmg KOH/g0.5JIS K2501, JIS K0070
Oxidation Stability*
Iodine Number, maxg I/100g120JIS K0070
Linolenic acid methyl ester, max% mass12.0EN 14103
Methanol, max% mass0.20JIS K 2536, EN14110
Monoglycerides, max% mass0.80EN 14105
Diglycerides, max% mass0.20EN 14105
Triglycerides, max% mass0.20EN 14105
Free glycerin, max% mass0.02EN 14105, EN14106
Total glycerin, max% mass0.25EN 14105
Metals (Na + K), maxppm5EN 14108, EN 14109
Metals (Ca + Mg), maxppm5EN 14538
Phosphorus, maxppm10EN 14107
Pour point°C*
* Agreement between producer and distributor