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Petroleum Refiners Invited to Discuss ASTM Test Methods Selected for New EPA Regulation of Sulfur in Diesel Fuel

Fuel refiners, heavy-industry vehicle manufacturers, and technical representatives of the National Petroleum Refiners Association, American Petroleum Institute, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are invited to discuss the test method aspects of restrictions of sulfur in highway diesel fuel with ASTM this June at the Sheraton Harbor Island Hotel in San Diego.

On June 19, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Harbor Island Room I, Subcommittee D02.03 on Elemental Analysis will address the generation of ASTM test method precision data for low-level sulfur in diesel fuels. “All people interested in this issue are welcomed to attend the meeting or send their comments,” said Chemist Kishore Nadkarni, Ph.D., chairman of the subcommittee within Committee D02 on Petroleum Products and Lubricants (phone: 732/613-8710).

On June 20, 5-6 p.m., Harbor Island Room III, Committee D16 on Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Related Materials has initiated a joint meeting with Subcommittee D02.03 “to decide which ASTM committee should administer the EPA-designated test method [ASTM D 6428] and how the committees should work together to address EPA and industry testing requirements for low level sulfur in diesel fuel,” said Chemist Keith Dahnke, Ph.D. (phone: 918/661-9844), a D16 officer and D02 member who is organizing the meeting.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published its designation of ASTM method D 6428 as the reference method for the measurement of 1-100 ppm levels of sulfur in diesel fuel and diesel fuel additives subject to EPA’s 15 ppm sulfur standard of §_80.520 (a)(1), starting in 2006,” Dahnke explained. The following test methods are mentioned in the new rule:

• ASTM D 6428, Standard Test Method for Total Sulfur in Liquid Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Their Derivatives by Oxidative Combustion and Electrochemical Detection—This was developed to determine the total sulfur naturally found in liquid aromatic hydrocarbons, their derivatives and related chemicals by ASTM Committee D16. Adaptation of this method for diesel fuel will be discussed at the June meetings.
• ASTM D 5453, Test Method for Determination of Total Sulfur in Light Hydrocarbons, Motor Fuels and Oils by Ultraviolet Fluorescence.
• ASTM D 3120, Test Method for Trace Quantities of Sulfur in Light Liquid Petroleum Hydrocarbons by Oxidative Microcoulometry—Both D 5453 and D 3120 are designated by EPA as alternate methods, provided the refiner/importer test-result is correlated with D 6428. Both test methods were developed by ASTM Committee D02.

Modifications are being proposed to D 6428, because standards for aromatic hydrocarbons developed by Committee D16 are intended primarily for use with solvents or raw materials for chemical synthesis. “Since the reference method D 6428-99 was written in D16 specifically for pure aromatic hydrocarbon materials, and diesel materials lie outside the scope of D16,” Dahnke noted, “this method contains no precision information or reference to diesel range materials. Therefore Subcommittees D16.0E [on Instrumental Analysis] and D02.03 will work together to generate the necessary data for D 6428-99 on diesel range materials.”

EPA describes the application of ASTM test methods on its Web site. Click Final Rule; Regulations 12/21/00.

For further information, contact ASTM Staff Managers Nancy McAvey, Committee D16 (phone: 610/832-9736), or David Bradley, D02 (phone: 610/832-9681). //

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