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DIN 51637 – Biobased Content Testing of Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO)

DIN 51637:2014-02 details the determination of the biobased hydrocarbon content of hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) in commonly used diesel fuels. This German standard specifies the use of the liquid scintillation counting (LSC) method to measure the carbon-14 content and thereby determine the biobased content.

Carbon-14 is a weak radioactive isotope of carbon and decays according to radioactive decay. All living things part of the carbon cycle have a known level of carbon-14, whereas petroleum-derived materials are sufficiently old that they will not contain any carbon-14. Measuring the carbon-14 content is an accurate method of determining the biobased content of a carbon-based material.  For example, fossil fuels would give a 0% biobased result, whereas a mix of biofuel and fossil fuel would give a result between 0% and 100% biobased. There are two main methods for measuring carbon-14 content – radiometric LSC and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS).


LSC does not measure carbon-14 directly, but instead the beta particles that carbon-14 emits when it decays. It requires larger samples sizes, more time and is less precise than AMS, which measures the ratio of carbon-14 directly relative to the other two carbon isotopes, carbon-12 and carbon-13. Although LSC is cheaper, AMS is the more advanced and sensitive method available.

Biobased Testing at Beta Analytic

ISO 17025-accredited Beta Analytic carries out fast and high-quality AMS carbon-14 measurements for biobased content testing. Since DIN 51637 requires liquid scintillation counting, Beta Analytic does not offer testing for this standard. However, the lab offers testing through another standard called ASTM D6866. This standard offers carbon-14 biobased testing that is also applicable for hydrogenated vegetable oil in diesel fuels.

Beta Analytic reports results within 5-7 working days and provides unlimited technical support. For more information, please contact the lab.

Beta Analytic is not affiliated with DIN or ASTM.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017 and is filed under Beta Analytic Updates, Biogenic Carbon Testing of Biofuels .