The sixth edition of ISO 8217 is coming

The sixth edition of ISO 8217 is coming

This report has been prepared for IBIA members, please do not circulate this information

ISO8217 – the sixth edition is in the pipeline

The Draft International Standard (DIS) 8217, revising ISO 8217:2012, is now out for balloting, signalling that the sixth edition may be ready for publication later this year.

Voting for the participating countries closes on 4 April 2016, after which the technical committee in charge of drafting ISO 8217 will review any comments. Depending on the outcome of the ballot, the committee may have to produce an amended Final Draft International Standard (FDIS), which will be put to a vote. In the past, the voting period for the final version has been two months, after which the standard can be officially published.

The DIS introduces a number of changes which are different to ISO 8217:2012, the fifth edition.

The main change is the addition of a new set of distillate grades containing bio-fuels. Fatty acid methyl ester(s), or FAME, has previously been regarded as a contaminant in all marine fuels, but the new grades allow bio-fuel blends containing up to 7% FAME.

The additional grades are DFA, DFZ and DFB, essentially corresponding to DMA, DMZ and DMB for all parameters apart from allowing up to 7% FAME content by volume.

DMA, DMZ and DMB can still only contain ‘de minimis’ levels of FAME, but while in the 2010/2012 version this was indicated as not exceeding approximately 0,1%, the new draft allows an unspecified tolerance for these grades and residual marine fuel grades. The exception is the DMX distillate grade, which must be free from FAME.

The draft standard says the changes regarding tolerance for bio-components have been made in light of additional information that has become available since 2010, and also recognising that the practice of blending FAME into conventional diesel and heating oils “makes it almost inevitable, under current supply logistics, that some distillate fuels supplied in the marine market can contain FAME”.

Allowing for FAME blends has contributed to the standard’s scope and definitions of contaminants undergoing material changes.

Clause 1 – Scope, has been changed to allow for bio-fuels, or blends with a FAME component, and also allowing fuels to include hydrocarbons “from synthetic or renewable sources, similar in composition to petroleum distillate fuels”.

Clause 5 – General requirements, has also been extensively redrafted to allow for blends with a FAME component, and has modified and simplified references to contaminants. DIS simply states: “The fuel shall be free from any material at a concentration that causes the fuel to be unacceptable for use in accordance with the Scope of this International Standard.” There are no references to specific contaminants. 

Previous informative annexes on deleterious materials, sulphur, flash point and catalyst fines have been dropped as information on this is now included in the body of the standard itself.

Clause 6 – Test methods, has been simplified, while Clause 8 – Precision, has been expanded to cover issues with measuring FAME.

DIS also introduces Clause 7 – Specific Energy to bring the calculation method into the body of the standard.

Limits for various parameters, are unchanged for residual grades (Table 2) and mostly unchanged for distillate grades (Table 1) with the exception of sulphur limits and the addition of three distillate grades that can have up to 7% FAME content.

Sulphur limits have been reduced from 2.00% to 1.50% for DMB and from 1.50% to 1.00% for DMA and DMZ. DMX is unchanged at 1.00% maximum sulphur.

There is a note (b) to table 1 “Notwithstanding the limits given, the purchaser shall define the maximum sulfur content in accordance with relevant statutory limitations”

The latest draft has not been able to accommodate “a number of unconventional fuels” that have come into the market which do not “conform exactly” to neither the distillate, nor residual fuel categorisation. It recommends that buyer and seller should agree on fuel characteristics or limits between themselves, but still categorise them in line with an ISO 8217 grade.

IBIA would advise any member that wishes to get involved in the balloting process to purchase a copy of DIS 8217 to review it in detail, and to approach their relevant national standard bodies (details can be found here: with any questions or comments they may have.

DIS 8217 is available to buy from ISO via this link:


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