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Meeting of ISO TC238 Solid Biofuels in Dublin 28 May-June 2017

29 June 2017

ISO TC238 Solid Biofuels produces standards for use in the solid biofuels industry, like quality requirements for wood pellets, wood chips, measuring methods for size classification, moisture content, bulk density, chemical composition and such. Not only these but also on sampling and sample preparation and lately also on safety related matters.

More than 40 experts from 14 different countries met in Dublin for a full week to discuss progress in all of these fields. The work is divided in 6 working groups, some of which met in parallel during the first 4 days of the week.

Working group 1, terminology discussed the revision of the already published standard, because with the new working group on safety, many new terms have come up that need to be included in the terminology standard.

Working group 2, requirements and classes, did not meet officially because at the moment there are no active work items in this group; all standards have been published.

Working group 3, quality assurance, is not active and relies on the standards published earlier under CEN.

Working group 4, physical characterization, worked on one standard which progressed to the next level which is shortly before publication.

Working group 5, chemical characterisation, discussed a revision of the published standard on chlorine levels and it was accepted that the standard should be revised.

Working group 6, sampling and sample preparation, discussed a draft on a simplified sampling standard because it was realized that the full method is rather academic of nature and difficult to handle in daily use. The draft was shortened considerably and made more user-friendly. It will now progress to a further stage in the standardization process.

Working group 7, safety, had the most arduous task, because it is working on 4 standards at the same time and is breaking new ground. Some of the proposals had attracted more than 200 comments of the experts. Most of these comments were editorial and could be dismissed rapidly, but the more principal comments could take a long time to discuss.

Fortunately, some time was found for an excursion to the Bord na Mona Edenderry power station that besides peat uses some 400.000 tonnes of biomass as fuel. Here many of the standards are used on a daily basis. The excursion, the official welcome dinner and the meeting facilities were jointly sponsored by DAFM, Coillte and Bord na Mona.

Pieter D Kofman – forest-based biomass consultant to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine