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European Pellet Quality Certification (PELLCERT)

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Wood pellet is an excellent fuel for residential and service heating and for producing CHP, DH and green electricity. The current EU pellet market of about 10 m tons is expected to grow up to 100 m tons by 2020. The key objective of the project is to create and implement a uniform certification system for pellets in Europe ("ENplus") which will be used by heat, CHP and power markets. The EU pellet standard EN 14961-2 is an important step to create a harmonised set of pellet qualities. A solid EU quality certification scheme is crucial to simplify work of the pellets producers and increase confidence by pellets equipment manufacturers and consumers. So far only national schemes have been developed. A scheme that would be recognised by the small scale heat market and the medium/large scale industrial users will improve flexibility and fluidity of the market, thereby improving supply security and reducing detrimental price peaks. Sustainability criteria are heavily debated today, but only private initiatives have really started, mainly driven by power utilities. ENplus will include sustainability criteria endorsed by market actors after consultation with stakeholders.

Results

  • Improvement of pellet quality – currently the majority of pellet producers is not certified and significant quality fluctuations of pellets are the consequence. The young and wild pellets trade with variable pellets qualities is causing problems to appliances. Reinforced quality control will even be more crucial in the future as the raw material for pellet production will diversify to various by-products also coming from agriculture and whole trees/energy crops.
  • Facilitate international trade – at the moment widely varying qualities and certification approaches form a significant barrier for the trade. International trade is a prerequisite however to provide sufficient supply.
  • Contribute to market growth – consistent quality is a prerequisite for sustained market growth. The project’s objective is to certify 1,8 million tons pellets by the end of the project (the objective has been already overpassed at the end of 2012, with 3.2 million tons of ENplus certified pellets produced).
  • Ensure sustainable bioenergy - The development and introduction of sustainability requirements will make sure that the massive growth of global pellet production and trade will not lead to unintended side effects putting into question the initial goal of enhancing the sustainability of the European energy supply system.
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Lessons learned

  • The heat and power market have very different players and different expectations for a pellet certification. For example the consistent pellets quality is crucial for small scale heat market, whereas sustainability is crucial for power sector.
  • In order to secure sufficient pellets are available on the heat market during an (extreme) cold winter, it would be very beneficial to arrive at quite compatible standards for residential and industrial pellets. So that the power sector can help out any shortages in the heating sector. Compatible certification schemes certainly help this cause.
  • There is no sustainability scheme that will make every stakeholder happy. So PellCert will stick to an "implementable" scheme that takes into account the reality of current pellet production and is based on forestry certification and self-declaration.
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

European Biomass Association
Belgium
Contact point: 
Name: 
Mr Jean-Marc Jossart
Tel: 
+32 478 77 36 09
Name: 
Mr Jean-Marc Jossart
Tel: 
+32 478 77 36 09
Name: 
Jean-Marc Jossart
Tel: 
+32 2 400 10 29

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In brief

Duration:
01/05/2011 to 30/04/2014
Contract number: 
IEE/10/463

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