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Standards for Small Scale Solid Biomass Heating Systems: An European Outlook

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Residential heating accounts for 15-20% of the total energy consumption in several European countries. Wood heating technology has proven to be successful in countries like Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Particularly in Switzerland, Austria and Germany the engineering of small wood heating systems has developed significantly, in the last years, in order to compete successfully with the existing oil and gas firing/heating devices- regarding the utilisation of energy and the pollutant emission. After having overcome initial barriers like familiarity, education and quality control, the market in these countries has fully developed.
With respect to the use of densified biomass fuel (so called biomass pellets) for residential sector, a high quality of these fuels is required in order to maintain healthy indoor environment to minimize related health risks. Several EU countries already have implemented standards for such fuels as well as emissions from the combustion systems (CO, HC and particulate matters, mainly). In addition to these National standards, European standards for solid biomass fuel are under development. For producers of the pellet fuels, it is therefore, very important to produce high quality-fuels keeping the limiting values of the standards addressed. However, it seems essential to keep a distinction between quality level of the pellets for residential and industrial purposes, as the industries are equipped with more sophisticated flue cleaning, combustion and process control systems. Therefore, the present article emphasizes mainly on a comparative evaluation of the existing regulations concerning emissions from the small scale biomass heating systems and biomass fuel quality standards for residential heating purposes in several European countries.
In the countries like Sweden, Germany, Austria, Great Britain and Switzerland variations from European standards (EN-303-5) for emission are in use, which, usually stricter the requirements for emissions, efficiency and safety. The strictest emission regulations exist in Germany. In addition some non-official and environmental/eco labels exist e. g. P-mark (Sweden), Swan mark (Nordic countries), Blauer Engel (Germany) and Austrian Ecolabel which further exaggerate the development of biomass heating. However, Blauer Engel (Germany) provides the strictest guidelines.

For the time being National standards for pellet quality exists in Austia (ONORMS), Sweden (SS), Italy (CTI), U.K. (BritishBioGen) and Germany (DIN and DIN-plus). DIN-plus combines the requirements of the DIN 51731 and ├ľNORM M 7135, as in addition to the requirements of the German standard, the Austrian standard establishes complementary quality criteria (abrasive properties) for the use of wood pellets in automated burning systems. These variations in standards across the European countries focus towards the need of the development of a common European standard for the equitability in the biomass market across several European countries, which might be helpful for the further development of biomass heating share to compete the increasing energy demands.
Book: Unknown
Publication year:2008
Keywords:Quality labelling, EU standards
  • Scopus Id: 84924308933