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How to define high-quality wood pellets production and quality certification?

  • Date: 2021-07-07 16:25:56
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The global annual wood pellet trade is currently about 30 million tonnes and growing at about 15 per cent per year. About half of all wood pellets are sold in the industrial sector for power generation while the other half are sold in the heating sector for residential, commercial and institutional applications.

Premium pellet fuel is essential to attain a constant and optimal heating process. As different fuel qualities exist, it is essential for stove and boiler owners to choose the right quality fuel that fits best with their installations. If not adapted, ill-advised choices can not only lead to a loss of efficiency, but can also disturb the combustion process and/or complicate an appliance's maintenance. This is particularly important on smaller boilers and stoves used in domestic properties as the tolerances involved are much lower than boilers with larger capacities.

Larger industrial-sized pellet boilers do not suffer as much from this problem and can therefore use lower quality pellets without experiencing the same issues.

biomass wood pellet standard

Today's article will talk about the biomass wood pellet standard, but the wood pellet quality standards are determined based on different pellet fuel certifications. The most common wood pellet standard certifications include ENPlus, CANplus, DINplus, PFI and ISO, as well as the relatively new SBP and FSC. (Forest Management Committee) and PEFC (Forest Certification Scheme), etc., it can be seen that some standards are not certification for the formulation of wood pellet specifications, but certification for market access in a certain country, such as SBP certification, which is certification for wood production, it is the largest voluntary system where substances are used for energy purposes. In addition, Japan and South Korea have also introduced sustainable development certification schemes. Wood pellets sold to Japan must be certified for forest management, and power companies must purchase biomass and other renewable energy power in a fixed-term contract at a fixed price. In South Korea, attempts have been made to introduce sustainable forest management standards. Today we only discuss the certification of specific biomass wood pellet specifications.

Benefits of wood pellet certification

In the industrial sector, pellet producers are concerned about sustainability certification. This is to demonstrate to our customers, and ultimately to governments, that pellets produced for power are produced sustainably. In the heating sector, wood pellet quality certification is growing in importance as means of providing third party assurance to consumers that the pellets they are purchasing will provide optimal performance in stoves and boilers.

Benefits of wood pellet certification

What is wood pellet certification? It is the provision by an independent third party – a certification body – that wood pellets bearing the certification trademark conform to specific quality standards. Quality certification is not needed in the industrial pellet sector because buyers and sellers routinely conduct laboratory tests of samples taken from each pellet shipment. In the heating sector, it would obviously be impractical to expect consumers to conduct their own laboratory tests. This is the reason that third-party quality certification was developed for the heating sector.

Quality certification benefits wood pellet producers in two ways:

(1)Certification protects producers from bad actors in the market. By advocating that consumers use only certified pellets, it ensures that the pellets will perform properly in stoves and boilers and thus protect the reputation of wood pellets as a good quality fuel.

Benefits of wood pellet certification

(2)Certification provides market access. With ENplus certified pellets making up 80 per cent of the European heat sector, buyers are now insisting that imported pellets be ENplus certified. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has ruled that all new pellet stove warrantees must specify the use of certified pellets. Three certifications are accepted: PFI (managed by the U.S. Pellet Fuels Institute), ENplus, and CANplus. In Canada, some provincial governments–notably Ontario–have developed, or are developing new rules for wood heating requiring the use of CANplus certified wood pellets in pellet boilers.

How to define high-quality biomass wood pellets?

The quality characteristics below are part of technical requirements being controlled during the wood pellet quality certification and surveillance processes:(This part can be comprehensively promoted with RICHI equipment, how to use these equipment to process pellets that meet the most stringent certification standards.)

How to define high-quality biomass wood pellets

wood pellet quality certification
  • Ash Content: The ash is the residue left after a complete combustion. The lower the ash content, the cleaner the pellet will burn and the more efficiently your boiler will function. Low ash content reduces routine cleaning and maintenance.
  • Ash Melting Temperature: Ashes showing low melting temperature will tend to melt in the hottest parts of the combustion chamber and solidify once they leave these areas. This solid ash, called “slag”, might create several issues including effecting the combustion process, blocking the equipment and increasing maintenance costs.
  • Length, Diameter and Bulk Density: Length and diameter are straightforward parameters while the bulk density must be explained as a measurement of the weight of pellet per volume of pellets (kg/m³). Having a pellet with a consistent length, diameter and bulk density is important, as wood pellet boilers are designed to use pellets with a standard energetic density (i.e. energy content per unit of volume). Using the wrong sized pellet will affect the energetic density. In case of excessive energetic density, the energy input of the boiler will be too high resulting in an overheating of the combustion chamber, while an insufficient energy density will affect the efficiency and might not generate sufficient heat for the system to work.
  • Dust: The small wood particles that can be found in pellet storage or bags, low dust content is an important factor as this might affect the storage, the handling, the maintenance, the combustion efficiency and the pollutant emissions.

  • Heating Value and moisture content: The lower heating value (LHV), expressed in kW/kg, reflects the energy content of the pellets. This is especially true for the LHV measure as received (a.r.) (taking into account the humidity of the fuel). The water content reflects the quantity of water contained in a defined quantity of pellets and is expressed in percentage. The lower the level of moisture in the wood pellets, the higher the heat output per kg. The usual LHV a.r. usually ranges from 4,6 to 5,1 kWh/kg.
  • Mechanical durability: This parameter reflects the pellet resistance to chocks. High mechanical durability means pellets are less prone to breakdown and crumbling during transport and in fuel feed augers, thus maintaining pellet consistency and reducing dust.
  • Nitrogen, Sulfur and Chlorine content: These parameters, expressed in percentage of the total weight of pellets, will affect the polluting emissions and the corrosion of the heating appliances.
  • Heavy metals: These parameters, expressed in mg/kg will affect the polluting emission, the combustion behaviour and the ash content of the pellets.
  • Other aspects are also controlled within the certification scheme such as procedures, wood pellet manufacturing processes and documentation are controlled during the certification and surveillance processes.

Introduction of common wood pellet certification standards

If you are in the wood pellet manufacturing business, you have likely heard about various pellet quality schemes to certify or qualify your product. While there are several, the four most commonly referenced in the world are the Pellet Fuels Institute Standards Program, CANplus, ENplus and ISO, DINplus. These schemes are similar in many ways, but provide different market opportunities, making it difficult for wood pellet producers to decide which quality scheme is best suited for their business models. (Click the certification below to see more)

common wood pellet certification standards

The above is the article for you: How to define high-quality wood pellets production and quality certification?.

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