SBP seeks comments on 5 biomass standards

By Erin Voegele | April 08, 2014

The Sustainable Biomass Partnership has opened a comment period on five draft biomass standards that make up its Biomass Assurance Framework. The standards and processes are designed to allow companies in the biomass sector demonstrate compliance with legal, regulatory and sustainability requirements. Comments are due April 25.

The SBP is an industry-led initiative formed in 2013 by major European unities that use biomass, including Dong Energy, Drax, E.ON, SDF Suez, RWE and Vattenfall. According to the SBP, the BAF is designed as a clear statement of principles, standards and processes necessary to demonstrate compliance with legal, regulatory and sustainability requirements. Wherever possible, the framework makes use of existing Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes. The SBP said it doesn’t intent to complete with or replicate these schemes, but notes that the these is limited update of those certifications in some key forest-source areas and the schemes do not yet cover all the key requirements of biomass users.    

The five standards include:

Sustainable Feedstock Standard—The SFS sets the SBP’s definition of sustainable and legal with regard to pellets. It applies to the feedstock that is supplied to a pellet mill.

Standard for the Evaluation of Feedstsock against the Sustainable Feedstock Standard—This standard defines how the evaluation of feedstock against the SFS should be completed and defines the materials that are exempt from the full SFS. It includes provisions for supply base evaluations, sampling, reporting and many other activities and measures. According to the SBP, the evaluation against the SFS is the responsibility of the pellet mill.

Certification Systems Standard—This standard defines how the SFS independent certification body checks the evaluation performed by the pellet mill. According to the SBP, the standard aims to ensure that certification bodies operate in a consistent, reliable and credit manner.

Chain of Custody Standard—This standard describes systems that must be put in place to provide confidence that delivered pellets can be linked back to the feedstock evaluated against the SFS. It also sets limits on how feedstock material can be mixed.

Energy and Carbon Data Collection—The fifth standard describes how data must be collected and calculated. For feedstock procurement, it includes provisions for reporting supplier names, state of product when delivered, feedstock weight per year, average moisture content, fuel used for forestry applications, fertilizer and pesticide use, and diesel use for shipping and hauling. For pellet production, it includes provisions related to quantity of feedstock, average moisture content, electricity used in production, origin of power used, the use of diesel, propane, natural gas and other fossil fuels, and others. It also addresses pellet transportation and end use of the product. 

Additional information on the standards and a consultation feedback form can be downloaded from the SBP website