BTEC: Testing of boiler efficiency test method to begin soon

By Biomass Thermal Energy Council | August 14, 2017

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council recently announced that validation testing of its biomass boiler efficiency protocol will begin in September 2017 at ClearStak LLC, a Connecticut-based testing laboratory.  "We are pleased to be partnering with ClearStak LLC on this next important phase of the project.  Being an EPA- accredited laboratory, this brings third-party credibility to the process, as we continue to hone the protocol prior to final publication,"  said Jeff Serfass, BTEC executive director.

In late 2016, BTEC released the first draft of an American test method for the thermal efficiency of commercial-sized biomass boilers. This includes boilers that use as a fuel stock solid biomass, including pellets, chips, briquettes, and cordwood.  "The test procedure is built upon European standards, past efforts in the United States to develop standards for biomass-fired heating equipment and U.S. standards for oil and gas-fired boilers," said Bede Wellford, renewables sales manager at Viessmann Manufacturing Co. (U.S.) Inc., and chair of the BTEC Technical and Regulatory Affairs Committee. The draft standard is available on BTEC's website,

The test method will facilitate the evaluation of the benefits of properly sized biomass boilers, and will closely examine boiler performance at partial load points.  "The validation testing of the BTEC draft protocol will be done on a boiler already tested to the European standard EN-303-5.  It is our intention to compare efficiency and emissions test results at various firing rates, load conditions and start-up operations, both with and without thermal storage," said David Bancroft, BTEC technical engagement manager.

Once validation testing is completed, and recommended changes to the test method are considered, the test procedure will be published as a voluntary industry document and continue to be publicly available. BTEC will subsequently pursue formal acceptance of the protocol by an accredited national standards organization. 

Work on the project is supported by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.

An overview of the project and more information about biomass thermal energy systems is hosted on BTEC's website at