ISO committee advances development of standards for solid biofuel

By American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers | July 09, 2018

Development of international standards for solid biofuels advanced at a recent meeting of the ISO committee responsible for that work.

The tenth annual meeting of ISO/TC238, Solid Biofuels, was hosted by Finland at the Espoo VTT Technical Research Centre. Representatives from 15 nations participated, including Chile and Japan for the first time. Attending on behalf of the United States were Scott Cedarquist, standards director at the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers; Ritu Linhart, operations support manager at Georgia Biomass LLC; and Chris Wiberg, vice president of laboratories at Timber Products Inspection/Biomass Energy Lab. Their attendance was made possible by the financial support of their respective organizations and the Pellet Fuels Institute.

Among the new or expanded work items discussed at the recent meeting were classification of hog fuel and splitting the determination of fines content in pellets into two methods, one being a reference method for use in laboratories and the other a simplified method for use at field and production sites. Progress was made on a number of existing projects, including a simplified sampling method, water sorption of thermally treated biofuel pellets (to include the measurement of water uptake, changes in durability, and the creation of “weathered fines” as a result of wetting), and a number of projects covering various aspects of industrial and personal safety. When approved and published, these documents will be available for use on a worldwide basis. To date ISO/TC238 has published 34 standards for solid biofuels, has 11 registered projects, and will be adding new projects into the queue as the outcome of this meeting.

The U.S. and Canadian delegations have collaborated closely in the interest of the producers and users of solid biofuels in North America. Participation in the development of ISO standards is important to protect North American interests and to secure fair trade with Europe and other markets around the world. At the meeting in Finland, trade groups were represented from the U.K., the U.S., Canada, Chile, Sweden, Austria, Germany, and Japan. Major utility users present included Drax, Nuon, Ӧrsted (formerly Dong Energy), and Vattenfall.

As administrator of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to TC238, ASABE coordinates U.S. input on developing standards and responses to balloted proposals. Anyone interested in helping develop these international solid biofuel standards is encouraged to contact Scott Cedarquist, at [email protected].   

ASABE is recognized worldwide as a standards developing organization for food, agricultural, and biological systems, with more than 250 standards currently in publication. Conformance to ASABE standards is voluntary, except where required by state, provincial, or other governmental requirements, and the documents are developed by consensus in accordance with procedures approved by the American National Standards Institute. For information on this or any other ASABE standard, contact Scott Cedarquist at 269-932-7031, [email protected]. A current listing of all ASABE standards projects can be found on the ASABE web site at

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. Further information on the Society can be obtained by contacting ASABE at (269) 429-0300, emailing [email protected] or visiting Additional details on international participation and progress can be found at: