ISO committee to tackle bioenergy

By Holly Jessen
Posted January 12, 2010, at 12:07 p.m. CST

The International Organization for Standardization has announced it will develop ISO 13065, a standard for bioenergy.

A new ISO committee, Sustainability for Bioenergy, will meet for the first time in April, according to an ISO press release. The ISO standard is expected, when complete, to help governments meet alternative fuel targets.

"ISO/PC 248 will bring together international expertise and state-of-the-art best practice to discuss the social, economic and environmental aspects of the production, supply chain and use of bioenergy, and identify criteria that could prevent it from being environmentally destructive or socially aggressive," the press release said.

The projected timeline of the project will be determined at the first meeting, according to Maria Lazarte, communication officer for ISO. However, it is currently estimated to take three years, or until about the end of 2012.

At this point, the press release said, 29 countries are involved in the project as either participants or observers. Brazil and Germany have an agreement to provide secretariat and leadership of the committee. Other countries, such as the United States and China, will serve as observers, which Lazarte explained as "following the process but not getting involved in the vote."

ISO expects the standard will help avoid technical barriers to trade and stimulate the pursuit of quality through research incentive. The standard is also expected to make bioenergy more competitive, being particularly helpful in allowing developing countries to compete in the international markets, according to the press release.

"We clearly need biomass as a source of renewable energy," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Ninth Conference of the Parties. "We cannot do without the contribution to climate protection made by sustainable and ecologically produced biomass. But we have to make sure there is no conflict of aims."