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The certification of biomass pellets quality is essential both for environmental and practical reasons, as a certified product is much easier traded in the global market.
In the majority of the European countries, the legislation which controls biomass pellets quality issues is quite limited. Often these come under the jurisdiction of only very general biomass laws. Presently only few European countries like Austria, Sweden, Germany and Italy have official standards specifically for compacted biomass fuels.
As a result some national quality standards obtain a wider acceptance beyond the borders of the countries which they represent. Actually the Austrian quality standard ÖNORM M1735 is considered as one of the strictest European pellet standards.
Other countries with significant pellet markets like Denmark and Finland have decided to wait for the completion of a common European pellet standard. Since the early 2010 it has been published from the European Union the EN 14961-1 quality standard which refers to biomass in general (in pellets, too) for non-residential uses (e.g. industrial). A more specific standard for wood pellets under the code name EN 14961-2 is in the final draft phase and when it will be set into force all the national laws regarding wood pellets will have to confront with it. Similarly another common European standard, the EN 14961-6 which refers to pellets from non-woody biomass resources, is in its preparation phase. Both EN 14961-2 and EN 14961-6 focus on non-industrial pellet uses.
No matter which pellet quality standard will receive eventually a higher level of acceptance, the necessity to certificate biomass pellets quality must be of highest concern so as to enhance the commercial potential of the produced pellets in the developing world biofuel market.
Table 1: National quality standards for biomass pellets in Austria, Sweden, Germany and Italy along with the final draft for a common European standard for non-industrial use wood pellets.