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Project ID: ENK6-CT-2001-00556
Financiado con arreglo a: FP5-EESD
País: Germany

Fuel quality assurance

Closely linked to the previous work packages, this work package dealt with Quality Assurance systems for the provision of solid biofuels.

Standardisations of solid biofuel properties contribute to promote a more widespread use of biofuels by providing a base to facilitate the business of operators within the market. Work-package IV (WPIV) of the project provided information to support the Technical Specification on Quality Assurance for solid biofuels that is being drafted by Working Group 2 of CEN/TC335 (WG2). The aim of WPIV was to fill gaps in knowledge about Quality Assurance in the field of solid biofuels, and this has been achieved in three tasks.

In the first task in WPIV (Task IV.1), a review of existing, relevant Quality Management systems as already maintained by different biofuel producers, was elaborated. This review covered solid biofuels and excluded recovered fuels. On the basis of a list of 11 questions, the review yields an indication how Quality Assurance and Quality Control - as parts of Quality Management - are currently performed in ten different cases, representing six different countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Sweden) and six different product categories (agricultural products, pelletised animal feed, used wood, straw bales, fresh wood chips, wood pellets). As a result of the review performed in Task IV.1 and the analysis of ISO 9001:2000 as an international Quality Management standard, a report has been produced with the pros and cons of Quality Assurance and Quality Control systems as well as the basic ideas of a Quality Management system especially adapted to solid biofuels. After a description of the results, important conclusions are drawn for the design of a guideline for Quality Assurance (including Quality Control) for solid biofuels, emphasis of the work in IV.2.

In the second task (Task IV.2) a first draft of a guideline for Quality Assurance was elaborated. The guideline sets out a step-by-step methodology to help each operator within a supply chain of solid biofuels to design a manual for Quality Assurance. Based on the ideas of this first draft guideline and conclusions of the review of Task IV.1 draft manuals how to deal with Quality Assurance and Quality Control were tried out in practical situations.

This was accomplished at the industrial premises of a range of producers, traders and users of solid biofuels, referred to as "hosts". These activities are known as the "field-trials." The selection of the host companies ensured, that the overall supply chain of solid biofuels as producing, preparing, trading, handling and/or using of solid biofuels was covered. Furthermore, the geographical distribution within Europe was considered.

The hosts fell into two broad classes: Class-A companies that buy raw biomass, such as residues from agriculture and/or forestry and convert them into higher-grade biofuels for onward sale to third parties; and Class-B companies that buy such raw biomass and use it in processes to produce electricity and (sometimes) heat for sale. Both classes play key roles in the expanding market for biofuels. Beyond it, there was a wide range of possible circumstances to be covered. Most of those were included in a spectrum lying between two extreme cases: (a) small-scale (especially domestic) users who require high-grade fuels, and (b) large-scale users who can take advantage of lower-cost raw materials by the use of appropriately designed combustion plant.

The field trials have underlined the need of a guideline with a general methodology applicable by all operators throughout the overall supply chain. The first draft of the guideline and its successor documents were optimised and improved on the basis of the findings and information gathered during the field trials. The final version of the guideline is the Deliverable IV.2.D4.

Besides the work in the field trials a proposal for a standard for Quality Assurance was elaborated in Task IV.3. This was done in close cooperation with WG2 from CEN/TC 335. WG2 expressed the need of a guideline as supporting document for the Technical Specification (TS) "Fuel QA for solid biofuels" and supporting information to improve these TS. Thereupon WPIV commented the work of WG2 from their scientific point of view and participated in the further elaboration of the TS.

This channel of communication and some common membership ensured a good linkage between the work of WPIV and WG2. Due to this close cooperation the proposal for a standard to be developed in Task IV.3 based upon the Technical Specification under development in TC 335/WG 2. It could found an agreement of a common document for the proposal of a standard and the TS from WG2. The outcome of Task IV.2 (the guideline as Deliverable IV.2.D4) will be further adapted to the Technical Specification from WG2 and published as CEN technical report.

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