Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


BIONORM II Report Summary

Project ID: 38644
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - BIONORM (Pre-normative work on sampling and testing of solid biofuels for the development of quality management)

The main objective of BIONORM was to provide the scientific background for the European standardisation process of solid biofuels. The emphasis of the project was laid on a fuel quality assurance system for solid biofuels in order to support and extend the market. Such a system is based on extensive practical work on sampling and testing to improve the existing procedures and to allow for the provision of a high quality biofuel throughout the overall supply chain and thus improving the confidence of the consumer into the biofuel. Besides the work on terminology, specifications and classes, this includes the testing of physical-mechanical fuel characteristics (e.g. moisture content, bulk density and ash melting behaviour) as well as chemical fuel properties (among other elements particularly sulphur, chlorine and nitrogen content). The integration of different countries from the Newly Associated States (NAS) - meanwhile commonly New Member States (NMS) - ensured to take into account the standardisation requirements of these countries and to basically meet their specific needs.

This project was aimed to carry out research on sampling and sample reduction procedures as well as physical-mechanical and chemical tests for a more successful practical implementation. Furthermore, the results were integrated into a fuel quality assurance system covering the overall supply chain. The research is aimed at comprehensive evaluation and identification of the best suitable methods for the respective determination, providing a knowledge basis for best practice guidelines. These guidelines and findings were also used for drafting of technical specifications within the standardisation process and thus contributing the work of CEN TC 335 'solid biofuels' to accelerate the development of improved standards with consideration of practical requirements. Coupled with this, the conveners of the different working groups of CEN TC 335 were involved deeply within this project.

Contributed by the close collaboration BIONORM work packages and CEN working groups (and thus ensuring the dissemination and exploitation of the pre-normative work), it was focused to develop highly sophisticated and therefore widely acceptable standards for the stimulation of the bioenergy markets throughout Europe. Users of these standards are mainly producers, traders and consumers of biofuels. Summing up all players involved into the production, provision and use of solid biofuels throughout the overall value chain within Europe will benefit from this work realised within the BIONORM project. Widely accepted standards resulting from the pre-normative work of BIONORM will also contribute to boost the market for devices for sampling and testing of solid biofuels.

Additionally, the end use conversion technologies (e.g. combustion and gasification units) can be optimised with regard to the different fuel qualities. The same applies to the machinery and the devices required for the production and provision of solid biofuels, which in turn are needed to overcome the gap between biofuel provision and its utilisation.

Finally, the results of the BIONORM project will help to contribute to the continued increasing biofuel market in Europe and therewith assist the European Commission to reach its environmental goals.

The project was structured into the following interrelated work packages:
- Sampling and sample reduction
- Physical / mechanical tests
- Chemical tests
- Fuel quality assurance.

In order to ensure that effects of the BIONORM are of greater impact on the continuous increasing biofuel market BIONORM was supplemented by involving also NMS / NAS in the elaboration of suitable test methods and for research exchange.

In each of the different work packages and tasks respectively various kinds of solid biofuels covering a wide scope of fuels were analysed and investigated by carrying out selected methods. The applied methods and principles were initially identified to be basically suitable for a reasonable determination of:
(i) the number of increments and tests as well as specific increment sizes in terms of sampling and sample reduction;
(ii) the physical / mechanical fuel properties (i.e. moisture content and bulk density, ash melting behaviour, particle size distribution, durability and particle density); and
(iii) the chemical fuel characteristics (i.e. sulphur, nitrogen and chlorine as well as major and minor elements).
The research has two emphasises. It was focused on the investigation of existing methods and equipment (e.g. applied for solid fossil fuels) with regard to their accuracy for solid biofuels and thus their applicability followed by appropriate adaptation and improvements of these methods and laboratory equipment. In addition, it was also focused on the development of new methods. Referring to this, common statistical parameters such as accuracy, reproducibility and repeatability were used for the assessment of the different sampling and testing methods. Besides technical, also work-efficiency, economical and environmental aspects were considered.

Supported by these research results, new methods for the development and implementation of quality assurance systems for the entire biofuel supply chain were evaluated based on an initial review of existing systems as well as extensive field trials at several companies.

The outcome of the pre-normative work of the BIONORM project includes among methods for sampling and sample reduction, improved and new developed methods and procedures for the determination of physical-mechanical and chemical biofuel properties as well as the development and implementation of a company specific quality assurance system. Coupled with this, basic recommendations are with regard to apply both the proposal of a standard / TS and the guideline in practice.

In terms of the country conditions in the NMS/NAS, recent trends have shown a continuous increasing international market of solid biofuels that also stimulates the domestic production of refined solid biofuels within these countries and thus increase the acceptance of renewable energy sources. Nowadays, these countries already use biomass (predominantly for domestic heat provision) and have very promising potentials concerning biomass and bioenergy utilisation. However, currently limited experience in utilisation of refined solid biofuels and missing R&D contributes to a lack of solid biofuels standards and quality assurance guidelines. In all of the NMS / NAS there are no specific biofuel standards and quality assurance implemented yet. Companies that produce refined solid biofuels for export currently apply national standards of the import countries. Referring to this, all NAS / NMS-partners clearly stated that common standards are urgently required for increasing the solid biofuel market. Hence, CEN standards that are currently being developed need to be quickly adopted.

Among the extensive and substantial outcomes during the pre-normative research and the progress of standardisation it has been acknowledged that there is still the demand on research in all purviews such as of fuel classification and quality assurance or sampling and testing methods and procedures. In this context, essential recommendations on further work are:
- to precise and revise data on sampling and testing methods;
- to extent sampling and sample preparation to a broader range of solid biofuel materials, i.e. less common biomass with high variations in fuel properties such as olive and grape residues, shells and stones of fruit biomass as well as road side green;
- to extent testing on further fuel parameters (e.g. particle size and shape factors, bridging behaviour, fuel impurities, fungi release);
- to improve and develop reference test methods and rapid test methods (e.g. for ash melting behaviour, chlorine potassium, nitrogen and sulphur as well as heavy metals and with regard to reference materials);
- to investigate aspects of quality planning and quality control on interactions of the various quality related activities in the quality policy of a company as well as to adapt measures of with regard to quality management systems.

Moreover, further cooperation is recommended within the European countries, that already used biomass efficiently and their legislation and biofuels standards are harmonious developed.

Finally, the outcomes reveal that BIONORM has crucially contributed to clarify important issues and aspects associated with the ongoing European standardisation process for solid biofuels. This is in particular true referring to biofuel terminology and specification, appropriate procedure and methods for sampling and testing of fuel properties as well as the importance of company specific quality management systems. Furthermore, a basis for research exchange with the NMS / NAS has been established that will be further delved and extended in the future. However, BIONORM has also point out the urgent need on further investigations and method development. Therefore, continuing R&D support of the ongoing standardisation activities will be of high importance to close the gaps and to ensure that the European market for solid biofuels and thus the biomass industry will continue to grow rapidly in the future helped by acceptable standards.

Related information


Martin KALTSCHMITT, (Managing Director)
Tel.: +49-3412434113
Fax: +49-3412434133
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