Press Release – News 4th June 2009 Quality clean green wood fuel A peer‐nominated working group of wood fuel suppliers met in Athlone on the 29th April to develop a wood fuel quality assurance scheme for Ireland. This scheme applies to logs, chips, pellets and briquettes formed from clean wood.

This QA scheme will provide customers with confidence that they are purchasing a quality wood fuel from a sustainable source relevant to their needs. The standard includes both end‐product testing and monitoring of the supply chain process. Documentation requirements will ensure the wood is sourced responsibly. Customers are protected as the supplier retains responsibility for the product quality until the point of purchase. The working group consists of two suppliers of pellets (and briquettes), two suppliers of logs, two suppliers of woodchip from forestry material and one supplier of wood chips from Willow SRC. It is supported by the key industry organisations of Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), the National Council for Forest Research and Development (COFORD) and the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA). The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is providing expertise on workable standards development; end‐users are also represented in the group.

John O’Brien, General Manager of Ecowood Energy Systems Ltd, who chairs the working group, commented: “Whilst the industry has grown substantially over the past five years, this Quality Assurance Scheme has the potential to support further growth by ensuring the best interests of the end user are fully realised”. The wood fuel industry has grown significantly in the past five years, and has penetrated into households, commercial premises, government organisations and industrial operations. The current demand is estimated to be 30,000 tonnes of wood pellets and 75,000 tonnes of wood chips annually (figures are estimated and include co‐firing but excluding the wood processing industry). The industry is largely indigenous, provides for sustainable heating and electricity, and is a significant employer – especially in rural areas.

The industry has come together to form this quality assurance scheme and accreditation to ensure continued growth of this market. The need for a wood fuel quality standard was recognised during a workshop attended by a large percentage of wood fuel suppliers from across Ireland which was held on 21st January 2009.

Arguments for a standard included:
  • instilling confidence in the marketplace
  • protecting the industry from rogue traders
  • dissemination of best practice operations throughout the wood fuel supply community. Suppliers at this workshop nominated peers to the working group to develop the quality standard and then report back to them.
  What next?
  • The working group will continue to meet during June to fine‐tune the standard
  • The wider wood fuel community will be asked to review the standard in July
  • Following the review process, a final standard will be produced in August.

For further information, please contact the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme: Email: wqfa@irbea.org NSAI Contact: Pay Hayes Tel: 807 8363 E: pat.hayes@nsai.ie