The EU aims for biomass to increase to at least a 27% share of renewable energy consumption, and the United Nations has included efficient utilisation of renewable energy sources such as biomass in their sustainable development goals.
The rapidly increased use of biomass will impact international trade as well as the need for optimal utilisation of the fuel and the need to minimise emissions. Fast and reliable traceable measurements and characterisation of biofuels are essential for this development.
- Knowledge of the accurate content of water in solid biofuel materials such as wood pellets or wood chips is important in ensuring optimal combustion efficiency and fair payment of the fuel.
- Improved sampling methods for solid biofuels are needed to reduce the significant associated errors in fuel quality control which can lead to error in moisture content measurement.
- Knowing the ash content is crucial for the determination of the calorific value and thereby establishing the energy content of the fuel.
- Understanding and determining the level of impurities in biofuels are essential to limit the undesirable precipitation of solids in the fuel transportation system and to establish the energy content of the fuel and regulate its combustion, as well as for fiscal billing of the fuel.
Achieving such measurements is currently a significant challenge given the use of adapted and slow offline methods and documentary standards, the suitability of which are unverified for biofuels and insufficient for understanding the contents of the fuels. Traceability will provide the legal and financial regulatory means for “trackability”, determining the calorific value as well as the bio-origin of the samples/blends and their CO2 contribution.