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Wood pellet industry continues sustainability push

April 9, 2014, London, England — The global biomass industry is pushing for a standardized form of sustainability criteria for solid biomass, panelists at the Argus European Biomass Trading 2014 conference said.


April 9, 2014
By Argus Media

April 9, 2014, London, England — The global biomass industry
is pushing for a standardized form of sustainability criteria for solid
biomass, panelists at the Argus European Biomass Trading 2014 conference said.

  

A stable policy framework is the most important economics
issue, Belgium-based energy research centre Laborelec's chief technology
officer, Yves Rykmans, said. Environmental issues such as climate change as
well as social issues such as health and safety also need to be continuously
addressed in order for the industry to adopt and maintain a standardized form
of sustainability criteria, he added.

 

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European biomass association AEBIOM is involved in a
continuing debate with the European Commission to develop forest sustainability
criteria, AEBIOM policy director Fanny-Pomme Langue said.

 

The US has a sustainable supply of wood and forest
certifications that have provided the country with “accredited and transparent
assurance of sustainable land management”, US wood pellet producer Enviva's
director of marketing and communications, Elizabeth Woodworth, said.

 

But the country’s states and counties employ very different
market dynamics, and the vast network of privately owned forests means it may
be difficult to track sustainability in the case of a standardized form of
criteria being introduced, she warned.

 

“The biomass industry should not set itself apart from the
mainstream forest sector,” Sustainable Biomass Partnership (SBP) director Peter
Wilson said. The SBP is piloting sustainability for the industry, and Wilson
said there needs to be more of an uptake of forest certification in wood
baskets.

 

SBP's aim is to develop a biomass assurance framework and
create SBP-certified biomass. Danish state-owned Dong Energy hopes to be able
to use SBP-certified biomass this time next year, Dong thermal power asset management
and development director Jens Price Wolf said.

 

Aside from the consensus that forest certification is a
necessity, the industry needs to show that it is sustainable by reporting how
it uses biomass and what type of biomass it uses, as well as carrying out
detailed independent audits with third parties, UK Department of Energy and
Climate Change senior policy adviser Elizabeth McDonnell said.

 

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