The European Pellet Council (EPC) has announced a record year for its wood pellet quality scheme, with over 8.1 million tonnes certified worldwide in 2016. According to a statement, EPC is anticipating 9.2 million tonnes of wood pellets will be certified by the end of 2017.
A network in the European Biomass Association, the EPC is in charge of the ENplus wood pellet management programme, which was launched in Germany in 2010 to ensure quality of wood pellets ‘all along the supply chain’. Since its inception, ENplus has experienced sustained growth, expanding beyond European borders.
In 2016, ENplus certified 366 pellet producers and 324 traders across 41 countries. Projections for 2017 predict as many as 411 producers and 259 traders will be certified, a 12% and 11% increase respectively. Producers from Australia and New Zealand have also applied for involvement in the scheme for the first time.
The biggest quantity of ENplus certified pellets came from Germany, at 1.7 million tonnes. Austria, France and Romania were the next biggest certified producers. Russia was the largest non-EU wood pellet producer under the scheme, and ranked in the top five globally. In 2017, the country is expected to see one of the most substantial increases in certified production under the scheme.
“Market players’ interest in ENplus will allow us to continue investing serenely in consolidating the scheme, its implementation and the coordination with ENplus partners. Maintaining high and harmonised standards will be key for the long-term establishment of the pellet sector,” said Gilles Gauthier, the scheme’s general manager.
The ENplus scheme is broken down into three grades. 91% of all certified production matched the scheme’s highest A1 grade, while around 9% was in the scheme’s A2 grade. Less than 1% of the certified volume fell within the B grade boundaries.
As well as carrying out annual inspections, the ENplus scheme also follows up on quality complaints, potentially leading to additional inspections. On top of that, the scheme investigates trademark infringements, and has identified and positively solves 478 infringements over the past two years.
Eric Vial, president of the European Pellet Council, said: “The ENplus scheme reached a whole new level, it is now essential to protect and develop its reputation. Among other strategic orientations, we have therefore decided to work in 2018 on improving public awareness about pellet quality and the ENplus brand.”