The European Pellet Council (EPC), a European Biomass Association (AEBIOM) network that administrates ENplus quality certification, has announced a record year for the wood pellet consumer assurance scheme. With over 8.1 million tonnes certified worldwide in 2016 and 9.2 million tonnes anticipated by the end of 2017, ENplus confirms its leading role in the global harmonisation of high-quality wood pellets for use in residential and other heat markets.
The announcement by the European Pellet Council (EPC) comes in the wake of the release of the 10th edition of AEBIOM’s Statistical Report. Initially developed and launched in Germany to ensure wood pellet quality all along the supply chain, ENplus has since its inception in 2010 experienced a sustained growth over the years, expanding beyond European borders.
In 2016, 366 pellet producers and 324 traders in over 41 countries were ENplus certified with a positive trend confirmed by the projections for 2017 showing as many as 411 certified producers (+12%) and 359 traders (+11%). Producers from Australia and New Zealand have also applied for the first time.
Germany maintained its leading position with 1.7 million tonnes of ENplus pellets produced, followed by Austria, France and Romania. According to EPC, demand from Russian producers for ENplus certification is also “remarkable”.
In 2016, the Russian Federation was the first non-EU country in terms of production, ranking in the top five worldwide. This trend was confirmed in 2017, with one of the most substantial increases in certified volume.
90 percent A1 quality
Regarding quality classes, over 90 percent of all certified production is of ENplus A1, the scheme’s highest grade. ENplus A2 represents around 9 percent, while ENplus B pellet production remains limited with less than 1 percent of the total certified volume.
According to Gauthier, this distribution clearly indicates that the European heating sector remains a market driven by premium quality pellets.
The rapid growth of the certification also implies a specific attention to both quality controls and brand protection: besides the yearly inspections, any quality complaint is closely followed by the certification management team, potentially leading to extraordinary inspections.
This allows for a constant quality control throughout the year. Trademark fraud is also closely monitored and resolved, as attested by the 478 infringements identified and positively solved over the past two years.
ENplus is a quality certification scheme for wood pellets, based on an ISO standard – ISO 17225-2 but that goes beyond it with stricter/additional requirements and it is also a registered trademark. Certification provides confidence to consumers, regulators, industry and other interested parties, that the wood pellets products conform to specified requirements; facilitates trade, market access, fair competition and consumer acceptance of products. Certification is managed either by a National Licenser or by the European Pellet Council (EPC) whereas the certification process is always carried out by an independent accredited inspection and certification body.