April 16, 2018
The revised Better Biomass scheme was launched in April 2017, building on the second edition of NTA 8080 that contains the sustainability and chain-of-custody requirements for biomass for energy applications and bio-based products. Better Biomass is also designed to demonstrate compliance with legal requirements for sustainably produced biomass. It concerns the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED) for biofuels and bioliquids, and the Dutch regulation concerning conformity assessment of solid biomass for energy applications. In both cases, legal authorities need to recognise Better Biomass as voluntary scheme. This article provides an update about these recognition processes.
Better Biomass has been submitted to the European Commission for re-recognition as voluntary scheme to demonstrate compliance with the relevant RED requirements. This recognition procedure appears to be a lengthy process. Meanwhile, the current recognition (from 2012) has expired, but is still accepted by authorities in member states where Better Biomass is applied based on temporary extensions.
The technical assessment of the revised Better Biomass scheme has been concluded, resulting in some amendments to the scheme documents by incorporating ‘RED language’ rather than referring to relevant documents. To date, the internal procedure is ongoing and a final decision is expected before the end of June 2018.
Once the European Commission has recognised the revised Better Biomass scheme as voluntary scheme, this version will also be applicable to organisations operating under the RED. This means that they have to comply with the sustainability and chain-of-custody requirements in the second edition of NTA 8080 at their next regular audit. For other organisations, the revised Better Biomass scheme is already applicable.
Under the Dutch Energy Agreement, the energy sector, NGOs and government agreed on a set of sustainability requirements for solid biomass used for energy applications to be eligible for subsidy. These sustainability requirements are laid down in the Regulation concerning conformity assessment of solid biomass for energy applications, which has become effective as from 1 January 2018.
After a pre-assessment, Better Biomass has started the formal application procedure to become recognised under this regulation. The feedback from the pre-assessment has been taken into account in the scheme documents. One important aspect related to the definition of the different biomass categories that are applied in the regulation to enable distinguishing sustainability requirements among the different biomass categories. This clarification is now provided in the Better Biomass scheme documents.
According to the assessment procedure, the period from external consultation till the advice from the advisory commission to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy will take 22 weeks. Based on this time schedule, an advice will be expected in September 2018 at the latest. Better Biomass was the first scheme that submitted their documents for the pre-assessment.
The updated Better Biomass scheme documents will soon be published, so that they will become effective for the existing and new Better Biomass certificate holders. The certificate holders will receive more information about the possible impact of the amended Better Biomass scheme documents related to their current scope of certification.
Better Biomass scheme manager Jarno Dakhorst will participate in the Argus Biomass Conference, taking place in London on 17, 18 and 19 April 2018. Attendees of Argus Biomass can meet him for a talk how Better Biomass can contribute to make their business more sustainable in a transparent manner.