Developing International Standards for SRF
As the UK’s principal expert representing the British Standards Institute (BSI) on the International Standards Organisation’s (ISO) TC 300 Solid Recovered Fuel Technical committee, George Bradley, Business Manager, Infrastructure & Energy, SOCOTEC, recently attended the group’s second plenary meeting in Tokyo. Here he provides an overview of what you need to be aware of with the upcoming new standards for SRF.
What is solid recovered fuel (SRF)?
Solid recovered fuel, or SRF, is made up of non-hazardous domestic and commercial waste products such as wood, paper, cardboard and plastic. It has a high calorific value due to its low moisture content and is therefore a high quality alternative to fossil fuels.
By diverting waste away from landfill sites and incorporating it into the energy generation cycle, as a low carbon alternative to fossil fuels, we are able to significantly reduce our impact on the environment.
Why is it important to standardise SRF testing?
During the last ten years, more and more countries have recognised the financial and environmental benefits that come from making use of solid recovered fuels, developing their own methods of handling, sampling and testing them in terms of calorific value and chemical composition. Now, as the world becomes more globalised, there is an increasing need for industries everywhere to ensure standardised levels of quality across their supplies.
Inconsistent fuel quality has a direct impact on the efficiency and performance of generation equipment, and could also result in higher levels of emissions. This means energy companies must test the quality and consistency of their stock, particularly if they are in receipt of any green subsidies. Reaching higher standards of SRF will benefit energy producers globally by helping them to meet global regulatory requirements and safeguard any environmental subsidies received.
What are the objectives of the International Standards Organisation’s (ISO) TC 300 Solid Recovered Fuel Technical committee?
In order to standardise the approach to examining SRF around the world, ISO is developing global international standards to support its use, particularly in power and heat generation schemes. This means that everyone working with solid recovered fuels will be able to work from the same documents when carrying out sampling and testing procedures. This standard approach is critical now that significant volumes of SRF/RDF are being traded globally; fuel suppliers and end users can be confident that the quality standards are consistent internationally.
What has the committee achieved?
To date, there have been two plenary meetings, earlier in 2016 in Helsinki and during November 2016 in Tokyo, which have allowed ISO stakeholders from around the world to discuss next steps and assign responsibilities for the next 12 month period. One of the key challenges for the group is encouraging representation from a greater number of countries. Whilst it may take some time to achieve this, particularly from those countries in the southern hemisphere, the Tokyo meetings were a great success and demonstrated ISO’s ability to bring globally renowned experts together in the name of a common cause.
How can SOCOTEC help with SRF testing?
In my role at SOCOTEC, I assist clients who are using SRF, RDF and solid biofuels, to understand the complexities of the sampling and testing requirements that need to be complied with in order for them to successfully assess fuel quality and meet the stringent requirements of OFGEM in their ROC / RHI subsidies.
My presence on these technical committees has provided SOCOTEC in the UK with the necessary background and first-hand experience to advise clients with the most up-to-date guidance and share invaluable insights about the future of the sector.
I will continue to be the BSI representative, keeping you up-to-date on the activities of the committee and the developing SRF standards.