The 2 years old certification system has finally found its place also in the Czech Republic to protect all the stakeholders. This certification system is beneficial to the manufacturers and sellers, opening up opportunities to enter new markets; it supports the competitive environment; and the customers and boiler and stove manufacturers can rely on a high quality of fuel, including the appropriate fuel shape, high calorific value, low dust and low ash arising from the combustion process. The certificates have been granted by the Czech Pellet Cluster in the Czech Republic since 2013.
ENplus certification protects customers, boiler and stove manufacturers and fuel suppliers. The majority of Czech pellet customers have a lot to celebrate. In fact, three-quarters of all Czech wood pellet production is manufactured under ENplus quality. The stakeholders are happy because all of them – the manufacturers, pellet sellers, pellet-fired boiler and stove manufacturers as well as the end users are protected owing to this certification.
The body granting the ENplus certificates (since 2013) is the Czech Pellet Cluster, which has become the Czech representative of the pellet industry at the European Pellet Council (EPC), administering the certification system. The Cluster cooperates with testing laboratories and auditors who are authorised to make the ENplus certification tests. So far, this is TÜV Nord Czech in the Czech Republic. Any manufacturer/seller wishing to gain the ENplus certificate is free to contact the Czech Pellet Cluster to obtain all the necessary information concerning the obligations to be met by them. ENplus certificates are granted to pellet manufacturers or to sellers offering pellets in bulk. Packaged pellet sellers are not subject to ENplus certification.
Debarked sawdust with no impurities – this is the only feasible raw material for the manufacture of high-quality wood pellets. While the old national certificates were only concerned with the quality of the manufacturing process, ENplus also guarantees quality of product delivery to the end user – in other words, not only the manufacturing process but also the means of transport is subject to supervision. As a result, the customer can be sure that they get really high-quality fuel for their money. Which pellet properties are targeted by the certification? First of all, the pellets meet the requirements of the unified standard EN 14961-2 for wood pellets, setting the basic pellet parameter and quality standards. Apart from the established parameters such as calorific value and moisture, ENplus together with the European standard introduces new criteria for bulk density and particle size. The ash melting temperature is a next important parameter, optional in the above standard but mandatory in ENplus. In fact, this temperature should be as high as possible to prevent clinker formation and sticking to the burners during the combustion process.
A1 is the premium quality pellet class, primarily intended for household boilers and stoves. A1 pellets must contain no more than 0.7% ash and must be made from chemically untreated pieces of wood from sawmills, with no bark present.
A2 is a class of pellets that may contain a fraction of bark and tree cutting residues, leading to a higher amount of ash, which, however, must not exceed the limit of 1.5%. A2 pellets are typically used in large boilers.
B Class pellets are intended for industrial uses. The requirements for the ash content and bark content are not as stringent as in the A classes. The ENplus criteria and their maximum permissible levels in the various classes are included in the table below.
Audits are made and samples are analysed periodically to ensure ongoing pellet quality.
ENplus certification covers not only the quality of manufacture but also the quality of transport to the customer. The wood pellets will be conveniently blown into the customer's storage facility by means of a tank truck, which must also be certified. A manufacturer that wishes to gain ENplus certification must sign a contract with an independent certification body, which will supervise the entire manufacturing and transport chain on an ongoing basis. Once compliance with all the criteria is confirmed, the Czech Pellet Cluster will permit the applicant to use the ENplus mark. The ENplus pellet manufacturers and distributors are then audited during the year to make sure that the mandatory pellet manufacturing, storage and handling parameters are met. Each bulk pellet supply and each 15 kg bag has its ID of the manufacturer who is certified in the ENplus system.
Each pellet manufacturing plant is subject to annual audits targeting the manufacturing process and quality management system. A manufacturer/supplier may select any accredited company from the ENplus website list to perform the audit and pellet tests. Training courses are organised for new auditors, whereby uniform audit quality is ensured across Europe. Pellet samples are taken periodically from the manufacturing chain, tested for quality immediately and stored for any later inspection or settlement of claims. This inspection also covers bulk pellet carriers and their tanker trucks.
As a result, the customer will know precisely which pellet batch was delivered, and can be sure that the pellets comply with the applicable stringent standards. The boiler manufacturer is assured that if a claim arises due to the use of poor quality fuel, it is the user who is responsible because they have purchased uncertified poor quality pellets to save money. And the pellet manufacturer may be at ease because they can demonstrate their quality by showing a specimen of pellets produced during the past period of time.