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News 10.01.2022

Ken Hepburn from Alfred H Knight Energy Services Limited considers regular sampling and testing to be very important

Happy 2022! Last year, we managed to introduce you to a variety of ENplus® stakeholders – from conformity assessment bodies to certified traders and producers. This year again, we are excited to share with you the words and thoughts of our partners and other key market actors.

Our first guest is Ken Hepburn who is Business Technical Support Manager, Energy Services at Alfred H Knight Energy Services Limited.

Dear Mr. Hepburn, you are representing Alfred H Knight Energy Services Limited. Please introduce us to the company, its history and portfolio of services.

We are a division of the Alfred H Knight group, a privately owned laboratory and technical services company that has been operating for over 140 years. AHKES has been in operation since 1986, specialising in the sampling and analysis of solid fuels, including wood pellets, agricultural residues, recycled materials and waste to energy products. We operate these services globally and have offices and laboratories in over 40 countries worldwide.

When was the laboratory listed as an ENplus® Testing Body? And why have you decided to join the scheme?

AHK joined ENplus® back in 2012. A number of our clients are manufacturing members of the scheme, we joined in support of their activities and as a commitment to quality assurance in the sampling and testing of wood pellets.

How long does it take the verification of the pellet quality once the sample is delivered to your laboratory?

Approximately one week. Our main laboratory, based in Dundonald Scotland, is a modern, fully equipped solid fuels testing facility that can perform the whole ENplus® testing suite in-house. Additionally, we are also accredited to ISO17025.

In your opinion, how has ENplus® contributed to the development of the pellet market in the UK in the past decade?

The scheme has brought standardisation and conformity to a manufactured product which has been invaluable in raising the expectation and quality of domestic wood pellets in the marketplace. I would anticipate that, without ENplus® and the proactive stance and action against counterfeiting, inferior or even dangerous substitutes would prevail, damaging growth and confidence in the product. That is why both the scheme and regular sampling and testing are so important.

Do you expect more consumers (especially in rural areas) to switch to using high-quality pellets once they become aware of their benefits?

I think in terms of climate change, consumers will look to alternative biomass based fuels. It is important for those working with forestry products to commit to sustainability and be able to demonstrate this, in their products, to a well-informed, interested and environmentally aware marketplace. Wood pellets manufactured in this way with ENplus® quality assurance are well placed as a substitute for traditional fossil fuels.