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News 04.02.2022

Anabel Ruiz from Fundación CARTIF about the Spanish laboratory experience as an ENplus® testing body

The listed testing bodies play a crucial role in the certification process. They are responsible for the verification of pellet quality by confirming compliance with all ENplus® requirements concerning the pellet parameters. Today, you can learn more on the topic from Anabel Elisa Ruiz Loredo (FundaciónCARTIF).

Hello Anabel Elisa, Fundación CARTIF became a listed testing body for ENplus® 7 years ago. Do you remember how and why you decided to join the scheme back then?

The CARTIF’s Biomass Analysis and Testing Laboratory (LAE) was founded in 2004 from the need to analyze and characterize biomass for projects carried out at the center, and this soon turned into a service also requested by clients in the sector. In 2012, it undertook the challenge of being accredited under the requirements of the National Accreditation Entity (ENAC) in all the parameters regulated in the ENplus® quality seal, and in 2015 it became the first laboratory in Spain to obtain ENAC accreditation for the test of solid biofuels, where pellets are included.

In its facilities, this laboratory has a multitude of analytical and instrumental equipment, duly calibrated, auxiliary equipment, and certified reference materials, all of them integrated into an internal management system governed by the strictest technical quality requirements. The laboratory's analysis capabilities have recently been expanded with the acquisition of new equipment, which will allow offering a better service, further reducing the response time concerning the customers.

How many quality check-ups for ENplus® do you conduct annually? Do you have companies contacting you from outside Spain?

Annually, the CARTIF’s Laboratory conducts on average more than 100 quality controls for ENplus®. Among these tests, there are services with complete control of ENplus parameters and others where control of certain parameters is carried out, such as moisture content, ash content, durability, length, fines and net calorific value. In the last 5 years, the laboratory has seen an increase in demand from clients from outside Spain, among which we can mention Portugal, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile.

How often do you come across non-compliance with the ENplus® requirements for fuel quality? What is the most typical case?

When analyzing the samples, it is uncommon to encounter non-compliances of all the ENplus® quality requirements of pellets at once. It happens that sometimes we come across a non-compliance in the ash content parameter, the durability and the volume of fines present.

Just like most countries in Europe, Spain is gradually switching to using more and more renewable sources of energy. In your opinion, what role will wood pellets play in this new reality?

Spain has experienced an extraordinary growth in the production of pellets, and a significant increase in the consumption of solid biofuels. The implementation of the ENplus® scheme has meant a very important advancement in this sector, because it has made it possible to achieve two very important objectives: on the one hand, to protect and strengthen the European market for wood pellets; and on the other, to protect the customer, being the end-user of the product, by regulating and guaranteeing the quality of the pellets purchased. That’s how consumers benefit from a solid biofuel with a high calorific value, very high energy density, low emissions and a high melting temperature of ashes, which allows greater energy efficiency and less boiler maintenance. 

What else should our readers know about your company? What services besides the ENplus® analyses do you provide?

CARTIF's solid biofuels laboratory plays a very relevant role in the biomass sector as a reference testing entity, analyzing all types of biomass, such as wood pellets, chips, olive pits and fruit peels, among others, in accordance with European-wide quality systems, such as ENplus® and Biomasud. Other residual biomasses of industrial origin, such as orujillo, or mixtures of them for consumption in the boiler are also analyzed. Even combustion residues (ash and slag) are analyzed, with a view to their recovery. At CARTIF’s laboratory, we offer a solution according to the needs of each client, advising and helping them to know their products, understand the regulatory framework that concerns them and even improve the quality of their solid biofuels.

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Fundación CARTIF Team