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News 09.05.2022

Marija Trkmić from HEP-Proizvodnja on pellets’ increasing popularity in Croatia

It’s time for our monthly interview with an ENplus® partner, certified company, or another interesting stakeholder related to the certification scheme. Today, we will have the pleasure to hear once again from a listed testing body. Our guest is Marija Trkmić from HEP-Proizvodnja.

Dear Marija, please introduce yourself and your laboratory to our readers.

Central Laboratory for Chemical Technology is an integral part of HEP-Proizvodnja d.o.o. (HEP Generation), which carries out electricity generation and heat production for district heating systems in the cities of Croatia.

Hrvatska elektroprivreda (HEP Group) has been a national energy company dealing with electricity generation, distribution, and supply for more than a century. Moreover, in the last few decades, it has been engaged in distributing and supplying heat energy and natural gas to customers.

Our laboratory was founded in 1938 as an integral part of the Zagreb City Power Plant (GEC), which still operates today at the same location as the EL-TO Zagreb plant. The laboratory's initial purpose was to analyse feed water for boilers and fuel analysis for power plants. Today, our laboratory is an accredited laboratory according to standard ISO 17025 for liquid and solid fuels testings, including various types of solid biofuels.

We conduct testings of solid biofuels for internal customers - bio plants within HEP-Proizvodnja d.o.o. and external customers within the entire region.

I have been the Head of the laboratory since 2012, and I am happy to be part of the team and participate in the laboratory development from the very beginning; when we were a power plant laboratory that just performed analyses for HEP Group, till today when we are accredited and recognised laboratory with a unique scope of testing different types of fuels.

Why did HEP Proizvodnja decide to join ENplus® and become a listed testing body for the certification scheme?

We introduced solid biofuels testings in 2014 in our laboratory, when we accredited most of our methods according to ISO 17025. We are equipped with modern, sophisticated equipment, have extensive knowledge, and continuously prove our skills by participating in various Proficiency Testing Schemes.

We have recognised that there are many pellet producers in Croatia and the entire region and that our laboratory can offer services, equipment, and knowledge as a testing body in pellet certification procedures. In 2019 we decided to become a listed testing body for pellet certification according to the ENplus® scheme in order to bring the pellet certification as close as possible to the pellet producers in Croatia and countries of the entire region.

In your opinion, what value does a quality certification such as ENplus® bring to the market?

ENplus® certification gives recognition to pellets and reliability in their quality. Today, confidence and customer care are essential, so the best way for every pellet manufacturer to secure the trust of a future customer is through a pellet certification.

However, pellet producers should be aware that quality testing and certification of their products must be carried out following the ENplus® scheme because this is the only correct way. In addition, it is crucial to educate pellet producers continuously about the certification process and what benefits the certification brings to the end product and thus to producers and users.

Based on your observations, does the recent spike in gas and electricity price push more households to switch to cheaper solutions such as pellets?

Of course, rising gas and electricity prices affect the consideration of other ways of heating households. However, I think that intention to stay independent from other energy sources and the choice for sustainable development and environmental protection are additional reasons to use pellets in households.

How popular are pellets as a heating solution in the residential market in Croatia? Do you personally know people that rely on pellets for the cold season?

Wood pellet heating is becoming increasingly popular in households and heating kindergartens and schools in Croatia. I personally know people who rely on wood pellets during the winter season, and they are very satisfied and do not intend to change them in the future. They emphasise the simplicity of pellets application, practicality and tidiness. Pellets are much easier to manipulate, delivery is easy, and pellets are available for purchase near home and residence.

It is also important to underline their significantly lower price than other fuels and cheaper central heating installations because there are no costs of connecting to additional heating supply. Other significant advantages of pellets are heating efficiency, self-regulation, and independence from other energy sources.

Photo Lab team

The Team of HEP-Proizvodnja d.o.o.