ASABE to develop standard for biomass-derived solid fuel

By Jessica Ebert
The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers recently announced a project to standardize methods for determining the properties of plant-derived solid fuels used for direct combustion in stationary heat and power systems. The project was initiated by Klein Ileleji, a professor in the department of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University, and a member of ASABE.

Ileleji will lead the development of the new standard, which will cover properties relevant to fuel classification, terminology, sampling and handling, and functional characteristics including energy content. It will also address the design and development of direct combustion systems, fuel and combustion systems performance, and practices for reporting fuel properties. Quality thresholds, emission limits and recommendations are excluded from this standard.

The need for a standard comes from the rise in interest in using biofuels for transportation, as well as energy systems ranging from simple home-heating stoves and furnaces to medium and large industrial boilers for heat only or for combined heat and power. "The new standard is going to provide a technical resource about which fuel sources work the best for which systems," explained Travis Tsunemori, an engineer with ASABE. "It's going to help designers, facility/utility managers and engineers make more informed decisions."
The standard is currently being drafted. Individuals, companies and trade groups interested in participating in the development process should contact ASABE Standards Director Scott Cedarquist at or (269) 429-0300.

Once the standard has been drafted, it will go through a process of balloting, technical vetting and approval before being published. Tsunemori expects the entire process to take about a year. ASABE recently celebrated its 100th year as a nonprofit professional society for engineers. The organization is an accredited standards developer with more than 200 published standards for engineering in agricultural, food and biological systems.