Solid Recovered Fuels (SRF, also named “Refuse Derived Fuels” – RDF) are solid fuels prepared from non-hazardous waste to be utilised for energy recovery in incineration or co-incineration plants. “Prepared” here means processed, homogenised and up-graded to a quality that can be traded amongst producers and users. They can be derived from household waste, commercial waste, industrial waste and other combustible waste streams. They are already used to substitute fossil fuels in cement kilns, power stations and industrial boilers.

In 2002 the European Commission gave a mandate to CEN on Solid Recovered Fuels to develop a set of Technical Specifications concerning the use of SRF for energy recovery in waste incineration or co-incineration plants. The scope of the Technical Committee CEN/TC 343 on “Solid Recovered Fuels” is the elaboration of standards, technical specifications and technical reports on these fuels, excluding those that are already included in the scope of CEN/TC 335 on “Solid Biofuels”. CEN/TC 343 works on terminology, fuel specifications and classes, quality management systems, sampling, chemical and mechanical tests.

ECOS has prepared in 2005 a comprehensive policy paper for NGO-representatives and other stakeholders concerned, detailing its criticism regarding the draft standards prepared by the TC.

ECOS has been sending an expert to this committee and its working groups since 2003. In the past years the expert has been opposing the adoption of these technical specificiations on SRF due to many environmental concerns.

There is a need for a method for the determination of the fraction of SRF that falls under the scope of Directive 2001/77/EC (Directive 2001/77/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2001 on the promotion of electricity produced from renewable energy sources in the internal electricity market). Such a method could usefully be included in a European Standard.

Working Group 2:

Since 2003, ECOS has been taking part in WG 2, “Specification and classification”. ECOS advocated for the inclusion of 7 classification parameters (Net calorific value, chlorine, Mercury, moisture, ash, Cadmium and sum of other heavy metals), among which only 3 have been included in the draft standard. It was also ECOS views that strict limit values for these parameters need to be included. It has been discussed whether parameters like Cadmium/Thallium and Mercury should be included. The standards on solid recovered fuels are approaching their final stage and are being voted upon in early 2006.

ECOS has prepared a comprehensive policy paper for NGO-representatives and the Commission, but also for other stakeholders available on its website (see ECOS position paper on SRF standard), detailing its criticism regarding the drafts prepared by the TC.

Working group 3:

In 2005, ECOS has also sent an expert to WG 3 “Sampling, sample reduction and supplementary test methods (methods for determination of biomass content)”. The Standards methods for the determination of biomass content will have high financial implications. They will be used by 25 member states for the determination of grants for the production of renewable energy from biomass and for the determination of exemptions from CO2 emission trade fees. Indeed, converting energy stored within materials to useful energy reduces fossil fuel requirements and saves on carbon dioxide emissions and other harmful pollutants.
ECOS has prepared a comprehensive policy paper for NGO-representatives and the Commission, but also for other stakeholders detailing its criticism regarding the drafts prepared by the TC.

Quovadis project:

The QUOVADIS project is a Joint Research Centre (JRC) -project dedicated to the validation of the SRF-standards. In the context of its programme “Intelligent Energy for Europe” DG TREN has approved the QUOVADIS project in support to the mandated work carried out by CEN TC 343 on SRF. In order to ensure a best possible interaction between the project consortium of QUOVADIS and interested stakeholders concerned but not directly involved in the consortium, it was decided to constitute an Advisory Steering Committee (ASC). The project team has engaged itself to “listen carefully” to ASC and shall react in written form to its advice.

ECOS participates in the ASC-meetings.ECOS’s priorities in the ASC are:

  • Delivering the message that waste policy should be kept separate from energy policy,
  • Ensuring that the waste hierarchy is not undermined (Waste reduction first, material recovery second; Energy recovery only if performance is higher (Life Cycle Analysis))

The QUOVADIS-project has a holistic validation programme covering quality management and the validation exercises for the pre-standards of CEN TC 343. Results dissemination and knowledge exchange in the enlarged EU is then envisaged.
The project has three main objectives:

  • Validation of Quality management and classification system
  • Validation of analytical Technical Specifications
  • Dissemination of results to the new Member States and assessment of SRF market potential in the EU-25. 

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