By: Rubina Obaid
The proficient control mechanism preserves the identity of the source through which the product is generated, thus the certified products are delivered to the end-users. The process also monitors the trade of certified products throughout the supply chain.
Accelerating global trend towards more resilient renewable energy sources, gave rise to the emergence of a novel concept of renewable energy certificates (RECs). Over the years numerous responsible companies joined hands to contribute to significantly reducing carbon emission by switching towards more sustainable clean energy sources for their businesses. The instrument which has been created for the certification system of biomass is an independent seal to provide evidence regarding the sustainability standards of biomass or biomass-based products. The certification system is developed and managed by various government organizations and environmental NGOs. There are different alternatives through which the criteria is measured, however, the most commonly used sustainability criteria for biomass is based on a few factors such as forest certification system, agriculture certification system, general biofuel or bioliquid.
The sustainability criteria encompass from feedstock to the final product and the process connecting feedstock, intermediate products, and final products is known as the chain of custody (CoC). This process implements and verifies the control mechanism for each economic operator throughout the chain. The proficient control mechanism preserves the identity of the source through which the product is generated, thus the certified products are delivered to the end-users. The process also monitors the trade of certified products throughout the supply chain. Therefore, companies essentially weigh the characteristics of a certification system and their sustainability goals. The sustainability standards limit the combination of feedstock which comes from a specific type of land. The US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) puts forth the sustainability requirements that are related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for biofuels. As the trade of illegal plants for woody biomass and products are prohibited to use, however, if it declares the country to harvest and further details that would help in identifying the bio-based content of the obtained biomass.
Generally the verification of biomass sustainability include:
- Solid biofuel that includes wood products and agricultural residues, that certifies the quality of wood pellets and chips.
- Energy crops such as palm oil and jatropha.
- Alternative fuels precisely biodiesel and bioethanol.
- Residues and waste used for the electricity generation.
Increasing use of biofuel has advent the need to overcome environmental challenges while offering noteworthy alternatives to fossil-based fuels. A Renewable Energy Certificate is issued when 1 Mwh of energy is produced through biomass and delivered to the power grid. The certificate is received by utility producers to authenticate the sustainable source of energy generation and can be traded using the instrument. Burning wood biomass without ensuring the sustainability factor may leave negative effects for the environment such as emission of particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, mercury, and other harmful air pollutants. Thus, renewable energy certification policy helps in identifying different types of biomass energy and distinguishing between beneficial and detrimental sources. Whereas, treating all biomass as carbon neutral without giving heed to its source, may increase greenhouse gas emission globally.