Why a woodchip standard for the United States?
There is an urgent need for the development and adoption of a national fuel standard for wood chips. Currently wood chips used in modern wood heating are not presently governed by a technical standard, nor are standardized chip specifications informally used or accepted in the marketplace. Consequently, no manufacturer of wood combustion technology can guarantee consistent, high performance.
Technical standards for solid, liquid and gaseous heating fuels are widely adopted and understood as
essential to safe, efficient, and clean utilization. Architects, building specifiers, and mechanical
engineers will often consider such fuel standards a prerequisite for their specifying of the respective
heating technology (e.g. gas, oil, biomass). Without a clear and trusted wood chip fuel specification to reference, these building professionals may be leery of recommending modern wood heating systems.
Adoption of a national fuel standard for wood chips directly addresses concerns some energy policy makers, air quality regulators, public health advocates, and environmental activists have about elevated pollutants associated with wood combustion. Clean, efficient wood combustion is a product of advanced combustion engineering of boilers and furnaces, and aknown, consistent fuel standard around which systems are tightly engineered to achieve high performance.
For modern wood heating to be broadly accepted, it must be safe, clean, efficient, and verifiably sustainable. Currently issues of reliability and performance are exacerbated by the common use of subjective terms such as “dirty chips”, “clean chips”, “bole chips”, “semi-dry chips”, and “hog fuel” to describe woodchip fuel quality. Adoption of a national technical standard for wood chips would allow boiler vendors, policy makers, regulators, engineers, fuel suppliers, loggers, and foresters to all speak a common language – thus contributing towards the common goal of clean, efficient wood combustion in a modern wood heating appliance.