Wood Fuel Quality

Wood fuel quality is of paramount importance for the efficient and trouble free operation of wood fired heating systems.  Poor quality fuels can lead to unsatisfactory performance with frequent unplanned outages and increased maintenance, and can result in foreshortened equipment lifetime.

It is strongly advised that operators of wood fired heating systems purchase, where possible, wood fuels carrying a recognised quality label such as WFQA or wood fuels produced in accordance with a recognised standard. It is important that wood fuels meet the requirements defined by the wood burning equipment manufacturer.

The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme


The Wood Fuel Quality Assurance Scheme (WFQA) is an Irish quality assurance scheme which certifies organisations involved in the manufacture / supply of quality logs, chips, pellets and briquettes produced from clean wood.  The scheme applies a National Workshop Agreement for Wood Fuel Quality Assurance - Requirements (NWA 4:2009), a copy of which can be obtained from The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) at www.standards.ie.

The main objectives of the WFQA scheme are to:

  • Support the delivery of a product which meets and exceeds the requirements of customers;
  • Instil confidence in the marketplace;
  • Ensure the production of sustainable wood fuel;
  • Ensure best practice operations throughout the wood fuel supply sector.

For further details on the WFQA, including how consumers can obtain quality assured wood fuel or how suppliers can become certified, refer towww.wfqa.org, or contactwfqaenquiries@wfqa.org.


Wood Fuel Standards


The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) has developed standards for solid biofuels, including wood biomass, under Technical Committee (TC) 335 Solid Biofuels.  COFORD Connects publication Preview of European standards for solid biofuels, which is available at www.woodenergy.ie under Documents and Publications gives an overview of the work of TC 335. The standards are available at www.standards.ie.

Ireland has adopted the TC335 standards. Although it is not a legal obligation for fuel suppliers to apply this standard, it is strongly recommended that purchasers look for fuels meeting the informative recommendations provided in the standard when purchasing wood fuels.

Solid biofuels include woody biomass (chips, hogfuel, firewood, wood pellets, briquettes), herbaceous biomass (straw, grass, miscanthus, etc.), fruit biomass (olive stones, cherry pits, grape waste, nut shells, etc.), as well as a group called ‘blends and mixtures’. The definition of solid biofuels excludes all animal-based biomass (e.g. manure, meat and bone meal) and aquatic biomass (such as algae); these fuels will be dealt with by other standardisation committees. Demolition timber is considered a hazardous waste and is not included in the solid biofuel category.

Wood pellets are often imported into Ireland. Other equivalent standards may therefore have been applied to these products and are equally valid. Common European standards for wood pellets include:

  • ONORM M17135 (Austria)
  • SS 187120 & SS 187121 (Sweden)
  • DIN 51731 (Germany)

In the US and Canada the equivalent standard is "Premium Grade".


Wood Fuel Testing Facilities


For manufacturers of wood fuels and those looking to test wood fuel products, COFORD / SEAI have compiled a voluntary list of organisations offering testing facilities - see below.

Voluntary list of wood fuel testing organisations in Ireland.pdf (size 19.8 KB)


General References

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