A European pre-standard has been established based upon research and lab experiences established via an EU-funded (FP7) project. This KBBPPS project has been initiated to execute pre- and co-normative work for bio-based products. CEN/TS 16640 “Bio-based products — Determination of the bio based carbon content of products using the radiocarbon method” is the first project result officially adopted into a standard. The next work will be on total biomass instead of only bio-based carbon.
Because the project in question, “Knowledge Based Bio-based Products’ Pre-Standardization (KBBPPS), has assessed the technique so far on just a couple of products, it is expected that the norm will be updated soon. That is the reason that the European Standardization Committee, CEN, has decided to present the result in a CEN Technical Specification that lays down the method for the determination of bio-based carbon content in bio-based products using the 14C method. This technique is based on the analytical test methods used for the determination of the age of objects containing carbon, many of us are more familiar with it in an archaeological context.
The determination of the biomass content is based on the measurement of 14C isotopes in products which allows the calculation of the bio-based carbon fraction. The Technical Specification provides the reference test methods for laboratories, producers, suppliers and purchasers of bio-based product materials and products. It may be also useful for authorities and inspection organisations.
The KBBPPS project will continue the development of measuring bio-based content. However, the results based on the 14C methodology are expressed as a fraction of bio-based carbon on the total (organic) carbon content of the sample. In some cases the bio-based content of a product can differ substantially from the bio-based carbon content, when other elements stemming from biomass are present in higher shares than carbon. Since European industry is concerned about presenting the total biomass content – which cannot generally be declared on the basis of bio-carbon content alone – the KBBPPS project continues to work on other techniques.
If you are interested in the standardization or pre-normative work, mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the project manager, Ortwin Costenoble, NEN Energy, t: +31 (0) 15 2 690 326. For obtaining the pre-standard, check at www.cen.eu