We're a driven team focused on advancing the agricultural biomass industry. Below outlines what the committees are doing to achieve this goal.
The Bioenergy Sub-Committee is working to close the gap between biomass and traditional fossil fuels for bio-heat applications by creating links between the supply chain, fuel quality and the required equipment with a focus on Central and Western Canada. We are assessing the properties of Canadian biomass and comparing against existing standards to confirm quality and capability with an end goal of a fuel database for Canadian agricultural feedstocks.
The Bioenergy Sub-Committee is also heavily involved in the development of CSA/ISO standards through participation on the Canadian Standards Mirror Committee to ISO Technical Committees 238 on Solid Biofuels and 255 on Biogas. Engagement with these well-developed committees provides us with the opportunity to engage with existing standard bodies, both nationally and internationally.
The Biomaterials Sub-Committee is assessing feedstocks and semi-processed material to improve the trade of material throughout the supply chain. The biomaterials industry is vast and spans from green building products to biocomposites and everything in between. With these product areas, the standards required are driven by end-users to match the current specification set by industry. Instead of narrowing the focus to a specific industry, we are focusing our efforts on developing standards that impact the value placed on the biomass feedstock. Specifically, efforts are concentrated on developing relatively inexpensive, easy-to-perform and quick quality assessment methods that provide reasonable, repeatable and meaningful results. These will be used to assess the quality of the biomass for incorporation into downstream industrial processes. To achieve these objectives, we plan to advance a series of in-field methods and procedures that use portable devices coupled with organoleptic methods to assess biomass quality parameters to determine the premium of biomass commodities.
Some existing and future results include:
In-field fibre colour assessment using a mobile smartphone device
Rapid assessment of biofibre cleanliness
Determining the length of long bast fibres
Fibre bundle strength of bast fibres using a Pressley Tester
Mould assessment of agricultural biomass samples using handheld visible-NIR spectroscopy
Foreign crop assessment within biomass bales
Guideline for determining moisture content in agricultural bales
The Biomaterials Sub-Committee is also heavily involved in the development of various types of fiber-related standards with ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) and with the CHTA (Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance). These include developing definitions, guides, practices, protocols and test methods that are or will be industry accepted and that encourage and/or enable trade and commerce in fiber-related products and/or give quantitative values for various properties of the fiber, hurd and shive related products that are being tested.
Due to similarities in quality requirements, the Biofuel and Biochemical Sub-Committees have been combined to form the Biorefining Sub-Committee.
The Biorefining Sub-Committee is focused on assessing the chemical composition of feedstocks, a critical component in understanding the content and quality of the feedstock used to derive biofuels and biochemicals. We are concentrating our efforts on developing standardized procedures to sample biomass feedstock, ensuring a representative sample is obtained. We are also focused on developing near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic calibration methods for compositional elements such as ash, lignin, sugars and extractives.
The work will result in a transferable calibration method for benchtop NIR spectrometers. Building onto this, a small-scale industrial demonstrator will be developed to measure the constituent contents with a processing line to demonstrate industry relevance.