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Call to educate the end user: BSRIA stages sustainable clean combustion eventApril 2019

allan wilson Sustainability Consultant

“The right appliance, with the wrong fuel, spells disaster! It’s all about education. The end user is king. We all have a responsibility and need to spread the message”, said allan wilson, Test Engineer, BSRIA.

To ensure industry complies with the Clean Air Strategy, launched by DEFRA in January, a Sustainable Clean Combustion event was staged by BSRIA on Wednesday where BSRIA’s Test House facilities were showcased. Presentations on the strategy and reducing emissions were given.

Susie Willows, Head of Domestic Combustion & Air Quality, DEFRA, recapped the strategy and government action on reducing emissions from domestic burning.

The Clean Air Strategy sets out how the UK will meet its international commitments to significantly reduce emissions of the five most damaging air pollutants by 2020, and 2030 and progressively cut exposure to particulate matter pollution as suggested by WHO (World Health Organisation). Susie said that air pollution is the fourth biggest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity. It causes more harm than passive smoking. Susie said: “people should be able to burn better”.

DEFRA has committed to:

  • Legislate to prohibit the sale of the most polluting fuels.
  • Ensure that only the cleanest stoves are available for sale by 2022.
  • Work with industry to identify an appropriate test standard for new solid fuels entering the market.

Fuels legislation: with the aim of reducing emissions by shifting consumers to cleaner fuels:

• Those who burn wet wood to dry wood.
• Those who burn coal to manufactured solid fuels.

allan wilson looked at measuring emissions technology and technique and emphasised the difference between: key contributors – fixed aspects – appliance, installation; less fixed aspects – fuel and the end user – which is the least controllable of all.

He said that it takes a catastrophe before action is taken: after the great smog of London in 1952 – the first Clean Air Act came to pass in 1956.

allan discussed how BSRIA is working with industry to reduce emissions through their new fully automated chimney and flue testing capabilities – which are in accordance with European norms covering: metal, clay and ceramics, concrete and plastic. New legislation incorporates BS EN 16510 Part 1 – featuring all current measurements, with lower permissible limits on CO, together with additional measurements for NOx, OGC, particulates and safe distances – from the top and the front of the appliance.

Helen Bentley-Fox, director, woodsure, considered industry progress and product approval (fuel) explained that the wood fuel has to be “appropriate for burning” and that not all wood is equal. For example – waste wood can be contaminated – with copper and arsenic. And has to be burnt appropriately, adding: “it ain’t what you do – it’s the way that you do it!”.

woodsure has recently introduced the Ready to Burn wood fuel scheme: a simple scheme for wood fuel suppliers to raise consumer awareness and to show they are providing dry ready to burn wood fuel for the stove market.

In order to minimise the particulates – studies indicate there is a “sweet spot” between 10 and 20 per cent moisture. Specifically: eight – 25 per cent moisture content; ready to burn at less than 20 per cent; woodsure at less than 25 per cent.

Andrew Hopton, HETAS, said that, as an industry, “we want people to be able to burn wood and biomass safely and in an environmentally responsible way”. Making information available helps people make the right choices.

HETAS and woodsure are sister organisations working side-by-side to communicate with installers, appliances manufacturers, fuel providers and retailers to convey a consistent message.

Julia Evans, BSRIA Chief Executive, reminded the audience that BSRIA’s chimney’s rig is “the only one of its kind in the UK” and its “stove rig is one of only two in the country”. Adding that the Test House facility is certainly “unique” and, as a result, BSRIA is committed to reducing emissions and leading in preparing customers for 2022.

She added that: “education, the right kind of fuel and human behaviour must all come together. As an industry, we must stand as one with DEFRA’s stringent clean air message”.

Mock-up testing

Click here to find out more about mock-up testing at BSRIA