The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) Technical Committee CEN/TC 411 has published EN 16640:2017: Bio-based products – Bio-based carbon content – Determination of the bio-based carbon content using the radiocarbon method. CEN had previously published technical specifications also based on the radiocarbon content of biobased materials.
There are three test methods specified in CEN/TS 16640 for measuring radiocarbon content – liquid scintillation counting (LSC), beta-ionization (BI), and accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Under EN 16640, the biobased carbon content of a material is expressed as a fraction of sample mass or as a fraction of the total carbon content. This calculation method is applicable to any product containing organic carbon, including biocomposites.
EN 16640:2017 supersedes technical specification CEN/TS 16640 which was developed in 2014. The standard was ratified in December 2016 and made available in February 2017. CEN will publish European Standard EN 16640 in August 2017.
The CEN/TS 16640 is similar to previously released technical specifications CEN/TS 16137 and CEN/TS 16295, which were published by a technical committee focused on plastics. These three technical specifications are based on radiocarbon analyses. CEN/TS 16640 is applicable to all biobased products whereas the other two are only applicable to plastics and polymers.
CEN/TS 16137 provides reference test and calculation methods for determining the biobased carbon content of plastics and other polymers that contain organic carbon.
CEN/TS 16295 provides requirements for the declaration, including statements and labels, of the biobased carbon content of polymers, plastic materials, semi-finished plastic products, and finished plastic products, including composites.
Technical Committee CEN/TC 411 is currently working on other specifications and reports. In July 2017, the committee ratified EN 16766:2017: Bio-based solvents – Requirements and test methods which supersedes CEN/TS 16766:2015. This standard sets the requirements for bio-based solvents in terms of their bio-based content, their technical properties and test methods.
ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited Beta Analytic measures the biobased carbon content of a material through AMS. Compared to the other two methods specified in CEN/TS 16640, AMS analysis is more accurate with standard deviation as low as 0.1%.
Based in Miami, Florida, Beta Analytic accepts samples throughout Europe via its forwarding office in London, UK.
Beta Analytic supports Europe’s biobased industry by providing high-quality biobased carbon content measurements. The company is not affiliated with the CEN or any of its technical committees.