European Standards for Biobased Products

  • CEN created a new technical committee for biobased products in 2011
  • Several biobased product standards are under development in Europe.

ISO/IEC 17025:2017-accredited Beta Analytic is not affiliated with CEN or any of its technical committees.

Biobased ProductsThe European Union has strengthened the innovation potential of biobased products within its member countries via the Lead Market Initiative. The development of products made from renewable sources is an important prospect for the EU as it promotes a biobased economy. Examples of biobased products with growing markets are biopolymers, which encompass bioplastics and all other polymers partly or wholly made from renewable materials like agricultural and forestry products.

To overcome perceived uncertainty about their properties and the industry’s weak market transparency, there is a need for standardization, labelling, and certification of biobased products. The European Commission has mandated Europe’s standardization body, the European Committee for Standardization (Comite Europeen de Normalisation or CEN), to develop technical specifications and standards for biopolymers and bio-lubricants (Mandate M/430) and to elaborate a standardization program for biobased products starting with the definition of the term “biobased” (Mandate M/429).

CEN Technical Committees and Working Groups

Biobased In May 2011, the CEN created CEN/TC 411 – the Technical Committee on bio-based products. This committee is responsible for carrying out the requests under M/492 and M/491 for bio-solvents. The responsibility for developing the standard on bio-surfactants has been assigned to CEN/TC 276 “Surface active agents.”

There are two other CEN committees assigned to develop standards for biobased products in response to Mandate M/430 – CEN/TC 19 “Gaseous and liquid fuels, lubricants and related products of petroleum, synthetic and biological origin” and CEN/TC 249 “Plastics.”

In 2018, the CEN created technical committee CEN/TC 454 to develop standards for biobased products made from algae.

CEN/TC 411 – Biobased products

The technical committee’s main task is to develop standards for biobased products covering horizontal aspects, including consistent terminology, sampling, certification tools, biobased content, application of and correlation towards life cycle analysis, among others.

CEN/TC 411 published these technical specifications and standards, among others:

  • CEN/TR 16721:2014 Bio-based products – Overview of methods to determine the bio-based content
  • CEN/TS 16640:2014 Bio-based products – Determination of the bio-based carbon content of products using the radiocarbon method (replaced by EN 16640:2017)
  • EN 16575:2014 Bio-based products – Vocabulary
  • CEN/TS 16766:2015 – Bio-based solvents – Requirements and test methods (replaced by European standard EN 16766:2017)
  • EN 16785-1:2015 – Bio-based products – Bio-based content – Part 1: Determination of the bio-based content using the radiocarbon analysis and elemental analysis

Is your product biobased? Prove it!

CEN/TC 249/WG 17 for Biopolymers

Disposable platesThe CEN Technical Committee 249 is in charge of all standards for plastics. One of its working groups, the Working Group 17, is responsible for the development of standards for biopolymers. WG17 was established in October 2008 and has been active since January 2009.

As of October 2012, CEN/TC 249 has published one technical report and three technical specifications relevant to the biobased industry.

  • CEN/TR 15932: 2010 Plastics – Recommendation for terminology and characterisation of biopolymers and bioplastics
  • CEN/TS 16137:2011 Plastics – Determination of bio-based carbon content (superseded by EN 17228)
  • CEN/TS 16295:2012 Plastics – Declaration of the bio-based carbon content (superseded by EN 17228)
  • CEN/TS 16398:2012 Plastics – Template for reporting and communication of bio-based carbon content and recovery options of biopolymers and bioplastics – Data sheet

CEN/TC 19/WG 33 for Bio-lubricants

CEN Technical Committee 19 develops standards for product quality characterization, quantity measurement, and operational procedures concerning the downstream oil industry’s naturally occurring materials and their derivatives.

Its Working Group 33 was tasked to create a standard for bio-lubricants focused on their biodegradability; product functionality; impact on greenhouse gas emissions and raw material consumption; and measurement methods, test methods, and life cycle assessment procedures. CEN/TC 19 published a technical report in August 2011 named CEN/TR 16227:2011 “Liquid petroleum products – Bio-lubricants – Recommendation for terminology and characterisation of bio-lubricants and bio-based lubricants.”

In 2016, the technical committee completed EN 16807:2016 – Liquid petroleum products – Bio-lubricants – Criteria and requirements of bio-lubricants and bio-based lubricants. Ratified and approved in May 2016, this European standard specifies the term bio-lubricant and the minimum requirements for all kinds of bio-lubricants and bio-based lubricants. It also briefly describes relevant test methods for the characterization of bio-lubricants.

CEN/TC 276 – Surface Active Agents

The committee started working on a technical specification for bio-based surfactants in 2015. The technical specification is now available as CEN/TS 17035:2017 – Surface Active Agents – Bio-based surfactants – Requirements and test methods. It will be superseded by EN 17035 once approved.

CEN BT/WG 209 Biobased Products

The European Commission Mandate M/429 to develop a standardization program for biobased products was assigned by the CEN Technical Board (BT) to its Working Group 209. WG 209 was expected to produce an overview of already existing standards on all types of bio-based products, identify research needs, and produce recommendations for a standardization work program.

The CEN/BT/WG 209 was disbanded in August 2010. Its final report was published in May 2011 as CEN/TR 16208 – Bio-based products – Overview of standards.

Source: CEN Bio-based Products

Biobased Carbon Content Testing by Beta Analytic

ISO/IEC 17025:2017-accredited Beta Analytic supports Europe’s biobased industry by providing high-quality biobased carbon content measurements.

Based in Miami, Florida, Beta Analytic accepts samples throughout Europe via its forwarding office in London, UK.

Page last updated: February 2021