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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 17025:2005-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 the 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 M430) and to elaborate a standardization program for biobased products starting with the definition of the term “biobased” (Mandate M429).

CEN Technical Committees and Working Groups

CEN 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 M491 for bio-solvents. The responsiblity 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.”

CEN/TC 411 – Biobased products

The Technical Committee CEN/TC 411’s main task is to develop standards for bio-based products covering horizontal aspects, including consistent terminology, sampling, certification tools, bio-based content, application of and correlation towards life cycle analysis, among others.

In 2014, CEN/TC 411 published three documents:

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

EN 16575:2014 Bio-based products – Vocabulary

In 2015, CEN/TC 411 finalized CEN/TS 16766:2015 – Bio-based solvents – Requirements and test methods. This technical specification sets requirements for bio-based solvents in terms of properties, limits, application classes and test methods.

As of August 2016, CEN/TC 411 has several standards currently under approval, including:

– FprEN 16640: Bio-based products – Bio-based carbon content – Determination of the bio-based carbon content using the radiocarbon method

Once approved, this standard will supersede technical specification CEN/TS 16640:2014.

– prEN 16766: Bio-based solvents – Requirements and test methods

This European standard will supersede technical specification CEN/TS 16766:2015 once approved.

– FprEN 16935: Bio-based products – B2C reporting and communication – Requirements for claims

This European standard specifies requirements for transparent and non-misleading business-to-consumer communication of characteristics of bio-based products by means of labelling and claims.

Source: CEN/TC 411 Work programme

CEN/TC 249/WG 17 for Biopolymers

The 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 (published March 2010)

CEN/TS 16137:2011 Plastics – Determination of bio-based carbon content (published April 2011)

CEN/TS 16295:2012 Plastics – Declaration of the bio-based carbon content (published February 2012)

CEN/TS 16398:2012 Plastics – Template for reporting and communication of bio-based carbon content and recovery options of biopolymers and bioplastics – Data sheet (published in October 2012)

CEN/TC 19/WG 33 for Bio-lubricants

The CEN Technical Committee 19 “Gaseous and liquid fuels, lubricants and related products of petroleum, synthetic and biological origin” 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 “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 minimum requirements for all kinds of bio-lubricants and bio-based lubricants. It also briefly describes relevant test method needs with respect to the characterization of bio-lubricants.

CEN/TC 276 – Surface Active Agents

In 2015, CEN/TC 276 started working on FprCEN/TS 17035 Surface Active Agents – Bio-based surfactants – Requirements and test methods. This Technical Specification sets requirements for bio-based surfactants in terms of properties, limits, application classes and test methods. It is currently under approval as of August 2016.

CEN BT/WG 209 Biobased Products

The European Commission Mandate M/249 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 17025:2005-accredited Beta Analytic supports Europe’s biobased industry by providing high-quality biobased carbon content measurements. The company provides fast and reliable ASTM D6866 and CEN/TS 16137 biobased content testing to researchers and manufacturers of biobased products. Based in Miami, Florida, Beta Analytic accepts samples throughout Europe via its forwarding office in London, UK.

The company is not affiliated with the CEN or any of its technical committees.

Last Updated: August 8, 2016