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Beta Analytic’s Alex Shroff talked about the correlation between a material’s biobased content and its carbon-14 levels during his presentation at a National Non-Food Crops Centre (NNFCC) conference focused on “Linking Bio-Based Materials to Renewable Energy Production.” He also described how a material’s biobased content is measured via ASTM D6866 testing.
Mr. Shroff was one of the speakers at the event held in London on March 1, 2011. The other speakers were Dr. Ben Sheridan of the British Standards Institution, Dr. John Williams of the NNFCC, Jöran Reske of Interseroh Dienstleitungs GmbH, Chris Manson-Whitton of Progressive Energy, and Andy Sweetman of Innovia Films, who is the current chairman of the European Bioplastics Association. The conference highlighted the significance of creating a standards-led market for biobased products in the UK and throughout Europe.
The NNFCC is the UK’s national center for biorenewable energy, fuels, and materials.
One key difference between materials from renewable sources and those produced from fossil inputs is the level of carbon-14 in them; renewable materials have carbon-14 while fossil inputs no longer contain this weakly radioactive carbon isotope. Quantifying a material’s carbon-14 content provides a measure of its biobased content, which is defined as the “amount of biobased carbon in the material or product expressed as a percent of weight (mass) of the total organic carbon in the material or product” as per the ASTM D6866 standard.
Products that are 100% biomass have 100% biobased content while those that are 100% fossil have 0% biobased content. Products that are partly biomass and partly fossil have biobased content greater than 0% and less than 100%.
ISO/IEC 17025:2005-accredited Beta Analytic provides biobased content testing through its lab in Miami, Florida, and sample forwarding facilities in North Sydney, Australia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Beijing, China; New Delhi, India; Nagoya, Japan; and London, UK. Biobased content of products is measured via ASTM D6866, which is an industrial application of radiocarbon dating.