The Sustainable Fuel Register, an industry-led reporting scheme for non-wood biomass fuels, was launched at the Energy Now Expo, Telford, in February 2016. This new scheme will allow tens of thousands of tonnes of previously unavailable non-wood biomass (e.g. agricultural straw and miscanthus) to receive accreditation for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) projects, as well as biomass residues from conservation management and waste-derived fuels such as pelletised coffee grounds.
The SFR fills a gap in the market, since the current Biomass Suppliers List applies mostly to wood chip and wood pellet fuels (short rotation coppice and arboricultural thinnings are also allowed as raw materials). Enabling more farmers and landowners to use their own home-grown biomass fuel, the SFR is intended for:
- Producers/growers of non-wood fuels
- Traders of non-wood fuels
- RHI participants
Registration fees are reasonable, starting at £125/year for up to 125 tonnes of fuel (roughly the needs of a 150-200 kW boiler, depending upon usage). Online registration is preferred, but paper-based applications will also be available (although taking more time to process). Successful applicants receive an SFR authorisation number/authorised mark.
The NFU believes firmly that all solid biomass fuels, whether from woodland or agricultural land, should be treated on a level playing field in order to maximise the opportunities for British farmers and landowners. Since last year’s introduction of fuel sustainability reporting, we have strongly supported Farm Energy Centre and Crops for Energy as having the right competencies to administer a more comprehensive Sustainable Fuel Register.
Once the scheme receives formal DECC approval in Spring 2016, based upon its existing self-reporting clients, it should offer the easiest way to register your non-wood fuels to meet RHI sustainability criteria - saving you time, money, and improving your route to market. Farmers and growers supplying or using on-wood fuels are recommended to submit their details now in order to stay up to date with the latest developments.
See also our related NFU page on the biomass sustainability regulations for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.