Friday, 9 May 2014

Biomass Suppliers List

We have been referring to new requirements around the sustainability of biomass fuels for some time now so we were pleased to see that the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) has now been launched.

The Biomass Suppliers List is the process employed by UK Government to ensure that publicly funded subsidies such as the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) remain eligible under the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

The RED Directive requires users of biomass fuel that are claiming the RHI to meet a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target of 60% GHG savings against the EU fossil fuel average.

In a nutshell this means that the carbon footprint of a biomass fuel must deliver a substantial carbon saving compared to oil, gas or coal to ensure that biomass retains its 'low carbon' or 'carbon neutral' status.

What does this mean to users and producers of biomass fuels?

The BSL applies to users, producers, self-suppliers and traders of 'woody biomass'.  

For a fuel user in receipt of the RHI (commercial or domestic) they will need to demonstrate to Ofgem that their fuel is from a source recognised by the BSL. 

In turn this means that anyone supplying an RHI accredited biomass boiler will need to be registered on the BSL.  Self-suppliers will also need to be listed on the BSL.  

In addition to BSL accreditation biomass traders/wholesalers will also be listed on a public register.

Effectively any fuel used or supplied to an RHI accredited boiler will need to have BSL accreditation.

Which fuels are included?
  • Pellets – virgin
  • Pellets – waste
  • Pellets – waste virgin blend
  • Briquettes – virgin
  • Briquettes – waste
  • Briquettes – waste virgin blend
  • Chip – virgin naturally seasoned
  • Chip – virgin force dried
  • Chip – waste
  • Chip – waste virgin blend
  • Firewood – virgin naturally seasoned
  • Firewood – virgin force dried
  • Firewood – waste
  • Firewood – waste virgin blend
What are the requirements?

All applicants must agree to the scheme terms and conditions, which include requirements around reporting, agreement to be subject to periodic audits, and the provision of proofs of purchase in the form of invoices or receipts with information about the fuel on them.

How do I apply?

The application process is completed online at the new BSL portal.

For users and self-suppliers the process is relatively simple.  After selecting the a supplier type applicants are required to respond to a set of questions (which vary according to the supplier type).

Self-suppliers, for example, are required to sign a declaration and upload a copy of a Forestry Commission approved management plan.

For traders and producers the process is a little more complicated and may require the completion and uploading of product data and carbon footprint calculations (via the B2C2 carbon calculator).

All applicants need to accept a set of terms and conditions that confirm acceptance of the scheme rules and which enables the BSL to undertake ongoing checks or audits.

The BSL FAQ is a good place to start.  Application guidance is also available on the BSL portal.

Overall we feel that the BSL is an appropriate method for accrediting and monitoring biomass fuels that are being used in publicly-funded biomass boilers.  

The BSL may initially appear to be bureaucratic but we are confident that most people will get to grips with it fairly easily.


  1. Antony martin9 May 2014 at 11:18

    The provision of a Forestry Commission Woodland Management Plan is not yet mandatory but no doubt will be in the future.

    The B2C2 carbon calculator has a VERY steep learning curve!

    However, if one is a 'Micro' producer (£2,000,000 or less turn over, then your carbon footprint is calculated automatically by the application form.)

  2. Thanks Antony. Having an FC approved Management Plan is clearly a great advantage for the BSL (and I assume most people self-supplying would already have this in place).