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In 2012 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to issue revisions to its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), the program that governs emissions for wood burning appliances.

Among other things, it is expected that the new NSPS will explicitly include wood pellet stoves and that it will require pellet appliance certification tests and operation with industry-certified pellets.

The EPA has worked with the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) to encourage development of a pellet fuel certification program and it is expected that the EPA will cite this program specifically in the new NSPS. For the purposes of the NSPS, pellets that are tested through the PFI Standards Program would be assured to be qualified to a specified grade and can be properly matched to the appliances that are permitted to burn them.

Manufacturers of PFI graded pellet fuels will be allowed to place labels on their packaging, thereby assuring consumers and retailers that the pellets in fact meet the new standards.

Once the new NSPS is finalized, it is expected that most consumers and retailers will demand pellets that meet the standards and are labeled as such.

How does PLIB fit in?

The biggest difference between the PFI’s previous quality standards program and the current program is that the current program includes provisions requiring third party inspections, sampling, testing and overall program oversight.

The American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) has agreed to serve as the program’s accreditation body. PLIB has applied to become an ALSC-approved inspection agency for the purposes of this program. PLIB expects to become approved in early January 2012.

Once approved PLIB can serve as the third-party inspection agency and administrator of the PFI labeling program for any wood pellet manufacturer wishing to comply. For details about the PFI program, click here (goes to http://pelletheat.org/pfi-standards/pfi-standards-program/).

For information about subscribing to PLIB’s wood pellet inspection program, please contact us at 253-835-3344.