AgriBioSource mentioned in GMP article first RBA certificates awarded

woensdag 8 oktober 2014

This news item is only available in English: Recently, the first RBA certificates were awarded to three companies, active in the co-substrate sector.  RBA stands for Responsible Biomass Assurance, the module in the Responsible Biomass Certification scheme (RBC scheme). GMP+ International launched this new certification scheme over a year ago, focused on the quality assurance of biomass. A standard in this new scheme, RBC B2 is focused on the quality assurance of co-substrates used in co-fermentation. This standard contains the requirements that market parties that produce, trade, store and transport co-substrates, must meet.

What are co-substrates?
Co-substrates are organic residual products, often originating from agriculture and horticulture or the (cattle) feed industry that is fermented together with manure. From this process, bio gas arises as well as the residual product digestate. The digestate can be used as an organic fertiliser if it meets the legal standards for soil pollution with heavy metals and micro contaminants. The RBC R2 standard provides requirements for the assurance of the quality of co-substrates in view of obtaining a digestate that meets said environmental standards.

Not all co-substrates are allowed to be used in co-fermentation. The government has drawn up a list of permitted co-substrates. No standards apply for this so-called positive list (attachment Aa., associated with article 4 of the ‘Uitvoeringsregeling Meststoffenwet’, part IV, category 1, A through F) because it only contains residual products of which it is sufficiently certain – given the nature and the origin – that they can be used safely.

Since April 2012, an extra list has been included in the annex Aa, being the G list of products that can also be fermented. However, a requirement is that – in the use of the products on the G list – the users must make sure that they don’t contain too high levels of heavy metals and organic micro contaminants.  This list was introduced to give co-fermentation plants the opportunity of mixing in more products. These products must be RBA certified however.

Why RBA B2 certification?
The RBC B2 standard for quality assurance of the co substrates mainly covers standards and requirements that are focused on the digestate that is released as residual product in co-fermentation. Through the application of this standard, a company assures that the delivered co-substrate eventually results in a digestate in the fermentation process, that meets the legal standards for soil pollution with heavy metals and micro contaminants. A certificate allows the company to demonstrate this to market parties and the government.

The letter sent by state secretary Sharon Dijksma (Economic Affairs) on June 10th 2014 to the parliament, shows that the use of G list products in the Netherlands will soon only be allowed if companies are certified for the RBC B2 standard. To prevent abuse of the G list while simultaneously giving sufficient residual products from agriculture and horticulture and the (cattle) feed industry a useful application, chain assurance through certification is required.

Over the past year, a number of companies have successfully implemented the quality assurance of co-substrates into their quality management system.

The RBA certified companies who have recently been certified say the following:
Through the RBA certification, AgriBioSource aims to convince its customers of the fact that it is doing everything to assure the quality of the products’, says Sjoerd Hermsen, director of AgriBioSource. ‘In addition, this certification underlines the responsible use of products in the bio energy industry. This means a next step in the sustainable application of byproducts and provides customers, suppliers and stakeholders with security’.

From the field
To the two approved certification bodies that have expended their work field with the scope ‘Assurance of co-substrates for fermentation’, it is clear:

Rien Buitink of Kiwa notes: ‘RBA certification is a logical expansion of the work field for Kiwa. Since many years now, Kiwa has been active in the feed sector, due to which it is also active in the promotion of sustainable biomass. The great collaboration with GMP+ for the training of the Kiwa auditors was an important requirement to be one of the first certification bodies to begin with the certification of co-substrates. The sector requires challenging support in its goal of developing a sustainable chain for biomass. In this, Kiwa is happy to be your partner.’

Evert van de Pest van Schouten Certification agrees and continues: ‘With an RBA certificate, based on the standard RBC B2 ‘Assurance of co-substrates for fermentation’, you’ll be able demonstrate that your company meets the requested quality and the set standards. In addition, your RBA system allows you to quickly anticipate any calamities and trace were irregularities exist within your company or in the chain.'

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