08-12-2015 Bio-based products from forestry and agriculture have a long history of application in various chemicals, such as solvents. Simple ethanol to name one. Early 2015, the European Standardization Committee (CEN) published a so-called Technical Specification laying down requirements for bio-based solvents. As work on sustainability and bio-based content is moving forward quickly, the document is intended to be revised in 2016.
CEN has received a mandate from the European Commission to develop standards for bio-based solvents. The work has been taken up by a group of solvents' industry and test lab experts from the technical committee on “Bio-based products”, CEN/TC 411. Solvents and chemicals in general have gone through several assessments for toxicity and biodegradability (among others) following the existing chemical regulations in EU, more specifically the Regulation for Environmental Assessment of Chemicals The criteria of that Regulation are included in the discussions that have led to this European Technical Specification, CEN/TS 16766. The criteria for "bio-based solvents" published in CEN/TS 16766 are also complementary to the other, horizontal standards developed by CEN/TC 411. In fact CEN/TS 16766 describes the approach that can be taken in describing the technical requirements of bio-based solvents.
CEN/TS 16766 lays down the characteristics and details for assessment of bio-based solvents:
What therefore discriminates a bio-based solvent from a general solvent is the content of bio-based material in the solvent. To inform the user about this so-called bio-based content, three classes for bio-based solvents are defined, A, B and C. Where the highest class is “A” (≥ 95%) and the lowest is “C” (≥ 25%).
In October, the CEN working group discussed the almost finalised CEN sustainability standards for bio-based products at the same moment, CEN/TC 411 is finalising standards where the bio-based content is measured via other ways than only checking the bio-based carbon content. These two developments give opportunities for improvement of CEN/TS 16766. Next, the EC had expressed wishes for a full European Standard by the end of 2016 that the market can use as a reasonable quality specification instead of a first characterization document. That led the group to propose to CEN/TC 411 to accept a soon revision of the document into a full EN 16766 that uses the latest CEN standards and market experience.
If you are interested in the development or require more information about the European Standards Committee, you can contact Mr Ortwin Costenoble, secretary of the CEN working group, at NEN, by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: +31 (0)15 2 690 326.