Azwood Energy's Journey To ENplus® A1 Certification
Azwood Energy’s recent journey to gain ENplus® A1 certification for its pellet fuel was a challenging one, yet it has proved to be ultimately rewarding. The successful achievement of the standard is testament to Azwood’s unsurpassed innovation and enterprise, effective collaboration and an indomitable team spirit, notable for its tenacious attitude. This article provides insight into how ENplus® A1 certification was reached and what it means for you, as a pellet consumer.
Obtaining the highest wood pellet certification in the world was a lofty goal set by Azwood Energy, back in 2017. Although Azwood had been producing wood pellets for some eight years at that time, Operations Manager, Ben Crawford, explains the impetus behind seeking the exclusive certification: “We knew we had been making good pellets, but we had no way of proving it. We wanted a road-marked, quality system put into place. This gave us the confidence and control over the manufacture of those pellets, that we could then prove to be world-class”.
Azwood Energy resolved to aim high and put in motion changes which would see it gain the best certification available for wood pellet fuel, the internationally-recognised ENplus® A1 standard.
Why Have Pellet Fuel Standards?
Standards and certifications for pellet fuel provide guidance as to quality. Their use provides a short-cut which saves you time and energy checking product specifications against standards required for optimal use of your pellet fuel appliance.
The ENplus® A1 certification process, to which Azwood Energy ascribes, guarantees the quality of its wood pellets to an international standard - a standard that no other New Zealand wood pellet manufacturer can boast. Read more about ENplus® certification or watch the video here.
The Certification Process
In order to obtain ENplus®A1 certification, compliance with a stringent list of standards for pellets are enforced by a network of auditors who guarantee the consistent quality of pellets with annual inspections and quality follow-ups.
In 2018, Azwood Energy were visited by ENplus®- accredited auditor, Chris Wiberg, from Biomass Energy Labs in the United States. He undertook a comprehensive assessment of Azwood’s manufacturing facility’s processes, including a paper review of production, maintenance and training records. Equipment was scrutinised to ensure the requisite plant was maintained in clean, operational order.
Azwood’s self-monitoring quality management systems were also investigated. These mandatory, daily internal evaluations guarantee consistent production of pellet fuel to the ENplus® A1-certification standard. Azwood Energy’s dedicated, on-site laboratory was verified as suitable for conducting these tests, as were their testing procedures.
In authorising Azwood’s attainment of the ENplus® A1 standard, auditor Wiberg noted the certification “… gives the consumer confidence that the product was made under a stringent quality standard”. See Wiberg’s full interview about the Azwood Quality Management Audit here.
Learning On The Journey
Throughout Azwood Energy’s journey to certification, the company has refined its knowledge of wood pellet production, including facilitating improved control over the properties of its pellets. Ultimately, it has seen Azwood Energy develop methods of manufacture that remain unique in New Zealand. The application of these advanced techniques means Azwood consistently produces the best pellet fuel in the country.
Why ENplus® A1 Matters To The Consumer
This certification denotes that wood pellets are tested and meet a variety of technical specifications. ENplus® A1-certified pellets stand well above all others, particularly, in their mechanical durability, which means, in practical terms, they are more robust through packaging, handling and transportation, producing fewer fines.
Too many fines in pellet fuel can compact around the pellet fire’s fuel- feed augur, reducing pellet flow and causing malfunction requiring expensive repair. Excessive fines can also cause overheating and dirtying of the appliance. Furthermore, greater durability and fewer fines means there are more pellets to burn which provides better value for the customer.
Many leading pellet fire manufacturers stipulate use of ENplus® A1-certifed pellets, only, in their appliances. Rika fires, for example, note in their manual that failure to use ENplus® A1 pellets “..will have a negative effect on the function of your pellet stove and can also lead to the warranty becoming null and void…”.
Choosing ENplus® A1-certifed pellets means your pellet fire appliance operates at its optimum performance level and allows you peace of mind by ensuring your warranties remain valid.
Also setting the ENplus® scheme apart is that it systematically certifies, to its rigorous standard, the entire supply-chain from early production to end-of-delivery. Other pellet fuel standards relate only to product manufacture. With ENplus® A1 certification, all staff along the supply-chain follow detailed guidelines and receive dedicated training to ensure top quality in the pellet fuel they deliver for your use.
Benefits of certification - in a word
For bulk pellet fuel customers and pellet fire users alike, the benefits of certification can be summed up in one word: confidence. Crawford says “…when consumers buy wood fuel that’s been made under the ENplus® accreditation scheme, they have assurance that the product is consistently top quality, great value, reliable and backed up by great support”.
Have confidence in your pellet fuel choice: choose quality, choose reliability, choose safety, choose peace of mind: choose Azwood Energy’s ENplus® A1 pellets.