Projects 2019-2021

WP1: Market developments


Regional transitions in existing bioenergy markets

Our project focuses on regional biomass mobilization strategies of low value-high diversity biomass streams and their transition effects on existing bioenergy markets.

Starting from an overview of current and future solid biomass markets in the EU, the competitiveness of regional feedstocks vs. imported ‘commodities’ (e.g. pellets) is discussed for different markets. Such as; electricity, heat, transport and biomaterials/biorefineries.

Next current regional deployment strategies are investigated to assess the rationale behind their different rates of success, speed of development and impact on market trade. Key qualitative parameters for successful strategy deployment are identified; with special attention for regional specifics. This with the ambition to exchange this know-how on an international level.

Finally, the adoption of bioenergy by existing biomass feedstock suppliers in the US is investigated by examining the adoption of new practices and how this changes in relation to changing market, economic and social forces.  An Agent-Based Model will assess producer willingness to adopt scenarios for energy crops production and mobilization of low-value forest resources.

Our project will run from October 2019 till August 2021 and foresees liaison with the Task43 Biohub-project to exchange knowledge and refine project results. Project results will be shared via report (scheduled August 2021), a webinar (scheduled May 2021) and a workshop (to be planned).

Contact: Ric Hoefnagels, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, r.hoefnagels[at]


Circular Bioeconomy Synergies Project

Biomass mainly contains carbo-hydrates and carbon-based building blocks such as sugars and fibres. A circular & biobased economy with decreasing shares of “linear”, fossil-based value chains will have to efficiently deploy sustainable available biomass for food, feed, materials and energy purposes. An interconnection between the supply chains into supply networks based on competitively used densified biogenic carbon carriers and the inter-sectoral valorisation of by-products and post-consumer/secondary feedstocks is expected.

This Task 40 project will kick-start the discussion on synergy effects between the different sectors. In the first step we are comparing the metabolism of our current economy with a possibly relevant metabolism of a circular bio-based economy, derived from quantitative impact discussions of fossil fuel phase-outs, significantly increasing renewable electricity shares, efficiency and circularity improvements, nutritional transformation and changing economic valorisations of carbon in general.

In the second step, we aim to describe examples and key findings regarding current and future synergies for forestry, agricultural, secondary and third generation raw materials. Also, the impact of changing carbon economics due to market measures and changing reference systems/price drivers will be elaborated.

Finally, we will build upon this discussion to derive recommendations for (1) policy makers, also taking into consideration current developments on EU and global levels with regard to e.g. circularity, biobased sectors, trade, investment and innovation, (2) the IEA Bioenergy TCP communities next triennium (2021-2024) regarding possible strategic orientation and intertask works and (3) for the scientific community with regard to bioeconomy modelling.

The project runs from September 2020 – September 2021. Project results will be shared via report and a webinar.

Contact: Fabian Schipfer, Technical University Vienna, Austria, schipfer[at]


WP2: Industrial Heat and Processes


Intertask Project: Bioenergy for High Temperature Heat in Industry

Recent years have seen some very positive trends in deployment and cost reductions in renewable energy technologies, perhaps most notably solar photovoltaics and Li-ion batteries. However, in terms of prospects for reducing the risk of catastrophic climate change, decarbonization of the energy sector is a necessary but not sufficient. One sector where drastic greenhouse gas emission reductions will be particularly challenging is industry, where large amounts of fossil fuels are used for both process energy and as chemical reactants.

Tests in controlled environments such as labs or pilot facilities have shown that biomass-based fuels have the potential to play important roles as substitutes for traditional fossil-fuel based options. However, implementation of such solution in full-scale commercial facilities is another question and one that presents many new challenges not only in terms of technological performance reliability, but also in logistics and especially cost efficiency. The latter can be especially difficult in the light of how non-fossil options often are more expensive. Furthermore, the risk of carbon leakage can make policy makers unwilling to introduce e.g., carbon pricing in industrial sectors.

In the strategic inter-task IEA Bioenergy project on Bioenergy for High Temperature Heat in Industry, IEA Bioenergy Tasks 32, 33, 34, 36 and 40 collaborate on analysis of the techno-economical and institutional challenges and opportunities when it comes to implementation of biomass-based fuels as alternatives to fossil fuels when it comes to provision of industrial process heat. The role of IEA Bioenergy Task 40 is to analyze the market- and policy environments that can enable or hinder deployment of biomass-based solutions. This analysis will draw both literature review, stakeholder consultations and information gathered in a series of case studies carried out by tasks 32, 33, 34 and 36.

The Bioenergy for High Temperature Heat in Industry project runs from April 2019 to Oct 2021 and is led by Jaap Koppejan from IEA Bioenergy Task 32; see also website.

Contact: Olle Olsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden, Olle.Olsson[at]


Intertask Project: Deployment of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage/Utilization

Negative emissions technologies (NETs) have gained increasing attention in recent years. The main reason for this is the realization that without negative emissions, achieving the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement would require very steep emission reduction curves up to 2050. As global GHG emissions continue to grow despite expanding renewable electricity generation, we are now approaching a situation where drastic emissions reductions and deployment of NETs is no longer an either/or question.

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Sequestration, or BECCS, is arguably the most discussed NET. Hitherto, the BECCS debate has mostly focused on issues related to overall global opportunities and challenges pertaining to long-term global biomass deployment. Much less focus has been on different technological solutions, feasibility of BECCS in different sectors and regions and how policy frameworks and business models could be designed so as to enable BECCS deployment.

The aim of the collaborative IEA Bioenergy intertask project on Deployment of Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage/Utilization is to review and analyze the prospects for near-to medium term implementation of BECCS. In addition, the project will also analyze the prospects of utilizing captured biogenic carbon for different purposes as a possible strategy to stimulate technological development and business models in carbon capture more generally.

The project runs March 2019-October 2020 and IEA Bioenergy Task 40 leads the project with Task 36 and Task 45 as key partners and contributors.

 Contact: Olle Olsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden, Olle.Olsson[at]


WP3: Deployment Strategies


Intertask Project: Assess Successes and Lessons Learned for Conventional / Advanced Biofuels Deployment

On September 23rd 2020 there has been the kick-off meeting of the Lessons learned biofuels project. It is a strategic intertask collaboration between the IEA Bioenergy Tasks 39, 40 and 45. IEA Bioenergy Task 39 is leading this activity. The project will evaluate the technical, economic, societal and political reasons underlying the past and ongoing booms and busts cycles of biofuel technologies development, demonstration, deployment and replication in order to identify technology successes and the best policy framework conditions and measures for stimulating increased future markets for production and consumption of sustainable transport biofuels.

IEA Bioenergy Task 40 is mainly in charge of work package 4 dealing with the issue of sustainable biomass supply chains for international markets. The goal of WP4 is to develop criteria for sustainable biomass feedstock supply chains for international markets based on lessons learned from current successes and past failures.

The scope of work comprises the following Activities:

  1. Assess successes and failures of feedstock supply chains in biofuel, pulp & paper and biomass power industries
  2. Assess potential development of fractionation technologies to provide conversion ready feedstock and co-products
  3. Assess lessons learned in supply risks and sustainability standards and certification of international supply chains.

Task 40 will be responsible for Activities 1 and 2 and part of Activity 3. Task 45 will contribute to Activity 3.

One common contrast between success and failure of biomass feedstock supply is the consistent quality of feedstock delivered to conversion facilities. For example: uniform quality grains are delivered to first generation ethanol plants, wood pellets or wood chips meeting users’ specifications are delivered to biomass power plants, and uniform wood chips are delivered to pulp mills. The technical difficulties experienced in pioneer cellulosic ethanol plants in the U.S. can be traced to variability in properties of corn stover delivered to the plants.

Contact: Pralhad Burli, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), US, pralhad.burli[at] 


Intertask Project: Renewable Gas ‐ Deployment, Markets and Sustainable Trade

The new strategic intertask project “Renewable Gas” (RG) will analyze the prospects of implementing RG in the energy markets of IEA countries, and beyond. It is led by Task 40, with participation from Tasks 37, 44 and 45.

The RG project aims to provide state-of-the-art overviews on prospects, opportunities and challenges for various mechanisms (e.g. green gas certificates, quotas) for deploying biogas, biomethane and other renewable gases. It will discuss technological and sustainability issues of RG from a deployment perspective, and will derive respective recommendations for policy-makers. The project will draw upon a combination of literature reviews, policy analysis, and stakeholder consultations to provide decision makers and the research community with a compre­hensive overview of what is currently known regarding RG, and which mechanisms are considered to fulfil the important role of RG in a decarbonized future.

The RG project will also provide input to the strategic intertask projects on “Bioenergy in a WB2/SDG world”, “High-Temperature Industrial Heat” and to the collaborative intertask project on BECCS/U.

Contact: Uwe Fritsche, International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy (IINAS), Germany, uf[at]


Intertask Project: The Role of Bioenergy in a WB2/SDG world

Many scenarios that meet the target of limiting global warming to well below 2°C (WB2 target) include a significant – and increasing – contribution of biomass-based energy supply (bioenergy). At the same time, there is disagreement about the role of bioenergy for reaching the WB2 target and studies differ significantly concerning the potential and usage of biomass at global as well as regional levels. On the one hand, bioenergy implementation is associated with trade-offs and challenges. On the other hand, bioenergy has advantages in terms of technological readiness (esp. in the transport sector), storability, flexibility, and the potential for being a negative emission technology (NET).  Additionally, bioenergy is aligned with several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and bioenergy implementation strategies differ depending on context conditions and prioritization among SDGs.

The new intertask project will assess the role of bioenergy in WB2/SDG scenarios, with the objective to identify and disseminate strategies for bioenergy implementation that contribute positively to a societal transition towards the WB2 target, while simultaneously contributing to other SDG objectives. The project will also address trade‐offs and concerns about possible negative impacts of bioenergy expansion, with a focus on mitigating these challenges and identifying opportunities for synergies between bioenergy deployment and SDG implementation.

The IEA Bioenergy Tasks will work together in this project regarding deployment (Task 40), resource potential and supply chains (Task 43), flexibility and systems integration (Task 44) as well as sustainability (Task 45 – project lead).

Contact: Daniela Thrän, Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum (DBFZ), Germany, Daniela.Thraen[at]