Task 40

Sustainable International Bioenergy Trade - Securing Supply and Demand


Upcoming event in May 2015


Latest reports in Jan 2015


Ongoing projects


12 member countries

News 2015



Event: IEA Bioenergy Conference 2015, 26-29 Oct 2015


Event: Workshop Biomass Trade and Supply in a Global Bio-Based Economy, 5-6 May 2015


Event: Workshop Biomethane International, 12nd International Conference on Biofuels, Berlin, 19-20 January 2015

News 2014



Event: International workshop: Towards sustainable international biomass trade strategies, Brussels, 24 Oct 2014


Report: Ecological sustainability of wood bioenergy feedstock supply chains: Local, national and international policy perspectives


Report: Biomethane - Status and Factors Affecting Market Development and Trade


Reports: Impact of promotion mechanisms for advanced and low-iLUC biofuels on markets


Event: Workshop - Biomass trade and supply system opportunities in a world-wide bio-based economy, Jonkoping, Sweden, 4 June 2014


Event: Workshop - Torrefaction of biomass, Graz, Austria, 17 Jan 2014

Upcoming event: Session "Visions for bio-energy trade in the Baltic Sea region in a ten year perspective", at Conference Nordic Baltic Bioenergy, Riga, Latvia, 15 April 2015

Bioenergy commodities are increasingly subject to international trade. But how will this trade develop in the Nordic Baltic region in the coming ten years, and what are the driving forces? Will biogenic raw materials, woodchips, pellets and liquid biofuels be important sources of income to producers and traders in the North European region? We invite you to take part in our conference session about Bioenergy trade on Wednesday 15 April (11:00-12:30 Betahall). This session is organised and led by IEA Bioenergy, Task 40 (Sustainable International Bioenergy Trade). More information is available here.

Upcoming event: Workshop Biomass Trade and Supply in a Global Bio-Based Economy, Sassari, Sardinia, Italy, 5-6 May 2015

Many governments across the globe have defined national 'bioeconomy' strategies. However, it remains unclear how the current economy will shift towards a future bioeconomy where chemicals, materials, transport fuels, and other high-value products are derived from non-food materials. Under the banner of "Biomass Trade and Supply in a Global Bio-Based Economy", IEA Bioenergy Tasks 40 and 42, together with the European Commission funded project DiaCore, will host a workshop on May 5 in Sassari, Italy (agenda below). Draft findings of a recent Intertask study between Tasks 34, 40, and 42 as well as results of DiaCore on the same topic will be presented, and the viewpoints of policy makers and representatives from the biofuels, biopower, and logistics industry will be heard and discussed. The workshop will connect to Italian research perspectives on the afternoon of May 5 and a site-visit to the MATRICA Biorefinery (a Versalis-NOVAMONT joint venture), close to the workshop location, will be possible on May 6. More information is available here.

Upcoming event: IEA Bioenergy Conference 2015 - Realising the world's sustainable bioenergy potential, Berlin, 26-29 October 2015

Under the auspices of the German Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, the bioenergy conference of the International Energy Agency (IEA) will take place from 26 to 29 of October 2015 in Berlin. The conference offers information on the latest developments in the bioenergy sector to experts from industry, academia and policy making. Under the slogan “Realising the World’s Sustainable Bioenergy Potential” you can expect over 40 lectures and four field trips covering ten thematic fields. Registration is open as of now until 29 September 2015 through the conference website ieabioenergy2015.org. We would like to show your outstanding achievements and results in the bioenergy sector through visual presentations - please apply with your poster by 30 April 2015 on the website. More information is available here.

Report: Country reports 2014

In this year, Task 40 has compiled new country reports again. These country reports identify domestic biomass resources in each member countries, and their current use, trends, and main users. In the reports, policy support and expected biomass use in 2020 (and beyond) is also described, together with biomass prices and international biomass trade for energy. Finally, discussions on drivers, barriers & opportunities are also presented. The latest reports: Brazil| Finland| Germany| Norway| US.

The 2014 Canadian country report was also published by CanBio. While Canada is currently no member of IEA Bioenergy Task 40, the information is presented in a similar format as previous country reports from Canada, and may be of interest for the international bioenergy trade community, as Canada is a major exporter of wood pellets. However, please note that IEA Bioenergy task 40 has not reviewed the study and is not responsible for the content. Download Canada country report.

Others: "Development in the global trade of wood pellet" by US International Trade Commission

In this report by US International Trade Commission, four Task 40's reports are cited. For the US report. Note that it is interesting for global trade community but that it was not reviewed by Task 40.

The production and trade of wood pellets as a renewable energy source have increased significantly since 2008. The U.S. has become a major producer and exporter of wood pellets, primarily to the European Union (EU). Demand for wood pelle ts in the EU has been driven by policies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase the use of renewable energy. Many European power producers have converted, or are in the process of converting, coal-fired electric generating plants to biomass i n the form of wood pellets to meet the EU's target of 20 percent renewable energy use by 2020. Wood pellet demand is also increasing in Korea and Japan as those countries also seek to increase use of renewable energy. This paper provides an overview of trends in the global demand for wood pellets and recent developments influencing wood pellets trade. The report is available here.

Task 40's reports cited:
Global Wood Pellet Industry Market and Trade Study - 2011.
Low Cost, Long Distance Biomass Energy Supply Chains - 2013.
Survey on governance and certification of sustainable biomass and bioenergy - 2013.
Task 3: Impacts of sustainability certification on bioenergy markets and trade - 2013.

Past event: Workshop Biomethane International, 12nd International Conference on Biofuels, Berlin, 19-20 January 2015

On 20 January 2015, the 4th “Biomethane International”-Session was carried out within the conference “Fuels of the Future” in Berlin. The current event was organised in close cooperation between the DBFZ and the IEA Bioenergy Task 40. The session was chaired by prof. Dr. Daniela Thrän. The aim was to address international experts and stakeholders from economy, science and politics. In total, approximately 40 experts joined the session while presentations were held by international experts from five countries. They provided insight in the global and national status and trends for biomethane production and trade. The workshop summary is available here. The presentations are also available here

Past event: International workshop: Towards sustainable international biomass trade strategies, Brussels - 24 October 2014

Today in the European Union, the cost-effective achievement of existing and future bioenergy targets set in the legislation implies that in addition to using domestic sustainable and cost-competitive biomass potentials, European markets will also (partly) rely on sustainable and cheap(er) imports of biomass. Some well-positioned regions of the world are already playing a role in supplying biomass to the European markets and could become increasingly relevant in the near future. One of the objectives of the BioTrade2020+ project is to propose appropriate long-term strategies and support frameworks which can form a basis for a balanced approach between promoting the use of domestic biomass, while also keeping markets open for sustainable imports of biomass. This workshop aims to bring people together to initiate discussions on how these trade strategies can be framed. The central points of discussion will be (1) how to define sustainable export potentials, (2) which opportunities and risks are connected with biomass trade and how these can be addressed, and (3) which are the key principles that sustainable biomass trade should fulfil - one important point is the interaction between local use and exports in the sourcing regions. More information and presentation slides are available for download here, or download all-in-one zip file.

Report: Ecological sustainability of wood bioenergy feedstock supply chains: Local, national and international policy perspectives

The report first provides a brief overview of development of policy and criteria related to sustainability of bioenergy in the EU and in key biomass importer Member States (United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium). The following sections then provide an thorough review of policy, regulations and practices of Canada and the United States, with a special focus of key biomass producing provinces/states (British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec in Canada, Georgia, New York and Massachusetts and California in the US); this in-depth analysis of the Canadian and American contexts was made possible due to the abundance of information available for those countries, but was also found necessary due to the scarcity of syntheses on this information. The next section then provides an overview of the policy and practices for land and forest management in Russia, with a focus on the region of Northwest Russia, based on the information that was possible to gather from this area. The report concludes with a discussion and main conclusions stemming from the analysis of the case studies. Download report.

Report: Biomethane - Status and Factors Affecting Market Development and Trade

A new report, "Biomethane: Status and Factors Affecting Market Development and Trade", published in September 2014, was prepared jointly by Task 40 and Task 37 to address the status and emerging challenges of dealing with the rapid growth of production of biomethane, by either anaerobic digestion or thermal gasification, the developing biomethane market and trade of the gaseous biofuel. The aim of this study is to provide an up-to-date overview of the status of biomethane (including upgraded biogas and bio-SNG) production, grid injection and use in different countries, and to illustrate the options and needs for the development of larger biomethane supply strategies. The focus is on technical, economic and management- related hurdles to inject biomethane into the natural gas grid and to trade it transnationally. The study provides insights into the current status of technologies, technical requirements and sustainability indicators as well as cost of biomethane production and use in general and especially in selected countries. It also assesses implementation strategies, market situations and market expectations in selected countries, and proposes actions to be taken to reduce barriers and to develop the market step-by-step. The publication (ISBN 978-1-910154-10-6) is available electronically here.

Report: Impact of promotion mechanisms for advanced and low-iLUC biofuels on markets

With current discussions on indirect effects of biofuels, and the aim to broaden feedstocks to non-food biomass, policies are trying to put focus on biofuels from waste, residues and lignocellulose materials, so called 'advanced' biofuels. Next to the general biofuel incentives, these biofuels are getting extra support through specific promotion mechanisms. Examples are the double-counting mechanism for advanced biofuels in the EU, and the specific targets for advanced biofuels in the US. In this study, some typical cases are presented where promotion mechanisms for advanced biofuels have had an impact on markets and trade (used cooking oils and animal fats, sugarcane ethanol), or may be anticipated to impact markets and trade in the future (straw, wood pellets). General conclusions and summaries of the four case studies can be found in a summary report. Download summary.

The selected cases are:

1. Used cooking oils and animal fats for biodiesel: impact of the double-counting mechanism for advanced biofuels in the European Renewable Energy Directive on market prices and trade flows, analysed for the Netherlands and Italy. Download report.

2. Sugarcane ethanol: impact of the subtargets for specific advanced biofuels in the US Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2), where sugar cane ethanol is classified as 'advanced biofuel'. This has had a clear impact on prices and trade patterns between Brazil and the US. Download report.

3. Crop residues (straw) for bioenergy: straw may play an important role for advanced biofuels in the future. In countries such as Germany, Denmark or Poland, this is an emerging feedstock for energy and biofuels. There are already some experiences we can take into account from the promotion of straw for stationary energy, e.g. in Denmark. Download report.

4. International trade of US wood pellets for bioenergy in the EU: Renewable Energy promotion in certain EU Member States is causing considerable trade flows from the US to the EU. There is clear that there are interactions with existing wood markets and forestry practises. In the future there may be additional effects when demand for cellulose-based biofuels enters these markets. Download report.

Statement: Workshop on "Forests, bioenergy and climate change mitigation", Copenhagen, 19-20 May 2014

This statement is an outcome of the workshop on "Forests, bioenergy and climate change mitigation", held May 19-20, 2014 in Copenhagen , which had the following objectives:

- to facilitate dialogue between scientists on the topic of climate effects of forest -based bioenergy, in order to advance scientific understanding of the topic and to clarify divergent views on the role of forest-based bioenergy in climate change mitigation, and
- to identify knowledge gaps and priorities for future research and data collection, in order to improve scientific understanding and support policy development for forest-based bioenergy.

The statement is available at the Task 38 website and also in PDF version.

Past event: Workshop Biomass trade & supply system opportunities in a world-wide bio-based economy, Jonkoping, Sweden - 4 Jun 2014

On June 4th, IEA Bioenergy Task 40 organized a workshop on biomass trade and supply system opportunities in a world-wide bio-based economy, as a side event during the World Bioenergy Conference in Jönköping, Sweden. With the growing worldwide interest to transition from fossil energy resources to renewable energy including bioenergy, regional biomass resource availability, logistics, and distribution infrastructures become increasingly important. In order for biorefineries to achieve economies of scale, a consistent supply of densified, on-spec feedstock is a prerequisite. Achieving volume and price targets and a respective fungibility of the biomass, i.e., to create a global commodity, will be vital for the bio-based economy. During the workshop (chaired by Dr. Patrick Lamers from the Idaho National Laboratory) four speakers from industry and academia provided their vision on the pros and cons of trading different types of preprocessed biomass (wood chips, wood pellets, torrefied pellets and pyrolysis oil) amongst others in relation to end-user requirements and existing logistic infrastructure, and how these may be utilized more effectively, e.g., by combining roundwood and wood chip transport or by combining coal and (torrefied) biomass transport in large sea vessels. Download presentations and the summary.

Report: Low cost, Long Distance Biomass Supply Chains (Revised)

Download 15 August 2013 (Revised in April 2014) - This report focuses on long-distance biomass supply chains, including ground-based supply of raw biomass to densification plants, and transportation of densified biomass to ports in other continents. It aims to: (i) provide an overview of the characteristics of three densified biomass forms; solid wood pellets, solid torrefied wood and liquid pyrolysis oil; for these; (ii) outline existing and future markets and specific supply chains for these products and explore large sources of biomass worldwide, some well-established and already being developed either for local use or trade, some only identified as a possible future potential source; (iii) highlight the importance of the costs of logistics in biomass supply chains; (iv) illustrate current cost structures of existing long-distance biomass supply chains, and (v) explore how the cost of current and future long-distance supply chains of wood pellets, torrefied pellets and pyrolysis oil could be lowered, and what this would require form the stakeholders involved.

The report has received a full-page coverage on "Bioenergy International" issue October 2013 page 17.

Past event: Workshop Torrefaction of Biomass, CEBC, Graz, Austria

17 Jan 2014 - In the joint workshop of Task 40, Task 32 and SECTOR on the topic of biomass torrefaction at the 4th Central European Biomass Conference has attracted 70 attendees to the discussion of economic and technological developments in the field of biomass torrefaction. The workshop first started with an overview of the developments in torrefaction, followed by several technical presentations on the torrefaction process, and also topics on international trade and market perspectives. Finally, the workshop ends with a round table discussion on the future perspectives from the viewpoints of technology suppliers, biomass producers, traders and consumers. | Program | The presentations are ready for download | Notes and summary of the workshop for download.

Book: International Bioenergy Trade: History, status & outlook on securing sustainable bioenergy supply, demand and markets

2 May 2013 - The trade of global bioenergy commodities, such as ethanol, biodiesel and wood pellets has been growing exponentially in the past decade, and have by 2013 reached true "commodity" volumes, i.e. tens of millions of tonnes traded each year, and billions (both in US$/EUR) of annual turnover.

IEA Bioenergy Task 40 was founded in 2004 and is now in its 4th triennium. For the past 9 years, task 40 has monitored the developments in international bioenergy trade, including the organization of about 20 workshops on trade-related topics, and the publication of over 100 studies, country reports, newsletters, etc. The amount of material produced over the years and insights gained in how biomass markets and international trade of biomass and biofuels has developed is impressive. Besides that the group has produced overviews and insights, also a large amount of practical experience has been brought together in what works and what doesn't. Last but not least, based on all this, there are clear(er) views on how to proceed to build working sustainable international biomass markets in the future. This book compiles those lessons and insights into an easily accessible book publication.

More information on the book available at Springer website.

Number of unique visitors 1 January 2013 - 31 December 2013: 64,120 unique vistors
(Number of total visitors between 2007 - 2012 is approximately 400,000)