Task 40

Sustainable International Bioenergy Trade - Securing Supply and Demand


Upcoming event in May 2015


Latest reports in August 2014


Ongoing projects


12 member countries

News 2015



Event: IEA Bioenergy Conference 2015, 26-29 Oct 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

News 2013



Report: Sustainable biomass and bioenergy flow in the Netherlands - Country Report 2013


Event: Workshop - Technical workshop at the 3rd Annual Exporting Pellets Conference, Miami, FL, 27-29 Oct 2013


Event: Workshop - The Transatlantic Trade in Wood for Energy: A Dialogue on Sustainability Standards. Savannah, GA, 23-24 Oct 2013


Report: Large industrial users of energy biomass


Study: Future Perspectives of International Bioenergy Trade


Report: Low Cost, Long Distance Biomass Supply Chains


Report: The Science-Policy Interface on the Environmental Sustainability of Forest Bioenergy


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


Report: Monitoring Sustainability Certification of Bioenergy
Final reports are now available!


Event: IEA T40 Workshop - How can sustainability certification support bioenergy markets? 8th Annual WBM Conference at Rotterdam
Presentations are now available!


Event: CanBio Annual National Conference & Tour - "The Bioeconomy - Advantage Canada!" at Vancouver
Presentations are now available!


Report: Two studies on torrefaction
Task 40: Possible effect of torrefaction on biomass trade
Task 32: Status overview of torrefaction technologies

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.

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.

Report: Sustainable Biomass and Bioenergy in the Netherlands - Country Report 2013

23 Dec 2013 - NL Agency commissioned Utrecht University's Copernicus Institute, leader of the IEA Bioenergy Task 40 workgroup on biomass trade, to perform the analyses for this year's annual report on Dutch biomass trade. The detailed report reviews the entire biomass arena as perceived from the Dutch context. Distinguishing between wood-based biomass flows, oils and fats and carbohydrates, and with much attention paid to the current push towards certification, the report is a must-read for all those involved in the biomass arena at the strategic level. The editors also provide an extensive framework for the monitoring and providing guidance to the growing biomass industry.

EU in the spotlight: New in this edition is an attempt at a comparative review of global imports and exports for ten leading commodities - with an emphasis on comparative data concerning the EU. The report shows that the EU continues to be a champion of biofuels and biomass imports, surpassing the US in imports of biodiesel and wood pellets. Download the report || Link the news.

Past event: Task 40 Techinical Workshop at the USIPA Conference. Miami, FL, US

29 Oct 2013 - A Task 40 technical workshop was held at the 3rd Annual Exporting Pellets Conference on 29 October 2013. The workshop was divided into two section. Section 1 covers safety issues of biomass from production, transportation and storage to handling at the furnace. The speakers include Harold Arnold, the chairman of USIPA, Mieke Vandewal from Control Union, Peter-Paul Schouwenberg from RWE Essent and Jonas Dahl from Danisch Technological Instutute. Section 2 focuses on torrefaction of biomass. The speakers include Jacob Jacobson from INL, Doris Thamer fro mAndritz, Jeese Dickerman from Zilkha and Michael Wild from Wild & Partner. The workshop has attracted about 80 participants. Presentations can be downloaded here.

More about the conference: Speakers include all major European utilities, major U.S. producers, and experts in all areas of the supply chain. Link to conference.

Past event: The Transatlantic Trade in Wood for Energy: A Dialogue on Sustainability Standards. Savannah, GA, US

Press release by Pinchot Institute 23-24 Oct 2013 - The Savannah workshop explored the potential application of sustainability criteria being developed by European governments and industry within U.S. forests. Sponsors of the dialogue included the IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee and Tasks 40 and 43, Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc (SFI), Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), E.ON, Georgia Forestry Commission, Weyerhaeuser, MeadWestvaco Foundation, and Plum Creek. Representatives of US pellet producers, European purchasers, US, Canadian, and European policymakers, and conservation organizations met over two days to analyze and debate complex sustainability issues. Participants toured industrial timberlands certified to SFI's Forest Management standard, a non-industrial family forest, and the Georgia Biomass LLC pellet mill. The field tour showcased several tools to mitigate environmental risks along the biomass supply chain. A summary report from the workshop will be available in early December and will identify opportunities for aligning U.S. forestry systems and European Union sustainability criteria. The project team will also use feedback gathered at the workshop to provide recommendations to SFI, which is currently undergoing a Standard revision process. Summary is available now download summary . Presentations are also available here.

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)