Task 40

Sustainable International Bioenergy Trade - Securing Supply and Demand


Upcoming event in June 2014


Latest reports in December 2013


Ongoing projects


12 member countries

News 2014



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


Past 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

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 a summary (will be published soon).

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.

Report: Large industrial users of energy biomass

Download 13 September 2013 - The objective of the study is to obtain a global overview of the biomass use in industrial and transport sectors and to compose lists of the largest users of energy biomass in the world. Various statistics, databases, reports, and reviews, most of them publicly available, have been utilised during the study to examine plants that either refine biomass for use in transportation and heating purposes or plants that convert biomass into heat and power. The plant lists presented are based on the prevailing situation in the end of the year 2012; due to lack of comprehensive and accurate plant-specific information and rapidly changing situation, the results should be used with care.

Study: Future Perspectives of International Bioenergy Trade

Download Summary 29 August 2013 - This study aims to provide insight into "possible futures" of bioenergy trade and discuss implications and challenges related to different developments. The insight into future scenarios and perspectives of bioenergy trade revealed that substantial challenges for the future development of global and international bioenergy trade may be expected in the coming decades if a low carbon energy system is to be developed. The theoretical and technical biomass potentials in many models are often quite optimistic, and sustainable biomass potentials are only included to a limited extent, as these are often hard to quantify and are also not the main aim of the models. It remains to be seen how global, stringent mandatory sustainaibility requirements (e.g. on water use, biodiversity, forest carbon accounting and iLUC) would limit the production, trade and use of feedstocks in the first place, but also how practical certification of biomass would affect bioenergy trade.

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

Download 13 May 2013 - This publication reports on the discussions and opinions expressed during an expert workshop on the environmental sustainability of forest bioenergy in Canada, held in Quebec on the 3-5 October 2012.

The workshop was organised by the International Energy Agency Bioenergy Task 40 (International Sustainable Bioenergy Trade) and Task 43 (Biomass Feedstocks for Energy Markets), the IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee, the Faculty of Forestry, Geomatics and Geography of Laval University (Quebec, Canada), and Natural Resources Canada, with collaboration from the Global Bioenergy Partnership and the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. Participants engaged in dialogue critical for the formulation of rational policy to achieve sustainable forest bioenergy production systems.

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.

Reports: Monitoring Sustainability Certification of Bioenergy

18 March 2013 - Within IEA Bioenergy a strategic study was initiated among Tasks 40, 43 and 38 to monitor the actual implementation process of sustainability certification of bioenergy, evaluate how stakeholders are affected by certification initiatives, quantify the anticipated impact on worldwide bioenergy trade, assess the level of coordination among schemes, and make recommendations to remove barriers which may depress markets and reduce sustainable trade. Read more...

Final reports are available for the subtasks of the study:
- Short Summary
- T1: Examining Sustainability Certification of Bioenergy
- T2: Survey on governance and certification of sustainable biomass & bioenergy
- T3: Impacts of sustainability certification on bioenergy markets
- T4: Recommendations for improvement of sustainability certified markets

Past events: Workshop at 8th Annual WBM Conference. Rotterdam, The Netherlands

IEA T40 Workshop - How can sustainability certification support bioenergy markets?
12 March 2013 - A strategic study by IEA Bioenergy Tasks 40, 43 and 38 aimed to monitor the actual implementation process of sustainability certification of bioenergy, and to obtain a view on how certification schemes are operating and impacting markets, taking into account the point of view of different stakeholder groups. Based on a.o. input from over 200 stakeholders, recommendations were made on how sustainability certification can work in bioenergy markets and in fact actually support further deployment. During the workshop, main findings were presented and discussed with industry and policy makers. More information on the workshop is available here.

Reports: Two studies on torrefaction

Task 40: Possible effect of torrefaction on biomass trade Download
2 Jan 2013 - The focus of this study is to examine briefly the status of the development of torrefaction technology, and more importantly assess what are the likely biomass sources and what impact the development of torrefied wood will have on global trade, in particular between now and 2020. This study assessed the extent torrefaction might open up new biomass feedstock sources, and explored how torrefied biomass will perform along the logistical chain of long-haul international transport and at the end-use conversion plants. The torrefaction process was compared with two other important preconditioning technologies: simple pelletization and flash pyrolysis.

Task 32: Status overview of torrefaction technologies Download
2 January 2013 - This report presents an overview of the current status of torrefaction technologies and their market perspectives. It is largely based on a technology status overview prepared by KEMA (involved in Task 32) for the Dutch government in 2010. Additional information collected in 2011 and 2012 was incorporated to update the document.

Number of visitors 1 January 2013 - 31 October 2013: 82608
(Number of total visitors between 2007 - 2012 is approximately 400,000)