The future of biomass and bioenergy deployment and trade: a synthesis of 15 years IEA Bioenergy Task 40 on sustainable bioenergy trade

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Current biomass production and trade volumes for energy and new materials and bio-chemicals are only a small fraction to achieve the bioenergy levels suggested by many global energy and climate change mitigation scenarios for 2050. However, comprehensive sustainability of large scale biomass production and trading has yet to be secured, and governance of developing biomass markets is a critical issue. Fundamental choices need to be made on how to develop sustainable biomass supply chains and govern sustainable international biomass markets. The aim of this paper is to provide a vision of how widespread trade and deployment of biomass for energy purposes can be integrated with the wider (bio) economy. It provides an overview of past and current trade flows of the main bioenergy products, and discusses the most important drivers and barriers for bioenergy in general, and more specifically the further development of bioenergy trade over the coming years. It discusses the role of bioenergy as part of the bioeconomy and other potential roles; and how it can help to achieve the sustainable development goals. The paper concludes that it is critical to demonstrate innovative and integrated value chains for biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower that can respond with agility to market factors while providing economic, environmental, and societal benefits to international trade and market. Furthermore, flexible biogenic carbon supply nets based on broad feedstock portfolios and multiple energy and material utilization pathways will reduce risks for involved stakeholder and foster the market entry and uptake of various densified biogenic carbon carriers.


Hans Martin Junginger and Thuy May-Moulin, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Vassilis Daioglou, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague, The Netherlands

Uwe Fritsche, International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy, Darmstadt, Germany

Ruben Guisson, VITO NV, Mol, Belgium

Christiane Hennig, Department Bioenergy Systems, DBFZ German Biomass Research Centre, Leipzig, Germany

Daniela Thrän, Department Bioenergy Systems, DBFZ German Biomass Research Centre, Leipzig, Germany; Department Bioenergy, UFZ Heimholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig, Germany

Jussi Heinimö, Mikkeli Development Miksei Ltd, Mikkeli, Finland

J Richard Hess, Patrick Lamers and Chenlin Li, Idaho International Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID, USA

Kees Kwant, Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Olle Olsson, Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Svetlana Proskurina and Tapio Ranta, LUT University, Lappeenranta, Finland

Fabian Schipfer, Institute of Energy Systems and Electrical Devices - Energy Economics Group, TU Wiens, Wien, Austria

Michael Wild, Wild&Partner LLC, Principal, Vieanna, Austria

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