IEA Bioenergy News Bulletin – March 2020

Apr 2020

March 2020


China Joins the IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme
The IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme is pleased to announce that China has joined the TCP, bringing the number of contracting parties to 26. The Chair of IEA Bioenergy, Jim Spaeth said “China joining the IEA Bioenergy TCP adds a key strategic member representing the world’s largest population and a country with tremendous growth opportunities in biofuels, biopower, bioproducts and biogas in the context of the larger bioeconomy. We are delighted to welcome China as a formal member and look forward to their impactful contributions.”

(Morten Tony Hansen – Task Leader Task 32; Kees Kwant- IEA Bioenergy ExCo Member; Jim Spaeth – Chair of IEA Bioenergy; Kejun Dou – China National Renewable Energy Centre)


Unfortunately, due to the global coronavirus pandemic the ExCo85 in person meeting, which had been planned for Sao Paulo on 2 April 2020 had to be cancelled. The Executive Committee is considering a virtual meeting in the week of 27 April 2020 lieu of the in person meeting.


Preparations for ExCo86, which is planned for 20-22 October 2020 in Lyon, France, are progressing, although the duration of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown and subsequent travel restrictions might have an impact. The draft programme for ExCo86 includes a full day workshop on Tuesday the 20thOctober followed by a one and a half day business meeting on Wednesday and Thursday. A half day study tour is planned for the afternoon of Thursday 22 October.

Snapshot of Biofuels developments in the past 6 months:

  • October 2019 – Washington State’s Puget Sound Clean Air Agency issued its Low Carbon Fuel Standard rule for consideration. This is the first economic region to attempt an LCFS.
  • October 2019 – Neste is introducing Neste MY Renewable Diesel™, produced from 100% renewable raw materials, in Estonia beginning in October 2019.
  • November 2019 – In the Netherlands, BTG and GoodFuels are preparing for a major investment in a new biorefinery to support shipping’s increased demand for low carbon fuels.
  • November 2019 – Brazil boosted its biodiesel blend level to 12%, having just raised it to 11% in September. The country has its eyes on achieving a blend level of 15% by 2023 but is also discussing higher targets. Tests are already underway to study the impacts of 20% and 30% biodiesel blend levels, similar to what Asian countries are implementing. Increasing the blend level to enable B15 will require 9.7 billion litres of biodiesel production compared to 6.69 billion litre this year. Including new plants under construction, total annual production capacity is projected to grow to around 12.6 billion litres.
  • January 2020 – UPM announced that it will invest €550 million in an industrial scale biorefinery to convert solid wood into next generation biochemicals: bio-monoethylene glycol (BioMEG) and lignin-based renewable functional fillers enabling a switch from fossil raw materials to sustainable alternatives in various consumer-driven end-uses.
  • January 2020 – Ford officially approved the use of renewable diesel in its Transit vans without any necessary modifications or additional servicing.
  • February 2020 – Södra completed the construction of the world’s first plant for commercial biomethanol, a sustainable fuel from forest biomass, at Södra’s pulp mill in Mönsterås, Sweden.
  • February 2020 – Delta Airlines announced a $1 billion commitment over the next 10 years to mitigate all emissions from its global business going forward. Ed Bastion, Delta’s CEO, said “As part of its commitment, Delta has partnered with industry innovators to advance the development and production of sustainable aviation fuels, including its recent partnership and offtake agreements with Northwest Advanced Bio-Fuelsand Gevo.”


Task 32 & 40


The Task 32 and Task 40 workshops on wood chips and on pulverised fuel that were planned to be held in Copenhagen in May 2020 have been postponed to the 4thquarter of 2020 with dates to be advised in due course.

Task 37


Drivers for Successful and Sustainable Biogas Projects: International Perspectives Symposium

On the 26 March 2020, international speakers from a number of countries with well-developed biogas sectors shared their biogas and renewable natural gas (RNG) experience. Participants were informed about the history of, and lessons learned in, the biogas/RNG industry in specific countries including for future perspectives. This symposium, with more than 200 participants, was made possible by the International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Task 37 Group and was hosted on line via GoToMeetings by the Canadian Biogas Association and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Task 39


Compare and contrast global transport biofuels policies – 2018-2019 Update of Implementation Agendas Report

This 2018-2019 update report describes the policies being used and levels of biofuels market penetration being achieved within Task 39 member countries as well as within China and India, which are two of the world’s major countries also aspiring to increase their production and use of biofuels.

The report is available here

Task 41


Advanced Biofuels – Potential for Cost Reduction

This report consider what scope there is to reduce the production costs of a range of advanced biofuels, and to identify under what conditions they could become affordable.

The report is available here

Task 42


Biobased Chemicals – a 2020 Update

This report shows that global bio-based chemical and polymer production is estimated to be around 90 million tonnes. However, the relatively low price of fossil feedstocks as well as its volatility together with optimized fossil-based production processes has hampered the acceleration of the commercial production of bio-based products as projected in the previous bio-based chemicals report from 2011.

The report is available here

There is also a presentation from a past webinar available here

Task 43


Dry matter losses during biomass storage: Measures to minimise feedstock degradation

Several strategies are discussed in this report that can be used to reduce dry matter loss and should be considered during pile management. The simultaneous development of storage guidelines and management models/tools will contribute towards uniform utilization of forest resources, a reduction in dry matter losses, less environmental impact and cost throughout the production chain.

The report is available here

Exploring the role of Biohubs in the development of sustainable biomass supply
Natural Resources Canada, in collaboration with IEA Bioenergy Task 43, held a workshop in Ottawa, Ontario on 6 March 2020 to inform the implementation of innovative biomass supply chains and investigate the potential of bio-hubs in Canada. This workshop built on a similar exercise held in Sopron, Hungary by Task 43 and BioEAST on 10 October 2019. Over 50 participants from across Canada attended the event to discuss how their regions and sectors could successfully establish bio-hubs to strengthen the Canadian bioeconomy. After completing a strength, weakness, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis for bio-hubs in Canada, participants identified and prioritized possible actions to accelerate their implementation in Canada. Workshop participants encouraged the government to continue their engagement with stakeholders as successful bio-hub development depends heavily on cooperation. Participants also highlighted that the establishment of bio-hubs depended on a strong demand for bioproducts, biochemicals and biofuels which can be stimulated through the right set of policies. Reports on both workshops will be published on the Task 43 website and the results will guide further biohub work in the Task.



Webinar – Save the Date
A free IEA Bioenergy webinar on the topic “Advanced Biofuels – Potential for Cost Reduction” will be held on the Thursday 23 April 2020 at 16:00 CEST / 10:00 EDT.
The webinar will be presented by Adam Brown.