Task 42: Biorefining in a Circular Economy

Website: task42.ieabioenergy.com
Participating Countries: Austria, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, USA.


Dr Bert Annevelink
Wageningen Food and Biobased Research (WFBR)
PO Box 17
6700 AA Wageningen
Email: bert.annevelink(at)wur.nl

Assistant Task Leaders

Dipl.-Ing. Michael Mandl
tbw research GesmbH
Schönbrunner Str. 297
1120 Wien
Email: m.mandl(at)tbwresearch.org

Dr Ed de Jong
Avantium Technologies BV
Zekeringstraat 29
Email: ed.dejong(at)avantium.com


[This Task was known as Biorefining in a future BioEconomy in the triennium 2016-2018]

  1. Definition and Objective

(a)       Definition

Biorefining, the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of marketable biobased products and bioenergy/biofuels, is an innovative and efficient approach to use available biomass resources for the synergistic coproduction of power, heat and biofuels alongside food and feed ingredients, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, materials, minerals and short-cyclic CO2.


The Circular Economy is defined as an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological-cycles [Ellen MacArthur Foundation]. The Circular Economy mainly focuses on the efficient use of finite resources and ensures that these resources are re-used as long as possible.


Biorefining is one of the key enabling strategies of the Circular Economy, closing loops of raw biomass materials (re-use of forestry, agro, process and postconsumer residues), minerals, water and carbon. Therefore, biorefining is the optimal strategy for large-scale sustainable use of biomass in the BioEconomy. It will result in cost-competitive co-production of food/feed ingredients, biobased products and bioenergy combined with optimal socio-economic and environmental impacts (efficient use of resources, reduced GHG emissions, etc.).

(b         Objective

The objective of Task 42 is to facilitate the commercialisation and market deployment of environmentally sound, socially acceptable, and cost-competitive biorefinery systems and technologies, and to advise policy and industrial decision makers accordingly. Task42 provides an international platform for collaboration and information exchange. Gaps and barriers to deployment will be addressed to successfully promote sustainable biorefinery systems market implementation.

  1. Scope of the Task
  • The Participants will have R&D programmes within their countries in order to meet the above objectives.
  • The Participants will carry out co-operative research work towards reaching the objectives described in paragraph 1(b) above, based on the national R&D programme referred to in sub-paragraph (a)
  • The Programme of Work will comprise the following:
  • Task meetings to exchange results from relevant national R&D programmes;
  • Work programme focus on:
    • Provision of quantitative, scientifically sound, and understandable data on technical, economic and ecological added-value of biorefining to co-produce bioenergy and bio-products in a sustainable way – WP1
    • Provision of global biorefineries implementation status, major deployment barriers and market data – WP2
    • Provision of an international platform for cooperation and information exchange – WP3
  • Information exchange with other IEA IA’s, other IEA Bioenergy Tasks and other international networks worldwide;
  • ExCo interaction and support.

Triennium Report

Download the Task 42 – End-of-Triennium report 2019-2021