Work scope

In a future Bio-Economy sustainable production and valorisation of biomass to both Food and Non-food applications will be the framework of operation. Sustainably produced biomass (crops, algae, residues) has to be used as efficient as possible -  using bio-cascading and biorefining approaches – to meet future demands of Food, Feed, Bio-based Products (chemicals, materials) and Bioenergy (fuels, power, heat). Biorefineries are already applied for ages in for example the food industry. Large-scale implementation of biorefineries for Non-food (incl. Bioenergy) applications, however, is still lacking. Major reasons for this are that: some of the key technologies (fractionation & product separation) being part of integrated biorefinery plants are still not mature enough for commercial market implementation; there is still no level-playing-field for sustainable biomass use for Food and Non-food applications; market sectors that should co-operate (food, feed, agro, chemistry, energy, fuels, logistics,  ...) for the development and commercialization of full sustainable biomass value chains, including high-efficient biorefinery processes, are often still not working together, and there is still lack of knowledge/expertise on the advantages of biorefinery processes for optimal sustainable biomass use at both industrial, SME, (regional) governmental level.

Third triennium (2013-2015)

  1. Assessment of the market deployment potential of integrated biorefineries
  2. Support of industrial/SME stakeholders finding their position in a future BioEconomy
  3. Analysis of optimal sustainable biomass valorisation approaches for Food and Non-food (incl. Fuels & Energy) using the market-pull perspective approach
  4. Preparation of advice for policy makers on current status, future potential and priority needs
  5. Biorefinery knowledge dissemination
  6. Delivery of biorefinery training activities

Synergetic international co-operation within the IEA Bioenergy framework will potentially decrease the time-to-market for high-efficient integrated biorefineries by tackling major non-technical critical success factors at the right international level.

Second triennium (2010 – 2012)

  1. Finalisation of the Classification System and developing a Biorefinery Complexity Index
  2. Identification most promising Biobased Products (chemicals, materials, human food, animal feed) to be co-produced with Bioenergy
  3. Assessing the current status and development potential of both Energy-driven and Product-driven Biorefineries based on a Full Value Chain approach (= link to Chain Assessments)
  4. Preparation of a Guidance document on Sustainability Assessment (= link to Sustainability Aspects) for Biorefineries
  5. Preparing a Summarising Biorefinery Paper “Adding Value to the Sustainable Utilisation if Biomass on a Global Scale – Biorefining”
  6. Knowledge Dissemination: Internal – bio-annual Task Meetings, incl. national stakeholder workshops and excursions, protected extranet-site; External – open workshops, internet-site, newsletters, contributions to conferences
  7. Update of the national Country Reports (=link to Participating Countries) in Biorefinery
  8. Biorefinery Training Course (Summer School)

First triennium (2007 – 2009)

Task 42 started in 2007, and its activities in the first three year period a.o. were i) the development of a common definition on biorefining, ii) the development of a common and useable classification system for biorefinery processes, and iii) the organisation of two Task Meetings a year in participating countries, incl. national stakeholder workshops and excursions to running biorefinery facilities. 


Biorefining is the sustainable processing of biomass into a spectrum of Biobased Products and Bioenergy

  • Biobased Products: chemicals, materials, human food and animal feed.
  • Bioenergy: fuels, power and/or heat.

Both Product-driven and Energy-driven Biorefineries are dealt with. In Product-driven Biorefineries the main goal is the production of one/more Bio-based Products (food, feed, chemicals, materials). Process residues are used to produce Bioenergy for internal/external use to maximise the economic profitability of the overall biomass value chain. In Energy (or Biofuel) driven Biorefineries the main goal is the production of one/more Energy Carriers (fuels, power and/or heat). Process residues are valorised to BBPs to maximise the economic profitability of the overall biomass value chain.

A first set-up of a biorefinery Classification System was made, based on specified Biobased Products & specified Secondary Energy Carriers, specified raw materials used, and the main Intermediates produced within the biorefinery process.

Task Meetings were organised in Amsterdam (NL), Vienna (AT), Copenhagen (DEN), Edmonton (CAN), Dublin (IRE) and Worms (GER).