IEA Bioenergy Task 42: Biorefining - Sustainable Processing of Biomass into a Spectrum of Marketable Bio-based Products and Bioenergy (Working Period 2010 - 2012)

Further development of the biorefinery classification system, identi­fication of relevant biomaterial, development potential for energy and product oriented biorefineries, guideline for sustainability evaluation, global perspective on biorefineries, dissemination of knowledge, networking and involvement of stakeholders, country reports and trainingscourse.Kurzfassung

Short Description


Background and motivation

The Task 42 is active since 2007 and currently supported by 11 countries. The participation of Austria in this task supports and stimulates the information exchange and the cooperation on national and international level.

Content and aims

The major goal of the project is the Austrian contribution to IEA Bioenergy Task 42 "Biorefinery" by Austrian representatives. The key drivers for biorefineries are the strategic goals in the energy sector e.g. reach the EU target of 10% market share for transportation biofuels in 2020 and the reduction of GHG-Emission by 20%.

The optimised use of resources for the cogeneration of bioenergy and biomaterials is essential for the future development of biorefineries. Biorefinery development is focused not only on improving single processes but also on the optimised combination of these processes (e.g. chemical and thermo-chemical technologies).

Main question in this concern is which biorefinery technologies are most suitable to coproduce liquid and gaseous transportation biofuels and biomaterials in a sustainable way and which RTD activities are required in the short, medium and long term perspectives.

Methodological procedure

The activities will be performed in close cooperation with the other partners of IEA Bioenergy Task 42. The scope of the work consists mainly of the two following fields:

  • Exchange of information:

    collection, compiling, assessing and discussing of information from the Austrian activities to achieve an industry and future oriented view for the implementation and development of biorefineries.

  • Networking:

    Building a network on biorefineries in participating countries with industry, governments and researchers. Expand the focus to an European and global level, develop best practical guidelines, and test them regarding their ability to support the long term development.

As within the previous work period 2007- 2009 the task activities are shared between JOANNEUM RESEARCH and the Vienna University of Technology.


  • Further development of the classification system for biorefineries:

    Based on the system developed in Austria and taken over by IEA Bioenergy Task 42 an approach for a complexity index for biorefineries in analogy to the "Nelson complexity index" is under development and discussed with different stakeholders. The basics for the common uniform scheme for designing biorefinery concepts were developed.

  • Identification of the most promising biomaterials:

    A collection and documentation of interesting biomaterials and biochemicals were made. These biomaterials and chemicals might be among others efficiently coproduced with transportation biofuels to maximize the economic and environmental benefits of biorefineries.

  • Future perspectives for the development of energy and product driven biorefineries:

    The 14 most interesting biofuel-driven biorefinery concepts for large-scale biofuel production were identi­fied and documented. These concepts are already or might be of commercial interest until 2025.

  • Guidance document for sustainability assessment:

    In the task the basic knowledge for the sustainability assessment was collected and discussed, in which the Austrian contribution focused on the environmental assessment based on life cycle analyses and the reference system. The methodological framework and a case study were analysed and documented.

  • Global perspectives of biorefineries:

    In all task activities the global perspectives of biorefineries were discussed. It is generally expected that in future the relevance of biorefining in a biobased economy will further increase, e.g. the integrated use of biomass for food, feed, biomaterials, biochemicals, transportation biofuels, electricity and heat.

  • Knowledge dissemination:

    6 task meetings
    3 sessions on biorefinery at international conferences
    4 stakeholder-workshops
    1 expert-workshop on green biorefinery
    29 presentations and contributions at (inter)national events
    4 biorefinery training courses

  • Networking and stakeholder involvement:

    Presentations were given at relevant conferences, e.g. poster "Innovative Biorefinery Concepts and their Assessment - Activities in IEA Bioenergy Task 42 Biorefinery" at the Forum Economy 2011, (Linz, Nov. 2011). Austrian stakeholder have been involved within the national team.

  • Country report:

    The Austrian country report was updated and brought into the report structure of the task.

  • Biorefinery training courses:

    Contributions on the topics of "Biofuel-driven Biorefinery Systems and Life Cycle Assessment" and "Green Biorefinery" at international training courses (Amsterdam 2010, Paris 2011, Wageningen 2012) and four contributions on "Biorefining - Principles and Technologies" at a Finish biorefinery course (Joennsuu 2012).


Austria will participate in Task 42 in the next triennium 2013 - 2015.

The main focus is to bring in the Austrian contributions to the international agreed key activities on biorefining. This also includes national information distribution and networking tasks, e.g. extension of the existing network of Austrian activities ("National Team") in the field of biorefineries to intensify a national and international information exchange.

The IEA Bioenergy Task 42 "Biorefining" deals with the analysis and distribution of strategic relevant information of value chains of biorefineries. Based on this information the implementation of a Bio­Economy should be supported, with a focus on:

  • Assessing the major market deployment aspects for integrated biorefineries
  • Supporting the industry by setting their position in a future BioEconomy
  • Analysing of optimal sustainable biomass valorisation approaches for food and non-food applications
  • Preparing policy advices on needs for implementation
  • preparing policy advices on needs for implementation.


All relevant publications are available on the Website of the current working period.


Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Turkey, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and USA

Contact Address

JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
RESOURCES - Institute for Water, Energy and Sustainability
Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Gerfried Jungmeier
Elisabethstraße 5
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 876 1313
Fax: +43 (316) 876 1320