IEA IETS Annex 11: Industrial Biorefineries (Working period 2020-2022)

With the increasing market share of bio-based products, the concepts of circular economy are highly relevant for the industry. In this context, biorefineries have established themselves as an explicitly integrative, multi-functional overall concept and essential hub in the use of biomass as a raw material source for the sustainable production of various (intermediate) products (chemicals, valuable materials, energy carriers).

Short Description

IEA IETS Task (formerly Annex) 11 targets industrial-scale solutions that achieve large-scale decarbonization through integrated biorefineries. Decision support tools are intended to best assist industry in developing sustainable bioeconomy strategies and promote greenhouse gas emissions reduction, circularity, and the use of digitization methods to increase competition.

To this end, two new subtasks have been approved:

  • SUBTASK 5: Decision Support Systems and Exante Research (Subtask Managers: Paul Stuart, Polytechnique Montréal; Marzouk Benali, Natural Resources Canada, CanmetENERGY).
  • SUBTASK 6: Technology Pathways towards Negative and/or NetZero Emission Biorefineries (Subtask Manager: Bettina Muster- Slawitsch; AEE INTEC, Austria).

The Austrian activities in the work period 2020 - 2022 were specifically related to Subtask 5 and aimed at:

  1. The development of process and system concepts as well as valorization threads for industrial biorefineries with maximum resource efficiency and minimum energy intensity, as well as
  2. the socio-economic evaluation of industrial bioeconomy strategies.

Based on real case studies, (process and system) concepts and valorization pathways for industrial biorefineries were developed with a focus on the holistic consideration of resources and energy efficiency. The entire value chain was considered (products, by-products, waste streams and their valorization/recycling/end-use pathways) and evaluated ecologically, techno-economically, and socio-economically.

The methods for the assessment of resource and energy efficiency (AEE INTEC), as well as socio-economic aspects (EI-JKU) have been integrated into a kit of tools and methods that complements internationally existing assessment tools with national contributions. The evaluation of concepts for industrial biorefineries, developed based on real case studies, led to a decisive added value by linking national and international activities. In addition, digitization methods could be collected within the framework of a research (literature, current projects). Furthermore, a scientific basis for processing the (meanwhile approved) Subtask 6, which is under Austrian leadership, was created.

The following results are available:

  • Process and system concepts with combined resource and energy efficiency.
  • Methodology for the assessment of maximized resource efficiency and minimized energy intensity of bioeconomy strategies
  • Methodology for socio-economic assessment of industrial bioeconomy strategies
  • Overview of digitization methods in industrial biorefineries
  • Workplan for the Subtask "Technology Pathways towards Negative and/or NetZero Emission Biorefineries" (Kick-Off done)


Canada (Lead), Sweden, Portugal, Austria

Contact Address

DIin Bettina Muster-Slawitsch
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien

DIin Sarah Meitz
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien

DI Christoph Brunner
AEE - Institut für Nachhaltige Technologien

DI Johannes Lindorfer
Verein Energieinstitut an der Johannes Kepler Universität Linz