Bioenergy Tasks Overview

IEA Bioenergy is an organisation set up in 1978 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) with the aim of improving cooperation and information exchange between countries that have national programmes in bioenergy research, development and deployment.


The International Energy Agency acts as energy policy advisor to 28 Member Countries plus the European Commission, in their effort to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for their citizens. Founded during the oil crisis of 1973-74, the IEA's initial role was to co-ordinate measures in times of oil supply emergencies. As energy markets have changed, so has the IEA. Its mandate has broadened to incorporate the "Three E's" of balanced energy policy making: energy security, economic development, and environmental protection. Current work focuses on climate change policies, market reform, energy technology collaboration and outreach to the rest of the world, especially major producers and consumers of energy like China, India, Russia and the OPEC countries.

Activities are set up under Implementing Agreements. These are independent bodies operating in a framework provided by the IEA. There are 42 currently active Implementing Agreements, one of which is IEA Bioenergy. IEA Bioenergy provides an umbrella organisation and structure for a collective effort where national experts from research, government and industry work together with experts from other member countries.

Progress in energy technology is critical to achieving the objectives of energy security, environmental protection and economic and social development. International collaboration is needed to prepare practical responses to global environmental issues. Energy technology innovation is occurring in an inter-connected world in which national efforts to adapt to change no longer suffice. National energy RD&D and deployment programmes gain impact when incorporated into the larger context of international interdependence.

IEA Bioenergy offers opportunities to coordinate the work of national programmes across the wide range of bioenergy technologies.

IEA Bioenergy provides an umbrella organisation and structure for a collective effort where national experts from research, government and industry work together with experts from other member countries. Resources are provided in two main ways:

  • Cost Sharing - participants contribute to a common fund for conducting research projects and information exchange.
  • Task Sharing - participants devote specified resources and personnel to conduct an agreed work programme.

The collaboration offers many benefits at both the policy and technical level including the ability to:

  • Strengthen national R&D capabilities.
  • Share research costs.
  • Pool technical resources.
  • Avoid duplication and unproductive research paths.
  • Network researchers.
  • Standardise methodologies.
  • Harmonise technical standards.
  • Enhance the quality of R&D outputs.
  • Disseminate information on technology capabilities.
  • Accelerate the deployment of new technologies.
  • Build a common understanding of the technical basis for issues.
  • Investigate barriers to implementation.
  • Contribute to energy policy development.

Ireland is currently participating in 4 Bioenergy Tasks from 2010-2012. For more information and publications the tasks and working groups please click on the following links:

The latest IEA Bioenergy main report (December 2009) can be downloaded under the following link:

Main report: Bioenergy - a Sustainable and Reliable Energy Source - a review of status and prospects (pdf)

At the end of March 2011 the first IEA Bioenergy Task Information day for Irish researchers took place in Dublin. The objective of this one-off information day was to highlight the objectives, targets and deliverables for the four tasks and to enable researchers in Ireland to beneficially engage with the activities of these tasks. Please find the presentations of the Irish Bioenergy Task leaders and Pearse Buckley (Bioenergy Programme Manager, SEAI) under the following links.

Introduction IEA Bioenergy Agreement Task Information day - Pearse Buckley, SEAI (pdf)



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