What Is The Iea Bioenergy Report 2023?

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an organization that publishes annual reports on key energy topics, including bioenergy. IEA was founded in 1974 as an autonomous body within the OECD framework to ensure the security of oil supplies. Over the years, its role has expanded to cover the entire global energy system.

The IEA Bioenergy Annual Report is an important publication that provides policymakers, industry, and other stakeholders with up-to-date information on bioenergy markets, technologies, and sustainability issues worldwide. The first IEA Bioenergy Annual Report was published in 2009, and it has since become a key resource on international bioenergy policy, markets, trade, and technology.

Report Overview

The International Energy Agency (IEA) releases an annual bioenergy report providing key data and analysis on bioenergy supply and demand worldwide. The 2023 report offers a comprehensive look at the latest trends and developments in the global bioenergy sector.

Some of the key topics covered in the report include:

  • Global bioenergy production and consumption statistics
  • Developments related to biofuels, biogas and solid biomass
  • Analysis of the sustainability of bioenergy
  • Bioenergy policies and regulations around the world
  • Bioenergy’s role in energy security, economic development and climate change mitigation
  • Challenges and opportunities facing the bioenergy industry
  • Future projections for bioenergy supply, demand and technologies

The report provides critical data and insights for policymakers, researchers, investors and others with an interest in renewable energy and the bioeconomy.

Bioenergy Supply

The IEA report provides a comprehensive overview of global bioenergy supply. It looks at the amount of bioenergy resources available and being utilized for energy production worldwide. Some key facts and trends from the report on bioenergy supply include:

– Global bioenergy supply reached 64 EJ in 2020, meeting around 5% of total final energy consumption. The largest contributions came from solid biomass (wood pellets, agricultural residues, forest products) at 32 EJ and biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel) at 16 EJ.

– Total bioenergy supply has increased steadily over the past decade, rising by over 25% since 2010. Growth has been driven by increasing use of biofuels in transport and expansion of modern solid biomass in heating and power generation.

chart showing global bioenergy supply by region

– The Asia Pacific region accounted for the largest share of bioenergy supply in 2020 at 32 EJ. The Americas and Europe followed with 16 EJ each. Africa’s contribution was relatively small at 5 EJ.

– Sustainable bioenergy potential is estimated at around 100 EJ by 2050. Realizing this potential will require policies that promote efficient bioenergy production and prevent unintended impacts on food security, biodiversity and land use.

Bioenergy Demand

Global bioenergy demand increased steadily over the past decade, driven by policy support and technological advances that enabled greater utilization of biomass feedstocks. According to the report, total primary bioenergy demand reached 62 EJ in 2018, up from 56 EJ in 2010. This reflects a compound annual growth rate of 1.2% over the period.

The largest share of bioenergy demand comes from traditional uses of biomass for cooking and heating in developing countries. However, modern uses of bioenergy in the industry, buildings and transport sectors are growing rapidly. Solid biomass such as wood pellets and agricultural residues supplied around 45% of total bioenergy demand in 2018. Liquid biofuels, primarily ethanol and biodiesel, contributed around 8%, while biogas made up 6% of the total.

The Asia Pacific region accounted for the biggest share of global bioenergy demand in 2018 at around 32 EJ. Africa and Latin America also rely heavily on traditional biomass and have high shares of bioenergy in total final energy consumption. Europe has seen strong growth in bioenergy supported by renewable energy policies, reaching around 6.4 EJ of demand in 2018. North America also increased modern bioenergy consumption for uses such as biofuels, power generation and heating.

Overall, the report forecasts bioenergy demand to continue rising, potentially reaching around 115 EJ by 2050. Realizing this level of demand would require increased mobilization of sustainable biomass feedstocks and public policies that support bioenergy development across sectors.


The IEA report provides an in-depth look at global biofuel production and consumption. It shows that biofuel production reached 190 billion liters in 2022, up 3% from 2021. The largest contributors were the United States, Brazil, and the European Union.

Ethanol accounted for over 70% of total biofuel production, mainly coming from corn, sugarcane, and wheat. Biodiesel made up most of the rest, produced from vegetable oils, animal fats, and used cooking oil. Advanced biofuels like renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and biomethanol contributed around 5% of the total.

The United States and Brazil were the top ethanol producers, while Indonesia, Malaysia, and Argentina led biodiesel production. The EU as a whole was the main biodiesel producer but capacities were distributed across several member states.

On the demand side, biofuel consumption went up 2% in 2022 after declining during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transport sector remained the major consumer, using biofuels for low carbon blending mandates, especially in the US, Brazil, and Europe. But policies also expanded into aviation, shipping, and industry.

The report forecast biofuel demand to grow steadily to 2025 based on country targets and industry uptake. But it warned higher commodity prices and policy uncertainty could affect future growth.


Biogas is an increasingly important renewable energy source produced through anaerobic digestion of organic matter like manure, sewage sludge, and crop residues. The IEA report provides comprehensive data and analysis on global biogas production and consumption.

In 2022, global biogas production reached approximately 425 billion cubic meters, a 5% increase from 2021. The Asia Pacific region accounted for over 60% of total biogas output, predominantly from China and India. Europe was the second largest biogas producer with around 25% share. The United States and Brazil led biogas growth in the Americas.

The report found that over 80% of the biogas produced globally is utilized directly to provide electricity and heat. Biogas also plays a growing role as a gaseous transport fuel, with around 10% upgraded to biomethane for use in natural gas grids or as vehicle fuel. The remaining biogas is flared.

Biogas offers significant potential to replace fossil natural gas and lower GHG emissions, especially in hard-to-decarbonize sectors like heavy industry and long-haul transport. However, growth has been constrained by grid injection barriers and lack of financial incentives in many countries. The report outlines policy actions needed to scale up biogas production and utilization.

Solid Biomass

Solid biomass, such as wood pellets and chips, accounted for over half of global bioenergy supply in 2021 according to the report. The largest share came from the forest products industry, as residues such as bark, sawdust and black liquor are commonly used for energy production.

The use of solid biomass grew only slightly from 2020 to 2021, constrained by high feedstock prices and competition from other renewable energy sources. The forest products industry was the main consumer of solid biomass, utilizing residues for heat and power needs. Co-firing biomass with coal also declined as coal use fell.

There are significant regional differences in solid biomass use. Developed countries in Europe and North America rely more on solid biomass in large-scale heat and power plants. Developing countries utilize more traditional biomass like fuelwood and charcoal for residential heating and cooking needs.

The report notes challenges around feedstock availability and sustainability concerns could limit future growth of solid biomass. Better forest management practices and agricultural residues offer potential new supply sources. Overall the IEA predicts solid biomass use will expand in the coming years but at a slower pace than liquid biofuels.


The IEA bioenergy report examines the sustainability of bioenergy production and use. It looks at the environmental, economic and social impacts of different bioenergy feedstocks and pathways.

Key sustainability issues discussed in the report include land use change, biodiversity, soil health, air and water emissions, and more. The report analyzes lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from different bioenergy value chains.

The report highlights sustainability standards, certification schemes, and best practices that can help ensure bioenergy production is sustainable. Some key measures covered include:

  • Following sustainable forest management practices for woody biomass feedstocks
  • Growing energy crops on marginal lands to avoid competition with food production
  • Adopting low-tillage techniques to protect soil health
  • Treating and properly disposing of waste products from bioenergy processes
  • Optimizing biorefinery and biomass power plant efficiency

The report emphasizes that bioenergy needs to be developed responsibly, with proper governance and safeguards, in order to contribute positively to climate change mitigation, energy security, rural development, and other sustainable development goals.


The IEA bioenergy report provides several key policy recommendations to help drive growth in the bioenergy sector. Some of the main recommendations include:

  • Implementing strong sustainability governance frameworks to ensure bioenergy production is sustainable and accountable.

  • Providing incentives and infrastructure investments to scale up advanced biofuels made from wastes and residues.

  • Streamlining administrative procedures for bioenergy project permitting and grid connections.

  • Increasing funding for bioenergy RD&D to improve technologies and reduce costs.

  • Developing bioeconomy strategies to foster growth across the bioenergy value chain.

  • Introducing blending mandates and quotas to increase market uptake of biofuels.

  • Ensuring stable and predictable policy frameworks to encourage long-term investments.

  • Promoting international collaboration and trade to enable sustainable bioenergy growth worldwide.

The report provides evidence-based analysis on the impacts and effectiveness of different bioenergy policies. It aims to guide policymakers in designing optimal strategies to support renewable energy transitions and climate change mitigation efforts through bioenergy deployment.

Future Outlook

The IEA report provides insights into the future projections and outlook for bioenergy. Global bioenergy demand is expected to grow steadily, driven by increased use of biofuels in transportation, biogas, and biomass for power generation and heating.

According to the report’s projections, liquid biofuel demand could reach 235 billion liters in 2030, up from 155 billion liters in 2021, if countries implement their announced pledges and targets. Ethanol use is forecast to expand while the share of advanced biofuels such as biomethane, cellulosic ethanol and sustainable aviation fuels is projected to increase to 17% by 2030.

Biogas demand is projected to grow by 60% to 2030, with increasing utilization in power, heat, transportation and industrial applications. The potential for growth is substantial in Asia and Latin America. Solid biomass demand is also expected to increase, especially for industrial heating and electricity generation.

However, the growth outlook faces challenges such as high prices, policy uncertainty, and sustainability concerns. Strong policy support and technological advances will be needed to realize the full potential of bioenergy while ensuring sustainability. Overall, bioenergy is expected to play an increasing role in energy transitions, energy security and climate change mitigation if its growth and use can be managed sustainably.

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