Drivers and Barriers for Bioenergy Trade

  • Martin Junginger
  • Peter-Paul Schouwenberg
  • Lars Nikolaisen
  • Onofre Andrade
Part of the Lecture Notes in Energy book series (LNEN, volume 17)


There are several drivers responsible for the strong increase in biomass trade over the past decade: concerns regarding the effects of climate change remain unchanged, and policy targets for renewable energy for 2020 have so far remained (largely) intact despite the economic crisis. At the same time, the list of barriers potentially hampering the further growth is long and very heterogeneous. Import tariffs and anti-dumping measures have been the topic of dispute between the main producing and consuming regions of ethanol and biodiesel for the last decade, and also technical standards for biodiesel have been criticized, as they may put biodiesel made from soy and palm kernel oil at an disadvantage. For solid biomass, phytosanitary measures are one of the most important barriers preventing the trade of softwood wood chips for energy. Also health and safety issues related to transporting and storing solid biomass still need further attention. For bioenergy trade towards the EU to grow further, long-term investment security is required, a clear and stable sustainability framework has to be in place, and the legal and technical aspects of solid biomass have to be rapidly standardized. The current crisis is likely to influence the climate change business negatively in the short term, but under a stable regulatory framework, even if in short term profit is slow, companies with a long term vision would still find sustainable projects attractive enough to invest.


Renewable Energy Sustainability Criterion Wood Pellet Pine Wood Nematode Solid Biomass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. AFDC. (2013). Renewable fuel standard. Alternative fuels data center. US Department of Energy. Available at:
  2. Christensen, M. S. R. (2012). Personal communication. Storage logistics and sales manager, Copenhagen Merchants, Charlottenlund, Denmark.Google Scholar
  3. Dahl, J. (2012). Project: Large scale utilization of biomass pellets for energy applications. Acronym: LUBA. Ongoing project. Danish Technological Institute.Google Scholar
  4. Dufey, A. (2007). International trade in biofuels: Good for development? And good for environment? International Institute for Environment and Development. Available at:
  5. EIA. (2013). Spot prices for crude oil and petroleum products. Available at:
  6. Elbehri, A., Segerstedt, A., & Liu, P. (2013). Biofuels and the sustainability challenge. A global assessment of sustainability issues, trends and policies for biofuels and related feedstocks. Rome: FAO. Available at:
  7. EPA. (2013). Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Available at:
  8. Euractiv. (2009). Dossier biofuels, trade and sustainability. Last update 29 July 2009. Available at:
  9. EurObserv’ER. (2009). Biofuelsbarometer. SystemesSolaires, le Journal des energies renouvelables, 192. Available at:
  10. Farm Futures. (2013). Ethanol groups intend to challenge EU tariff. Available at:
  11. Heinimö, J., & Junginger, M. (2009). Production and trading of biomass for energy—An overview of the global status. Biomass and Bioenergy, 33(9), 1310–1320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hoefnagels, R., Junginger, M., Resch, G., Matzenberger, J., Panzer, C., & Pelkmans, L. (2011). Development of a tool to model European biomass trade (Report for IEA bioenergy task 40). Available at:
  13. IEA Bioenergy. (2013). The science-policy interface on the environmental sustainability of forest bioenergy. A strategic discussion paper. IEA Bioenergy: ExCo:2013:03. Available at:
  14. Indexmundi. (2013). Available at: Accessed 29 Apr 2013.
  15. Irwin, S., & Good, D. (2012, December 7). What’s driving the surge in ethanol imports? FarmDoc Daily, Department of Agriculture and Consumer economics, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Available at:
  16. IWPB. (2013). Initiative wood pellet buyers. Standardizing industrial wood pellet trading in Europe. Available at:
  17. Jank, M. J., Kutas, G., do Amaral, L. F., & Nassar, A. M. (2007). EU and U.S. policies on biofuels: Potential impacts on developing countries. Washington, DC: German Marshall Fund of the United States. Available at:
  18. Junginger, M., van Dam, J., Alakangas, E., Virkunnen, M., Vesterinen, P., & Veijonen, K. (2010, February). Solutions to overcome barriers in bioenergy markets in Europe- D2.2. Resources, use and market analysis. EUBIONETIII – Solutions for biomass fuel market barriers and raw material availability – IEE/07/777/SI2.499477. VTT/Utrecht University.Google Scholar
  19. Junginger, M., van Dam, J., Zarrilli, S., Ali Mohamed, F., Marchal, D., & Faaij, A. (2011). Opportunities and barriers for international bioenergy trade. Energy Policy, 39, 2028–2042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kfouri, G. (2012, March 13). EU implements higher import taxes for ethanol fuel blends with 30% gasoline. Platts. Available at:
  21. Koplow, D. A. (2009). Boon to bad biofuels. Washington, DC: Earth Track and Friends of the Earth. Available at:
  22. Lamers, P., & Junginger, M. (2013). The ‘debt’ is in the detail: A synthesis of recent temporal forest carbon analyses on woody biomass for energy. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 7(4), 373–385. doi:  10.1002/bbb.1407
  23. Londo, M., Lensink, S., Wakker, A., Fischer, G., Prieler, S., van Velthuizen, H., de Wit, M., Faaij, A., Junginger, M., Berndes, G., Hansson, J., Egeskog, A., Duer, H., Lundbaek, J., Wisniewski, G., Kupczyk, A., & Könighofer, K. (2010). The REFUEL EU road map for biofuels in transport: Application of the project’s tools to some short term policy issues. Biomass and Bioenergy, 34(2), 244–250. doi: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2009.07.005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Murphy, S. (2008, April). The multilateral trade and investment context for biofuels: Issues and challenges. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP). Available at:
  25. Oosterveer, P., & Mol, A. P. J. (2010). Biofuels, trade and sustainability: A review of perspectives for developing countries. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 4(1), 66–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Steenblik, R. (2007, December). Subsidies: The distorted economics of biofuels (Discussion Paper No. 2007-3). Geneva: The Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI), International Institute for Sustainable development (IISD).Google Scholar
  27. Svedberg, U. (2012). Faror och hälsorisker vid pelletslagring (Dangers and risks at storage of pellets). In Pellets 2012. Stockholm.Google Scholar
  28. Svedberg, U., Samuelsson, J., & Melin, S. (2008). Hazardous off-gassing of carbon monoxide and oxygen depletion during ocean transportation of wood pellets. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 52(4), 259–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zakaria, A., Wakker, E., & Theile, C. (2009). Failing governance—avoiding responsibilities European biofuel policies and oil palm plantation expansion in Ketapang District, West Kalimantan (Indonesia). Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) and WALHI Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia. Available at:
  30. Zarrilli. (2008). Making certification work for sustainable development: The case of biofuels (UNCTAD/DITC//TED/2008/1).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Junginger
    • 1
  • Peter-Paul Schouwenberg
    • 2
  • Lars Nikolaisen
    • 3
  • Onofre Andrade
    • 4
  1. 1.Copernicus InstituteUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.RWE Essents-HertogenboschThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Centre for Biomass & BiorefiningDanish Technological InstituteTaastrupDenmark
  4. 4.Argos EnergiesRotterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations