The role of bioenergy for climate and sustainable development targets

Part of Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

Investigating the role of bioenergy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

What is the aim of this project?

This project considers the potential role of bioenergy – the energy obtained from organic material – by examining the synergies, trade‐offs and tensions between deploying bioenergy and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. For example, the project is estimating the most favourable balance between preserving forests because they store carbon and harvesting biomass to replace fossil fuels and resources in industries. The project is analysing how biomass supply systems can advance many societal objectives, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the environment, ensuring energy security and promoting human wellbeing.

How could this technology be explained to a high school student?

Bioenergy is the energy retrieved from organic material such as agricultural crops, organic wastes and forest residues. Since trees and crops are natural CO2 absorbers and storage units, there needs to be a balance between the quantity of biomass harvested for bioenergy and the growth of trees and other plants in forests and fields. Responsible use of biomass can be an important tool to fight climate change while providing other opportunities, for example for rural communities. 

What is the value of this project for society?

  • shows how bioenergy can contribute to sustainable development while fighting climate change
  • helps countries to transition away from fossil fuels using local renewable resources
  • develops integrated land management strategies to produce food, materials and energy.

At what stage of development is this project?

The project started in January 2019 and is expected to end by December 2021.

What government policies could bring this from the lab to the market?

  • supporting or requiring sustainable practices in forestry and agriculture
  • supporting rural development
  • rewarding CO2 savings and storage. 

Harvesting Energy Crops On Contaminated Lands

Harvesting Energy Crops On Contaminated Lands. Photo: Luc Pelkmans, Bioenergy TCP.

Partners and founders


  • Chalmers University (Sweden)
  • DBFZ (Germany)
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries (Australia)
  • Utrecht University (Netherlands)
  • University of the Sunshine Coast (Australia)
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • IINAS (Germany)
  • Other members of Bioenergy Tasks 40, 43, 44 and 45.


  • Bioenergy TCP membership
  • In-kind contributions from participating organisations.

Learn more

About the Technology Collaboration Programme on Bioenergy (Bioenergy TCP)

The aim of the Bioenergy TCP, created in 1976, is to increase knowledge and understanding of bioenergy systems in order to facilitate the commercialisation and market deployment of environmentally sound, socially acceptable and cost-competitive low-carbon bioenergy systems and technologies, and to advise policy makers and industrial decision makers accordingly.