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Opportunities and barriers for international bioenergy trade


  • Junginger, Martin
  • van Dam, Jinke
  • Zarrilli, Simonetta
  • Ali Mohamed, Fatin
  • Marchal, Didier
  • Faaij, Andre


Recently, the international trade of various bioenergy commodities has grown rapidly, yet this growth is also hampered by some barriers. The aim of this paper is to obtain an overview of what market actors currently perceive as major opportunities and barriers for the development of international bioenergy trade. The work focuses on three bioenergy commodities: bioethanol, biodiesel and wood pellets. Data were collected through an internet-based questionnaire. The majority of the 141 respondents had an industrial background. Geographically, two-thirds were from (mainly Western) Europe, with other minor contributions from all other continents. Results show that import tariffs and the implementation of sustainability certification systems are perceived as (potentially) major barriers for the trade of bioethanol and biodiesel, while logistics are seen mainly as an obstacle for wood pellets. Development of technical standards was deemed more as an opportunity than a barrier for all commodities. Most important drivers were high fossil fuel prices and climate change mitigation policies. Concluding, to overcome some of the barriers, specific actions will be required by market parties and policy makers. Import tariffs for biofuels could be reduced or abolished, linked to multinational trade agreements and harmonization (including provisions on technical standards and sustainability requirements).

Suggested Citation

  • Junginger, Martin & van Dam, Jinke & Zarrilli, Simonetta & Ali Mohamed, Fatin & Marchal, Didier & Faaij, Andre, 2011. "Opportunities and barriers for international bioenergy trade," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 2028-2042, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:4:p:2028-2042

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. van Dam, J. & Junginger, M. & Faaij, A.P.C., 2010. "From the global efforts on certification of bioenergy towards an integrated approach based on sustainable land use planning," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(9), pages 2445-2472, December.
    2. Ronald Steenblik, 2007. "Subsidies: The Distorted Economics of Biofuels," OECD/ITF Joint Transport Research Centre Discussion Papers 2007/3, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xian, Hui & Colson, Gregory & Mei, Bin & Wetzstein, Michael E., 2015. "Co-firing coal with wood pellets for U.S. electricity generation: A real options analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 106-116.
    2. Hu, Jianjun & Lei, Tingzhou & Wang, Zhiwei & Yan, Xiaoyu & Shi, Xinguang & Li, Zaifeng & He, Xiaofeng & Zhang, Quanguo, 2014. "Economic, environmental and social assessment of briquette fuel from agricultural residues in China – A study on flat die briquetting using corn stalk," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 557-566.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:565-:d:133016 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Olivia Koland & Martin Schönhart & Erwin Schmid, 2013. "International Trade of Bio-Energy Products – Economic Potentials for Austria," FIW Research Reports series IV-004, FIW.
    5. Proskurina, Svetlana & Rimppi, Heli & Heinimö, Jussi & Hansson, Julia & Orlov, Anton & Raghu, KC & Vakkilainen, Esa, 2016. "Logistical, economic, environmental and regulatory conditions for future wood pellet transportation by sea to Europe: The case of Northwest Russian seaports," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 38-50.
    6. repec:eee:rensus:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:1123-1137 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Mansuy, Nicolas & Thiffault, Evelyne & Lemieux, Sébastien & Manka, Francis & Paré, David & Lebel, Luc, 2015. "Sustainable biomass supply chains from salvage logging of fire-killed stands: A case study for wood pellet production in eastern Canada," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 62-73.
    8. de Barros, Marisa Maia & Szklo, Alexandre, 2015. "Petroleum refining flexibility and cost to address the risk of ethanol supply disruptions: The case of Brazil," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 20-31.
    9. Sung, Bongsuk, 2015. "Public policy supports and export performance of bioenergy technologies: A dynamic panel approach," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 477-495.
    10. repec:eee:rensus:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:1331-1349 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Purkus, Alexandra & Gawel, Erik & Thrän, Daniela, 2012. "Bioenergy governance between market and government failures: A new institutional economics perspective," UFZ Discussion Papers 13/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    12. Sarah L. Stattman & Aarti Gupta, 2015. "Negotiating Authority in Global Biofuel Governance: Brazil and the EU in the WTO," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 15(1), pages 41-59, February.
    13. repec:eee:appene:v:198:y:2017:i:c:p:410-425 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Julia Hansson & Roman Hackl, 2016. "The potential influence of sustainability criteria on the European Union pellets market—the example of Sweden," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(4), pages 413-429, July.
    15. Oskar Englund & Göran Berndes, 2015. "How do sustainability standards consider biodiversity?," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 26-50, January.
    16. Lamers, Patrick & Hamelinck, Carlo & Junginger, Martin & Faaij, André, 2011. "International bioenergy trade--A review of past developments in the liquid biofuel market," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 2655-2676, August.


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