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Feedstock mobilisation / Sustainability governance

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

7:00 - 9:00 am UTC

Setting up regional biohubs to enhance biomass mobilisation

Biomass supply chains need to be sufficiently agile to handle frequent changes in price, quality requirement and demand. One strategy to connect biomass supply and demand is the use of regional logistics units (biohubs).

These hubs allow the consolidation of biomass supplies providing scale that can allow different sorting and pre-treatment approaches to meet changing market needs and demands.

This session discussed challenges of biomass mobilisation and provide examples of practical biohubs at the global level.

Mark Brown, Director Forest Industries Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia


Biomass feedstock supply chains and future markets
Ric Hoefnagels, Assistant Professor at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Biomass supply mobilisation strategies
Fabian Schipfer, Senior Researcher, Energy Economics Group, Technical University Vienna, Austria

Biomass to Comodities – Extending biomass supply chains using biohubs
Wolter Elbersen, Senior Researcher Biomass and Bioenergy, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands

Agrarian biohubs: a model for expanding post-harvest facilities on biomass supply
Biljana Kulisic, Key Expert – Circular and Sustainable Bioeconomy, Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar, Croatia

Case Studies of sutainable biomass supply chains and biohubs: a global map-based knowledge sharing platform
Mohammad R. Ghaffariyan, Research fellow, FIRC/AFORA, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia

Highlights of the session

  • The use of low-value/underutilised heterogeneous biomass resources will be very important for future deployment of the bioeconomy (which includes bioenergy). Dedicated mobilization strategies addressing multiple levels of governance will provide participatory and environmental benefits on top of broadening the sustainable feedstock base.
  • With the trend towards higher value applications of biomass (advanced transport fuels, biobased chemicals), there is a need to connect local and dispersed biomass on the one side, with central processing at commercial scale on the other side. Such centralised conversion plants will not necessarily be located near the biomass, but preferably near logistic centres.
  • Biohubs / regional biomass depots for lignocellulosic biomass are a way to connect local biomass with markets, providing intermediate storage as well as pretreatment to tradable and standardized commodities. They can also facilitate the engagement of local stakeholders (e.g., in a cooperative structure).
  • Business models preferably take a cascading approach (in time and product quality). Primary products (food, chemicals, biomaterials) will always come with a share of residues/by-products (from farmers, post-harvest facilities). Collecting and treating these residues at regional scale in biohubs adds value to these residues and allows for income diversification, thereby improving the overall business model.
  • We need to learn from examples. IEA Bioenergy Task 43 provides a dashboard where biohub case studies come together, each with an indication of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Available at:


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