IEA Bioenergy Task 32 – Biomass Combustion

EU | September 2016 - March 2025

Task 32 is an international forum under the IEA Bioenergy Technology Collaboration Programme for knowledge sharing and discussion of the developments in combustion and co-firing with biomass. Representatives from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, Canada, the USA, and Denmark are participating in the collaboration and attend annual meetings, typically with an accompanying workshop on a technical subject.

The purpose of the Danish participation in Task 32 is to disseminate Danish information on energy strategies, research, development, and demonstration projects on biomass combustion, as well as news on Danish biomass fired plants in all sizes, and to participate actively with Danish angles in the Task 32 projects. In addition, the purpose is to gather knowledge on the corresponding activities in other countries and to disseminate them to the Danish network.

In the past triennium (2019-2021), Task 32 has especially focused on small firing plants (stoves and boilers), as well as biomass heat for industrial processes, and has recently published several reports:

  • Realistic test methods for wood pellet stoves.
  • Guideline for design of low emission stoves.
  • Report on national strategies for reducing emissions from wood firing in households.
  • Carbon balances in biomass firing systems – how firing plants can remove reactive carbon from the surroundings.
  • High temperature heat for industry – collaboration with other tasks on case studies and policy report.

The reports can be seen here on this page or on the Task 32 website:

In 2022-2024 Task 32 is working on biomass combustion projects within the challenges of biomass combustion that the members have flagged up. The projects are divided into four work packages:

1. Replacing fossil fuels in the industry

Here Task 32 works on inspiring industrial companies to move away from fossil fuels. This should be done by

  • Developing several case studies that describe how companies successfully have transitioned away from fossil fuels.
  • Developing a searchable list of cases that can make it easier for decision makers to find a matching case.

The project builds on the intertask project on high temperature process heat for industry that Task 32 has completed. More information can be found on the project website:

2. Biomass combustion with negative carbon emissions

Task 32 contributes to the intertask projects in IEA Bioenergy on carbon capture and storage/usage from bioenergy. From Task 32 we will focus on the role small and large biomass fired plants can play in connection to BECCUS, as well as how the technology affects the operation of the plants:

  • Since there are still no experiences from full scale plants, as part of the project, Ea Energy Analyses, will model how implementation of full-scale carbon capture and PtX respectively will affect the operations of a large, Danish biomass fired CHP.
  • Task 32 is also contributing with a study of the possibilities of capturing and using carbon from flue gas on small biomass fired plants.
  • Task 32 is responsible for hosting a workshop on the first experiences of BECCS.

In this work package Task 32 will also be looking into how effective biomass combustion can contribute to mitigating climate change.

3. Innovative biomass fired district heat plants with low emission

In the past couple of years there has been a large development in technology within biomass combustion.

  • Task 32 focuses a study on the development towards more effective technologies with low emission of, amongst other things, particles and NOx, and sprinkles the overview with cases, including on Danish development.
  • Continuing from the first phase of the study on nitrogen balance for biomass fired plants, Task 32 digs deeper to shed light on the circumstances that hay and wood fired plants can work under to remove reactive nitrogen from the surroundings. This is especially relevant in countries with tight regulations on NOx emissions.
  • As a part of this work package, Task 32 has published a report on the advantages of operating several small plants in a cascade, in favour of having one larger boiler plant. The report is based on a Swiss study and can be found on the website:

4. Biomass boilers with low emission

Within the subject area of small boilers, Task 32 continues the current work by

  • Investigating state-of-the-art within biomass boilers and wood stoves with low emissions and presenting it in a report.
  • In addition, Task 32 continues the current work, which, under German leadership, describes the strategies of the member countries for reducing the effect wood firing has on air quality. The goal of the work is to exchange experience among the countries and inspire other than the member countries to act to improve air quality.
  • During the triennium Task 32 will host a workshop on the result of the work and the technological and behavioural achievements that are needed to reduce emissions from the small firing plants.

Ea represents Denmark in Task 32

Denmark took over the leadership of Task 32 from the Netherlands for the period 2019-2021, and continues to lead the task in 2022-2024.

Ea Energy Analyses oversees this, with the Danish Energy Agency as the Operating Agent. Additionally, Ea Energy Analyses is the Danish representative in Task 32. This work is jointly financed by EUDP and Ea Energy Analyses and is a continuation of the work of the previous years.

We regularly send out a Danish newsletter on the work of the task. If you wish to receive this, please write an email to Morten Tony Hansen at Previous newsletters can be downloaded on this page.

Task 32 has its own website, which can be found here. It contains alle the reports of the group, as well as information about previous workshops.

Ea Energy Analyses studied the future of thermal biomass plants in the power systems as a part of Task 32 in 2018. The results of the study was presented in form of a Technical Report by IEA Bioenergy Task 32 and at the IEA Bioenergy conference in San Francisco November 2018. The report can be downloaded on this page.