Unified Wood Energy Terminology (UWET)

The Unified Wood Energy Terminology meeting took place in Rome at FAO headquarters on 3 and 4 October 2001. It was attended by 25 experts from Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, belonging to leading international, regional and national organizations involved in the topic of wood energy. Two meetings focused on standardization and a third on biofuels. A final document, listing the terms on which agreement on harmonized definitions had been reached, is under preparation. At the end of the meeting, the participants prepared the following Declaration.



    The participants recognized that:

    on the one hand,

      · wood energy is, and will remain in the future, an important source of energy;

      · properly harnessed, wood energy provides the opportunity to foster sustainable development, particularly at the local level;

      · the discussion on climate change opens new opportunities for the development of bioenergy;

      · data and information on woodfuels (and other biofuels) are crucial for the evaluation of the current situation and the assessment of environmental issues, and constitute the basis for wood energy planning and sound forestry and bioenergy policies;

    on the other hand,

      · the importance of wood energy is not yet properly recognized by energy and forestry planners and policy-makers;

      · national and international capabilities for the systematic collection, analysis and presentation of woodfuel information are often dramatically insufficient and focus mainly on the demand side, leaving unattended most issues relating to supply and its sustainability;

      · the terminology used for the collection, analysis and presentation of woodfuel information is not properly defined and standardized;

      · most countries lack appropriate tools, methodologies and human resources for data collection, interpretation and planning; and

      · there is insufficient coordination and collaboration among national, regional and international organizations (forestry, energy and agriculture).


      · a revised list of the terms with their definitions, which will be described in a publication called "A Unified Wood Energy Terminology (UWET), definitions and descriptions", to be edited by FAO.


      · various methodologies needed for bioenergy information and planning, including:

          - an approach to be followed for the identification and classification of the main biofuels, and

          - tools for the development of improved national wood energy information systems, as well as the implementation of wood energy planning exercises.


      · to be actively involved in the adoption, application and dissemination of UWET;

      · to increase cooperation at regional/international levels to develop improved woodfuel information and planning systems; and

      · to help to launch and support an initiative directed to improve the understanding and quantification of bioenergy supply sources.


For more information, please contact:

Miguel Trossero at the address given on the first page.

Iea bioenergy

This has become our regular feature dedicated to IEA Bioenergy's activities. Complete contact details are listed at the end of this section.

From IEA secretariat

ExCo 48

With considerable regret the Executive Committee meeting scheduled for Orlando, United States on 13 and 14 September 2001, was cancelled as a result of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. ExCo48 was subsequently rescheduled to Brussels, Belgium in November 2001.

ExCo48 Brussels, Belgium

The 48th meeting of the Executive Committee was held in Brussels, Belgium on 13 and 14 November 2001, with Josef Spitzer as Chairman, and John Tustin as Secretary. The meeting was hosted by the European Commission. The outcome of the meeting is summarized below.


    Mr Miguel Trossero, Senior Forestry Officer (Wood Energy) represented FAO as an observer at the 48th meeting of the Executive Committee of IEA Bioenergy, which was his first meeting with IEA since the November 2000 meeting held in Zagreb, Croatia. The meeting was attended by approximately 23 representatives from 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the European Union as ExCo members, with IEA headquarters' staff members and FAO as observers.

    The meeting discussed matters arising from existing and new members and reviewed the progress reports and accounts. Presentations were made on the many activities of the different Tasks. Of particular interest to FAO (and which could be of relevance to FEF readers in developing countries) were the case studies to be carried out by Task 35 on the techno-economic assessment of bioenergy applications. Mr Trossero mentioned that after the preparation of FAO's publication (now under final editing) on "The analysis of economic and financial aspects of wood energy systems", he would like to collaborate with IEA Bioenergy during the next biennium in the preparation of case studies in some developing countries.

    Another area of interest is the work carried out on the socio-economic aspects of bioenergy projects. FAO's Wood Energy Programme had already had some collaboration with Task 29 in the past, which is expected to increase in the future. Mr Trossero presented a paper on the status of the activities implemented within the framework of the FAO-IEA Bioenergy Memorandum of Understanding signed in early 2000. He remarked that the collaboration between FAO and IEA Bioenergy was giving the benefits expected in terms of higher visibility, improved exchange of information and better accessibility to new areas of expertise.

    For more information, please contact Mr Miguel Trossero at the address given on the first page.


Possible new Contracting Parties

Ireland was planning to rejoin the Agreement in 2002.

Position paper on municipal solid waste

The Executive Committee, with substantial assistance from Dr Niranjan Patel, Task Leader of Task 36, is preparing a position paper entitled "Municipal solid waste and its role in sustainability". This will be a well-researched, policy-oriented statement that should facilitate discussion of this important issue and assist energy policy development in the member countries. Publication is envisaged early in 2002 and the paper will also be available in the "media centre" of the new Web site.

Extension of the Implementing Agreement

At ExCo47, it was unanimously agreed that the Implementing Agreement be extended to 31 December 2004.

Election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman

Dr Kyriakos Maniatis was elected Chairman and Dr Björn Telenius Vice-Chairman for 2002. The Committee expressed their appreciation of the strong contribution by the outgoing Chairman, Dr Josef Spitzer, who had served for the previous three years.

ExCo meetings

The Executive Committee meets twice a year, with the meetings being rotated around the member countries. Attendance is normally in the range of 20 to 27 people. The Table below shows meetings that were held in recent years, with an analysis of the attendees by broad category.




Members/ alternates

Task leaders




Saltsjöbaden, Sweden

13-14 May 1998






Christchurch, New Zealand

18-19 November 1998






Svolvær, Norway

26-28 May 1999






Kyoto, Japan

11-12 November 1999






Utrecht, the Netherlands

29-31 May 2000






Zagreb, Croatia

8-9 November 2000






York, United Kingdom

2-3 May 2001






Brussels, Belgium

13-14 November 2001





Some Task Leaders also serve as Alternate Members or Designated Alternate Members at specific meetings. On average, about four member countries are not represented at an ExCo meeting, but several non-member countries are present as observers. Observers from member countries and IEA headquarters are also usually present. Overall, ExCo meetings are well attended and the support from member countries, whether they are represented or not, is substantial.

Task focus

Task 39: Liquid biofuels

Biofuels including ethanol and biodiesel are already important parts

of the motor fuels mix in many countries. In the United States, for example, ethanol is expected to account for about 2 percent of the total motor gasoline mix in 2002. These fuels are poised to become even more important in many countries over the short term because of their environmental and energy security benefits. IEA Bioenergy established Task 39 to help participants with their implementation of biofuel fuels.


Task 31: Conventional forestry systems for sustainable production of bioenergy

Task 31 held a very successful one-day "Bioenergy Seminar" in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. One of a series of such events organized by the task, this seminar attracted more than 50 participants, including representatives from the oil and gas, electricity and forest industries, government and academic institutions. The event may have sparked enough interest to initiate serious discussions on forming a Canadian Biomass Association - quite remarkable for an event in Alberta which is the oil and gas heartland of Canada.

Further information can be obtained from:
Jim Richardson (jrichardson@on.aibn.com ).

Task 32: Biomass combustion and cofiring

Task 32 has recently launched its Web site (www.ieabioenergy-task32.com). Apart from general information on the task and contact details of task members, the site contains reports of task meetings (Tasks 19 and 32) and task-organized seminars. A database on fuel and ash composition and a task-produced handbook on biomass combustion and cofiring will soon be added.

Task 34: Pyrolysis of biomass

ThermoNet, comprising PyNe (for biomass pyrolysis) and GasNet (for biomass gasification), had its first meeting in Helsinki, Finland at the end of June 2001. PyNe is sponsored by the EC and by IEA Bioenergy (Task 34).

Task 35: Techno-economic assessments for bioenergy applications

Collaboration between IEA Bioenergy and Essent Energi has been initiated. Essent Energi is the largest electric utility and service company in the Netherlands and the major green power producer. Netherlands legislation requires power producers to replace up to 20 percent of their coal-fired power with renewable energy. Tasks 35 and 38 are carrying out life cycle analyses to support the decision on the optimum choice of technology to be applied to meet this requirement.

Martijn Wagener of Essent Energi, "As the leading green power producer in the Netherlands, we need to ensure that our consumers get what they want. And what they want is the most benign environmental footprint. Electricity production from biomass is a powerful and efficient way to reduce the emissions of CO2, the main cause of the greenhouse effect."

In July 2001, a workshop organized by the Netherlands organization Novem provided an introduction to the Task 35 kick-off meeting. In addition to task members and Novem, there were participants from various Netherlands organizations, including electric utility, R&D and academic organizations. Presentations covered energy policy, national bioenergy objectives, utility perspectives and recent R&D studies.

The Task 35 meeting discussed the task's practical work packages, including the study of new alternatives for the international bioenergy trade, such as those based on trading of pyrolysis bio-oil.

More information is available from:
Yrjo Solantausta (yrjo.solantausta@vtt.fi).

Task 38. Greenhouse gas balances of biomass and bioenergy systems

The proceedings of the workshop held in Canberra, Australia in March 2001 are now available at: www.joanneum.ac.at/iea-bioenergy-task38/fnew.htm



Task 31 News

The first issue of Task 31's newsletter was released in June 2001. Contact Jim Richardson (jrichardson@on.aibn.com) for a copy.

Hot gas conditioning: recent progress with larger-scale biomass gasification systems

Over the past decade, significant research and development activities have been conducted on the topic of gas clean-up and conditioning. In this report, Don Stevens, leader of Task 39, provides an update of efforts related to large-scale biomass gasification systems.

To order a copy of the report, send an e-mail to: orders@ntis.fedworld.gov; or refer to the Web site (www.doe.gov/bridge ).

Bioenergy FAQs

Task 38 has written a guide, Answers to ten frequently asked questions about bioenergy, carbon sinks and their role in global climate change, to introduce and explain the relevant fundamental concepts.

Biogas and more! Systems and markets overview of anaerobic digestion

Produced by the former Task 24: Energy from biological conversion of municipal solid waste, this booklet outlines the status of anaerobic digestion as the most promising method of treating the organic fraction of municipal solid waste and other organic wastes. It also summarizes policy and other issues which influence the deployment of the technology.


Collaboration with China

On 28 August 2001 an agreement was signed between IEA and the Chinese Government for a "Framework of Energy Technology Co-operation" with China's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Beijing.

In 1996, IEA reached a cooperation agreement with China's State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) which included clauses for China's participation in IEA's R&D Implementing Agreements. However, little progress was made in this respect, mainly because energy technology R&D and deployment are largely the responsibility of MOST, another government agency. Recently, contacts were made with MOST to encourage China's participation in more Implementing Agreements. (So far, China has joined only two Implementing Agreements, one on Hydropower and the other on Nuclear Fusion Materials.) MOST officials showed a strong interest for the ministry itself or its subordinate entities to join more Implementing Agreements. The ministry has an expanding programme for international technology cooperation and an increasing budget to support this programme. However, the priority of budget allocation will be given to cooperation projects that can be implemented under an umbrella agreement which MOST has signed with international players. For this reason a framework paper was requested for cooperation with IEA to enable the ministry to allocate funds for China's participation in more IEA Implementing Agreements.

Chinese participation in IEA Bioenergy would be valuable as China is the largest potential market for clean energy technology deployment outside IEA membership. It also has high-quality researchers who can contribute to the advancement of energy technology collaboration programmes. Accordingly, the Secretary has endeavoured to open discussion on possible membership by sending appropriate material on IEA Bioenergy programmes.



    Task 29 is planning its next meetings for July 2002 in Cologne, Germany and September 2002 in Croatia.

    Task 32 is planning its next workshop in conjunction with Task 33 for June 2002 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It will also meet in the autumn of 2002 in New Zealand.

    Task 36 is planning its next meeting for May 2002 in Australia.

    Task 37 is planning its 2002 meetings for the spring in Germany and the autumn in Italy.

    Task 39 is planning its 2002 meetings for May in Orlando, United States and the autumn in the United Kingdom.

    ExCo49 will be hosted by the Danish Energy Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark on 24 and 25 April 2002. There will be a study tour on 23 April.

    ExCo50 will be held in Helsinki, Finland on 23 and 24 October 2002. There will be a programme on 22 October for ExCo members wishing to learn more about bioenergy in Finland.

    ExCo51 will be held in Australia around May 2003.


Social implications of forest energy production

Chapter seven of the forthcoming book to be published by IEA Bioenergy Task 18 is entitled "Social implications of forest energy production". The objectives are, first, to discuss how public perceptions and values relating to forests and their use can be identified and addressed. Within the context of forest energy production, this should include the means of involving the public in decision-making and strategies for convincingly demonstrating sustainability. Second, the chapter aims to explore the relationship between forest energy production and rural employment. Finally, it attempts to discuss the potentially beneficial impact of forest energy production and use on community development and life in particular cultures, specifically in remote areas and involving aboriginal peoples.

This revised version of the chapter appears with three main themes: the social implications of biofuel use in developing countries; the social implications of biofuel use in developed countries; and forest energy and employment. The social implications of biofuel use in developing countries considers a number of cases and related topics such as biofuel use in Asian countries, the role of gender, socio-economic and cultural views, attitudes on environmental issues and biofuel use in African countries. More specifically, biofuel use in Asian countries elaborates on the contemporary perceptions of wood energy, volume of woodfuel flows, rural income and employment and bioenergy use in the local sector. Case studies are cited, such as that of the Majalaya subdistrict, West Java's habit and necessity; Laguna province, Philippines' festivals and celebrations; and Pokhara, Nepal's ceremonial uses. In addition, global climate change is tackled.

The second theme discusses how bioenergy is being developed and what are the benefits in remote communities, i.e. Canada. Other topics include: complementary forestry activities for community development; opportunities and challenges for remote communities; the relationship of the urban public to the forest; the design of woodfuel operations in urbanized societies; and changing urban culture and economics.

The final section concerning forest energy and rural employment is devoted to methods for measuring employment and earnings, and the effects of production systems on employment and earnings. (Contributed by: Prof. Elizabeth M. Remedio, Department of Economics, University of San Carlos, Cebu City, Philippines; e-mail: eremedio@skyinet.net )


For more information on any of the articles in this Special Feature, please contact:

IEA Secretariat, IEA Bioenergy,
9 Moncur Drive, Rotorua,
New Zealand.
Fax: +64 7 3487503;
e-mail: jrtustin@xtra.co.nz;


[See also the Africa Energy Information Forum under Events of Interest for more information on IEA activities.]