Why the EU supports bioenergy research and innovation

Bioenergy is the conversion of biomass - such as agricultural and forest by-products and residues, organic municipal waste, energy crops, algae, biological CO2 - into useful energy carriers including heat, electricity and transport fuels.

Bioenergy is the main source of renewable energy in the EU, with a share of almost 60%.

The EU has leadership in bioenergy technologies, but deployment remains limited.

Challenges 

  • improving the technology in terms of efficiency and cost reduction
  • developing reliable, integrated bioenergy supply chains from feedstock cultivation, harvesting, transport, storage to conversion into heat, electricity and transport fuels
  • integrating bioenergy in the overall energy system

Opportunities

  • bioenergy and biofuels are essential for both energy use and as energy carriers
  • the market for advanced biofuels is growing because of their large renewable energy density
  • because they are compatible with existing engines, drop-in biofuels are the only deployable solution for replacing petroleum in transport in the mid-term, and in sectors like aviation and shipping in the long-term as well
  • research and innovation can improve the cost, performance, and sustainability needed to make bioenergy competitive

Research focuses on

  • technology improvement and diversification
  • feedstock diversification
  • modernising and improving efficiency of biomass based heat and power co-generation
  • market uptake measures for all technologies, in particular aviation, shipping and heavy duty road
  • breakthrough research and market-creating innovation (e.g. bionic leaf technology)
  • coordinating EU research and innovation funding and risk financing to boost commercialisation
  • integration of bioenergy in the overall energy system
  • international cooperation to tackle global societal challenges

Funding opportunities

  • Horizon 2020 - energy calls

    Calls for proposal related to energy themes in Horizon 2020. On this page you can find more information, the work programme and a link to the energy related calls.

  • Horizon 2020 - access to risk finance

    Gain easier access to debt and equity financing such as InnovFin, managed by the European Investment Bank Group and European Investment Fund

  • European structural and investment funds (ESIF)

    Energy research related calls may be found in these funds

  • NER 300 programme

    Funding for innovative low-carbon technology research with focus on environmentally safe Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and innovative renewable energy technologies

  • LIFE+ Climate Action

    Co-financing for climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation research, supporting the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy

  • Connecting Europe Facility - energy

    CEF energy funds and finances energy infrastructure projects

  • COSME

    EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) aims to make it easier for SMEs to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle

  • Prize for renewable energy islands

    Prize rewarding achievements in local renewable energy production for electricity, heating, cooling and transport on islands.

Collaboration and jobs

Projects and results

  • Research projects database (CORDIS)

    The Commission's primary portal for EU-funded research projects and their results.

  • Project success stories

    Stories of particularly successful EU-funded projects

  • Horizon Magazine

    Latest news, interviews and features about thought-provoking science and innovative research projects funded by the EU.

  • Horizon 2020 dashboard

    Access to real-time programme data with the ability to filter by country, region, theme and more

  • Horizon Results Platform

    Platform where framework programme participants present their results for you to search, contact their owners, and form partnerships.

  • Results packs on energy

    Thematic collections of innovative EU-funded research results in the energy field

Scientific publications, tools and databases

Latest

Contact

  • Research enquiry service

    You can contact the research enquiry service to find out more about research in Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programmes as well as calls for proposals and project funding.  

  • National contact points

    The national contact points (NCP) network gives guidance and information on participating in Horizon 2020. NCPs are established in all EU countries and many non-EU countries.

  • Enterprise Europe Network

    The Enterprise Europe Network is the world’s largest support network for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with international ambitions. 

  • European IP Helpdesk

    Service that offers an intellectual property rights helpline, training and online library.

Related Commission departments