About Task 34?

We are an International Experts’ Network of researchers who support the advancement and commercialization of bioenergy through biomass liquefaction.


What is biomass liquefaction?


Direct Thermochemical Liquefaction (DTL) is using heat to break down the polymers in solid biomass to form a liquid that can be used as an energy carrier or chemical feedstock.  Pyrolysis and Hydrothermal liquefaction are two examples of DTL to form bio-oils and bio-crudes respectively.


What does Task 34 do?


Each three year period, or triennium, we construct a plan.  The plan for the 2016-2018 triennium is shown below.  An updated triennium plan for the new triennium that started in 2019 will be made available as it is finalized.

Task 34, Direct Thermochemical Liquefaction has as its main emphasis overcoming barriers to commercialization of DTL of biomass for liquid fuel production. The overall objective of the Task in the 2016-2018 Triennium was be to improve the implementation and success of direct thermochemical liquefaction of biomass for fuels and chemicals by contributing to the resolution of critical technical areas and disseminating relevant information, particularly to industry and policy makers.

The scope of the Task is to monitor, review, and contribute to the resolution of issues that will permit more successful and more rapid implementation of pyrolysis technology, including identification of opportunities to provide a substantial contribution to bioenergy. This is to be achieved by the activities listed below:

  • Review of bio-oil and bio-crude applications
  • Bio-oil and bio-crude standardization
  • Round Robin for analytical methods validation
  • TEA of thermochemical liquefaction technologies
  • Collaboration with other IEA Bioenergy Tasks

The Direct Thermochemical Liquefaction Task is a three-year project which commenced January 2016, in parallel with the other tasks in IEA Bioenergy, as approved by the IEA Bioenergy Executive Committee (ExCo) with membership including Canada, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the USA.


Triennium 2016-2018


Click here to view the complete proposal for prolongation of Task 34: Direct Thermochemical Liquefaction 2016-2018.

The IEA Bioenergy Task 34 for Direct Thermochemical Liquefaction supports the operation of this website for the interaction of researchers with commercial entities in the field of biomass liquefaction.  Current participants in the Task from January 2016 onwards are Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA. The scope of activities in the new Triennium 2016-2018 will include hydrothermal liquefaction and the upgrading of bio-oil and biocrude to hydrocarbon liquid fuels alongside fast pyrolysis. Pyrolysis, hydrothermal liquefaction, and solvo-thermal liquefaction are means for production of high yields of a liquid product.  Fast pyrolysis bio-oil has been defined by the following description and is now recognized with a CAS number 1207435-39-9.

“Liquid condensate recovered by thermal treatment of lignocellulosic biomass at short hot vapour residence time (typically less than about 5 seconds) typically at between 450-600°C at near atmospheric pressure or below, in the absence of oxygen, using small (typically less than 5 mm) dry (typically less than 10% water) biomass particles.

 A number of engineered systems have been used to effect high heat transfer into the biomass particle and quick quenching of the vapour product, usually after removal of solid byproduct “char”, to recover a single phase liquid product.

Bio-oil is a complex mixture of, for the most part, oxygenated hydrocarbon fragments derived from the biopolymer structures.  It typically contains 15-30% water.  Common organic components include acetic acid, methanol, aldehydes and ketones, cyclopentenones, furans, alkyl-phenols, alkyl-methoxy-phenols, anhydrosugars, and oligomeric sugars and water-insoluble lignin-derived compounds.  Nitrogen- and sulfur-containing compounds are also sometimes found depending on the biomass source.”

The overall objective of Task 34 will be to improve the rate of implementation and success of direct thermochemical liquefaction of biomass for fuels and chemicals by contributing to the resolution of critical technical areas and disseminating relevant information, particularly to industry and policy makers. The following are the priority topics for the Triennium identified by the Task.

 Priority Topics for Task 34


  • Provide support for commercialisation through standards development
  • Validate applicable analytical methods for product evaluation
  • Facilitate information exchange with stakeholders
  • Support technoeconomic assessment of liquefaction technologies

Pyrolysis comprises all steps in a process from reception of biomass in a raw harvested form to delivery of a marketable product as liquid fuel, heat and/or power, chemicals and char byproduct.  The technology review may focus on the thermal conversion and applications steps, but implementation requires the complete process to be considered.  Process components as well as the total process are therefore included in the scope of the Task, which will cover optimization, alternatives, economics, and market assessment.

The work of the Task will address the concerns and expectations of the following:

  • Pyrolysis technology developers
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Chemical producers
  • Policy makers
  • Investors
  • Bio-oil applications developers
  • Bio-oil users
  • Utilities providers
  • Decision makers
  • Planners

Industry will be actively encouraged to be involved as Task participants, as contributors to Workshops or Seminars, as Consultants, or as technical reviewers of Task outputs to ensure that the orientation and activities of the Task match or meet their requirements.

PyNe, an electronic newsletter is produced by the Task twice a year. For questions contact the PyNe editor at PyNeEditor@gmail.com

To access the main IEA Bioenergy website, click here.

To view the full list of Task 34 members and their contact details, please click here.