Paul Bennett Chair of IEA Bioenergy Association

For immediate release
26 January 2021

Scion’s Dr Paul Bennett has been announced as Chair of the world’s leading international collaboration on bioenergy research, development and usage.

Dr Bennett was elected Chair of International Energy Agency - Bioenergy (IEA Bioenergy) for two years, from 1 January 2021. It is an honour for Dr Bennett to lead the world’s most prominent bioenergy scientists and policy makers as they work together to contribute to the international bioenergy agenda.

Dr Bennett has served as the Vice Chair of IEA Bioenergy for the past three years. Moving into the chair role in the present international context promises to be a unique challenge. The focus for Dr Bennett will be maintaining the momentum around bioenergy, “Bioenergy and biofuels can create clean, sustainable solutions to some of the world’s greenhouse gas issues. My challenge will be continuing to advocate for these solutions at a time when COVID-19 could create setbacks such as lower overall fuel demand, cheap oil, and added economic stress that could delay green transitions.”

This announcement is a great step for New Zealand who stands to learn from member countries that have gone further down the track in deploying bioenergy than New Zealand has. Although biofuels are a drop in the ocean of our fuel consumption - accounting for less than 0.1% of the annual 8.6 billion litres of fuel consumed here annually – being among bioenergy’s most influential minds shows we are in the major league on this issue.

Scion, through Dr Bennett, has been New Zealand’s representative to the IEA for several years, sharing our expertise through research initiatives on the implementation of liquid biofuels for transport fuel, and the process for converting biomass such as forestry waste into liquid biofuels.

IEA Bioenergy was set up in 1978 by the International Energy Agency. IEA Bioenergy internationally significant body has 28-member countries including 15 European countries, America, Canada, Brazil, China and India. New Zealand has been a member for several years.


Mike Bennetts Z Energy CEO, Hon. Dr Megan Woods Minister for Research, Science and Innovation and Scion’s Dr Paul Bennett at the launch of New Zealand’s Biofuels Roadmap in 2018.