New Zealand and the central North Island are in a unique position to lead the way in biofuel development and commercialisation.
Scion hosted the country's first symposium bringing researchers together to discuss scientific developments and a national research strategy.
Among the 70-plus delegates were three members of the International Energy Agency bioenergy group – the University of British Columbia's Jack Saddler, the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Jim McMillan and the University of Copenhagen's Claus Felby.
Saddler said New Zealand had a distinct advantage because it contained "not many people, but a lot of biomass" and had access to geothermal energy.
A lot of research has been done in the past 30 years and is now moving towards commercialisation, but he said the US had been slow to sign up to international climate change agreements, had no carbon tax and met less than 10 per cent of its energy requirements with renewable sources.
Felby said smaller countries such as New Zealand and Denmark were well-placed to introduce new biofuel technologies.