There are considerable biomass resources in the European Union (EU) and mature conversion technologies to exploit the potentials of bioenergy. The challenge confronting the EU and member states is how to accelerate the implementation of bioenergy systems. This paper contributes to the identification, analysis, and discussion of barriers for bioenergy in the EU. Adopting an innovative methodology involving industry interactions, research workshops, and case studies, this paper identified economic conditions, know-how and institutional capacity, and supply chain co-ordination as the key barriers obstructing the expansion of bioenergy. The case studies expose four points about barriers to bioenergy. First, there are no absolute barriers to realising the potentials of bioenergy in the EU. Second, it is non-technical challenges that are hindering bioenergy rather than technical issues. Third, barriers for bioenergy are dynamic and depend on the context. Fourth, there are consistent strategies and interventions in the case studies to overcome barriers. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.