AbstractThe depletion of fossil fuels and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has resulted in a strong growth of biomass utilization for heat and power production. Attempts to overcome the poor handling properties of biomass, i.e. its low bulk density and inhomogeneous structure, have resulted in an increasing interest in biomass densification technologies, such as pelletization and briquetting. The global pellet market has developed quickly, and strong growth is expected for the coming years. Due to an increase in demand for biomass, the traditionally used wood residues from sawmills and pulp and paper industry are not sufficient to meet future needs. An extended raw material base consisting of a broad variety of fibrous residues from agriculture and food industries, as well as thermal pre-treatment processes, provides new challenges for the pellet industry. Pellet production has been an established process for several decades, but only in the past five years has there been significant progress made to understand the key factors affecting pelletizing processes. A good understanding about the pelletizing process, especially the processing parameters and their effect on pellet formation and bonding are important for process and product optimization. The present review provides a comprehensive overview of the latest insights into the biomass pelletization processes, such as the forces involved in the pelletizing processes, modeling, bonding, and adhesive mechanisms. Furthermore, thermal pretreatment of the biomass, i.e. torrefaction and other thermal treatment to enhance the fuel properties of biomass pellets are discussed.