Biomass has been recognised as a promising resource for future energy and fuels. The biomass, originated from plants, is renewable and application of its derived energy and fuels is close to carbon-neutral by considering that the growing plants absorb CO2 for photosynthesis. However, the complex physical structure and chemical composition of the biomass significantly hinder its conversion to gaseous and liquid fuels. This paper reviews recent advances in biomass thermochemical conversion technologies for energy, liquid fuels and chemicals. Combustion process produces heat or heat and power from the biomass through oxidation reactions; however, this is a mature technology and has been successfully applied in industry. Therefore, this review will focus on the remaining three thermochemical processes, namely biomass pyrolysis, biomass thermal liquefaction and biomass gasification. For biomass pyrolysis, biomass pretreatment and application of catalysts can simplify the bio-oil composition and retain high yield. In biomass liquefaction, application of appropriate solvents and catalysts improves the liquid product quality and yield. Gaseous product from biomass gasification is relatively simple and can be further processed for useful products. Dual fluidised bed (DFB) gasification technology using steam as gasification agent provides an opportunity for achieving high hydrogen content and CO2 capture with application of appropriate catalytic bed materials. In addition, multi-staged gasification technology, and integrated biomass pyrolysis and gasification as well as gasification for poly-generation have attracted increasing attention. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.