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Latest Events

European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Vienna, Austria
June 01, 2015 (08:00)
Benjamin Pantani
EU BC&E: Understanding the sustainability of algae production and utilisation, Vienna, Austria
June 02, 2015 (All Day)
Anna Salimbeni, ETA Florence
Guest lecture: Dimethyl Carbonate: From Synthesis to Utilisation, Umeå, Sweden
June 05, 2015 (14:00)
Jyri-Pekka Mikkola, Bio4Energy Catalysis and Separation Platform. Venue: Umeå University, KBC Building, room: 'Lilla hörsalen'
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Bio4Energy on Twitter

@Bio4Energy - No retweets here
#Pulping Side Stream May Be Harnessed for High Value-added Chemicals: High impact research by Bio4Energy: 12:42 pm - 25 May 2015#
#Bio4Energy researchers are organising the 2015 International Congress on Combustion By-products and their Health Effects, 14-17 June at Umeå. 7:25 pm - 12 May 2015#
#Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting 2015 har dragit igång! Systemanalys, samt biokemisk och termokemisk omvandling av biomassa avhandlas imorgon. 8:48 pm - 25 Mar 2015#
#The latest biorefinery research is on the menu at an international conference at Umeå, Sweden, this week:  6:20 pm - 23 Mar 2015#
#Progress has been made on the way to making biofuel from forestry residue a viable alternative to fossil fuels: 10:39 am - 6 Mar 2015#
#Vårens stora konferens i Umeå om förnybar energi har fokus på bioraffinaderi: forskning om hållbara biodrivmedel:  2:18 pm - 17 Feb 2015#     
#Swedish government minister for energy paid a visit to Umeå University and and Bio4Energy: … 5:26 pm - 25 Nov 2014#
#Do you know the conference Impacts of Fuel Quality on Power Production? This year Bio4Energy gave 1/5th of its talks! 2:47 pm - 10 Nov 2014#     
#Växtämne ger nytt DNA till sjuka celler  - Lignin som medicinbärare? Forskning presenterad vid Lignin 2014-konferensen 1:10 pm - 29 Sep 2014#
#Idag sänder SR P1 ett reportage om det senaste inom lignin forskning- och utveckling, från konferensen Lignin 2014. Lyssna kl. 12.10! 12:04 pm - 29 Sep 2014#
#Skogsriket uppmärksammar Bio4Energy och konferensen Lignin 2014. Världsledande forskning om produkter från skogen! … 1:15 pm - 11 Sep 2014#     ·
#Is the use of lignin, a plant polymer, as a substitute for petrochemicals in products ready to take off? 1:14 pm - 10 Sep 2014#
#Vetenskapsradion täcker konferensen Lignin 2014! Lyssna till P1 nästa vecka; reportaget kommer troligtvis på torsdag. 7:48 pm - 27 Aug 2014#
#Guro Elise Fredheim is telling Lignin 2014 Borregaard uses lignin products to make binders, dispersants, concrete &... vanilla flavouring! 5:18 pm - 27 Aug 2014#
#Want to see who is at the Lignin 2014 conference at Umeå, Sweden? Have a look here: 4:40 pm - 26 Aug 2014#
#Håll i er allihopa: Imorgon börjar industridelen av konferensen Lignin 2014! Kan vi göra högvärdiga produkter av trädpolymeren lignin? 4:26 pm - 26 Aug 2014#           

#Lignin 2014 has started! Leading researchers Noritsugu Terashima and Niko Geldner presented this morning. Norman Lewis to speak on lignans. 1:12 pm - 25 Aug 2014#

#Konferensen Lignin 2014 i Umeå har nu 155 och gräddan inom forskning och utveckling kommer! Kommer du?  1:34 pm - 19 Aug 2014#
#Biorefinery products from lignin? Join Lignin 2014 in Sweden & get the latest from top scientists and developers! 3:08 pm - 8 Aug 2014#
#Ligninkonferens samlar eliten inom forskning och utveckling i Umeå - . Registrera er innan 9 augusti. Välkomna! 12:14 PM - 7 Aug 2014#
#Join science forerunners and developers in industry at the Lignin 2014 Conference--24-28 August, Sweden, @Lignin2014. 4:26 pm - 1 Aug 2014#
#Bio4Energy just joined Twitter! We are a research environment developing sustainable biorefinery from woody feedstock or organic waste. 6:07 am - 1 Aug 2014#

In the Press

Future of Nordic Wood Biorefinery: Samordning bland mässor, Lantbruksnytt

Award to Bio4Energy researcher: The Royal Skyttean Society Award 2015, Luleå University of Technology

Evaluation of Bio4Energy: Umeå universitet får strålande betyg, Umeå University

Bio4Energy research: Renare rökgaser under förbränning, Kemivärlden Biotech

Bio4Energy partners SP ETC & LTU Green Fuels could become hubs for 'power-to-gas' technology: Tre orter kan bli först med ”power-to-gas”, Ny

Bio4Energy research: Renare rökgaser från förbränningsanläggningar, Umeå University

”Ofattbart att regeringen straffskattar bort etanolen”, DN debatt

Forskningsutvärdering: Excellent och världsledande, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


Energiomställning kräver nya styrmedel, Luleå tekniska universitet

Bio4Energy Researchers: Pulping Side Stream May Be Harnessed for High Value-added Chemicals Print E-mail
User Rating: / 2
Written by Anna Strom   
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 17:22

Fir-conesperfume ASBio4Energy researchers have reviewed different ways of upgrading tall oil residue from pulping operations to value-added chemicals. The researchers belive there is money to be made by industry from harnessing some of the options found. Photo by Bio4Energy.Researchers in Bio4Energy have published a review article designed to guide biorefinery industry looking to make value-added products from side streams of pulp and paper production such as crude tall oil from trees. This is an area that is attracting the attention of several industrial operators in the vanguard of trying to make renewable chemicals with properties similar to chemicals refined from fossil oil.

Just as the Nordic Paper Journal noted in a recent article, there is likely to be big money to make from side streams of the pulping process. The Bio4Energy researchers point to several routes by which substantially value-added fragrances, pharmaceuticals, bio-based plastics, renewable diesel, specialty chemicals or even jet fuel may be made.

"Industry has realised it can increase the profitability of its operations by making use of the terpene fractions…. Our article gives them a tool for identifying what routes to go down", said Jyri-Pekka Mikkola, professor at Umeå University in Sweden and an expert on catalysis and separation of wood products in Bio4Energy.

The Bio4Energy researchers' 29-page review article gives a complete overview of the latest research on various compounds extracted from turpentine—produced worldwide in approximately 35,000 tonnes each year as a side stream in chemical or mechanical pulping of wood—and treated by heterogeneous catalysis. The article appeared in the April 2015 issue of the Chemical Reviews which receives even more citations by other researchers than the prestigious scientific journals Nature or Science.

Good Marks to Bio4Energy for Leadership, R&D, Outreach, in Evaluation by Swedish Authorities Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Friday, 15 May 2015 14:03

Ibrahim-Baylan-visit-141125Bio4Energy is being evaluated for its first five years a biorefinery research environment. The Swedish government is expected to decide whether to grant Bio4Energy a second five-year operational period, 2016-2021. Sweden's energy minister, Ibrahim Baylan (centre), came to visit Bio4Energy at Umeå in November 2014. Photo by Mattias Petterson.Bio4Energy has received good marks for leadership, research and development and outreach, in an evaluation by Swedish authorities aided by an international panel of experts. The evaluation essentially targets the scientific quality and "strategic" leadership of the research environment in its first five years in operation, 2010-2015. It feeds in to an assessment of Bio4Energy by its main sponsor, the Swedish government, which is expected to decide by the end of the year whether to grant funding for second operational period for the research environment in 2016-2021.

In total, 43 government-funded "strategic" research environments (SREs) were evaluated by five government bodies and an encompassing evaluation report was forwarded to the Swedish government 30 April. It is understood that Bio4Energy was in the top third of research environments which "currently meet the objective of achieving the highest international standard", according to the report entitled Evaluation of the Strategic Research Area Initiative 2010-2014.

"We have received a very good evaluation. We are in full swing with our activities and now we will focus on becoming even better", said Umeå University deputy vice-chancellor Marianne Sommarin, who also chairs the Bio4Energy Board. This latter takes decisions on research and development strategy on behalf of the research environment and on financial matters.

A look at the fine print of the evaluation report reveals that the research output of Bio4Energy is "[in] the frontline", which was the highest possible level of rating given by the panel of experts, the two other two levels being "reaching international standards" and "not convincing so far".

Health & Environmental Effects of Biomass Burning Focus of Congress in Sweden Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Thursday, 07 May 2015 15:56

PIC2015 logoAn important aspect of providing methods and tools for conducting efficient and sustainable biorefinery—such as Bio4Energy does—is to keep the environmental and health impacts of biomass-based technologies in check.

One such example is emissions from biomass combustion. To give a snapshot of the latest in that line of research, scientists at Umeå University have taken on the organisation of the recurrent International Congress on Combustion By-products and their Health Effects, to be held at Umeå 14-17 June 2015.

The scope of the congress traditionally includes both direct biomass burning and combustion as a means to turn biomass into biofuel for automotive transport, and highlights this year include prevention of the formation and emission of halogenated persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and secondary emissons of intermediate chemicals.

Conference chair Stina Jansson said that in a societal transition from using fossil oil as a base for fuels and materials to biomass from wood and other sources, it was important to make sure new environmental problems were not created by the new biofuel combustion processes being invented.

"Here we are talking about by-products of combustion and environmental effects and health effects of these by-products. They can be different types of compounds and structures. So there is quite some research on soot and particles, some on ash and metals and organic environmental pollutants. So this is quite a broad conference [content wise] in that it discusses a range of aspects of combustion and [its] environmental and health effects".

Last Updated on Monday, 11 May 2015 17:31
Bio4Energy Students Analyse Pilot Facilities in Sharpened Biorefinery Pilot Research Course Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
Written by Anna Strom   
Thursday, 16 April 2015 15:17

Bio4Energy Graduate School: Final Seminar Biorefinery Pilot Research 2015 from Bio4Energy on Vimeo.

The contents of the key generic course in the Bio4Energy Graduate School, Biorefinery Pilot Research (BPR), have been made considerably sharper in terms of training students in considering each biorefinery pilot or demonstration facility in the Bio4Energy cluster as an innovation system.

Or so it would seem as the second edition of BPR concluded with a final seminar where PhD student researchers in Bio4Energy presented encompassing reports describing and analysing the activities of seven entities which host pilot and demonstration units run by Bio4Energy researchers or, in one case, by its strategic partners.

"We have improved the course compared with the previous year [and] given it a focus on innovation systems. The students have had to work harder and done better. There has been the possibility to learn more", said Sylvia Larsson, BPR course coordinator and an associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå, Sweden.

Biorefinery Pilot Research is designed to introduce students at the PhD level to the hands-on work of developing biorefinery technologies on site at pilot and demonstration facilities which are part of the Bio4Energy research environment. Bio4Energy deals with biochemical and thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels, chemicals and new materials from woody raw materials and organic waste. It also designs various options for the pre-treatment or pre-processing of biomass by means for instance of catalysis, separation, fractionation or torrefaction.

This introduction mainly takes place on site so that students have the possibility to gain an appreciation of the actual handling of pilot equipment and to have contacts with the engineers and other technicians running the facilities and, by extension, contacts in industry and academia, and at research institutes.

This Spring in Bio4Energy Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Tuesday, 31 March 2015 15:50

J-P-Mikkola-Lab-UmUCatalysis and separation research goes on at the Umeå University laboratories of Jyri-Pekka Mikkola of Bio4Energy. Here is a snapshot from today's work by professor Mikkola and one of three freshly arrived ERASMUS students from Italy. Photo by Bio4Energy.Bio4Energy is lucky to have fantastic researchers. Having barely concluded the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting—which international conference this year had a focus on biorefinery processes—and received the thumbs up from several speakers and others among its 182 participants, they are back in their laboratories and lecture halls inventing new fuels, chemicals and materials from bio-based feedstock, or teaching Bio4Energy's students how to do the same.

Then, in June they will be hosting the 14th International Congress on Combustion by-products and Their Health Effects, PIC 2015, also at Umeå, Sweden, 14-17 June. Shortly after a special issue of the proceedings of the Impacts of Fuel Quality on Power Production conference in Utah, U.S.A., in October 2014, will be published in which scientists on the Bio4Energy Thermochemical Platform will have no less than three articles.

Last but not least, Bio4Energy is looking forward to acknowledging the work of its PhD students who will be wrapping up encompassing reports on the innovation systems attached to the biorefinery pilot and demonstration facilities which are part of the Bio4Energy research environment. The students in question are enrolled in the Bio4Energy Graduate School and about to finish the very hands-on study course Biorefinery Pilot Research.

With this Bio4Energy would like to wish its researchers, members of the industrial network and stakeholders a Happy Easter! Stay in touch.

Biofuel from Algae, Six Decades of Photosynthesis Research at UREM 2015 Conference, Day 3 Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Friday, 27 March 2015 19:31
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Bioethanol may be successfully produced from genetically engineered algae, carbon dioxide and sunlight, Kerstin Baier of Algenol Biofuel Germany told the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting on its third and final day 27 March. In fact, 4,000 photo bioreactors taking up two acres of land were turning out the very thing at the company’s "integrated" biorefinery at Fort Myers in Florida, U.S.A.. The step to commercialisation would be taken in 2017, according to Baier. Advantages of the technology was its low fresh water consumption, the "highly energy-efficient" technology used and that fact that productive strains of cyanobateria (a type of blue-green algae) were used, she said.

An assessment by a constellation of industrial companies, research institutes and academia has shown that it would be economically feasible to replace parts of a chemical industry cluster at petro chemically-based operations with bio-based ditto. The plastic making companies, located at Stenungssund in the south and west of Sweden, thus could continue using their current infrastructure, but be sourced with woody feedstock for some of their processes and involve available technology, be drop-in solutions and concern bulk processes. This “Forest Chemistry” project was unique in Sweden since it had brought the chemical industry together with environmental chemistry scientists and social science researchers, in an attempt to assess the feasibility of lessening the industry’s reliance on products refined from fossil oil.

Last but not least, Pierre Joliot, 61 years a photosynthesis researcher and grandchild of the twice Nobel Prize winning physicist Marie Curie, delivered a few lessons on the tribulations of scientific research and described some highlights of his career.

"Our jobs as scientists is to find something new", professor Joliot said. Perhaps not by means of large breakthroughs but by "making a lot of small discoveries. I think we are all able to do this as scientists.

"One must have a right of failure in basic research, otherwise one stays in the dogma… A certain degree of ignorance is needed", he said.

Joliot said he had started his research career in the 1950s and, apart from a short stint in the U.S.A. in the 60s, worked for most of it from his native country, France. Among other things he had carried out functional studies on oxygen evolution, long-distance energy transfer and what he termed the “charge accumulation process”, he told participants on the last day of UREM 2015.

Biochemical, Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass in Focus at UREM 2015 Conference, Day Two Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Thursday, 26 March 2015 19:44


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Today the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting learned that while biomass gasification for the purpose of making fuels and chemicals would be used to produce biofuel in the Nordic countries, and preferably dimethyl ether (bioDME), countries in southern Europe might prefer to use it to produce heat. Italy and Spain were mentioned as countries where the technology might be taken into use. Alberto Gómez-Barea of the University of Seville, Spain, talked about this and described different types of biomass gasification technology.

Sweden's only biorefinery, Domsjö Fabriker at Örnsköldsvik, had been moving towards making products other than automotive fuel, according to company representative Björn Edström. While he did not provide details on the types of products being promoted, he did say that they could be made from biorefinery residual streams or lignin products.

Ionic liquids could be an alternative to the harsh pre-treatment methods currently in use by industry for breaking down woody materials into their components, Bio4Energy researcher Sandra Winestrand suggested. She described a collaboration between scientists in northern Sweden working on biomass-based processes, on catalytic and biochemical conversion processes, respectively. The group had obtained promising results for softwood (e.g. coniferous wood) using acetate-based ionic liquids, she said. There were comments from the audience to the effect that the price of ionic liquids, which some participants had mentioned as an obstacle, was coming down. Winestrand, who is also an employee of the Swedish industrial group Billerud-Kornäs, added that research was ongoing to find ways to reduce the price of ionic liquids and of using them in industrial-scale processes.

Jonathan Fagerström of Umeå University (UmU) described work designed to control the emissions of particulate matter from biomass conversion processes. Researchers from UmU and the Luleå University of Technology, part of Bio4Energy, were working together and looking in particular at the formation of potassium as a decisive element in the emission profile of biomass combustion and gasification.

UREM 2015 Renewable Energy Conference Kicked off March 25 in Sweden Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 19:14
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The Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting at Umeå, Sweden, kicked off its first conference day 25 March. Some highlights of the morning session were a talk by Thomas B. Johansson of the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, Lund University on the role of renewable energy for a sustainable future. Johansson led the Swedish government's official investigation, concluded late 2013, on how the country should go about achieving a fossil fuel-free transport fleet by 2030.

Talks on various aspects of renewable feedstock and advanced biomass fuels included a heated one by Michael Bradley on the importance of research for the purpose of designing appropriate procedures for biomass handling and flow in the process of converting biomass to fuels, materials and chemicals. Bradley is the director of the Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling Technology at the University of Greenwich in the UK. He was followed by Bengt "Nippe" Hylander of Swedish consultancy ÅF Industry, who outlined new opportunities in developing fuels, chemicals and materials from biomass from wood, woody residue and organic waste.

Björn Sundberg of Stora Enso, previously a professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and a researcher in Bio4Energy, gave UREM 2015 a situational picture of current use of and views and policies on transgenic technology for the purpose of speeding the growth and pest resistance of trees used as feedstock in biorefinery processes. He said that the use of genetically modified organisms was "extremely controversial", especially in Europe, but needed not necessarily be since the European Union had said in reports based on science that the technology was no more risky than those used in traditional tree breeding. In fact, it could be useful when the purpose was to grow more trees faster without claiming more land for it than was already used for tree plantations. It was essential however to "do it right" and applying GM was only one tool in the toolbox: Traditional tree breeding would prevail over the next ten years and that was also where the greatest advances would take place, Sundberg predicted.

Finally, Mikko Mäkelä of the SLU spoke on the hydrothermal treatment of lignocellulosic biomass for solid fuel applications

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