Study of Emissions from Biodiesel Exhaust Reveals Need for Investigation of Effects of Fine Particulate Matter

RN CB ems filter 30117Robin Nyström (left) and Christoffer Boman of Bio4Energy are checking the soot content of diesel exhaust by analysing what got caught in an emission filter. Photo by Bio4Energy.Despite the European Union transport target for its 28 countries to reach a ten per cent share of renewable energy in the overall fuel mix by 2020—and estimates by consultants CE Delft and TNO in a 2013 study ordered by the European Commission, showing that biodiesel will contribute 6.6 per cent the target—there is only relatively little science available on how best to assess emissions from biodiesel combustion, and notably of the part that is particulate matter, for the results to be relevant for human health and the environment.

Domestic wood burning and combustion of diesel fuel in automotive engines are considered to be the two main sources of emissions of particulate matter globally. Whether these latter impact negatively on human health depends on the size, shape and composition of the particles, as well as how well the body of a person who is exposed to such emissions is able to resist their impact, for how long the exposure goes on and with which intensity. According to the authors of a 2015 Review of the Health Impact of Airborne Particulate Matter, published in Environment International, "small" particles of concern include inhalable coarse particles with a diameter of 2.5 to 10 micrometre (μm) and fine particles smaller than 2.5 μm in diameter.

Biodiesel vs standard diesel RobinNystromTo complicate matters further, the authors of Bringing Biofuels on the Market point out that: “Raising the blending limits for biodiesel is more difficult because of the more complex diesel emission control technology and the possible presence of impurities in biodiesel. For most passenger car manufacturers substantial time would be needed to adapt the regeneration strategy for diesel particulate filters to the higher biodiesel blend”.

 The research environment Bio4Energy of Sweden has a team of scientists dedicated to delivering knowledge on the properties of particulate matter formed as a result of biofuel combustion. The researchers collaborate closely with colleagues at Northern Sweden’s largest hospital, the University Hospital of Umeå, to map the effects on human health of exposure to biofuel, and notably biodiesel emissions. In fact, last month PhD student This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Bio4Energy team presented an encompassing package of work on Particle Emissions from Residential Wood and Biodiesel Combustion.

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Feedstock for Biofuel Production: Seminar 6 February at Umeå

JLB4E RM Oct2016Joakim Lundgren, associate professor at the Luleå University of Technology, heads the R&D platform Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy. Photo by Bio4Energy.Feedstock for sustainable biofuel production. That is what the industry and research community tell us they want more of, of kinds that are economically and environmentally sustainable, as well as socially acceptable. Notably, there have been calls for focusing research and development (R&D) efforts on developing new types of tailor-made feedstock, such as Bio4Energy’s feedstock researchers do when they try to design and experimentally grow hybrid aspen for the purpose of making biofuel or nanocellulose for the production of specific bio-based materials. Many of the Bio4Energy partner organisations are involved in this effort. 

6 February 2017 some of them will gather at Umeå, Sweden for a seminar precisely on Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production, set in a system analysis perspective and jointly organised the Swedish Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels, Bio4Energy and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production

— Feedstock Potentials, Climate Change Impact of Forestry and the Realisation of Forest Biorefinery 

 
You are invited!

 Programme and registration

Click the link above or go to the Bio4Energy Events' page

Read more: Feedstock for Biofuel Production: Seminar 6 February at Umeå

Thermal Treatment to Be Tested for Turning Waste to Resource on Space Trip - Video, Audio

A Bio4Energy scientist at Umeå University (UmU) has won funds for conducting research that will feed into a Trash to Gas initiative started in 2012 by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and which will be stepped up in connection with the preparations of NASA astronauts' first-ever manned trip to the planet Mars in the 2030s. The trip to outer space is longer and further from Earth than any of NASA's previous manned trips and implies new challenges when it comes to handling and disposal of waste such as used garments and towels, spent food packaging, human waste and paper products. Notably, whatever is leftover cannot be smelly, nor bulky and, ideally, should be recycled for re-use.

Researchers at NASA's Kennedy Space Center have built a prototype reactor
designed to make something useful from the trash astronauts accumulate in space.
The device incinerates garbage to produce methane, oxygen and water--which can
be used for rocket fuel, breathing air and for life support. Original video clip and
report by George Diller posted on Youtube, 20 March 2013.

Read more: Thermal Treatment to Be Tested for Turning Waste to Resource on Space Trip - Video, Audio

Mixed Biofuel Could Help Put Refuse to Use, Reduce Harmful Emissions

Waste collage Pic cred MarEdoAre mixed combustion fuels, based on different types of waste and designed for specific purposes, a thing of the future? Photos by courtesy of Mar Edo.In Sweden, toxic emissions to air from incineration of domestically-sourced municipal solid waste are generally well controlled. Moreover, in accordance with the waste hierarchy adopted by the European Union in its 2008 Waste Framework Directive, re-use and recycling are favoured above recovery. Sweden thus manages to do away with about half of the total 4.4 million tonnes of waste generated annually by its households, institutions and commercial actors before the incineration option is put to use.

However, heat recovery and electricity generation following waste incineration has become a business and the country has the capacity to burn more household waste than the 2.3 million tonnes that its citizens supply. In 2015 alone, 1.3 million tonnes of waste were imported, mainly from other European countries, and used for such waste-to-energy recovery. And when waste becomes an industry in itself, there are bound to be actors out there thinking about how to make it cleaner and finding new uses for the refuse by integrating different technologies.

For instance, staff at Vafab Miljö, a Swedish regional waste utility, have been working with Bio4Energy researchers to find ways to blend household waste and recovered wood, learning about the mixtures behaviour as a feedstock by studying its properties and testing various mechanical pre-treatments and turned the mixed waste into fuel. In the project, carried out in collaboration with Bio4Energy partner Umeå University's Industrial Doctoral School, PhD student This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has evaluated a range of fuel blends.

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Bio4Energy Researcher to Contribute to NASA Trash to Gas Project

StinaJansson 1508Bio4Energy researcher Stina Jansson will contribute to a Trash to Gas project by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in its preparations for sending humans into deep space aboard its International Space Station. Photo by Bio4Energy.A Bio4Energy scientist at Umeå University has won funds for conducting research that will feed into a Trash to Gas initiative started in 2012 by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and which will be stepped up in connection with the preparations of NASA astronauts' first-ever manned trip to the planet Mars in the 2030s.

A PI on the R&D platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling, UmU associate professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.will contribute to Trash to Gas with results from her new project Thermal Treatment of Waste Materials into Carbon Materials and Gaseous Fuels. Vinnova, Sweden's innovation agency, supports the latter project which, in turn, is part of the European Union grant scheme Marie Curie Academy Outgoing Researcher.

Gunnar Öquist Fellowship Awarded Bio4Energy Researcher - Again

KU bio4energy seBio4Energy researcher Kentaro Umeki has won a Gunnar Öquist Fellowship 2016, which grants him funds and the mentorship of well-respected Swedish plant physiologist Gunnar Öquist. Photo by courtesy of Kentaro Umeki.Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., recruited into Bio4Energy in 2011 and placed at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northern Sweden, last week received an award named for the well-respected Swedish scientist Gunnar Öquist, who is a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences and a plant physiologist the Umeå Plant Science Centre.

Funding body the Kempe Foundations supports the fellowship and awards it on an annual basis for the purpose of "supporting young researchers early in their career", according to a press release from the LTU. The Gunnar Öquist Fellowship consists of a SEK3 million (€310,000) kroner award to be used for research activities, as well as a personal prize of SEK50,000 kroner, and the mentorship for three years of professor emeritus Öquist. For the third time since the awarding of the fellowship started five years ago, it goes to a Bio4Energy scientist. Previous Bio4Energy awardees are Judith Felten and Edouard Pesquet, both of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Feedstock.

"It feels great! It’s a confidence boost and some kind of sign that the LTU believes in me. It shows that I grew in the last five years", Umeki said.

Read more: Gunnar Öquist Fellowship Awarded Bio4Energy Researcher - Again

Bio4Energy Set to Continue as Strategic Research Environment

Bio4energy cmykThe research environment Bio4Energy has been granted a continuation of it activities at least until the end of 2020.

This has been confirmed with the unfolding of events this week, starting with the release of the Swedish government's proposal for research and innovation work by the academy and research institutes for the years 2017-2020, and confirmation by the vice chancellor's advisor on infrastructure issues at Umeå University, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., that the university will keep directing the corresponding funding to Bio4Energy.

"In line with the government directives, the strategic research areas hosted by Umeå University will continue. However, this is on the condition that you continue having a set aside, strategic funds, so that we will be able to adjust our activities in accordance with any new directives that the government may specify" in its forthcoming Letter of Regulation, said Sommarin, who is also chair of the Bio4Energy Board, commenting on the research bill.

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Nordea Science Prize 2016 Goes to Bio4Energy Researcher Kristiina Oksman

KO B4E 2 Kick off Photo by Anna StromBio4Energy expert on bio-based applications created using nanotechnology, Kristiina Oksman, has won this year's Nordea Science Prize. Photo by Anna Strom©.The Nordea Science Prize 2016 has been awarded Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU). She received it during a prize ceremony held last weekend at Luleå in northern Sweden. It is the Swedish bank Nordea, in cooperation with the LTU vice-chancellor and deans, who decide on and hand out the prize each year to a scientist who has made "outstanding contributions to the promotion of scientific research and development" and who has been "a good representative [of] the university", according to a press release from the LTU.

"When they first called me [to announce the prize] I couldn't believe it was true. This is such a great encouragement. I am very happy", said Oksman whose research group creates nanocellulose applications and bio-based composites materials using nanotechnology. Oksman was a platform leader in Bio4Energy between the years 2010 and 2015. Currently she and her group are members of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies.

Read more: Nordea Science Prize 2016 Goes to Bio4Energy Researcher Kristiina Oksman

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