EU Energy, Biotech Calls Launched in July, Explained in August

Geoghegan_Quinn_5711Centre: Máire Geoghegan Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science. Photo by courtesy of the European Commission. Energy, environment and biotechnology are three chief themes of the Seventh Framework Programme for research of European Union, which is about to launch fresh round of calls for funding proposals this month.

A month later, Umeå University and local and national partners are sponsoring a week of workshops, 22-26 August, across the ten FP7 thematic areas. Biotechnology, energy, transport and environment figure promptly among these.

Given at the on-campus premises of the university’s Grants Office, the week kicks off 22 August with funding experts explaining the design of calls for EU research proposals in the agriculture and biotechnology sector. Tuesday 23 August is slated for a discussion on calls that concern nanotechnology and materials research and development, followed by such that pertain to energy and the environment 24 August. Finally calls for proposals in the area of transportation are dealt with Thursday 25 August.

Read more: EU Energy, Biotech Calls Launched in July, Explained in August

Fundamental & Applied R&D to Fill Knowledge Gaps in Biogasification Technology

BiogasifierWebTraditional biogasifier. Source: Google Images 27/6/2011.The focus of the Swedish Gasification Centre that opened this year will be to develop fundamental science to underpin forest-sourced biomass gasification technology, a group of ten scientists heard as they met this month at Solander Science Park, at Piteå, Sweden, to outline the centre’s work programme for the next two years.

However, said centre director Rikard Gebart, researchers would also cooperate with SFC industrial partners, notably on problems or “weak links” in industrial gasification processes identified by Sweden-based technology development or forestry companies such as Chemrec, Holmen Skog or SCA.

“We are a scientific and not a [consultancy-based] research programme. We want to be [doing] more fundamental [science] than applied”, Gebart told core group of ten scientists, a handful of whom participate in SFC as Bio4Gasification. B4G is an extension of Bio4Energy that specialises in research and development (R&D) of biogasification technology.

Read more: Fundamental & Applied R&D to Fill Knowledge Gaps in Biogasification Technology

First Call from Swedish ‘Knowledge’ Centre on Renewables Offers Funding for Quick Results

about_f3Joakim Lundgren has been appointed Bio4Energy's coordinator in f3.Sweden's uniting force for research on fossil-free fuels since February 2011, f3, has launched its first call for proposals for small-scale research projects between its partner organisations. Research to advise political decision making or to provide a systems’ perspective to an ongoing project is most in demand. So too are projects which will deliver results by the end of next year.

This first-ever round of funding from Swedish Knowledge Centre For Renewable Transportation Fuels—which acronym f3 stands for “fossil-free fuels”—is set to go towards projects that bridge two or more of its five core areas and cost “less than” SEK1 million to implement, according to the text of the call, forwarded to f3 partners.

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Development of ‘Bio-based’ Economy Seen as Positive but Risky

Photo courtesy of the European Commission.Antonio de Guilio said a strategy on the bio-based economy would be proposed in November. Photo by courtesy of the European Commission.EU focus. Stakeholders to a future European Union strategy on the “bio-based” economy appear to have given the thumbs up to the Europen Union bid to encourage resource efficiency and job creation in the €2 trillion-strong sectors that derive their products from biomass, a European Commission official has suggested.

This carries relevance for organisations such as Bio4Energy, since acceptance by society for the development of tailor-made products say, by genetic modification or using nanotechnology, is seen as being key to the success of organisations involved in research and development in these fields, especially if they depend on large-scale use of natural resources.  

Speaking in Brussels at the Commission’s annual Green Week conference, Dr Antonio Di Guilio, of the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, outlined the EU executive’s plans for a forthcoming communication on a ‘European Strategy and Action plan towards a sustainable bio-based economy by 2020’ expected for release in November.

Read more: Development of ‘Bio-based’ Economy Seen as Positive but Risky

ETC’s Gebart ‘Obvious Choice’ for Heading New Gasification Centre

Bio4Engery programme director Stellan Marklund has welcomed the appointment of B4E scientist Rikard Gebart at the helm of a new Swedish Gasification Centre (SFC), calling it an “obvious choice”. Apart from heading B4E’s work on thermochemical issues, Gebart is an adjunct professor at Luleå University of Technology and the managing director of the Energy Technology Centre, at Piteå in northern Sweden.

“ETC’s research spans the whole spectrum of issues related to gasification. So it is only natural that ECT should lead the new research centre”, said Professor Marklund.

The appointment of Gebart at its helm produced a win-win situation for B4E and those involved in developing the new centre, Marklund said:

“It will strengthen Bio4Energy”. By cooperating, the new gasification centre and B4E would have “greater resources, greater opportunities for exchange and a greater network. It will be beneficial for everybody”.

Bio4Energy Scientist to Head National Gasification Centre

Rikard_Gebart_511Rikard Gebart has been appointed to lead the Swedish Gasification Centre, SFC. Photo by courtesy of Rikard Gebart.A senior Bio4Energy scientist has been appointed to head a new Swedish centre to advance research into gasification of woody biomass for producing biofuels and to facilitate collaboration between academia, industry and research institutes in the sector.

Rikard Gebart, currently at the helm of B4E’s Thermochemical Platform, will be directing the Swedish Gasification Centre (SFC) from its central hub at Luleå University of Technology (LTU) where he holds an adjunct professorship. Gebart is also managing director at the Piteå Energy Technology Centre, a research institute in northern Sweden.

Eight universities, one research institute and 22 industrial companies have signed up to be part of the SFC which is expected to draw two thirds of its funding from the Swedish government. A draft funding decision from the Swedish Energy Agency suggests that the centre will operate on a budget of SEK59 million (€6.6 m) in the first two years.  

The aim of the centre is to develop gasification technology that will turn forest-sourced biomass into energy-efficient automotive biofuels that produce no or minimal polluting emissions when combusted. Those could be dimethyl ether (DME), metanol or methane-based substitutes for natural gas.

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Read more: Bio4Energy Scientist to Head National Gasification Centre

Researchers to Talk Cross-Cutting Projects at Lövånger

This month Bio4Energy researchers will meet at Lövånger, between the northern Swedish towns of Umeå and Skellefteå, to flesh the out the research programme’s vision with further concrete goals and projects for the next five years. A further aim of the 2-3 May meeting is to develop cross-cutting projects between B4E’s seven platforms, each of which is responsible for conducting research to advance scientific research on a certain segment in the biorefinery value chain.

The projects will be at the root of developing collaborations with forestry industry to design efficient process for developing fuels and products from biomass, such as wood and woody refuse.

Read more: Researchers to Talk Cross-Cutting Projects at Lövånger


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