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.

Read more: Bio4Energy Set to Continue as Strategic Research Environment

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

New Neutron-based Technology Set to Improve Process Control in Biorefineries, Bioenergy Operations

TL MT SL AS11116Bio4Energy researchers Torbjörn Lestander (left), Mikael Thyrel and Sylvia Larsson won funding for a test-bed pilot which technology is expected to be essential for the efficient operation of biorefineries and biomass combustion facilities. Photo by Bio4Energy.

An instrument that can help biorefinery industry and bioenergy utilities detect and remove or neutralise elements that scupper the process or pollute the environment directly as the biomass is fed into the conversion or combustion process. It sounds like every industrial operator's dream, does it not?

For operators in northern Sweden it could come true within a few years, thanks to funding just granted to Bio4Energy researchers for the purchase of a new instrument drawing on neutron technology for the rapid and advanced online characterisation of woody materials, biomass ash and organic waste. 

"The instrument allows for a considerable advancement when it comes to technology since the neutrons have a depth of penetration of tens of centimetres into the test material, which opens up the possibility rapidly to characterise large volumes of heterogeneous material", the researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) say in their application to the funding provider, the Kempe Foundations.

"This means that the technology can be placed on a conveyor belt which makes it a true online technique with a large potential to realise the necessary characterisation needed for process control in resource-efficient and flexible biorefineries of the future", they go on.

Read more: New Neutron-based Technology Set to Improve Process Control in Biorefineries, Bioenergy Operations

Biogas Scrubbers, Phosphorus Recycling Technology to Be Developed Thanks to New Grants

Phosphorus Google 41116Plants need phosphorus to grow and of a kind that they can assimilate. Photo by courtesy of Google Images (4 November).Thanks to new grants from the Swedish Research Council, three new projects can go ahead in Bio4Energy aimed at developing cost-efficient and clean technologies for biogas or synthesis gas scrubbing, which can serve as alternatives to similar technologies based on the use non-renewable fossil fuels. In addition, Bio4Energy's flagship project on phosphorus recovery and removal of contaminants from waste sludge can be taken a step further towards implementation of the technology on a commercial scale.

Funding from the Council, known by its acronym VR, generally aims to support frontline fundamental research that brings new knowledge to the research community. Receiving a grant from VR is considered as being something highly prestigious. The four projects will be run by PIs on the platforms Bio4Energy Chemical Catalysis and Separation Technologies (Mattias Grahn and Jyri-Pekka Mikkola, respectively), Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies (Marcus Öhman) and Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy (Xiaoyan Ji):

Read more: Biogas Scrubbers, Phosphorus Recycling Technology to Be Developed Thanks to New Grants

Deepening Ties Among Members Focus of Industrial Network Seminar by SP Processum, Bio4Energy

SP Processum and Bio4Energy gave a joint seminar for the SP Processum member companies and Bio4Energy's Industrial Network, yesterday at Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Seventy-five people from industry, business incubators, academia, research institutes, consultancies and regional and national Swedish authorities came, listened to presentations, workshopped and networked. The focus was on deepening and widening the cooperation between the actors in the network, to uphold and strengthen the position of northern Sweden as a leading region for development of biorefinery based on wood or organic waste. 

Several speakers took the opportunity to reach out, or even to urge, members of northern Sweden's biorefinery business community to dare to take the step and cooperate to develop innovations.

One said: "If you think the real reason I am here is to market my offer you are right... We are bringing in new technology and infrastructure and I am asking you: 'Shall we dance?'".

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Read more: Deepening Ties Among Members Focus of Industrial Network Seminar by SP Processum, Bio4Energy

Improved Biofuel Production Key Theme in Bio4Energy's New Strategic Projects

Bio4energy cmykFive research projects deemed capable of promoting the strategic development of Bio4Energy, and the type of research and development its members carry out, have been selected for funding in the Bio4Energy’s second programme period. The projects are deemed to be beyond state of the art and to propose a new direction of research within the field of biorefinery based on wood or organic waste. Their project leaders, representing four of the seven Bio4Energy Research and Development Platforms, will be outlining their respective projects at a conference 25 October at Umeå, Sweden. For more, see the Bio4Energy Newsletter of this autumn. Here we list the 2016 Bio4Energy Strategic Projects.

  • Process Improvements for Methanol Production via Catalytic Biomass Gasification
  • Developing Neoteric Ionic Liquids for Enhancing Biomass Gasification to Produce Purified Biosyngas
  • Supercapacitors and High-energy/density Electrodes Based on Carbon Nanofibers from Lignin and Biochar
  • Nanocellulose Membranes and Adsorbents for Gas Separations and Ultrafiltration
  • Recirculation of Wood Ash in Boreal Catchments, Role of Fe-organic Carbon Aggregates and Processes along the Soil Solution Flow Paths

Read more: Improved Biofuel Production Key Theme in Bio4Energy's New Strategic Projects

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