New Voice in Brussels for Northern Sweden Biorefinery Stakeholders

magnus matisonsMagnus Matisons, Biofuel Region and the Bio4Energy Industrial Network, is a new representative for Sweden on the European Union Bioeconomy Stakeholder Panel. Photo by courtesy of Magnus Matisons.

Ever wished you had a voice in Brussels, to express your thoughts to European Union officials about what the EU should or should not do to promote the transition to a bioeconomy?

If you are in the Scandinavian part of Bio4Energy's network, chances are that you do.

In spring 2016 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Bio4Energy Industrial Network received an e-mail from the European Commission to say he had been elected a member of the European Union Bioeconomy Stakeholder Panel. The Commission's research and innovation branch started up the panel in 2013 and now, with a newly elected membership for its second mandate, Sweden has no less than four representative on it.

"That's breaking a record", to believe Matisons.

Matisons is a well-known figure in forestry and biorefinery circles in northern Sweden. He has worked both as a scientist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and, more recently, as project leader with Biofuel Region, which organisation works to promote biorefinery development across northern Sweden.

Read more: New Voice in Brussels for Northern Sweden Biorefinery Stakeholders

Lövfen told Government, Industry Should Act to Realise Large-scale Biorefinery

Lofven vid Domsjö J ForsbergSwedish Prime Minister Stefan Lövfen (centre) and rural affairs minister Sven-Erik Bucht paid a visit to Örnsköldsvik and Bio4Energy partners. Photo by J. Forsberg.Today, Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lövfen, and his rural affairs minister Sven-Erik Bucht, made a flash tour of Västernorrland County, paying visits to partners in Bio4Energy's Industrial Network: SP Processum, Domsjö Fabriker and Holmen Skog.

"It was evident that they [Lövfen and Bucht] look favourably on our efforts to build a strong biorefinery region. It was spelt out already in this government's declaration of intent [at the time of taking office] that Sweden should become one of the first fossil fuel-free nations. Both the government and the business community have seen the need for and possibility to make the transition", said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., CEO at SP Processum.

SP Processum acts as a science partner to a host of member companies in and around the northern Swedish city of Örnsköldsvik.

The visit there follows others to the region by the Swedish energy minister Ibrahim Baylan, who came to meet Bio4Energy at Umeå in November 2014, and his innovation counterpart's participation in the final stages of last year's Innovation Race, in which representatives of companies, research institutes and academia met at Umeå over several days to come up with innovative solutions for realising the bioeconomy.

Read more: Lövfen told Government, Industry Should Act to Realise Large-scale Biorefinery

System Analysis Needed for Pointing Politicians, Scientists, in Right Direction on Energy

Ibrahim Balyan SAEE 2016Sweden's energy minister Ibrahim Baylan told a conference that academic input had been vital for the government's recent Energy Agreement with opposition parties to go through. Photo by courtesy of the Luleå University of Technology.

A conference by Bio4Energy researchers and colleagues on the transformation of Sweden's energy system finished at Luleå last week, with keynote speaker Ibrahim Baylan, the Swedish energy minister, concluding that the recent Energy Agreement struck by the government and parties in political opposition before the summer recess hardly had been possible had the government not consulted widely with academic stakeholders.

"He spoke about the Energy Agreement, but included a discussion on the need for research as a basis for political decision-making", said conference coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who represents Bio4Energy's System Analysis and Bioeconomy branch.

The agreement between the ruling Social Democrats and Greens, and the Moderate Party, Christian Democrats and Centre Party in opposition, states that Sweden aims for its economy to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and for its electrical power production system to be "100 per cent renewable" by 2040.

The 23-24 August conference, hosted by the Swedish Association for Energy Economics and the Luleå University of Technology (LTU), also heard energy profile Tomas Kåberger, professor at the Chalmers University of Technology, contribute a global perspective and, notably, talking up solar energy as having a great potential of increasing the share of renewables in the overall energy mix. He had pointed to the example of how Germany has kept subsidising solar power installations and how, subsequently, solar panels have become mainstay on German rooftops, according to professor Lundmark.

Read more: System Analysis Needed for Pointing Politicians, Scientists, in Right Direction on Energy

Happy Summer from Bio4Energy

Photo by Anna Strom2016Swedish summer at its best? Photo by Anna Strom©.Bio4Energy is taking a break and will be back in a few weeks. Meanwhile we wish our researchers, partners, friends and stakeholders a great summer—or winter, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere.

When we come back we hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you to one or more of our autumn 2016 events:

23-24 August at Luleå, Sweden: Conference on the Transformation of the Swedish Energy System by the Swedish Association on Energy Economics. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy

25 October, Umeå, Sweden: Bio4Energy Researchers' Meeting – Open to Bio4Energy’s member researchers. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy Communcations

26 October, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden: SP Processum and Bio4Energy Joint Membership and Industrial Network Meeting – Invitations will go out in August. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy Communcations

15-16 November, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden: 7th Workshop on Cellulose – Regenerated Cellulose and Cellulose Derivatives. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies

Happy summer!

New Project to Assess Feasibility of Countering Intermittency of Renewble Electricity Systems with Bio-based Power

BM in ren pow systIllustration by courtesy of Elisabeth Wetterlund.System analysis researchers in Bio4Energy, together with colleagues at partner organisations in Europe, are starting a new project that will deliver assessment tools for the integration of electricity produced during biomass conversion operations into power production systems that currently rely on high shares of intermittent renewable sources of electricity such as wind and solar.

"We want to see if biomass can play the role of balancing out unevenness in electricity production based on a great share of renewables", according to project leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who is an associate senior lecturer at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northern Sweden.

Last week, the Swedish Research Council Formas announced its intention to fund the project over two years and which will see considerable exchange of expertise between Bio4Energy at LTU, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. The latter two organisations are based in Austria.

Several European countries are looking to introduce high shares of electricity made from renewable sources in their energy systems, but face the potential problem of either having to store solar and wind power at a high cost or not having enough in store during extended periods of cloudy weather and low winds or, for that matter, in times of even more extreme weather events.

Read more: New Project to Assess Feasibility of Countering Intermittency of Renewble Electricity Systems with...

Integrated Biogas, New Material Production Focus of New Project

Forestry residue Photo by AnnaStromBio4Energy researchers will create processes for integrated biogas production from woody feedstock with lignin removal and re-use in different materials. Photo by Anna Strom.Bio4Energy scientists have set out to create a completely new biorefinery value chain, by marrying the production of methane biogas and bio coal based on the wood polymer lignin, in a multi-annual project run by researchers at Umeå University (UmU), Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and their industrial partners Erebia, Blatraden Miljötekniskt center and the forestry company Sveaskog. The Swedish Research Council Formas granted the project funds under its latest call for research proposals on Research for the Transition to a Bio-based Economy, announced last week.

Projects by Bio4Energy researchers on the integration of power production with biorefinery operations and finding the best source of wood for the production of nanocellulose also were granted funds in the Bio-based Economy call.

"We are so very happy to be able to carry out these projects. Ours could not have come about if it weren't for the contacts we have had through Bio4Energy and its Researchers' Meetings", said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., vice programme manager in Bio4Energy and a group leader at the LTU.

Professor Rova is part of the project Integrated Conversion of Forest Residues into Methane and Carbonised Bio-based Materials (INFORMAT). So are a number of other Bio4Energy researchers and together they will attempt to lay the foundation for a completely new value chain in biorefinery by integrating the production of methane biogas from wood and woody residue with lignin extraction and re-use. That is, the scientists will separate out the lignin part of the wood polymer complex at an early stage of the process and use it to make bio coal by subjecting the lignin fraction to high temperature treatment, using hydrothermal carbonisation technology.

Read more: Integrated Biogas, New Material Production Focus of New Project

Biofuels Report from 2013 Government Investigation Available in Short Form

Forestry residues Photo by Anna StromPotential biofuel? A heap of forestry residue at recreational area on the outskirts of Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo by Anna Strom©.The report Sustainable Transportation Biofuels Today and in the Future—presented in 2013 as part of the Swedish government investigation on how to make road transport "independent" of fossil fuel use by 2030—has been released in a summary version.

"We wanted to make a short and updated version that was more easily accessible and readable", said co-author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy Platform. Lundgren, who is a professor at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU), drafted the summary together with colleagues at Lund University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels (f3 Centre). 

Compared with the full report, a few updates had been made regarding the estimate for future sustainable outtake of forestry residues as feedstock for biofuel production, Lundgren said. Moreover, the estimate for annual domestic biofuel production by 2030 had been lowered from 25-35 terawatt hours (TWh) to 22-32 TWh. This was because the estimate for future potential outtake of tree stumps had been reduced, he added.

The Gothenburg-based f3 Centre published both the report and its summary.

"f3 took the initiative [for us to draft] the summary because the report we wrote were a couple of hundred pages long. Not something people read in a coffee break, perhaps".

Both papers are intended to guide researchers and decision-makers working to pave the way for ridding Sweden's transport fleet of its dependence on fossil fuels and meet the country's greenhouse gas reduction targets.

Mobile Systems for Biomass Pre-treatment: Technology Demonstration 14-16 June at Umeå

Chipper3Biomass processing techniques will be demonstrated 14-16 June at the Biomass Technology Centre at Umeå, Sweden.Would the use of biomass as a renewable feedstock in the production of fuels, chemicals and materials be more efficient if part of the production process—the pre-treatment resulting in semi-finished products—were performed by mobile units close to the harvesting site?

Researchers and company representatives in the large EU project Mobile Flip think so. From tomorrow they gather at Umeå in northern Sweden to see some of the techniques demonstrated. Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. coordinates the three days of demonstrations, excursions and talks.

"The project's name refers to the mobile and flexible processing of biomass. We are going to make semi-finished products close to the production site of the raw material. New business models will be drawn up and the technologies assessed with LCA [life cycle assessment]", said Larsson, who is an associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). 

"We have a technical work package that lets us work on the respective technologies pelletisation, torrefaction, hydrothermal treatment and saccharification (i.e. hydrolysis of polysaccharides to soluble sugars, Ed's note) and we build mobile systems for them".

The project partners' idea is to make use of superfluous biomass materials, such as agricultural and forestry residues. Since raw biomass waste tends to be bulky, oftentimes it can make sense to subject it to some kind of pre-treatment that makes it more compact and reduces its water content. If processing systems could be made mobile, financial and environmental costs of transporting and handling the biomass could be reduced.

Read more: Mobile Systems for Biomass Pre-treatment: Technology Demonstration 14-16 June at Umeå

B4E-2-Entry

Bio4Energy on Twitter