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.

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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

Lignin, Pyrolysis Oil, to Become 'Bio-crude' for Use in Fossil Oil Refineries, Biofuels

Lignin hyrdocracker SP ETC 25516Hyrdocracker reactor for pre-treated biomass. Illustration by courtesy of Magnus Marklund.New pilot facilities for the upgrading of lignin (which plant matter makes up roughly a third of the wood in trees) and of pyrolysis oil to a crude bio-based oil, or "bio-crude", is being installed at Bio4Energy member organisation SP Energy Technology Center (SP ETC) at Piteå, Sweden. The oil giant Preem has positioned itself as a forerunner in the search for renewable alternatives to fossil oil in its refined products, and are financing the new infrastructure at the SP ETC together with the Swedish Energy Agency and others.

"The technology is based on a principle in use in [fossil] oil refineries for the cracking and hydrogenation of fossil residual streams. We will be making a form of bio-crude which is adapted for going straight into a refinery, as a type of blend-in product which can be added to upgrade crude oil", said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., CEO at the SP ETC.

The product of the pilot operations will be entirely bio-based, with the lignin content having been previously extracted from black liquor, which is a residual stream in pulping, and the pyrolysis oil made on the premises from forestry residue, such as tree tops and branches from northern Sweden forests. Marklund said that the new facilities, small enough to fit into a standard container, would be taken into operation in the last quarter of this year with a specific lignin and pyrolysis upgrading project in mind and which would end in the first quarter of 2017.

"In this first one the end product will be blend-in biofuels. In a longer term perspective the pilot will be used more generally [for the upgrading of] liquefied biomass", according to Marklund who is a PI on the research and development platform Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies.

Read more: Lignin, Pyrolysis Oil, to Become 'Bio-crude' for Use in Fossil Oil Refineries, Biofuels

Transformation of Sweden's Energy System Discussed at Luleå in August

Akkats power station Credit LTUAkkats hydro power station far north in Sweden at Jokkmokk, owned by state-run energy utility Vattenfall. Photo by courtesy of Vattenfall AB.Bio4Energy researchers and industrial partners are calling on energy stakeholders—representatives of Swedish authorities, business and industry, research institutes and academics—to join them 23-24 August at Luleå, Sweden, for talks on how far the country has come in implementing a sustainable energy system.

Summarising the economic, social and environmental side of things, as well as discussing ways forward, does not sound like an easy task to accomplish in two days, but conference coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. believes it can be done.

"The transformation of the Swedish energy system is a great undertaking and requires a broad start. There will be 50 research presentations and a number of keynote [addresses] by people from industry and authorities and politicians. People can expect to hear about systems' studies, analyses of political support measures, how to promote biofuels and the development of markets and trade", according to Lundmark, who is a professor at the Luleå University of Technology.

Ibrahim Balyan, Sweden's minister for energy, and Tomas Kåberger, Swedish energy profile and professor at Chalmers University of Technology, are posted as keynote speakers on the website of the Swedish Association for Energy Economics Conference 2016, and the event is subtitled 'Current and future challenges of energy systems in Sweden and neighbouring countries'.
Attachments:
Download this file (SEAA-2016_Poster_RL.pdf)SEAA 2016 Conference Poster[ ]1293 kB

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Environmental Chemist Wins 'Collaboration Prize'

Mats Tysklind 516Environmental chemist Mats Tysklind has won an award for having cooperated with partners in academia, industry and with public bodies. Photo by courtesy of Umeå University.A new professor in Bio4Energy since the start of its second programme period 1 January 2016, environmental chemist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has started his mandate by winning a prize for having cooperated successfully with a number of organisations. It is awarded by the Faculty of Science and Technology at his home institution, Umeå University (UmU), and will be handed to him at award ceremony 21 May. Two days prior Tysklind will be giving a public lecture entitled Samverkan – avgörande för utveckling av smart miljöteknik.

Since cooperation across organisations and disciplinary borders is what Bio4Energy is about, and since Tysklind is part of its new research platform Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy, which is task is precisely to provide a system's perspective on processes and products that are developed in the cluster, the award is felt to be timely.

"During many years we have been making an effort to cooperate widely with different organisations in society. Now that one thinks about it they are incredibly many. Lately we are [reaching out specifically to] organisations that promote sustainable development and green technology and environmental technology. It has resulted in [the university's] investing in a new area of research on Green Technology and Environmental Economics", Tysklind said when asked why he thought he had received the prize.

Read more: Environmental Chemist Wins 'Collaboration Prize'

From Luleå to Stockholm on E85 from Renewable Methanol - Audio

DSC 2892 400x265Bio4Energy researcher Rikard Gebart and Fredrik Granberg are on the road from Luleå to Stockholm in a personal car powered by renewable methanol based on forestry residue. Photo by courtesy of the LTU.Three weeks ago the news struck that LTU Green Fuels—a cluster of large pilot facilities at Piteå, Sweden, which centre tested and perfected biofuels such as methanol based on forestry residue—was going to have to cease its activities due to a lack of funding.

Today the research leader of the Biosyngas programme, which was an integral part of the development work at the LTU Green Fuels centre, is making a real-life test of the fuel that has been produced and had its performance tested in the centres’ reactors for more than 10,000 hours. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at the Luleå University of Technology and the LTU Green Fuels chief project leader, Fredrik Granberg, are travelling from Luleå in northern Sweden to Stockholm, and then on to Eskilstuna, in a car powered by renewable methanol fuel produced at the pilot plant and blended in with standard petrol refined from fossil oil. This equals a distance of 943.7 kilometre if one chooses to travel mainly on the E4 highway, according to Google Maps.

"It's the first time anybody tries to drive a personal car that has been adjusted to perform well on E85 biofuel from renewable methanol made in Sweden", Gebart said Wednesday (4 May) in a press release from the LTU.

Gebart is a member of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies. Since before the start of Bio4Energy in 2010, he has been working tirelessly to develop biomass gasification technology to a point where it turns out biofuels from forestry residues and by-products from pulp and paper making that perform as well as in cars its fossil alternatives, are relatively cheap to produce, emit no or a low amount of polluting emissions and can be turned out in large volumes.

Read more: From Luleå to Stockholm on E85 from Renewable Methanol - Audio

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