ETC-at-PiteaResearchers and technicians at the newly renamed SP Energy Technology Centre have access to a substantial pilot park for developing new fuels based on woody biomass. Photo by courtesy of the SP Energy Technology Centre.The SP Swedish Technical Research Institute of Sweden is taking over the Bio4Energy partner Energy Technology Centre at Piteå, an 18-employee strong research foundation specialised in the thermal conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals. The announcement came yesterday at a press conference at Piteå, in northern Sweden.

It comes less than two years after the SP, a large technical consultancy of more than 1,400 employees, acquired a 60 per cent share in the Bio4Energy strategic partner organisation SP Processum. A number of researchers from the three previously free-standing organisations are members of Bio4Energy.

"Discussions started just over a year ago on the initiative of the ETC Board. There had been interest from the SP as well. We were a strategic choice for them and will be part of their Bioeconomy [branch]", according to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., acting head of the thus renamed SP Energy Technology Centre and part of several groups in Bio4Energy.

He said however that the ETC's new position as a subsidiary to the SP and part of the grouping RISE Technology Research Institutes of Sweden, would not mean any great changes in its profile or activities which have been focused on biofuel development based on woody feedstock.

"Our work [at the ETC] will continue in the same vein, but we will be [running our activities] in a better framework and be part of something larger, yet be independent enough", Marklund said.

The ETC has been looking to expand its activities in biomass gasification and pyrolysis of wood or woody residue, a prospect which could brighten considerably since being part of the SP meant having access to RISE "strategic development funds", Marklund hinted: "The ETC has the ambition in 2020 to have close to 30 employees.

"I hope it will become a win-win situation. There are large challenges and change to go through, but I believe we have established good contacts. It has taken time. The ETC works well today so my job is to see to it that it gets even better. I believe in the assignment".

From the SP headquarters at Borås, to the south and west of Sweden, SP Group CEO Maria Khorsand said that, "We are very happy with this agreement. The ETC is a recognised player in its area of activity and a good complement to the SP.

"[Joining together] will facilitate [SP] contacts with companies, organisations and universities in northern Sweden" (Ed's translation from Swedish).

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