What is needed for our societies to transition to a "green" economy? Some might say "renewable energy", "more research and innovation" or "targeted political incentives". At the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting (UREM) 2015, 25-27 March, leading researchers and business people will gather at Umeå, Sweden, to give the international conference a snapshot of the forefront in research and development geared at making new biofuels, "green" chemicals and bio-based materials.
"Many things are needed for a green transition. UREM has always had a broad spectre of presentations on renewable energy research, but this year we have chosen to focus on [research which mirrors] the Bio4Energy project", said Per Gardeström, scientific coordinator at the Chemical Biological Center at Umeå University, which will host the conference.
"Here in the North we have a great forest resource that we must use".
For the last five years the research environment Bio4Energy has worked to draw together scientists active in the fields developing tools and methods for making biofuels, "green" chemicals and materials based on raw materials from the forest or organic waste. Umeå University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the Luleå University of Technology are part of the constellation, which also includes a couple of research institutes and an extensive network of industrial companies.
"For Umeå University and the SLU sustainability research is Number One. We have great strength in our research on forests, both when it comes to management, growth and use. We work to decrease the use of fossil fuels", according to Marianne Sommarin, Umeå University vice chancellor.
At UREM 2015 the academic professor who led the Swedish government's official investigation in how to achieve a fossil fuel-free transport fleet in Sweden by 2030 will share his thoughts about what it will take to achieve the government's goal. His talk will be followed by many more, by an impressive lineup of renowned scientists. To conclude, the French photosynthesis researcher Pierre Joliot—whose grandmother was none less than Marie Curie, winner of two Nobel Prizes at a time when women won few—will take the UREM participants on a journey through 60 years of research on the way in which plants use sunlight, water, oxygen and carbon dioxide to grow.
To provide a snapshot of the product development side of things, a number of representatives from companies who cooperate with academic conference organisers will give talks, with a progress update from Stora Enso on the thorny issue of genetic modification as a means to create trees which grow faster and are resistant to pests. A representative of Sweden's only biorefinery, Domsjö Fabriker at Örnsköldsvik, will describe how the company has gone "from theory to practice" in developing bio-based products side streams in biorefinery or pulp and paper making. Last but not least, Germany-based Algenol Biofuels will tell the conference about using research and photosynthesis in the development of ethanol fuel.
Umeå University and the SLU themselves have research projects aimed at converting solar energy to fuels in the most straightforward way possible so that the fuel may be used when and where most needed, or as automotive fuel. Articifical Leaf, Solar Fuels Umeå and Micro Biorefine are such projects.
About the conference:
For the seventh year running, the Umeå University Chemical Biological Centre, which includes research groups at Umeå University and the SLU, will host the UREM conference, together with researchers in Bio4Energy.
Please find the UREM 2015 conference programme, attached.
UREM 2015 contacts:
Bio4Energy: Christoffer Boman, researcher – Biofuels and "green" chemicals, phone: +46 72 214 56 96
Artificial Leaf, Solar Fuels Umeå: Johannes Messinger, researcher – Photosynthesis and solar fuels, phone: +46 72 214 56 96
Chemical Biological Center: Per Gardeström, scientific coordinator, phone: +46 70 602 67 87
Media enquiries: Anna Strom, phone: +46 73 905 22 39
General enquiries: Eva-Maria Diehl, phone: +46 73 088 57 31
Umeå University published a press release in Swedish.