Bio4Energy these past six months. Barely had the Swedish energy minister Ibrahim Baylan been to visit Bio4Energy at Umeå, Sweden, when it was announced that one of the Bio4Energy member organisations had been taken over by the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, and become the SP Energy Technology Center.
Biorefinery à la Bio4Energy was the focus of the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting 2015, in March, and kept many a Bio4Energy researcher busy in its run up and during the event. Come late April, the evaluation by Swedish authorities of Bio4Energy’s first five years in operation was released and appeared to give overall good marks for performance and leadership. Finally, the early summer months of 2015 have seen a number of visits by external researchers, consultants or industry representatives to Bio4Energy, and the International Congress on Combustion By-products and their Health Effects held in downtown Umeå.
Now to what lies ahead. The Swedish government is expected to announce sometime this year whether Bio4Energy will be allowed to continue building its research environment with continued funding from the government. In this research environment, scientists make methods and tools for efficient and sustainable biorefinery production based on forest-sourced materials or organic waste. If Bio4Energy is granted a second operational period, one can expect to see some of these methods being implemented in industry, thanks to collaboration with our industrial partners and facilitating agents, such as our strategic allies SP Processum and Piteå Science Park. Already during 2010-2015, patents born out of Bio4Energy innovations have been transferred to industrial partners such as SEKAB and BioEndev.
In the event that a second operational period is granted, Bio4Energy stands prepared with new plans for research and development. Moreover, a series of internal meeting are being planned for autumn 2015 which will allow research group leaders and PIs to meet and give their plans further detail. In addition:
In September, the first ever International Conference on Advanced Biofuels - For Aviation, Maritime and Land Transport will be held in Stockholm on the 16th and 17th of the month. Bio4Energy is an official partner to the conference organised by Svebio, Bioenergy International and others. A couple of weeks later, Bio4Gasification will hold its Autumn Meeting at Umeå.
In October, Bio4Energy will host its annual Autumn Bio4Energy Researchers Meeting, at a location in northern Sweden to be announced and, in November, BioInnovation will conference on Exploring Opportunities for Bioeconomy Growth.
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Great efforts have been made during Bio4Energy’s first five years in operation, 2010-2015:
· Highly qualified researchers have been recruited to fill gaps in knowledge and skill;
· The Bio4Energy researcher count has increased from about 40 to 230;
· Some 20 industrial companies were partners from the beginning. Many more collaborate with the Bio4Energy researchers at present;
· A Bio4Energy Graduate School for PhD students is up and running with two generic courses, and undergraduate civil engineering programme in Bioresource Technology has been launched. Several other undergraduate and postgraduate programmes have been strengthened as a result of work in or recruitments to Bio4Energy;
As a result:
· Collaboration in the field of biorefinery research between the member organisations has increased substantially;
· Cooperation with Bio4Energy’s strategic partners SP Processum and Piteå Science Park has been launched and is ongoing;
· Bio4Energy has established itself as key actor in Sweden in biorefinery research and the word is spreading internationally;
· There have been a number of research breakthroughs, for instance on developing high value-added “green” chemicals, mapping the composition or functioning of trees or inventing a new composite material from biorefinery residue;
· Bio4Energy feedstock scientists have been part of Sweden-based research to map the genome of the Norway spruce tree, and constructed an encompassing database thanks to which trees traits can be matched against genetic information and;
· New methods for making advanced biofuels cost efficiently has been demonstrated or verified.
· Several conferences have been held thanks to sponsorship from or organisation by Bio4Energy, such as Lignin 2014, the International Congress on Combustion By-products and their Health Effects 2015, Bioenergy 2012, as well as successive annual Umeå Renewable Energy Meetings;
· Bio4Energy is a founding member of the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels (f3 Centre) and BioInnovation, as well as;
· Is a member of, or is represented by its researchers in, the Bio-based Industries’ Consortium, several of the International Energy Agency’s Taskforces and European Forest Technology Platform (EU FTP) and other European Union-related fora.