- Written by Anna Strom
Such new inventions are outlined in the PhD thesis Normark graduated with in October last year, Pre-treatment and enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulose: formation and effects of pseudolignin. New results on pre-processing of biomass by roasting (torrefaction), and a first study on pre-treatment and enzymatic breakdown of torrefied wood to carbohydrates, are part of it and the result of collaboration between several Bio4Energy research and development platforms.
It follows that, not only the employer, but the new employee, Normark—who has just taken up her position as project leader and development engineer at SEKAB E-Technology at the Domsjö cluster—expressed delight at the match.
“This is the job I really wanted. I believe in this: What we do is a step on the way towards a bioeconomy. It contains the same elements that I studied during my thesis work: Pre-treatment, enzymatic saccharification, the lignin track. The chemistry and the processes are the same, but the scale is much larger, it is demonstration scale", Normark said.
Apart from ethanol biofuel and bio-based chemicals, SEKAB has its eye on the development of a range of bio-based alternatives to frequent-use products based on petrochemicals, such as jet fuel, plastics, polymers such as kevlar (a synthetic fibre of high tensile strength used as a reinforcing agent in the manufacture of tyres and other rubber products) used in protective equipment, according to Normark.
“One of my first tasks is to act as a person responsible for requirement specification for running life-cycle analysis in a SEKAB project. This takes a network and theoretical and hands-on skills. I can manage this thanks to my training in the [Bio4Energy] Graduate School. This may not have been possible, had I not done the courses in the graduate school”.
Normark did her PhD at Umeå University, one of the Bio4Energy partner organisations, and graduated with a mention from the Bio4Energy Graduate School, after having completed its generic courses Biorefinery Pilot Research and Systems’ Perspectives on Bioresources.
Commenting on the appointment, her advisor throughout her PhD studies professor Jönsson, said:
“This shows that the education and training here is relevant in respect to what the industry is doing. We are always happy to see our graduates moving on to work at the companies”.