BiogasifierWebTraditional biogasifier. Source: Google Images 27/6/2011.The focus of the Swedish Gasification Centre that opened this year will be to develop fundamental science to underpin forest-sourced biomass gasification technology, a group of ten scientists heard as they met this month at Solander Science Park, at Piteå, Sweden, to outline the centre’s work programme for the next two years.

However, said centre director Rikard Gebart, researchers would also cooperate with SFC industrial partners, notably on problems or “weak links” in industrial gasification processes identified by Sweden-based technology development or forestry companies such as Chemrec, Holmen Skog or SCA.

“We are a scientific and not a [consultancy-based] research programme. We want to be [doing] more fundamental [science] than applied”, Gebart told core group of ten scientists, a handful of whom participate in SFC as Bio4Gasification. B4G is an extension of Bio4Energy that specialises in research and development (R&D) of biogasification technology.

At the 16 June meeting researchers proposed to direct parts of the centre's 2011-2013 operating budget of a mere SEK60 million to research projects on biomass fragmentation, ash transformation, fuel characteristics or torrefaction of fuels and ash behavior. Further suggestions included the construction of an international "network" or a database to contain data obtained from fundamental thermochemistry research to serve relevant users in academia, industry and evaluators of research programmes.

Applied research projects to render existing biogasifiers more efficient were also mooted. In Sweden such are present or being constructed at pilot or demonstration plants at Piteå, Örnsköldsvik and Gothenburg.

Further possibilities included starting a "summer school" to train engineering students wanting to narrow in on aspects of gasification of bio-based materials and to create foreign exchange programmes in relation to this.

The SFC work programme would be further expanded at a meeting for researchers 29-30 August at Umeå University, by which time project leaders should have submitted a "crude description of activities”, Gebart requested. This would be followed by a conference open to the SFC partners in January next year. By then several projects should have started and display the centre’s ambition to develop R&D “with a great technological width and a large depth”, he said.

As outlined in a previous article on this website, SFC overarching goals are to:

- Strengthen research on and development of biogasification technology;

- Provide relevant industry with skilled personnel by training students and researchers;

- Create and maintain a national network in gasification and biogasification;

- Conduct applied research to respond to “problem” areas in industrial processes pertaining to gasification of forest-based biomass and in thermochemical parts of the biorefinery value chain and;

- Provide a link between Sweden’s two largest demonstration projects in gasification at Domsjö Fabriker, Örnsköldvik, on the one hand, and Gothenburg Biomass Gasification Project, GoBiGas, on the other.

The centre is a constellation of Swedish universities, industry and research institutes (see 17 May article in this News section). A management group directed by Gebart will be reporting to a scientific advisory committee and to a board attached to the centre.