bio-based materials

  • New Project to Turn Quinoa Residue into Bio-based Products

    Truth-about-human-food_280117Quinoa farming on the Andean Altiplano. Photo by courtesy of Truth About Human Food.

    Scientists in Sweden and Bolivia have teamed up to investigate whether residues from the Latin American country’s production of quinoa—the health food that helped a good number of poor Andean farmers to a higher standard of living in the early-to-mid 2000s, but with overproduction and falling prices in its wake—can be turned into biorefinery products such as renewable ethanol, bio-based polymers or so-called biopesticides.

    The three-year project, led from Sweden by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Bio4Energy, started last month as news arrived that the prestigious Swedish Research Council had decided to fund researcher exchanges and laboratory expenses under its 2016 call for Development Research. Umeå University in Sweden and Bolivian Universidad Mayor de San Andrés are project partners.

    In essence, the Swedish and Bolivian researchers will pool their expertise in biochemical conversion of recalcitrant lignocellulosic materials, on the one hand, and in microbial biodiversity and agricultural conditions of the high Altiplano of the Andes, the high planes of the mountain range that straddles Bolivia and Peru, on the other. The scientists will start where food production stops, that is once the edible quinoa seeds have been separated from the rest of the quinoa plant and what is left are the stalk and seed coats.

  • New Training Programme Available in 'Plant Biology for Sustainable Production'

    Plant Biology Master SLUPlant Biology for Sustainable Production. Programme image by courtesy of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.Next year will see the start of a new training programme for students who hold a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and want to continue their education, to learn to develop sustainable food products or bio-based materials using plant biology.

    Plant Biology—including plant protection, breeding and biotechnology—is much believed in as a science that carrying great promise for the development of sustainable food and fuels to meet current day societal challenges: Phasing out infinite and polluting fossil oil as a raw material for everyday products, while meeting the needs of world population expected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050.

    The new Master’s degree programme—Plant Biology for Sustainable Production—will be given from September 2018 by the Bio4Energy partner Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), in a unique cooperation by its three campuses in northern, mid and southern Sweden. It is designed to prepare students either for a career in academic research, or in industry or the public sector.

    The application opened this month to close mid-January 2018.

    SLU senior lecturer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., head of the R&D platform Bio4Energy Feedstock, leads a working group appointed to lay down the study plan and contents of the two-year programme, which includes the possibility from the second year to specialise in one of the following four strands:

    • Forest Biotechnology;

    • Plant Protection and Breeding for Mitigating Climate Change;

    • Abiotic and Biotic Interactions of Cultivated Plants;

    • Genetic and Molecular Plant Biology.

    The Forest Biotechnology specialisation will be given at Umeå, Sweden, in cooperation with a leading research environment and a centre, respectively: Bio4Energy and the Umeå Plant Science Centre.

  • Nordea Science Prize 2016 Goes to Bio4Energy Researcher Kristiina Oksman

    KO B4E 2 Kick off Photo by Anna StromBio4Energy expert on bio-based applications created using nanotechnology, Kristiina Oksman, has won this year's Nordea Science Prize. Photo by Anna Strom©.The Nordea Science Prize 2016 has been awarded Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at the Luleå University of Technology(LTU). She received it during a prize ceremony held last weekend at Luleå in northern Sweden. It is the Swedish bank Nordea, in cooperation with the LTU vice-chancellor and deans, who decide on and hand out the prize each year to a scientist who has made "outstanding contributions to the promotion of scientific research and development" and who has been "a good representative [of] the university", according to a press release from the LTU.

    "When they first called me [to announce the prize] I couldn't believe it was true. This is such a great encouragement. I am very happy", said Oksman whose research group creates nanocellulose applications and bio-based composites materials using nanotechnology. Oksman was a platform leader in Bio4Energy between the years 2010 and 2015. Currently she and her group are members of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies.

  • Prebiotics to be Developed in Science-industry Project

    Bio4Energy researchers with expertise in biochemical conversion technologies and wood pre-processing are at the helm of two new projects to develop prebiotics and commercial fish feed, and fungi and biofuels, respectively, from bio-based starting materials. Both are three-year projects granted in the 2017 round of funding for innovation projects by BioInnovation, a Swedish national platform for bio-based innovations, and have a substantial line-up of commercial companies as partners.

    The first project, called ForceUpValue for short, aims at demonstrating the production of low-cost prebiotics—food or feed ingredients that, once in the gut, induce the growth of microorganisms and which activity can have a positive effects on human health—starting from two abundantly available sources of bio-based feedstock: Forestry residues and a sea-living organism called Ciona intestinalis. The latter is known to have an outer layer, a tunic, rich in cellulose, which the project partners expect to use in the production of prebiotics.

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  • Projects on Next Generation Bio-based Materials, Processes to Start Next Month

    VR grants 21117Bio4Energy researchers will kick off three new projects next month designed, respectively, to make carbonised lignin materials, and chemicals from carbon dioxide and electricity, as well as to create knowledge on nutrient interactions with heavy metal content in biomass ash used as fertilizer.

    This week, the prestigious Swedish Research Councilannounced its decision fund them, along with 322 other top-of-the-line fundamental research projects nationally, on the back of its annual call for proposals on Science and Technology.

    All three projects run over four years. Each are at the leading-edge of bio-based research, expected to pave the way for industrial innovation. In Bio4Energy, they are under the supervision of scientists on two different R&D platforms: Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies and Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling.

  • Report on New Method to Map Biomass Properties Receives Praise, but Author Warns Large-scale Testing, Industry Cooperation, Needed

    Mikael Thyrel Photo by Anna StromBio4Energy reseracher Mikael Thyrel has been acknowledged for his work by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. Photo by Anna Strom©.The composition of different types of biomass materials varies widely and may even vary within, say, a single species of wood. This is generally seen as an impediment to the large-scale roll out of biorefinery—meaning industrial operations designed to make a cascade of bio-based products such as biofuels, "green" chemicals or bio-based starting materials for products—since each biorefinery process may have to be adapted to biomass materials from a single source. This is especially true for lignocellulosic biomass, meaning biomass from wood or inedible parts of plants.

    Thus, knowledge about quick and easy ways to judge the properties of each type of biomass is high in demand. Bio4Energy postdoctoral fellow This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has focused his research on such methods, in the pre-treatment step of the biomass intended for use in biorefinery processes. Using sophisticated X-ray fluorescence and near-infrared spectroscopy, he found that the two techniques may be used to gauge the amount of non-desirable ash-forming elements or contaminants and to single out wood chips for their content of value-added extractive substances, respectively.

    While the conclusions of Thyrel's work so far are based on testing on the laboratory scale, this has not stopped the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA) deeming it useful and novel enough to grant him an award for "best PhD thesis 2016" for the report in which he sums it all up:  Spectroscopic Characterisation of Lignocellulosic Biomass. Thyrel is to receive a diploma from the hands of the Swedish prince Carl Philip, 28 January in Stockholm and has received a personal grant.

    "As the [biorefinery] industry is trying to start up new methods are needed for the characterisation of biomass. Biomass is heterogeneous in nature. Especially targeted processes for producing chemicals are rather sensitive [to impurities in the biomass]. One batch of wood chips does not look the same as the other. We have to find a way to characterise them so that the polluting elements can be removed or handled", said Thyrel, who works at the Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • SP Seminar on Nano Materials, Stockholm, Sweden

    The programme starts at 08:30 with coffee and registration. The first seminar starts at 09:00 with a presentation on the pilot facility for nanocrystalline cellulose, a project that SP, Holmen, MoRe Research and Melodea have been working on together. The seminars that follow will look in more detail at how the material can be used in practical applications. The day will finish at 12:00 when we will have lunch together.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
                               
    A PART OF SWEDEN – BIO-ECONOMY AND NANOCRYSTALLINE CELLULOSE AT SP
                                Forest, waterways and agriculture – SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden is working with Holmen, MoRe Research and Melodea on a project that makes the most of Sweden’s strength in new research areas. The pilot facility for nanocrystalline cellulose is expected to be ready to start this year and will make it possible to carry out larger-scale tests on the material.

    Markus Norström, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden

                                                       
                               
    BIO-BASED MATERIALS ARE BETTER – COMPOSITE MATERIALS ON A NANO SCALE
                                One of the advantages of bio-based materials is that they do not run out in the same way as fossil materials. It is therefore important from a sustainability perspective that we make the switch. Blatraden has extensive experience of developing new bio-based composite materials, production methods and applications.

    Tord Gustafsson, Blatraden AB

                                                       
                               
    UNIQUE APPLICATIONS OF CELLULOSE NANOCRYSTALS (CNC) IN OPTOELECTRONICS
                                Nanocrystalline cellulose is a material of the future. They have huge possibilities and potential in areas involving electronic and optical components, such as in displays. But what makes nanocrystalline cellulose special?

    Wadood Hamad, University of British Columbia, Canada

                                                       
                               
    NANOCELLULOSE IN FOOD - THICKENER, STABILIZER AND FUNCTIONAL INGREDIENT
                                The range of possible applications of nanocellulose is enormous. One area of use is as a thickener and stabilizer in food. Thanks to its structure, nanocellulose has some exciting properties – how would you like to be able to change how it feels to eat?

    Mats Stading, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Department for Food and Bioscience

                                                       
                               
    LIGHT, STRONG AND POROUS - THE MAKING OF BIOBASED FOAM
                                Shaul Lapidot is one of the founders of Melodea. Their foam material is environmentally friendly and – you guessed it –made from nanocrystalline cellulose. The result is a light but strong and porous foam that can be used in anything from shoe soles to insulation.

    Shaul Lapidot, Melodea, Israel

                                                       
                               
    NATURAL PERFORMANCE ENHANCER IN PAINTS AND COSMETICS
                                For some time now, the Norwegian company Borregaard has been using wood fibres to generate cellulose at the microscopic level. One of the results is Exilva, a microfibrillated cellulose that can be used to increase the performance of everything from paints to cosmetics.

    Ali Moosavifar, Borregaard, Norway

                                                       
           
      World Trade Center, Klarabergsviadukten 70, Stockholm, meeting room Atlanta

            

       

  • Symposium on Biotechnology applied to Lignocelluloses, Madrid, Spain

    4th Symposium on Biotechnology applied to Lignocelluloses - LignoBiotech IV, in Madrid, Spain
  • Systems' Perspectives on Bioresources

    Bio4Energy studentsltu AnnaStromExtent and credits: 7.5 ECTS             


    Course coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


    Objectives

    On completion of the course, students will:

    • Be able to understand how to apply a systems' perspective on their own research;

    • Have gained insights into the current global energy and environmental challenges; 

    • Have gained insights into the rational of sustainability; 

    • Have awareness of tools and methods used for environmental, technical and economic systems analysis. 

    Dates and locations

    Autumn 2017:

    9-13 October, Luleå, Sweden: Lectures and workshops;

    Followed by independent work on a project assignment.


    Contents

    The course consists of:

    • Lectures (on sustainability issues, systems analysis approaches and tools) and workshops;

    • Lectures on essential subjects for large-scale biorefinery or bioenergy research and;

    • A project assignment, where the students identify suitable systems analysis tools or methods to be applied to their own research. The outcome will be a draft research proposal, a journal or conference manuscript or a chapter of a thesis.

    Application and prerequisites

    To apply for enrolment in Biorefinery Pilot Research, mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    For enquiries regarding the course content, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Late application? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Thesis Defence: Processing of Continuous Fibers Based on Nanocellulose, Luleå, Sweden

    Saleh Hooshmand of the R&D platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies will be defending his PhD thesis Thursday 9  June 2016 from 10:00 in Room E632, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.

    His supervisors are professors Kristiina Oksman and Aji Mathew of the same platform.

    Opponent is professor Stephen Eichhorn, University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.



  • This Is Bio4Energy

    Bio4Energy wants to thank its members, stakeholders and funders for its five first years of building a research environment that links up key academic and business organisations actively trying to promote biorefinery—the invention and production of advanced biofuels, bio-based chemicals and materials from woody biomass or organic waste.

    To do so, and to spread the word further afield, Bio4Energy would like to show you two short films that are an attempt to summarise who we are and what we do.

    In film one, the Bio4Energy programme manager takes viewers by the hand and describes the fundaments of the research environment. We also step into the working world of three Bio4Energy Research and Development Platforms: Feedstock, Pretreatment and Fractionation, as well as Catalysis and Separation. We visit the scientists’ greenhouse were hybrid aspen plants are grown to make better trees for bio-based production and Sweden's only pilot plant for the roasting of biomass—torrefaction—for the ease of handling and converting woody and starch-based biomass into fuels and chemicals.

    Bio4Energy - A Biorefinery Research Environment from Bio4Energy on Vimeo.


    In film two, we meet the coordinator of the Bio4Energy Graduate School who says students interested in biorefinery based on wood or organic waste will get a "unique" experience in the Bio4Energy Graduate School. We hear about the work on Bio4Energy's "process" platforms: The Bio4Energy Thermochemical and Biochemical Platform, respectively; and tour the thermal conversion whizzes' labs at Umeå University.

    Bio4Energy - Biorefinery Research & Education from Bio4Energy on Vimeo.

    Since June 2015, Bio4Energy has a new page in the Swedish-language section of the Umeå University website. From there, most of Bio4Energy's press releases in Swedish may be accessed. There are also an interview with the Bio4Energy programme manager for the years 2010-2016 and general information about Bio4Energy. An even more recent interviewcan be accessed on page 9 and 10 of the latest issue of Tänk magazine in which This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. predicts that societies will have become bio-based in the year of 2065.

    Bio4Energy has gone from being a constellation of 44 enthusiastic researchers in 2009, to becoming a full-blown research environment with about 240 members across three universities, four research institutes and with a network of industrial partners in Sweden and beyond.

    Thank you to our sponsors, members and stakeholders for believing in Bio4Energy!

  • Workshop on Regenerated Cellulose & Cellulose Derivatives, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden

    The 7th Workshop on Cellulose

    Regenerated Cellulose and Cellulose Derivatives

    Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, November 15-16, 2016 

    Call for papers

    This 7th semi-annual international workshop is arranged in cooperation betweenUmeå University and Karlstad University and is focused on basic and applied studies in the field of cellulose,nanocellulose, regenerated cellulose and cellulose derivatives. The workshop is sponsored by leading suppliers of dissolving pulps and machinery to guarantee that the workshop will have a mix of academic and applied presentations.

    Topics of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:

    Cellulose chemistry and derivatives

    Cellulose structures and composites

    Dissolution of cellulose

    Dissolving pulp preparation and properties

    Nanocellulose, Regeneration of cellulose

    Spinning of cellulosic fibres

    Deadlines for abstracts

    Abstracts of one A4 page are welcome to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. latest May 30, 2016. If the abstract is accepted extended abstracts of max four A4 pages are welcome until October 31.

    Information

    For more information visit www.celluloseworkshop.com soon to be launched

    or contact: Professor UlfGermgård, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Tel +46(0)54 70 01 780 or +46(0)70 32 19 584