Luleå University of Technology

  • Biofuel Making via Gasification Most Efficient, But Sector Prefers Drop-ins

    BeWhere Sweden webBeWhere Sweden. Illustration by courtesy of Elisabeth Wetterlund, Bio4Energy and the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels.In a medium-term perspective until 2030, biomass gasification would be the most cost-efficient option for rolling out advanced biofuel production on a large scale in Sweden, a new research report based on energy system modelling confirms. However, attached analysis of stakeholder advice shows, central actors in the sector have turned their backs on biofuel-making options that require large investments.

    Instead, they appear to favour drop-in fuels made from bio-based hydrocarbons, which properties are similar to those of standard petrol and diesel and can be produced in existing oil refineries. Such advanced drop-ins are being made on a pilot scale by Bio4Energy member RISE Energy Technology Center at Piteå, Sweden and their partner Suncarbon. So-called de-polymerisation of the wood polymer lignin could be a basis for this type of process.

    The report, ending a project called BeWhere - Stakeholder analysis of biofuel production in Sweden, is based on an international energy system model called BeWhere, but which has been adapted to national conditions.

  • Biofuels Report from 2013 Government Investigation Available in Short Form

    Forestry residues Photo by Anna StromPotential biofuel? A heap of forestry residue at recreational area on the outskirts of Gothenburg, Sweden. Photo by Anna Strom©.The report Sustainable Transportation Biofuels Today and in the Future—presented in 2013 as part of the Swedish government investigation on how to make road transport "independent" of fossil fuel use by 2030—has been released in a summary version.

    "We wanted to make a short and updated version that was more easily accessible and readable", said co-author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy Platform. Lundgren, who is a professor at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU), drafted the summary together with colleagues at Lund University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels (f3 Centre). 

    Compared with the full report, a few updates had been made regarding the estimate for future sustainable outtake of forestry residues as feedstock for biofuel production, Lundgren said. Moreover, the estimate for annual domestic biofuel production by 2030 had been lowered from 25-35 terawatt hours (TWh) to 22-32 TWh. This was because the estimate for future potential outtake of tree stumps had been reduced, he added.

    The Gothenburg-based f3 Centre published both the report and its summary.

    "f3 took the initiative [for us to draft] the summary because the report we wrote were a couple of hundred pages long. Not something people read in a coffee break, perhaps".

    Both papers are intended to guide researchers and decision-makers working to pave the way for ridding Sweden's transport fleet of its dependence on fossil fuels and meet the country's greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • Biorefinery Pilot Research

    Biorefinery Pilot Research participantsExtent and credits: 7.5 ECTS                                                Apply Now

    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 describe the biorefinery technologies represented in pilot scale facilities within the Bio4Energy infrastructure and know how to get access to them;

    • Be able to explain and discuss models for the roles of academia and functions of technical innovation systems and to critically evaluate real research facility cases based on these models;

    • Be aware of essentials regarding sampling, building of large-scale experimental equipment, fund raising, and intellectual property rights and;

    • Have gained access to interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge and ideas through networking activities.


    Dates and locations

    Winter 2018: Piteå, Sweden — 12-14 March

    RISE Energy Technology Centre at Piteå, Piteå Science Park

    Spring 2018: Örnsköldsvik, Sweden — 16-18 April

    Processum Pilot Park, MoRe Research, Biorefinery Demonstration Plant

    Umeå, Sweden — 2-4 May

    Biomass Technology Centre; Umeå Plant Science Centre; torrefaction and algae pilot facilities, respectively

    Final seminar: Umeå, Sweden — 30-31 May

    Examination and workshop


    Contents

    The course consists of:

    • On-site demonstration of equipment and technology, lectures and laboratory work;

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

    • A project assignment, typically a case study of a technical innovation system at one of the pilot plants in the cluster.


    Application and prerequisites

    To apply for enrolment in Biorefinery Pilot Research, please click on the link 'Apply Now', at the top of this page. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2018.

    This course is recommended for students with an interest in biorefinery at the PhD or postdoctoral level, as well as industry representatives who wish to learn about research and innovation as carried out at the biorefinery-related pilot and demonstration units lining the east coast of Northern Sweden.

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

  • Events' Archives

  • Gasification 2017, Helsinki, Finland

    ACI’s 6th Annual Gasification Summit, taking place on 15-16 March 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. The conference will comprise two days of formal presentations, interactive roundtable discussions and excellent networking opportunities. The event will be providing an ideal setting to convene with your peers to discuss both current operational & future planned gasification plants, end product markets, potential barriers & support policies as well as project economics & finance.

    Agenda Committee:
    • Thomas von Kossak, Shell
    • Alison Kerester, The Gasification And Syngas Technologies Council
    • Juhani Isaksson, Valmet
    • Reinhard Rauch, Bioenergy 2020+
    • Christiaan Van Der Meijden, Biomass Energy Engineering
    • Chris Higman, Higman Consulting GmbH
    • Silvio Arienti, Amec Foster Wheeler
    • Berend Vreugdenhil, ‎Innovation Manager Gasification, ECN
    Site Visit:

    Exclusive Lahti Energy’s Kymijärvi II power plant Site Visit – Tuesday 14th March 2017

    During the afternoon of 14th of March 2017 up to 40 conference attendees will receive a unique opportunity to visit Lahti Energy’s Kymijärvi II power plant. Kymijärvi II is the world’s first gasification plant that utilizes solid recovered fuel (SRF). At the 160 MW plant, waste-derived fuel is gasified, the gas is cooled down and cleaned, and the clean gas is then burned in the boiler.

    There is no extra charge to attend the site visit, but spaces are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis. Please register your attendance for the site visit when booking for the conference.
  • Green conversion of municipal solid wastes into fuels and chemicals

    Matsakas L, Gao Q, Jansson S, Rova U, Christakopoulos P. 2017. Green conversion of municipal solid wastes into fuels and chemicals. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology. 26:69-83, March
  • Gunnar Öquist Fellowship Awarded Bio4Energy Researcher - Again

    KU bio4energy seBio4Energy researcher Kentaro Umeki has won a Gunnar Öquist Fellowship 2016, which grants him funds and the mentorship of well-respected Swedish plant physiologist Gunnar Öquist. Photo by courtesy of Kentaro Umeki.Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., recruited into Bio4Energy in 2011 and placed at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northern Sweden, last week received an award named for the well-respected Swedish scientist Gunnar Öquist, who is a member of the Swedish Academy of Sciences and a plant physiologist the Umeå Plant Science Centre.

    Funding body the Kempe Foundations supports the fellowship and awards it on an annual basis for the purpose of "supporting young researchers early in their career",according to a press releasefrom the LTU. The Gunnar Öquist Fellowship consists of a SEK3 million (€310,000) kroner award to be used for research activities, as well as a personal prize of SEK50,000 kroner, and the mentorship for three years of professor emeritus Öquist. For the third time since the awarding of the fellowship started five years ago, it goes to a Bio4Energy scientist. Previous Bio4Energy awardees are Judith Felten and Edouard Pesquet, both of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Feedstock.

    "It feels great! It’s a confidence boost and some kind of sign that the LTU believes in me. It shows that I grew in the last five years", Umeki said.
  • Lack of Funding Puts End to Large-scale Pilot Trials of BioDME and Bio-based Methanol in Sweden - Audio

    LTU Green Fuels at Pitea SEBiofuel production at large-scale pilot operations at Piteå, Sweden will cease. Photo by courtesy of the Luleå University of Technology.

    LTU Green Fuels at Piteå—Sweden's only large-scale pilot operations for the production of liquid biofuel from forestry residue—are going to cease its activities due to lack of funding, according to a press release issued by its owner, the Luleå University of Technology.

    Despite the pilot plant's having delivered about 1000 tonnes of clean, bio-based dimethyl ether (DME) and methanol, and despite the product having been successfully trialled as fuel in commercial trucking operationsby the car manufacturer Volvo, the Swedish Energy Agency had decided not to extend funding beyond the 100 million Swedish kroner it had granted for the past three years, the press release said. It appears that the current 17 employees at LTU Green Fuels will soon have to look around for other work.

    "I think it's a shame that we have to discontinue the work at the plant but I am nevertheless hopeful that the technology [developed there] has a future. It has been thoroughly verified in our pilot plant", said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at the LTU and part of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies.

    In successive interviews since the start of Bio4Energy in 2010, he has been pointing out that for industry to take the step to commercialisation, a long-term and stable political framework is needed that is supportive of a large-scale roll out of second-generation or more advanced biofuels and co-products.

  • Network management and renewable energy development: An analytical framework with empirical illustrations

    Newell D, Söderholm P, Sandström AC. 2017. Network management and renewable energy development: An analytical framework with empirical illustrations. Energy Research & Social Science, 23:199-210, January
  • New Leader for Bio4Energy's Environmental Researchers

    StinaJansson platform lead Photo by AnnaStrom copyAssociate professor Stina Jansson is a new leader for the R&D platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling. Photo by Bio4Energy.The research and development platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recyclinghas a new leader. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., associate professor at Umeå University(UmU), will be taking over the platform leadership from Dan Boström, who has seen his workload increase substantially since becoming Bio4Energy programme manager in February last year. Boström and Jansson will be sharing the leadership over the summer, following which Jansson will shoulder the role fully from 1 September 2017.

    “We are pleased to announce that Stina is a new platform leader in Bio4Energy. She is a young researcher with a great record as an environmental chemist. She is also at a very progressive stage of her career. We are glad that she has accepted to take on the role”, said Boström, professor at UmU, adding that the Bio4Energy Board had passed the decision this month to promote Jansson to the post of platform leader.

    Part of the research environment since its launch in 2010, Jansson was a postgraduate student in the group of the former Bio4Energy programme manager, professor emeritus Stellan Marklund. Her area of expertise includes research to check the environmental credentials of thermal processes for the conversion of biomass.

  • New Project to Assess Feasibility of Countering Intermittency of Renewble Electricity Systems with Bio-based Power

    BM in ren pow systIllustration by courtesy of Elisabeth Wetterlund.System analysis researchers in Bio4Energy, together with colleagues at partner organisations in Europe, are starting a new project that will deliver assessment tools for the integration of electricity produced during biomass conversion operations into power production systems that currently rely on high shares of intermittent renewable sources of electricity such as wind and solar.

    "We want to see if biomass can play the role of balancing out unevenness in electricity production based on a great share of renewables", according to project leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who is an associate senior lecturer at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northern Sweden.

    Last week, the Swedish Research Council Formas announced its intention to fund the project over two years and which will see considerable exchange of expertise between Bio4Energy at LTU, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. The latter two organisations are based in Austria.

    Several European countries are looking to introduce high shares of electricity made from renewable sources in their energy systems, but face the potential problem of either having to store solar and wind power at a high cost or not having enough in store during extended periods of cloudy weather and low winds or, for that matter, in times of even more extreme weather events.
  • 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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  • Problem-solving Studies on Biomass Gasification, Waste Water Treatment Enabled by VR Grants

    gallery thumbnailsBio4Energy researchers won funds for water treatment projects. Photo by courtesy of FDP.Bio4Energy researchers have won funds for carrying out scientific studies on reducing soot formation in biomass gasification for making biofuels, as well as two projects on water purification in developing countries. The prestigious Swedish Research Council(VR) announced a number of decisions on research funding this week, with the grants to Bio4Energy's researchers corresponding to the 'Natural and Engineering Sciences' and 'Development Research' categories. Bio4Energy PIs This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. were the three happy recipients.

    "It's very good. I would like to develop better [biomass] gasification technology", said Umeki who is an associate professor at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northern Sweden, who received funding for the project Chemical Interaction of Closely Located Reactive Particles in Gas Flow.

    "We are going to develop tools to optimise gasifiers in industrial scale conditions and a new model that will assimilate [or mimic] the gasification process" more adequately than current models, he explained.
  • 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.

  • R&D Platform Meeting: System Analysis and Bioeconomy, Umeå, Sweden

  • Swedish Centre for Biomass Gasification Gets Four More Years

    JoakimLundgren Photo by AlanSherrardJoakim Lundgren gives a talk at a 2016 seminar by the Swedish Centre for Biomass Gasification. Photo by Alan Sherrard, Bioenergy International.The Swedish Centre for Biomass Gasification(SFC)—launched in 2011 to provide coordination of Sweden-based efforts to develop gasification of biomass into a viable alternative to fossil energy carriers—looks set to continue its operations for four more years. The much-awaited announcement came as a the Swedish Energy Agency confirmed its decision in a press release to provide provisional funding for another programme period, from 20 April 2017 to 19 April 2021. 

    “The decision is wonderful news. We are so happy. We have achieved a lot in a short time, six years; and now we can build on it, provide an edge to the technology, according to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. who directs the centre since 2014.

    Gasification of biomass, in which lignocellulosic feedstock is turned into synthesis gas and then converted to liquid biofuel or electricity, is taken to be one of the cleanest and most technology-ready options when it comes to renewable alternatives to fossil energy carriers. According to estimates outlined in a government-commissioned package of reports from 2013, one in three cars travelling on Swedish roads could be running on the new fuels in 2030. These could be renewable dimethyl ether, methanol, methane or synthetic diesel.
  • Swedish Government Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation Visits Bio4Energy, Umeå, Sweden

  • System Analysis Needed for Pointing Politicians, Scientists, in Right Direction on Energy

    Ibrahim Balyan SAEE 2016Sweden's energy minister Ibrahim Baylan told a conference that academic input had been vital for the government's recent Energy Agreement with opposition parties to go through. Photo by courtesy of the Luleå University of Technology.

    A conference by Bio4Energyresearchers and colleagues on the transformation of Sweden's energy system finished at Luleå last week, with keynote speaker Ibrahim Baylan, the Swedish energy minister, concluding that the recent Energy Agreement struck by the government and parties in political opposition before the summer recess hardly had been possible had the government not consulted widely with academic stakeholders.

    "He spoke about the Energy Agreement, but included a discussion on the need for research as a basis for political decision-making", said conference coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who represents Bio4Energy's System Analysis and Bioeconomy branch.

    The agreement between the ruling Social Democrats and Greens, and the Moderate Party, Christian Democrats and Centre Party in opposition, states that Sweden aims for its economy to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and for its electrical power production system to be "100 per cent renewable" by 2040.

    The 23-24 August conference, hosted by the Swedish Association for Energy Economics and the Luleå University of Technology (LTU), also heard energy profile Tomas Kåberger, professor at the Chalmers University of Technology, contribute a global perspective and, notably, talking up solar energy as having a great potential of increasing the share of renewables in the overall energy mix. He had pointed to the example of how Germany has kept subsidising solar power installations and how, subsequently, solar panels have become mainstay on German rooftops, according to professor Lundmark.

  • 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..