Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

  • Clean-burning Cookstoves, Technology for Local Electricity Production to Be Developed for Africa

    CB cookstoves GroupA project for Africa: Christoffer Boman and colleagues will develop a clean-burning cookstove and propose solutions for local electricity production via biomass gasification. Photos by courtesy of Christoffer Boman.Development of clean-burning technology for household cooking and medium-scale electricity production in Sub-Saharan Africa is the focus of a new multiannual project by Bio4Energy researchers in collaboration with African actors, the Swedish Environment Institute (SEI) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

    As the researchers acknowledge in an application for funds to the Swedish Research Council Formas, which has now been granted, almost one fifth of the world population still lacks access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. Moreover, indoor air pollution caused by biomass burning for cooking and heating either using poor appliances or simply building a fire indoors cause about two million deaths per year in Southeast Asia and Africa.

    While great strides have been made by high-profile initiatives such as the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, "many uncertainties still exist regarding the performance of different cooking solutions… [and] emissions from these systems and the relation to air pollution and health effects need to be better elucidated", according to the project application.
  • EU Project Mobile Flip Final Seminar, Umeå, Sweden

  • Events' Archives

  • F1000 Recommends Bio4Energy Tool for Cell-trait Quantification

    Urs Fischer Photo by Anna StromUrs Fischer talks up some hybrid aspen plants in a greenhouse at the Umeå Plant Science Centre at Umeå University in Sweden. Photo by Anna Strom©.

    A study by Bio4Energy researchers and partners was recommended by F1000 faculty as an important article in biology. The Faculty of 1000, or F1000, is an international group of academics—faculty members—who have tasked themselves with identifying and recommending the best research output in biology and medicine when it comes to peer-reviewed scientific articles.

    The study by 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. and others gives an overview of a new package of analytical tools for quantifying large amounts of cellular traits, called phenotypes, in plants such as trees. Using the tools, researchers will be able to extract quantitative data from raw images obtained using state-of-the-art fluorescent microscopy. This has not previously been possible and the researchers expect this feature to speed up the process where large amounts of quantitative information need to be assessed. Hall and Fischer are part of the research platform Bio4Energy Feedstockand affiliated with Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, respectively.

    The F1000 faculty member making the recommendation, David G. Oppenheimer of the University of Florida at Gainsville, U.S.A. stated in his motivation:

    "The authors' method allows segmentation of images obtained by laser scanning confocal microscopy (or other optical sectioning methods of fluorescently labelled material) followed by assignment of cell types using the Random Forest machine learning algorithm.... I expect that this package will be useful for large-scale quantitative trait loci mapping projects or any projects that require quantification of cellular phenotypes for thousands of individuals."

  • Fascinating Plants Day, Umeå, Sweden

    Fascinerande växter – seminariedag om växtforskning i Umeå

    Forskare från Umeå Plant Science Center – Umeå universitet och SLU – berättar om sin forskning. UR Samtiden är på plats och filmar för Kunskapskanalen.

    Populärvetenskapliga föredrag på temat fascinerande växter.

    Kaffe och te i pausen.                             

    Alla är välkomna!

    Program: Torsdagen den 9 mars

    P-O Bäckströms sal (aulan), Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

    12.00 Välkommen! Natalie von der Lehr(moderator, frilansjournalist)

    12.05 Hur vet träden att det är höst? (svensk presentation) Stefan Jansson (professor, Umeå universitet) På hösten får träden sina höstfärger och bladen faller till slut men hur vet träden egentligen att hösten kommer? Professor Stefan Jansson vid Umeå universitet förklarar hur trädens kalender fungerar och varför bladen blir gula på hösten.

    12.30 How do plants make plumbing pipes from cells? (engelsk presentation) Sacha Escamez (postdoktor, Umeå universitet) Sacha Escamez will explain how plants utilize some of their cells to build pipe-like structures that allow them draw water and nutrients in the soil in order to distribute it throughout their bodies.

    12.55 Fotosyntesen – ett samarbete mellan cellens energifabriker (svensk presentation) Per Gardeström (professor, Umeå universitet)  Per Gardeström kommer att förklara hur fotosyntesen fungerar för att med hjälp av solljus fixera koldioxid från luften. Han kommer fokusera på samarbetet mellan kloroplaster och mitokondrier som båda är delar av växtcellerna och viktiga för deras energiförsörjning. 

    13.20 Traffic in plant cells – sending cargo the right way (engelsk presentation) Anirban Baral(postdoktor med Rishikesh Bhalerao, SLU) Anirban Baral will explain how different compartments with different functions in a plant cell exchange information and material between each other. He will show with specific examples what happens with the plant when the traffic is not regulated properly. 

    13.45 Chemicals as tools to dissect plants (engelsk presentation) Siamsa Doyle(forskare med Stéphanie Roberts, SLU)  Siamsa Doyle, plant cell biologist, will talk about the use of chemicals that block proteins controlling plant functions. The effects of these chemicals on the plants can tell researchers a lot about the proteins and their roles in plant growth and development. Like this, chemicals can be used to virtually “dissect” plants and learn more about them.

    14.10 Paus och kaffe

    14.40 Getting together: The fungus-root symbiosis in forest tree (engelsk presentation) Judith Felten (universitetslektor, SLU) Judith Felten, group leader at UPSC, will talk about the knowns and unknowns of the fascinating mechanism that allows roots and fungi to form a beneficial relationship (symbiosis). The fungus provides soil-nutrients to the tree and receives photosynthetic sugars from the tree. Like this both partners benefit from each other and stimulate each other’s growth. 

    15.05 Därför är världen grön – om växter och deras försvar (svensk presentation) Benedicte Albrectson(forskare, Umeå universitet) Benedicte Albrectson kommer att tala om hur växter försvarar sig med hjälp av kemiska ämnen. Hon kommer fokusera på en speciell klass av dessa ämnen, som kallas fenoler, och förklara hur hennes forskargrupp analyserar dem. 

    15.30 Framtidens skogsgenetik med gamla fältförsök (svensk presentation) Anders Fries (forskare, SLU)  Anders Fries forskare i skogsgenetik berättar om vad gamla fältförsök har lärt oss om vedegenskaper och vad molekylärgenetiska studier i dem kan lära oss.
  • Feedstock for Biofuel Production: Seminar 6 February at Umeå

    JLB4E RM Oct2016Joakim Lundgren, associate professor at the Luleå University of Technology, heads the R&D platform Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy. Photo by Bio4Energy.Feedstock for sustainable biofuel production. That is what the industry and research community tell us they want more of, of kinds that are economically and environmentally sustainable, as well as socially acceptable. Notably, there have been calls for focusing research and development (R&D) efforts on developing new types of tailor-made feedstock, such as Bio4Energy’s feedstock researchers do when they try to design and experimentally grow hybrid aspen for the purpose of making biofuel or nanocellulose for the production of specific bio-based materials. Many of the Bio4Energy partner organisations are involved in this effort. 

    6 February 2017 some of them will gather at Umeå, Sweden for a seminar precisely on Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production, set in a system analysis perspective and jointly organised the Swedish Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels, Bio4Energy and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

    Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production

    — Feedstock Potentials, Climate Change Impact of Forestry and the Realisation of Forest Biorefinery 

     
    You are invited!

     Programme and registration

    Click the link above or go to the Bio4Energy Events' page
  • Gunnar Öquist Fellows Presented, Umeå, Sweden

    Thursday 1 December 11.00, and 13.00-15.00, KBC Stora hörsalen KB.E3.03 (KB3B1)

    The Kempe Foundations Board will visit KBC and celebrates

    5 years of  Gunnar Öquist Fellows

     

    At 11:00 : Presentation  of the new Gunnar Öquist Fellows 2016

    Everybody is cordially invited to participate..

     

    More information:

    http://www.umu.se/english/about-umu/news-events/calendar/display-page?eventId=14767

    http://www.umu.se/english/about-umu/news-events/calendar/display-page?eventId=14768
  • High-level visit from Heilongjiang to Umeå University, Bio4Energy, Umeå, Sweden

    High-level visit from Heilongjiang to Umeå University, Bio4Energy
  • 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 Neutron-based Technology Set to Improve Process Control in Biorefineries, Bioenergy Operations

    TL MT SL AS11116Bio4Energy researchers Torbjörn Lestander (left), Mikael Thyrel and Sylvia Larsson won funding for a test-bed pilot which technology is expected to be essential for the efficient operation of biorefineries and biomass combustion facilities. Photo by Bio4Energy.

    An instrument that can help biorefinery industry and bioenergy utilities detect and remove or neutralise elements that scupper the process or pollute the environment directly as the biomass is fed into the conversion or combustion process. It sounds like every industrial operator's dream, does it not?

    For operators in northern Sweden it could come true within a few years, thanks to funding just granted to Bio4Energy researchers for the purchase of a new instrument drawing on neutron technology for the rapid and advanced online characterisation of woody materials, biomass ash and organic waste. 

    "The instrument allows for a considerable advancement when it comes to technology since the neutrons have a depth of penetration of tens of centimetres into the test material, which opens up the possibility rapidly to characterise large volumes of heterogeneous material", the researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences(SLU) say in their application to the funding provider, the Kempe Foundations.

    "This means that the technology can be placed on a conveyor belt which makes it a true online technique with a large potential to realise the necessary characterisation needed for process control in resource-efficient and flexible biorefineries of the future", they go on.

  • 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.

  • Potentially Toxic Chemicals in Thermal Conversion of Biomass Need to Be Investigated, Controlled

    QiujuGao 416Bio4Energy PhD researcher Qiuju Gao checks torrefied material for toxic organic chemicals in a laboratory at the University of York. Photo by courtesy of Qiuju Gao.In large-scale production of heat and electricity in the developed world, emissions from biomass burning are generally well controlled. Recently, however, new high-technological methods have been invented that are designed as a pre-treatment step to various forms of temperature-dependent conversion of renewable biomass to fuels, chemicals and materials, often in combination with heat and/or electricity production.

    Because in such thermal conversion every new process step could be a potential source of undesirable emissions, and because these need to be controlled for the purpose of safeguarding human health and the environment, Bio4Energy scientists set out to investigate the matter with a focus on toxic emissions in relation to pre-treatment technologies that are still in their infancy: Microwave-assisted pyrolysis and torrefaction. While the former is designed to produce a bio oil using microwave technology (and which oil then may be further refined into value-added specialty chemicals), the other is a form of roasting of the biomass which renders light-weight and hydrophobic solid pellets or briquettes. Both methods are performed in an oxygen free, or near oxygen-free, environment.

    In a set of studies carried out by Bio4Energy PhD student This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and colleagues at Umeå University in Sweden and at the University of York in the UK, the researchers wanted to find out whether each of the two technologies gave rise to the formation of dioxins or dioxin-like substances that are toxic organic compounds that can spread over large distances, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and animals and persist for a long time in the environment. These chemicals are regulated under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which is a global treaty agreed under the auspices of the United Nations in 2001. It aims for countries to phase out the use of POPs since these are known to induce cancer and immune system deficiencies in humans.
  • 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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  • R&D Platform Meeting: System Analysis and Bioeconomy, Umeå, Sweden

  • 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.
  • Seminar on Bio-based Feedstock: 'Make No Mistake, There is Still Momentum for Building the Bioeconomy'

    Is the efficient and sustainable biorefinery of the future challenged by the low price of oil and gas and the lack of a political framework that encourages bio-based production in the long term? Yes. Have actors in the sector shut up shop while waiting for conditions to be right for launching the bioeconomy? Not at all.

    Judging from developments in Sweden, a precursor country in terms of biorefinery development based on woody materials and organic waste, great strides are being made in industry and academia to pave the way for a transition from an economy heavily reliant fossil fuels and materials based on petrochemicals, towards a bioeconomy. A few such developments were highlighted yesterday at a seminar at Umeå, in northern Sweden, on Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production, by the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels (f3 Centre), the research environment Bio4Energy and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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  • Seminar: Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production, Umeå, Sweden

    Feedstock for sustainable biofuel production

    - Perspectives on tailor-made feedstock, influence of choice of method on estimates of climate impact and the role of EU policy and regulation

    a co-arrangement by f3, SLU and Bio4Energy

    6 February 2017, 10:15 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Venue: P.O. Bäckströms sal/aulan, SLU, Umeå

    The aim of the seminar is to give different perspectives on the feedstock side of the value chain of biofuel production. We choose to focus on the potential of tailor-made feedstock, effects of the choice of method on evaluating sustainability issues, as well as give an update of the role of EU policies and regulation in the development of sustainable biofuel production. The target audience is industrial, public and academic actors with an interest in the use of forest biomass, biorefinery and biofuel production and use. In addition, this will be an excellent opportunity to network with researchers, industry representatives and actors from the public sector representing the value chain of renewable transportation fuels.

    The programme contains plenary presentations and study visits to the Biomass Technology Centre (BTC) and the demonstration plant for torrefaction in Holmsund, IDU.

      

    f3 – fossil free fuels: The aim of the networking organization f3 is to contribute, through scientifically based knowledge, to the development of environmentally, economically and socially sustainable renewable fuels, as part of a future sustainable society. http://www.f3centre.se/

    SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences: The vision of SLU is to be a world-class university in the fields of life and environmental sciences. https://www.slu.se/en/

    Bio4Energy: The research environment Bio4Energy aims to create highly efficient and environmentally-sound biorefinery processes—including methods and tools for making products such as biofuels, "green" chemicals and new bio-based materials—which draw on biomass sourced from forests or organic waste as a raw material. http://www.bio4energy.se/

  • Swedish Government Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation Visits Bio4Energy, Umeå, Sweden

  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden
  • Umeå Plant Science Centre 50-year Anniversary Symposium, Umeå, Sweden

    Please see the Bio4Energy Events' page.