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Latest Events

Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals, San Diego, CA, U.S.A.
April 27, 2015 (08:00)
Leif Jönsson or Carlos Martín, Bio4Energy Biochemical Platform
Seminar on bio fibers for textiles: Skogen på catwalken, Borås, Sweden
April 27, 2015 (12:00)
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
International Conference on Renewable Energy Gas Technology, REGATEC, Barcelona, Spain
May 07, 2015 (09:00)
Jörgen Held, CEO, Renewable Energy Technology International;
BioInnovation General Assembly, Stockholm, Sweden
May 21, 2015 (All Day)
View full calendar


Bio4Energy on Twitter

@Bio4Energy - No retweets here
#Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting 2015 har dragit igång! Systemanalys, samt biokemisk och termokemisk omvandling av biomassa avhandlas imorgon. 8:48 pm - 25 Mar 2015#
#The latest biorefinery research is on the menu at an international conference at Umeå, Sweden, this week:  6:20 pm - 23 Mar 2015#
#Progress has been made on the way to making biofuel from forestry residue a viable alternative to fossil fuels: 10:39 am - 6 Mar 2015#
#Vårens stora konferens i Umeå om förnybar energi har fokus på bioraffinaderi: forskning om hållbara biodrivmedel:  2:18 pm - 17 Feb 2015#     
#Swedish government minister for energy paid a visit to Umeå University and and Bio4Energy: … 5:26 pm - 25 Nov 2014#
#Do you know the conference Impacts of Fuel Quality on Power Production? This year Bio4Energy gave 1/5th of its talks! 2:47 pm - 10 Nov 2014#     
#Växtämne ger nytt DNA till sjuka celler  - Lignin som medicinbärare? Forskning presenterad vid Lignin 2014-konferensen 1:10 pm - 29 Sep 2014#
#Idag sänder SR P1 ett reportage om det senaste inom lignin forskning- och utveckling, från konferensen Lignin 2014. Lyssna kl. 12.10! 12:04 pm - 29 Sep 2014#
#Skogsriket uppmärksammar Bio4Energy och konferensen Lignin 2014. Världsledande forskning om produkter från skogen! … 1:15 pm - 11 Sep 2014#     ·
#Is the use of lignin, a plant polymer, as a substitute for petrochemicals in products ready to take off? 1:14 pm - 10 Sep 2014#
#Vetenskapsradion täcker konferensen Lignin 2014! Lyssna till P1 nästa vecka; reportaget kommer troligtvis på torsdag. 7:48 pm - 27 Aug 2014#
#Guro Elise Fredheim is telling Lignin 2014 Borregaard uses lignin products to make binders, dispersants, concrete &... vanilla flavouring! 5:18 pm - 27 Aug 2014#
#Want to see who is at the Lignin 2014 conference at Umeå, Sweden? Have a look here: 4:40 pm - 26 Aug 2014#
#Håll i er allihopa: Imorgon börjar industridelen av konferensen Lignin 2014! Kan vi göra högvärdiga produkter av trädpolymeren lignin? 4:26 pm - 26 Aug 2014#           

#Lignin 2014 has started! Leading researchers Noritsugu Terashima and Niko Geldner presented this morning. Norman Lewis to speak on lignans. 1:12 pm - 25 Aug 2014#

#Konferensen Lignin 2014 i Umeå har nu 155 och gräddan inom forskning och utveckling kommer! Kommer du?  1:34 pm - 19 Aug 2014#
#Biorefinery products from lignin? Join Lignin 2014 in Sweden & get the latest from top scientists and developers! 3:08 pm - 8 Aug 2014#
#Ligninkonferens samlar eliten inom forskning och utveckling i Umeå - . Registrera er innan 9 augusti. Välkomna! 12:14 PM - 7 Aug 2014#
#Join science forerunners and developers in industry at the Lignin 2014 Conference--24-28 August, Sweden, @Lignin2014. 4:26 pm - 1 Aug 2014#
#Bio4Energy just joined Twitter! We are a research environment developing sustainable biorefinery from woody feedstock or organic waste. 6:07 am - 1 Aug 2014#

In the Press

There is a successor to the Forest Chemistry project: Cowi forskar om hållbar eten,

UREM 2015: Toppforskare diskuterar förnybar energi vid Umeåkonferens, Nordisk Papperstidning & Biobusiness

Biofuel proteomics, Joint BioEnergy Institute

Research by SP ETC/Bio4Energy: High Efficiency Demonstrated in Biomass-to-'syngas' Experiments, Pulp & Paper

Bio4Energy strategic partner: SP Processum fick miljöpris av Landstinget Västernorrland, SP Processum

Demonstration Unit for Biomass Torrefaction Takes Shape in Sweden Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Friday, 24 October 2014 13:45

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Slide show: Swedish industry representatives and academics at a recent visit to BioEndev Industrial Demonstration Unit for biomass torrefaction being built at Holmsund, Sweden. Partners SP Processum and Bio4Energy organised the visit in connection to a joint seminar. Photos by Bio4Energy.

January 2015 will see the startup of a high-efficiency, 65 million-Swedish-kroner demonstration unit for the torrefaction of woody biomass at Holmsund, Sweden. This technology for roasting biomass invented by Bio4Energy researchers has already been tested at pilot facilities at Umeå, a 20-minute drive from the demonstration unit in progress. While not fully operational until April 2015, the demonstration unit would be "cold started" at the beginning of 2015, according Anders Nordin of Umeå University, and for the first two years turn woody sawdust into tightly packed, high-energy density and hydrophobic heating pellets.

Nordin is a co-owner of BioEndev which small firm built the demonstration unit together with Swedish industrial partners such as BRUKS and SCA. This week, he and the BioEndev chief technical officer Ingemar Olofsson for the first time gave regional industry representatives and academia a tour of the facilities, consisting of several industrial buildings tucked away behind a barbed-wire fence in a forested area just off the main road to Holmsund from Umeå.  

Projects on Woody Biomass to Benefit Industry Within a Few Years Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Friday, 26 September 2014 12:02

Stump-in-SE-mixed-forest AnnaStromThe wax-like substance suberin, found in the outer bark of deciduous trees, may be a bio-based alternative for making polymers and polyurethanes. Photo by Anna Strom©.Making the stuff of bio-based plastics, identifying new value chains in "forest" biorefinery, finding the perfect method for quick drying sludge or pinning down the best kind of pine for making bio-based products. These are the topics of four research projects whose instigators, all Bio4Energy researchers based in northern Sweden, were awarded grants in the latest round of funding by the Swedish Research Council Formas.

"Swedish forestry industry needs to transition from traditional production of wood and pulp to a more varied and sustainable production of bio-based products", said Formas first secretary Gia Destouni in a press release announcing the grants, in lieu of justification for the need of the research projects thus enabled.

This is taken to mean that the industry could benefit from a move from pulp and paper making only, to full-scale biorefinery operations in which products as diverse as biofuels, "green" chemicals and specialty acids or the like could be made in one production unit.

Each of the four Bio4Energy research proposals, applied projects expected to result in methods or processes for industry to incorporate in their production within a few years, aim to add one small piece of the puzzle of such a transition:

  • Efficient conversion of forest biomass insoluble polyesters with potential use in lignocellulosic feedstock biorefineries;

  • Rapid drying of sludge from forestry industrial operations using vacuum technology;

  • Large-scale expansion of biorefinery: New value chains, products and the efficient use of woody biomass and;

  • Selection of elite populations of pine for the sustainable production of new bioenergy and carbohydrate products.
Latest in Lignin R&D: Swedish National Public Radio at Lignin 2014 Print E-mail
User Rating: / 39
Written by Anna Strom   
Monday, 29 September 2014 12:37

The science arm of Swedish national public radio has taken the pulse of the international Lignin 2014 conference.

Bio4Energy organised the conference in cooperation with the Umeå Plant Science Centre, the latter of which is an excellence centre in research on woody biomass shared by Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå, Sweden.

SR Vetenskap P1 main reportage:

 Audio spot on lignin in biomedical applications by SR Vetenskap P1:

Ligin 2014: Bio4Energy Presenters Acknowledged Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 15:20

Bio4Energy would like to acknowledge its researchers who contributed a presentation to the Lignin 2014 conference, held 24-28 August at Umeå, Sweden.

Lignin-2014 Sandra-Winestrand Photo Anna-Strom 265x177Bio4Energy researcher Sandra Winestrand of Umeå University and the Billerud-Korsnäs group.'Smart' packaging designed to prolong the shelf-life of food

Sandra Winestrand and colleagues at Umeå and Karlstad Universities

Edited abstract: Extending the shelf-life of packaged food is a potential way of reducing food waste. One possible way to do this is by using a system that scavenges the oxygen inside a package equipped with an oxygen barrier. A common way to scavenge oxygen inside a package is to insert a small sachet containing iron powder. An alternative to this is to use oxygen-scavenging enzymes that can be incorporated directly in the coating layer of the package.

The phenol-oxidising enzyme laccase uses molecular oxygen as its oxidising substrate, and could therefore be used for the latter type of application. Laccase can use derivatives of lignin as its reducing substrate, which would be interesting from a biorefinery perspective since lignin derivatives are underused co-products in biorefinery based on lignocellulosic feedstock. The aims of the investigation were to understand how the properties of lignin derivatives affected the enzymatic reaction and the quality of the coating layer.

The study involved the use of lignin derivatives and preparations of size-fractionated lignin derivatives from industrial processing of lignocellulose. The molecular properties of the lignin derivatives before and after oxidation by laccase were investigated, as well as the capability of films and coatings to scavenge oxygen. The results indicate that laccase-catalysed cross-linking decreases oxygen levels and improves the water stability of the packaging material.

Lignin: A Possible Substitute for Petrochemicals in Products - Videos Print E-mail
User Rating: / 82
Written by Anna Strom   
Monday, 08 September 2014 16:26

Lignin-2014 Art-Ragauskas Photo Anna-Strom 185x265Art Ragauskas of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, U.S.A., develops polyurethane applications from lignin, together with industrial partners. Photo by Anna Strom.Usually burnt to heat the facilities at pulp and paper-making operations after valuable carbohydrate components such as cellulose have been separated from the woody feedstock—and sometimes cursed for its tendency to stick like glue to the other components of the wood—the polymer lignin, making up almost a third of the wood in trees, has become hot property in research and development (R&D) geared at making bio-based products.

So what’s new, you might wonder. Biorefinery operators such as Borregaard of Norway and Domsjö Fabriker of Sweden have been using lignin for other products than energy for some time, mainly as a component of cement. Carbon fibres have been developed for various applications, for instance by the Swedish research institute Innventia; and there is Borregaard occupying a niche with the way in which it makes vanilla flavouring from the lignin polymer. Still, as biomass researcher John Ralph of the U.S.-based University of Wisconsin-Madison said in a recent interview with Swedish science journalists, "Nothing has come to the top yet as being a winner application" made from lignin.

Part of the reason for that is likely the complexity of lignin—making it hard to break away from the rest of the wood and perhaps even to understand—and its tendency to cling to the carbohydrates cellulose and hemicellulose inside the wood, like a cement holding them together. After all, lignin is what gives plants their sturdiness and allow them to reach their stems towards the sky despite gravity's pulling the other way.

'Zip' ligninLignin-2014 John-Ralph Photo Anna-Strom 265x177University of Wisconsin-Madison professor John Ralph, who is also a researcher at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Center, is the man whose research group has invented a method designed more easily to zip lignin apart. Photo by Anna Strom.

Either way, Ralph should know. On 27 August he presented a Lignin 2014 conference with groundbreaking fundamental research on how to alter trees from within, by introducing a modification designed to make its lignin content more malleable (watch a video excerpt of his presentation on The result would be a tree, say a poplar tree, with additional readily cleavable bonds in a part of its lignin content (in the so-called lignin backbone). The new lignin present in a tree thus modified should be easier to cleave into smaller pieces and to break away from the rest of the wood. Lignin researchers refer to this method, or rather its result, as "zip" lignin.

Future Use of Abundant Plant Polymer Focus of Lignin 2014 Conference Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Monday, 25 August 2014 15:09
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The Lignin 2014 conference started Sunday 24 August with a 'Get Together' at Umeå, Sweden, at the Umeå University Arts' Campus. Monday 25 August saw several distinguished researchers present including Japanese Noritsugu Terashima of Nagoya University, Niko Geldner of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and—last but not least—Norman Lewis of Washington State University in the U.S.A..

From Bio4Energy Henrik Serk spoke on 'Cooperative lignification of Arabidopsis xylem vessels', while Bo Zhang revealed that 'PERSIFONE2 regulates Histone H3K4 Methylation of caffeic and O-methyltransferase in Arabidopsis'. Both are affiliated with Umeå University. Moreover the head of the Bio4Energy Feedstock Platform, Björn Sundberg of the Stora Enso group, chaired a session on 'Lignin monomer biosynthesis and transcriptional regulation'.

Tuesday 26 August was a day for lignin analysis. Among a number of high-caliber speakers, analytical chemist Wout Boerjan of the University of Gent in Belgium explained how systems biology might be used to understand phenolic metabolism in trees. Others, such as Gerald Tuskan of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S.A., said that rich genomic resources facilitated progress in understanding the way in which wood is formed.

Wednesday 27 August saw the start of the industry part of Lignin 2014. A scientist in the absolute forefront of fundamental lignin research, John Ralph of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A., told the conference about how to "design plant cell walls for deconstruction". Ralph is the man who invented the concept of "zip" lignin, a type of lignin that would be easier to separate from the rest of the wood in trees than lignin which has not been modified. In the afternoon, a cavalcade of distinguished folks on the side of applied lignin research, and on the side of product development, took the stage. University of Stellenbosch researcher Emile van Zyl (South Africa), Claus Felby of the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Guro Elise Fredheim of the Norwegian biorefinery group Borregaard were among them. Session chair was Bio4Energy researcher Torbjörn Lestander, professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Also from Bio4Energy and the SLU, Amir Mahboubi presented on 'Carbon-13 tracking of wood biosynthesis in hybrid aspen'.

Finally, Thursday 28 August Art Ragauskas of Georgia Tech in the U.S., probably the world's leading researcher on the applied side of lignin science, told the conference about 'Lignin: From cell wall to material'. From the Bio4Energy Industrial Network, Hans Grundberg of the Sweden-based Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery talked about "lignin business development" and "new opportunities". Just ahead of closing Lignin 2014, Peter Axegård of Innventia described the work of that Bio4Energy member research institute to develop cost-efficient carbon fibres from lignin. And Bio4Energy researcher Sandra Winestrand of the pulp and paper maker Billerud-Korsnäs talked on 'Lignin derivatives and laccase in oxygen-scavenging films and coatings'. Such films and coatings may be used, for instance, in bio-based food packaging.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 August 2014 14:55
Lignin 2014 Conference to Discuss Industrial Applications of Abundant Plant Polymer Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Thursday, 07 August 2014 14:42

Lignin 2014: Organisers Umeå Plant Science Centre and Bio4Energy bid you welcome to Umeå! Click here to request on-site registration. At last count, 154 people had singed up to attend (20 August).

Lignin-2014-Org-Ctee Anna-StromThe Lignin 2014 organisers. From left: Leif Jönsson, Edouard Pesquet, Mattias Hedenström, Hannele Tuominen, Carlos Martín and Sacha Escamez. Photo by Anna Strom, Bio4Energy.With just over two weeks to go to the start of the Lignin 2014 international conference, its organisers express satisfaction at the wide range of speakers and attendees having signed up to hear of the latest scientific progress and future applications of lignin, one of the most abundant polymers in plants and so the wood of trees. The discussions are set to cover both the biological and chemical side of lignin research—in fact, a chief objective is to bring the two sides together in one conference—and with an entire session devoted to industrial development of lignin applications. Beginning of August, 144 people had signed up to attend the conference, together with 21 presenters who represent the absolute top-runners in the science or industrial application of lignin.

"We are quite pleased with the abstracts [or scientific summaries of presentation topics] we have received. There is a good spread between biologists and chemists, and [representatives of] a few companies are coming”, according to Bio4Energy plant biologist This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it who is an associate professor at Umeå University and the Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC).

Notably, confirmed speakers include John Ralph and Norman Lewis, both active at American universities; and Wout Boerjan in Belgium. All three are at the forefront of developing the basic science of lignin and notably its biosynthesis and analysis. On the side of industrial application, Martin Lersch of the multinational Borregaard biorefinery group, as well as Hans Grundberg from the Bio4Energy industrial partner Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery at Örnsköldsvik, will give talks. So will the man who summarised knowledge of the development of industrial lignin applications in a string of scientific review articles: Art Ragauskas.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 August 2014 12:30
Happy Holidays from Bio4Energy Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Sunday, 06 July 2014 13:57

Happy-Holidays-from-Bio4Energy Photo-by-Anna-StromGlorious conifers, glorious sea. Pine trees wedged against the Mediterranean. Photo by Anna Strom©.

As summer holidays approach for some of us, Bio4Energy would like to wish you a nice summer. We will be back in August, or September for some, with the same team of researchers, including those who recently swapped places with each other in the Bio4Energy branch that deals with the thermal conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals. Click here to read about these changes.

Also in autumn 2014 Bio4Energy plans to host the following events together with its partners:  

  • Lignin 2014 – an international conference which aims to bring together top-of-the-line academic researchers with industry developing lignin applications or starting to produce (separate out) lignin on an industrial scale – Joint organisation with the Umeå Plant Science CentreUmeå, 24-28 August 2014  

  • Bio4Energy Industrial Network and SP Processum Membership Event – This last industrial network meeting in the first round of Bio4Energy will be an opportunity for industry representatives and academic researchers to discuss current or future collaborations and take joint look forwards. What are the needs of the biorefinery industry in terms of technology development? Could academia help with whole-system or process integration assessments? These and other questions are likely to be posed at this event, which looks set to include a guided tour of pilot and/or demonstration units attached to the cluster at Umeå – Umeå, 21 October 2014     

  • Bio4Energy Autumn Researchers’ Meeting – This will be the final biannual common event for Bio4Energy’s scientists in the first round of Bio4Energy, 2010-2015. There are about 250 researchers working for Bio4Energy in some capacity, across the three partner universities, Innventia, the Energy Technology Centre at Piteå, the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and Michigan State University of the U.S.A. Bio4Energy researchers can expect a special event, at a venue in northern Sweden to be decided – 20-21 November 2014 

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