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Bio4Energy Thesis Defence: Fine particle emissions and slag formation in fixed-bed biomass combustion, Umeå, Sweden
May 25, 2015 (13:00)
Jonathan Fagerström, Bio4Energy Thermochemical Platform. Venue: Umeå University, KBC 3A9
Korea Rural Economic Institute visit to Bio4Energy, Umeå, Sweden
May 26, 2015 (15:30)
Anna Strom, Bio4Energy Communications
Thesis defence: Biochemical conversion of biomass to biofuels, Gothenburg, Sweden
May 28, 2015 (13:30)
Student supervisor Jyri-Pekka Mikkola, Bio4Energy Catalysis and Separation Platform. Venue: Chalmers University of Technology
European Biomass Conference and Exhibition, Vienna, Austria
June 01, 2015 (08:00)
Benjamin Pantani
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

Evaluation of Bio4Energy: Umeå universitet får strålande betyg, Umeå University

Bio4Energy research: Renare rökgaser under förbränning, Kemivärlden Biotech

Bio4Energy partners SP ETC & LTU Green Fuels could become hubs for 'power-to-gas' technology: Tre orter kan bli först med ”power-to-gas”, Ny

Bio4Energy research: Renare rökgaser från förbränningsanläggningar, Umeå University

”Ofattbart att regeringen straffskattar bort etanolen”, DN debatt

Forskningsutvärdering: Excellent och världsledande, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences


Energiomställning kräver nya styrmedel, Luleå tekniska universitet

Bio4Energy Graduate School: Generic Bio4Energy Course Has Focus on Innovation Print E-mail
User Rating: / 16
Written by Anna Strom   
Monday, 17 November 2014 15:35

Biofuels-Technology-Centre 171114Students and staff at work at the Biofuels Technology Centre, which are biorefinery pilot facilities at Umeå, Sweden, run by Bio4Energy researchers. Photo by courtesy of Sylvia Larsson.The second edition of the Biorefinery Pilot Research course in Bio4Energy’s own Graduate School has started with a roar, reinforced with interactive lectures on innovation and entrepreneurship in the nascent sector which is biorefinery based on woody raw materials and organic waste.

The course itself is generic to the research environment Bio4Energy and designed to give junior researchers, most of them studying for a PhD, a chance to experience the work at biorefinery pilot and demonstration facilities in northern Sweden. These facilities are at the heart of Sweden-based efforts to develop new or improved types of biofuel and bio-based chemicals.

"Our students can contribute substantially to the development of biorefinery research by asking questions" when in the field meeting researchers and technicians, said Bio4Energy PI Sylvia Larsson who coordinates the course Biorefinery Pilot Research. Questions which may become topics for the students' own work, whether they go on to serve in academia or in industry. To learn what questions most need to be asked and resolved, it would help them to have a handle on what innovation or entrepreneurship meant in practice, according Larsson, who is an associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå.

"During the course we will be looking at [specific] innovation systems: The kind of innovation system which is centred on a specific pilot or demonstration facility and its role and function", she said just ahead of the start of this year’s Biorefinery Pilot Research course 11 November.

Researchers: Bio4Energy Rules at Leading Biomass Fuel Quality Conference Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Thursday, 06 November 2014 11:37

B4E-thermal-conversion AS211014The Bio4Energy Thermochemical, Environmental and Pretreatment and Fractionation Platforms work across the areas of biomass combustion, gasification and pyrolysis of woody feedstock, including wood, forestry residues and pulping by-products. Photo by Bio4Energy© 2014.

Late October, leading researchers on the quality of biomass-based fuels met as an Impacts of Fuel Quality on Power Production conference—given this year at Snowbird, Utah, U.S.A.—with one in five talks being delivered by a scientist from Bio4Energy.

While the conference is one of the most respected recurrent events on biomass combustion and gasification research, this year was special a special one for Bio4Energy—and indeed for its offshoot research and development programme Bio4Gasification.

"This is not just any conference but The Conference in fuel quality and with a large international following. This year we have 15 presentations related to Bio4Energy, mostly from the [Bio4Energy] Thermochemical Platform. This happens to be 20 percent of all presentations", Umeå University professor Rainer Backman said just ahead of travelling to the conference from northern Sweden.

"What is so nice about this is the fact that all our presentations are based on scientific articles which will be published in well-respected journals next year", said Backman, who took over the leadership of the Bio4Energy Thermochemical Platform earlier this year.

So what puts Bio4Energy apart when it comes to having a handle on the quality of biomass-based fuels?

For starters, its researchers have long-standing expertise on wood as a raw material in biofuel production. A string of reports have shown that woody feedstock is among the most efficient in terms of energy use and environmental impact, if the conversion method used is entrained-flow gasification.

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
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