- Written by Anna Strom
The world needs clean-burning stoves for use in countryside households in third world, the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting (UREM) 2016 heard today. Many such households, for instance in Sub-Saharan Africa, rely on burning of untreated wood or agricultural residues inside the home and in simple appliances with few or no checks on polluting emissions.
Today 250 students in grade eight met a host of scientific researchers who investigate different aspects of energy "from the sun". Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences hosted the event to kick off an Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting (UREM), which is in fact an annual conference which brings speakers from across the world to northern Sweden and, this year, some 200 registered participants.
While professor Marklund is widely seen to have led the research environment from strength to strength, representing Bio4Energy in national and international fora and stayed in his position for longer than planned, finally he is about to take his retirement. The incoming programme manager Boström, for his part, comes equipped with about 30 years of experience in being an inorganic chemist, having managed people and funds for about two thirds of that time, for the last 15 last years at TEC-Lab of the UmU Department of Applied Physics and Electronics.
Bio4Energy researchers have invented a process which could bring greater certainty of cost efficiency to industrial biorefineries that choose to base their operations on lignocellulosic input materials such as wood from spruce or pine trees.
Currently the U.S.A. and Italy are among few countries in the world to host industrial biorefineries for the production of ethanol based on cellulose via the biochemical conversion route using industrial enzymes and yeast. However, these biorefineries mainly use agricultural residue as feedstock in their operations.
While advanced bio-based production is seen as a great opportunity in several richly forested countries in the boreal belt, industrial operators there are up against a practical problem. A large part of the Canadian, Swedish and Finnish forest resource is made up of coniferous tree species whose woody composition is highly complex and requires harsh treatment before rendering its cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin components in separate parts, which is a requirement in most bio-based production. This harsh pre-treatment means toxic elements are left in the biomass slurry resulting from the process, whose impact must be reduced for efficiency to be achieved in the conversion step to fuels and chemicals.
Bio4Energy researcher at the Umeå Plant Science Centre has won one of two Gunnar Öquist Fellowships awarded today at Umeå University in Sweden. The award sponsored by the Kempe Foundations is a recognition of scientific and personal merit and comes with stipend of 3.05 million Swedish kronor (€330,000). Professor Emeritus Gunnar Öquist, himself a plant physiologist, is said to be one of Umeå University's most well-known scientists internationally. He is also a long-standing member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Every Gunnar Öquist Fellow receives his mentorship.A
"We were both very surprised", she added on behalf of herself and her UPSC colleague and plant physiologist Olivier Keech who received the second fellowship.
A cell and molecular biologist, Felten recently has been studying the cell walls of tree roots and fungi and the changes that both undergo as they create a symbiosis referred to as ectomycorrhiza in the soil around the roots of a tree. Ectomycorrhiza is believed to favour tree growth. Giving a presentation as part of the award ceremony, the German-born researcher referred to her area of study as targeting the "secret life that goes on beneath the surface" in forests soils.