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Latest Events

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
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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

Latest Research on Biomass for Fuels, Chemicals, Materials Discussed at Conference in Sweden Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Monday, 23 March 2015 17:59

ORG-UREM-2015Biomass and solar fuels researchers in northern Sweden are organising an international conference on the latest biorefinery and photosynthesis research. From left: Johannes Messinger, Per Gardeström, Carlos Martín, Thomas Wågberg and Christoffer Boman. Photo by Bio4Energy.What is needed for our societies to transition to a "green" economy? Some might say "renewable energy", "more research and innovation" or "targeted political incentives". At the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting (UREM) 2015, 25-27 March, leading researchers and business people will gather at Umeå, Sweden, to give the international conference a snapshot of the forefront in research and development geared at making new biofuels, "green" chemicals and bio-based materials.

"Many things are needed for a green transition. UREM has always had a broad spectre of presentations on renewable energy research, but this year we have chosen to focus on [research which mirrors] the Bio4Energy project", said Per Gardeström, scientific coordinator at the Chemical Biological Center at Umeå University, which will host the conference.

"Here in the North we have a great forest resource that we must use".

For the last five years the research environment Bio4Energy has worked to draw together scientists active in the fields developing tools and methods for making biofuels, "green" chemicals and materials based on raw materials from the forest or organic waste. Umeå University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the Luleå University of Technology are part of the constellation, which also includes a couple of research institutes and an extensive network of industrial companies.

"For Umeå University and the SLU sustainability research is Number One. We have great strength in our research on forests, both when it comes to management, growth and use. We work to decrease the use of fossil fuels", according to Marianne Sommarin, Umeå University vice chancellor.

Forest Biofuels: High Efficiency Demonstrated in Biomass-to-‘syngas’ Experiments Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Friday, 06 March 2015 09:10

Mangus-Marklund Fredrik-WeilandBio4Energy researchers Magnus Marklund and Fredrik Weiland at the SP Energy Technology Center at Piteå produced a synthesis gas under pilot-scale conditions which retained 76 per cent of the chemical energy of the biomass. The gas is pure enough to be turned directly into biofuel with for use automotive transport, without adding an additional proces step for gas cleaning. Photo by Leif Nyberg.Researchers in Bio4Energy have shown in pilot-scale experiments that pressurised entrained-flow gasification may be used to transform biomass from forestry residue to a synthesis gas rich in chemical energy. This is good news for the researchers and their industrial partners who have been developing the method for the purpose of making biofuel with a low environmental footprint and high energy efficiency. 

If the process proves to be as efficient in a future scale up to commercial levels, it could also be good news for the forestry industry at large, looking to use their residual fibre-based process streams in new products. Moreover, it could make forestry residue competitive with black coal in its use in commercial gasification process for making fuels and chemicals, in terms of cold-gas efficiency. This latter is a measure used by researchers of the chemical energy left in the synthesis gas resulting form the gasification process.

The new findings result from two years' worth of research and development work by Bio4Energy scientists and technicians at the SP Energy Technology Center at Piteå (SP ETC) and the Luleå University of Technology (LTU), both in northern Sweden and leaders in their field.

"It is a milestone in our research. We are very proud with what we have achieved so far", said Magnus Marklund, CEO at the SP ETC.

"The next step in our applied research will be to optimise the different subsystems in the process, which will render the technology even more viable", Marklund added.

Fredrik Weiland, a student researcher defending his PhD thesis 26 February at the LTU, has been at the helm of the work to lay bare the parameters of the gasification process itself and looking especially at the high-temperature entrained-flow gasification method in a pilot-scale gasifier at the premises of the SP ETC, in cooperation with Swedish industrial partners IVAB, Biogreen, Sveaskog and Smurfit Kappa. As much as 76 per cent of the chemical energy in the biomass feedstock—saw dust pellets, in this case—were retained in the synthesis gas, Weiland and his colleagues found.

Biorefinery Development à la Bio4Energy Focus of Umeå Renewable Energy Conference Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 18:25

UREM 2015 - Announcement of Conference from Bio4Energy on Vimeo. The Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting 2015, 25-27 March at Umeå, Sweden, has a focus on biorefinery processes. Video by Bio4Energy.The Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting—which is in fact an annual conference, held in northern Sweden and traditionally attended mostly by researchers and industry representatives from Europe and the Americas—this year will give an overview of the latest research on biorefinery processes based on woody feedstock or organic waste.

This UREM 2015 approach à la Bio4Energy was appropriate, said organisers Christoffer Boman and Carlos Martín of Bio4Energy, because there were many exciting developments underway in biofuel and "green" chemical production, and because the research environment Bio4Energy itself was coming up to the end of its first five years in operation.

The conference will open 25 March with talks by the mayor of Umeå and then by the man who shepherded the Swedish government investigation on fossil-fuel free transport fleet by 2030 to its conclusion last year. The three days of talks, poster viewing and social events will culminate in a closing address on "science and philosophy", said Boman, who is affiliated with Umeå University (UmU), just as his Bio4Energy colleague Martín.

Other types of renewable energy than that implied in biorefinery process will also be on the agenda, such as solar fuels and artificial photosynthesis. As is tradition, UREM has an organising committee made up of representatives of the Chemical-biological Centre at UmU and of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, both of which universities are members of Bio4Energy.

Sessions on biorefinery process will include:

  •        Renewable Feedstock and Advanced Biomass Fuels;
  •        System Analysis and Bioeconomy, and;
  •        Biochemical and Thermochemical Conversion of biomass to fuels, materials and chemicals.
Bio4Energy Researchers Tackle Soot Agglomeration in Entrained-flow Gasification of Biomass Print E-mail
User Rating: / 9
Written by Anna Strom   
Monday, 19 January 2015 14:29

PEBG MM 115Bio4Energy researcher Kentaro Umeki won an award which funds should be used to perfect a new method for reducing soot agglomeration in biomass gasification reactors such as this. The Pressurised Entrained-flow Biomass Gasifier pictured is one of the pilot installations operated by Bio4Energy partner SP Energy Technology Centre at Piteå, Sweden, and owned by industrial actor IVAB. Photo by courtesy of Magnus Marklund.Researchers in Bio4Energy may be close to delivering one of the final 'missing link' pieces of scientific knowledge on gasification of biomass from woody residue at high temperatures. Doing so would pave the way for industry to start attempting a technology scale up for the purpose of making biofuel on a commercial level, according to the project leader.

The technology is known as entrained-flow gasification and, when applied to woody biomass residue or black liquor in the way it has been in Bio4Energy, has the advantage of producing a synthetic gas which is virtually free of impurities. This so-called syngas, in a second step, may be turned into biofuels (or energy carriers) such as methane, methanol, diesel or dimethyl ether.

A 2013 report on the potential of biofuels, part of a Swedish government investigation on a fossil-free transport fleet in Sweden, indicated that this type of biofuel production technology "can be competitive to fossil fuels [if] reasonable environmental policies" were put in place, such as a tax on emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse reference gas.

However, whereas the high temperatures used in entrained-flow gasification ensure that tar formation is kept to a minimum during the conversion process, soot production inside the biomass reactor—the gasification chamber in which the syngas is made—is a remaining impediment to the smooth functioning of the technology, Bio4Energy scientists have said.

"Reducing the formation of soot is one the biggest issues because it affects the economic feasibility of the overall biofuel production system through both investment and operating cost… and reliability of the plant", said Kentaro Umeki, researcher in Bio4Energy at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and head of Bio4Gasification, one of three research nodes in the Swedish Centre for Biomass Gasification.

Fresh Funding for Tree Breeding Projects & Season Greetings from Bio4Energy Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 01:47

Awards-1214To conclude 2014, Bio4Energy researchers Harry Wu (top left), Ewa Mellerowicz (centre), Jonas Hedlund (top right), Rainer Backman (left) and Paul Christakopoulos received grants to continue their innovate research on different aspects of biorefinery based on wood or organic waste. Photo collage by Anna Strom©. Pictures used with permission.On the Bio4Energy Feedstock Platform, two substantial projects—on the genetic modification of spruce for the production of new bio-based products and on forest production systems based on tailor-made trees, respectively—were awarded funds this month by the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) under its 2014 call for proposals on Biological Production Systems.

The SSF explained in its motivation that "one… of the forest tree breeding projects…  is designed to modify spruce in a way that new bio-based products may be produced, all the while adapting the trees to future climate change and making them resistant to [decay brought about by] fungal growth. The second project involves modification of aspen trees [for them to be part of] a rapid-growth forest production system for the production of raw materials for 'green' chemicals and biofuels".

Professor Ewa Mellerowicz, Bio4Energy feedstock researcher in charge of the latter project, sent Communications an e-mail exuding delight and saying: "Nice Christmas present!" Her colleague at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, professor Harry Wu, responsible for the spruce modification project, received the largest grant. Together the two projects brought home more than SEK50 million (€52.4 million).

So much for surprises in the month of December. The previous month, Bio4Energy projects on ash deposits in the thermal conversion of biomass, sound-driven biotechnology and defect-free, selective zeolite catalysts, won awards from the Swedish Research Council in its annual Science and Technology round of funding, with individual grants totalling about SEK4 million to be distributed over a four-year period.

Professors Rainer Backman, Paul Christakopoulos and Jonas Hedlund will be leading the three latter projects, respectively. While Backman of Umeå University is the leader of the Bio4Energy Thermochemical Platform, the other two are affiliated with the Luleå University of Technology, where  Christakopoulos is a PI on the Bio4Energy Biochemical Platform and Hedlund is the head of the Bio4Energy Catalysis and Separation Platform.

Bio4Energy wishes to congratulate all those involved in winning the awards described. To them and everyone else:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year of 2015 from Bio4Energy!

Takeover Means Bio4Energy Partner ETC Becomes SP Energy Technology Centre Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 16:41

ETC-at-PiteaResearchers and technicians at the newly renamed SP Energy Technology Centre have access to a substantial pilot park for developing new fuels based on woody biomass. Photo by courtesy of the SP Energy Technology Centre.The SP Swedish Technical Research Institute of Sweden is taking over the Bio4Energy partner Energy Technology Centre at Piteå, an 18-employee strong research foundation specialised in the thermal conversion of biomass to fuels and chemicals. The announcement came yesterday at a press conference at Piteå, in northern Sweden.

It comes less than two years after the SP, a large technical consultancy of more than 1,400 employees, acquired a 60 per cent share in the Bio4Energy strategic partner organisation SP Processum. A number of researchers from the three previously free-standing organisations are members of Bio4Energy.

"Discussions started just over a year ago on the initiative of the ETC Board. There had been interest from the SP as well. We were a strategic choice for them and will be part of their Bioeconomy [branch]", according to Magnus Marklund, acting head of the thus renamed SP Energy Technology Centre and part of several groups in Bio4Energy.

He said however that the ETC's new position as a subsidiary to the SP and part of the grouping RISE Technology Research Institutes of Sweden, would not mean any great changes in its profile or activities which have been focused on biofuel development based on woody feedstock.

"Our work [at the ETC] will continue in the same vein, but we will be [running our activities] in a better framework and be part of something larger, yet be independent enough", Marklund said.

Excellent Research by Bio4Energy Students: Flexible Carbon Foams, Polymers from Pulping by-product Print E-mail
User Rating: / 8
Written by Anna Strom   
Wednesday, 03 December 2014 19:07

One of Bio4Energy’s greatest assets is its students. This month, no less than five of them are either defending their PhD thesis or giving their licentiate lecture or mid-term PhD seminar. In this case, five seminars make for five lines of excellent research on:

  •        Development of carbon foams for use as electrodes or sorbents in water purification;
  •        Heterogeneous catalysis applied to a pulping by-product for the purpose of making bio-based polymers or biofuel compounds;
  •        Spectroscopic characterisation of lignocellulosic biomass;
  •        Lengthening of tree fibres by using nanofibres and nanocrystals, and;
  •        Characterisation of biomass mixed with waste and compound emissions.

Bio4Energy researchers have invented a carbon foam that will separate crude oil from water. Video by courtesy of Nature Publishing Group, Scientific Reports.

Flexible carbon foamsArticle published in the Scientific Reports’ series of the Nature Publishing Group

The study led by Bio4Energy researchers shows that the flexibility of carbon foams made from bio-based materials may be further increased by applying direct carbonisation to melamine foams. Melamine is a crystalline, slightly water-soluble solid, used chiefly in organic synthesis and in the manufacture of resins, especially melamine resins.

The added value of the foams invented by the Bio4Energy researchers, compared with those presently in use, is the former's ability to conduct electricity and the possibility for the foams to be synthesised in bulk quantities, according to the study led by Bio4Energy PhD student Tung Ngoc Pham and his supervisor, professor Jyri-Pekka Mikkola of Umeå University.

Thus, the researchers write in an article recently published in Scientific Reports, due to their light weight, high porosity, hydrophobicity and high adsorption capacity, such foams could find several applications as electrodes or sorbent materials in water purification;

"In this paper, we show that after the [high-temperature treatment by means of] pyrolysis and activation process, the carbon foam retains the open pore network of the precursor foam and remains mechanically flexible, and, furthermore, with a proper selection of suitable synthesis conditions, foams possessing a different hydrophobic/hydrophilic nature may be obtained".

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 February 2015 17:03
Swedish Energy Minster Expresses Concern about EU Attitude to Biofuels at Visit to Umeå, Bio4Energy Print E-mail
Written by Anna Strom   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 17:53

Ibrahim-Bylan-visit By-MPNThe Swedish government minster for energy, Ibrahim Baylan (centre), on a recent visit Umeå University and Bio4Energy. He is flanked by Hans Lindberg, Municipality of Umeå (left), and Mikael Berglund of energy utility Umeå Energi. UmU scientist Linda Pommer, in the foreground, is showing them the Fornax BTX Torrefaction Pilot, built and operated by Bio4Energy researchers. Photo by Mattias Pettersson, Umeå University.This week the Swedish government minister for energy, the Social Democrat Ibrahim Baylan, told biorefinery researchers in northern Sweden that he was "concerned" about the general attitude of the European Union towards biofuels, and that he would try to make his colleagues in the EU see that forestry in northern Sweden was "not about deforestation". Baylan, who is an Umeå University alumnus, was on a visit to the biorefinery research environment Bio4Energy and the Centre for Environmental Resource Economics, both coordinated from Umeå University.

"I am concerned about the EU's attitude towards biofuels. It is marked by what has happened in many countries [in the form of] deforestation. This is not what happens here… Sixty per cent of the land area in Sweden made up of forests. We have to build that understanding [on the EU level]”, said the former Umeå University student turned minister in the recently appointed Social Democrat-led government shepherded by Stefan Löfven.

Baylan, however, did not only come to express his concern, but also to learn more about the research and development carried out by the researchers in northern Sweden he had come to visit.  

Hearing about the way in which Bio4Energy had paved the way for extensive collaboration between academic researchers at the three main universities in the region, as well as with research institutes and industrial companies, he said that this mirrored the "Umeå spirit of collaboration" and that the cluster would be a suitable example to showcase to EU colleagues when wanting to demonstrate that forestry in Sweden was carried out in accordance with principles of sustainability which, according to the EU's definition, should mean that equal weight is being given to environmental, economic and social considerations in a given undertaking.

"We can show them sustainable forestry" done the Swedish way, Baylan said.

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