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Three senior members of Bio4Energy have fully or partly changed jobs. All smiles as B4E scientist Rikard Gebart hands over the leadership of the Energy Technology Centre at Piteå to Magnus Marklund, he too of B4E, with a symbolic gesture. Photo by courtesy of the ETC.
Björn Sundberg, head of the B4E Feedstock Platform, will be transitioning into a new role with Stora Enso, the multinational pulp and paper company, stepping up his presence at the firm’s Stockholm-based headquarters to 80 per cent by the end of this year. For now, he retains the leadership of the Feedstock research team in B4E.
"I will be responsible for research and development within forest biotechnology. In particular I will work towards our eucalypt plantations in South America and Asia, notably in China", Sundberg said of the work ahead at Stora Enso.
“I have the ambition to keep my responsibilities in Bio4Energy during (the remaining) 20 per cent of my time. We will see how this develops”, said Sundberg who has been a key figure over the years at the Umeå Plant Science Centre, a research centre of excellence shared by SLU and Umeå University.
Magnus Marklund new head of ETC
Thermochemical Platform leader
also retains his role in B4E, but leaves his post as managing directorat the B4E partner Energy Technology Centre at Piteå, a biorefinery technology research and development institute in northern Sweden, after 12 years at its helm. From 1 April he serves as a professor at Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and spends about 50 per cent of his time coordinating the Swedish Gasification Centre (SFC), launched last year.
“I worked previously in the academy. I have been missing not being able to do my own research in the fields of thermochemistry and gasification which are my specialties. I have plenty of ideas for that”, said Gebart of his expanded role at LTU where, since 1997, he has taken turns being an adjunct professor at the divisions of Fluid Mechanics or of Energy Sciences. His publications list there suggests that in fact he has not completely been able to keep from publishing scientific articles during the while, several of which together with his successor,
Marklund too is a senior researcher in B4E, working closely with Gebart at the ETC since 2001 and holding a PhD degree in Fluid Mechanicsfrom LTU. Confirmation of his appointment came late last month as the ETC Board decided to give preference to Marklund who purportedly faced staunch competition from contenders to the role of managing director not presently employed by the ETC.
“I feel very proud and honoured to be let take on this role, but also humble before it”, Marklund said of the appointment.
He said that he was looking forward to taking further current lines of research and development at ETC, such as launching a second phase of a successful project involving “direct” gasification of forest logging residues. Avoiding intermediate steps or refining of the biomass, the techniques used in this project were designed to turn tree branches, tops, stumps or sawdust into either automotive biofuels or “clean” multi-use synthesis gas, he explained. In a recent newscast, Swedish public radio picked up on this project which, its backers hope, will be the start of a process to replace a fifth of automotive fossil fuel consumption in Sweden with biofuels by applying a technology know as 'integrated gasification combined cycle' to biomass in the form of forest residues (clip provided below).
However, Marklund also intended for the ETC to venture into new areas of research. “I have a vision of expanding (our work to encompass) a sustainable energy energy system in general… and of attracting the right people for it”, he said, adding that he felt that he had already started into his new role.
“I have already rolled up my sleeves. It is exciting and challenging at the same time”. --
A press release in Swedish (attached) describing the job changed was issued to specialised and local Swedish press. Please go to our 'In the Press' section to read the coverage. --
Radio newscast 'Ekot' from 4 April 2012 published with permission of Sveriges Radio. To listen to the clip about research by ETC and LTU, move the sound marker to 15:03.