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gallery thumbnailsBio4Energy researchers won funds for water treatment projects. Photo by courtesy of FDP.Bio4Energy researchers have won funds for carrying out scientific studies on reducing soot formation in biomass gasification for making biofuels, as well as two projects on water purification in developing countries. The prestigious Swedish Research Council (VR) announced a number of decisions on research funding this week, with the grants to Bio4Energy's researchers corresponding to the 'Natural and Engineering Sciences' and 'Development Research' categories. Bio4Energy PIs This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. were the three happy recipients.

"It's very good. I would like to develop better [biomass] gasification technology", said Umeki who is an associate professor at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northern Sweden, who received funding for the project Chemical Interaction of Closely Located Reactive Particles in Gas Flow.

"We are going to develop tools to optimise gasifiers in industrial scale conditions and a new model that will assimilate [or mimic] the gasification process" more adequately than current models, he explained.

Umeki's project is partly a continuation of current research on the Bio4Energy Thermochemical Platform, in which he and his LTU colleague This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. are trying to solve problems of reactor clogging by soot in biomass gasification processes used to make synthesis gas and, by extension, biofuels and "green" chemicals.

By studying the chemical reactions that occur inside the biomass reactor the researchers hope to increase the predictability of soot formation, find more accurate ways of mimicking what reactions take place inside the reactor in full-scale industrial operations and gain knowledge that will help them provide the design for more efficient and less polluting biomass gasification processes.

Bio-based methods for waste water purification

Bio4Energy is one of a handful of organisations working to develop and perfect biochar made either form forestry residue or other types of organic waste. This "green" coal has been shown to act as an excellent adsorbent, meaning an agent that attracts and captures gases, liquids or dissolved substances.

Having already successfully tested biochar as such an agent in pollution clean-up at an experimental research centre at Umeå in Sweden, assistant professor Stina Jansson of Umeå University (UmU) received funds to test biochar based on agricultural residue in waste water purification in developing countries in Africa where clean freshwater is scarce. The project will be carried out in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, local actors and environmental chemistry researchers at UmU.

Concretely, biochar will be produced locally and applied as a water purification agent either directly in waste water or as an amendment to soil in Tanzania and Morocco. The project is called Capture and Immobilisation of Pollutants in Waste Water in Africa using Biochar from Local Crop Residues.

"[In these countries] they re-use waste water whether it has been treated or not. We want to provide a purification step which is possible to implement", said Jansson;

"We can add our material as an adsorbent [in existing water cleansing operations], but one can also envisage using simple filter cartridges that can be placed inside a netted basket and let the water filter through that".

In a further project that was granted funds, LTU professor Kristiina Oxman and colleagues will enter into collaboration with Egyptian actors to test Ultrafiltration Membranes-based Cellulose Nanomaterials from Agricultural Waste.

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