Bio4Energy leader—and a recent professor—wants to give young people tools with which to change the world, moving to a bioeconomy from an economy dependent on materials and fuels based on petrochemicals.A
“I want to capture the commitment of young people to transform [what I perceive to be] the generalised feeling of hopelessness... in the face of climate change. We want to start from the idea of a future society in which the use of fossilised resources is minimal. And to create training that will give students tools to help shape the future,” she said.
The work of the Bio4Energy platform Larsson leads rests on two legs. In terms of biorefinery—meaning the concept of making chemicals, fuels and materials from bio-based starting materials—her platform tackles the need to make these latter more like fossilised resources. Bio-based feedstock like wood is heterogenous, meaning that its composition varies greatly. Larsson’s platform, Bio4Energy Wood Pre-processing, adapts the woody materials to specific processes. She refers to this as the “problem-solving” leg of the work of the platform.
“We want to ensure that industry can transition from fossil raw materials, without it being too difficult. For instance, a bio-based material can be difficult to store and use. We want to solve these problems”, Larsson said.
The second leg is about exploring new uses of bio-based materials. In many areas of research, this is precisely the way in which, by trial and error, great scientific discoveries are made by finding new ways of using known resources.
“This is a quest for finding new uses for existing materials”, she said.