Bio4Energy's researchers and students met online to share the latest progress by the seven Bio4Energy Research and Development (R&D) Platforms, as the 17 June Spring 2020 Bio4Energy Researchers' Meeting.*
Until further notice, the Autumn 2020 Bio4Energy Researchers' Meeting will be held 13-14 October, at Skellefteå, Sweden.
*The pictures used are from archives, in memory of the Spring 2019 Bio4Energy Researchers' Meeting. There and then, our students made a large contribution and we want to encourage them to keep up the good work.
Sylvia Larsson is new coordinator for education in Bio4Energy. Here with co-worker Atanu Kumar Das. Bio4Energy is having to cancel this autumn’s course in the Bio4Energy Graduate School for advanced students. Biorefinery Pilot Research has been hugely popular for its on-location learning about pilot and demonstration facilities along the coast of northern Sweden. However, the risk for spread of the global Coronavirus means the course has been postponed to next year.
Instead an online introduction will be developed so that all PhD students and postdoctoral researchers interested in research and development in the area of wood biorefinery will have the possibility to learn more about the Bio4Energy research environment and the basics of its activities.
“We are going to make something exceptional that will serve as an entry point to the Graduate School”, Larsson said;
“It is about giving all PhD student the possibility to access what we have to offer. It will place the focus content of the hands-on courses in context. It gives students from different universities the possibility to study together. We have a lot of international students”, she explained.
If this turns out to be the case—if and when the proposed process and the technologies it relies on have been proven—Sweden could become a net producer of edible mushroom and rely less on imports, all the while making cost-competitive ethanol biofuel.
The appointment comes at a pivotal time, since Bio4Energy is coming up to the close of its second programme period in 2020. Its funder, the Swedish government, is expected to decide this year whether to renew the funding for Sweden’s Strategic Research Environments (SRE), of which Bio4Energy is one.
It will be up to the newly appointed threesome to lead Bio4Energy into the future.
“We hope that wise decisions will be made and that the SRE initiative will be allowed to continue. We will have to await the arrival of political decision to know more about this”, said Jönsson, professor of Chemistry at UmU.
This team of system analysis researchers at Bio4Energy made the IVA 100 List for Sustainable Competitiveness 2020, with their scheme Developing Sustainability Metrics for Innovative Business. From left: Kavitha Shanmugam, Mats Tysklind, Krishna Upadhyayula and Dalia Abdelfattah.Bio4Energy’s work on developing sustainability metrics for innovative business has been acknowledged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), on its 100 List for Sustainable Competitiveness 2020.
The scheme entails four steps, in which the system analysis researchers start by examining an innovation’s environmental and competitiveness credentials using life-cycle assessment and cost-benefit analysis and end by offering easy-to-use indicators, based on which investors can make their decision to invest or not.
The IVA 100 List for Sustainable Competitiveness 2020 highlights academic research that “has a bearing on sustainability, in technical or economics sciences, which can create value for business or society in terms of knowledge, processes, products or business development”.
“We published a [scientific article] in 2018 that talks about how to make the sustainable decision-making process easy—or rather the financial decision-making process easy—for investors, venture capitalists and industries, to bring right and sustainable technologies to the market”, said Upadhyayula, who is an assistant professor at UmU.
Whereas in the U.S. and Canada the use of SPEARS had been limited to the cleanup of well-known organic environmental toxins such as polycyclic chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Jansson said, the Swedish scientists would also attempt to use it to clean up a range of other toxic compounds and metals.
Until their ban in manufacture in the late 1970s, PCB chemicals were widely used and notably in paints and adhesives. Even though their manufacture stopped, said NASA Kennedy Space Center scientist Jackie Quinn, in a promotional video for SPEARS, PCBs are found ubiquitously throughout the globe. Classified as persistent organic pollutants, they are known to induce cancer.
The UmU scientists, however, will test not only whether SPEARS can be made to clean sediments in Sweden of PCBs and PAHs, but also whether it can remove polychlorinated dibenzodioxins and dibenzofurans, as well as metal-based substances or metals such as arsenic, methyl mercury or tributyltin.
To all the Bio4Energy researchers, the Bio4Energy Industrial Network, Bio4Energy Advisory Board, the Steering Group and Board, as well as all our followers, funders, colleagues in the sector and friends everywhere:
Thank you for all the hard work in 2019! Next year will be pivotal for Bio4Energy as we try win funding for a third programme period. Please keep spreading the message about the work we do to deliver world-class tools and methods for conducting sustainable and efficient biorefinery based on wood or organic waste: Advanced biofuels, "green" chemicals and smart bio-based materials.