Robert Lundmark and Elisabeth Wetterlund of Bio4Energy are two of the authors behind a new report saying that large-scale biorefinery operations could be added in Sweden without major increases in the price of wood. Photo by Ted Karlsson, Luleå University of Technology. A new review report named Large-Scale Implementation of Biorefineries says that biorefinery—operations for making advanced biofuels and “green” chemicals—can be rolled out on a large scale in Sweden without jeopardising the production of traditional wood products or bringing substantial increases in the cost of raw materials from the forest.
“We do not see that the price of feedstock would be forced upwards to any great extent”, he added.
Lundmark is one of Bio4Energy’s research leaders at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) specialising in system analysis and bioeconomy and the report a review of a number of modelling studies designed to advise policy-makers and industrialists on options for, and implications of, expanding biorefinery production. The review study itself is a collaboration between Bio4Energy at the LTU, the International Institute for Applied System Analysis and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.
Francesco Gentili is the new coordinator for Bio4Energy's training course on the pilot and demonstration steps of biomass innovations. Photo by Bio4Energy.As of this year, Francesco Gentilicoordinates Bio4Energy’s flagship course for student researchers and industry representatives on bringing biomass innovations to scale. Biorefinery Pilot Research is about to kick off in its third edition 27-29 August, with a first stop at the Bio4Energy partner RISE Energy Technology Center (RISE ETC) at Piteå.
Biorefinery Pilot Research is the first of two generic courses in the Bio4Energy Graduate School on the Innovative Use of Biomass. It is a model copy of the Bio4Energy Research Environment, with its unique access to research at the fundamental level and all the way up to demonstration of bio-based technologies on a near industrial scale.
Gentili has been the driving spirit behind laboratory-scale research to cultivate microalgae for the use of feedstock in biofuels and “green” chemicals, and the subsequent setting afoot of pilot facilities at Umeå, Sweden, on the premises of a regional energy utility, Umeå Energi.
The idea behind Biorefinery Pilot Research is to give students from the graduate level and up an overview of the pilot and demonstration facilities lining the coast of Sweden to the north and east. Those who take the course for credit will have the opportunity to apply what they learned to their own research. For instance, you may want to design a project where you scale up or scale down the technology you are working on, or to place it in the larger context of biorefinery development using wood or organic waste as a starting material. You will learn about tools for developing an innovation in the bio-based sector.
A first block of course starts 27 August 2018 at Piteå, Sweden, and the deadline for registration is 10 August. For more details go to the Biorefinery Pilot Research course page or view the course brochure (attached).
PhD and postdoctoral researchers interested in biorefinery from wood or organic waste.
Industry representatives or members of the bio-based sectors wishing to gain or deepen their knowledge of bio-based innovation and pilot and demonstration facilities in northern Sweden designed for the purpose.
Biomass conversion to fuels, chemical and materials; as well as synchrotron research and life-cycle assessment of bio-based products; were discussed as the Bio4Energy scientists and students met for their spring do at Piteå, Sweden, 21-22 May.
Note: Please open bio4energy.se in Firefox to view this clip. Professor at Umeå University Jyri-Pekka Mikkola and his research team in Bio4Energy and Swedish firm Eco-Oil have invented biofuels that are chemical equivalents of standard petrol, diesel and jet fuel. The next step is to scale up production to commercial levels.Audio clip in Swedish by courtesy of TV4 Nyheterna.
Despite its novelty—the World Intellectual Property Organisation granted the required patents in summer 2017—the technology based on catalysis and thermal conversion of biomass has attracted the attention of the German exchange in Stuttgart and been acknowledged at an event last month in Stockholm, designed to showcase business development in northern Sweden.
“Because the process also renders liquefied petroleum gas, which can be used in gas-to-power engines, it may be used to produce electricity. According to a rough estimate, one [container-size process] could supply 100 households in India with electrical power”, said Mikkola, who is a leading figure on the platform Bio4Energy Chemical Catalysis and Separation Technologies.
Currently, the technology takes the form of a process unit that can make 2.5 litres of biofuel per day. A container-scale unit would make up to 250 litres. Depending on the raw material and the process parameters chosen, the technology will produce renewable hydrocarbons with the same chemical structure as its petrochemical counterparts, from bio-based alcohols such as ethanol, butanol or isobutene made from forestry residues or other types of biomass. A further product of the process is purified water.
As such, the invention could be shipped almost anywhere in the world.
However, the partners—united in the Skellefteå-based company Eco Oil—are planning for the construction of a first commercial-scale production plant. Or, in fact, two: One for petrol and one for diesel, both classified as being 100 per cent biofuels.
Sunday, Bio4Energy researcher Magnus Rudolfsson received one of two 2018 KSLA Best PhD Thesis Award, from the Swedish marshal of the realm Svante Lindqvist. Photo by courtesy of KSLA.Just as the European Union institutions are nearing a crescendo in their debate about the use of forest biomass for energy, the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA) seems to send a message in support for smart bioenergy in its 2018 Award for Best PhD Thesis.
However, he told Bio4Energy Communications, the process requires greater fine-tuning compared with pellet making based on untreated sawdust, which is usually the basis for making so-called white pellets.
“We have seen that it works, yes. The next step is the creation of a market for torrefied pellets. The problems related to the pelletisation process itself can be solved”, Rudolfsson said.