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Bio4Energy's Flagship Training Is Back on Biorefinery Development via Pilots, Demonstration Units

Bio4Energy’s on-location training course on pilot and demonstration facilities for developing world-class biorefinery technologies is set to start again in spring, in northern Sweden. PhD and postdoctoral students keen on experiencing first-hand the development of tomorrow’s biofuels, “green” chemicals or bio-based materials should apply. The start is in April 2022 and the application will open in January. 

Industry professionals or consultants wanting inside on what it takes to develop successful biorefinery technology past the laboratory stage, via pilot and demonstration trials, are equally welcome to apply.

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“What makes this training unique is the fact that we always have new pilots to show. Students will experience and learn about the entire cluster [of pilot and demonstration installations] spanning the east coast of Norrland. Industry will yet again open their doors to us. You get to experience the working atmosphere and you feel welcome at that”, said course coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read more: Bio4Energy's Flagship Training Is Back on Biorefinery Development via Pilots, Demonstration Units

Blends of Advanced Biofuels with Marine Gas Oil Could Lessen Climate Change Footprint of Shipping in Arctic

Dalia_SDG_CCA new article by Dalia Abdelfattah and colleagues says that blends of advanced biofuel and the currently most used fuel in the shipping industry, may be its ticket to a lesser climate change footprint on the Artic environment. Picture used with permission.Finding a climate and environment friendly alternative to fossil fuels in shipping in the Arctic is turning out to be complex, a pioneering study on the topic shows. The new scientific article also contains evidence that blends of advanced biofuels with marine gas oil currently in use, could lessen the climate change and environmental footprint of the industry.

Bio4Energy researchers have been going full steam ahead with an encompassing project, granted in spring, with new results discussing the environmental and climate change impacts of introducing either biodiesel or bioethanol made from waste from pulp and paper industry in Sweden, as fuel in maritime shipping in the Arctic region.

Both fuels are so-called drop-in alternatives to fossil fuels, meaning that they can be used in current engines or in blends with fossil fuel equivalents, without the need for modification of the existing infrastructure. Both are already in use in the automotive industry, but for road transportation.

“It looks like the best option is to use blended fuels. We are trying to optimise it, to find the preferable blend”, said Dalia Abdelfattah, project leader and a Bio4Energy system analysis researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

The research team have been performing life-cycle assessment studies which show a complex picture of the studied thermochemical routes to bioethanol and to biodiesel, respectively, rendering considerable greenhouse gas emission reductions, were either to replace the heavy fuel oil or marine gas oil in use.

Read more: Blends of Advanced Biofuels with Marine Gas Oil Could Lessen Climate Change Footprint of Shipping...

Industry-Academy Project to Map Availability of Forest Residues, Focusing on Conifer Needles for Chemical Production — Video

NorwaySpruce AnnaStrom2021A new EU-funded project will map the availability of residue from forestry operations, such as treetops and branches, in the Swedish and Finnish parts of the Botnia-Atlantica Region. Photo by Anna Strom©2021.A large project to map the availability of forestry residues, with a focus on conifer needles as feedstock for chemical production, has kicked off thanks to funding from the European Union and regions involved in Sweden and Finland.

Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. leads a section of the work focused on mapping of availability and creating new value chains—or ways of handling the collection of left-over treetops and branches in coniferous forest and of transporting them to industrial facilities for processing, as well as schematising possible end uses.

Biofuel Region, a membership-based organisation in northern Sweden, leads this sub project of an EU project called Botnia Atlantica, under the European Regional Development Fund.

“We want to know what is required for taking out the forestry residues [from the forest] for the purpose of turning them into chemicals. Today, the sector is not adapted for this”, Athanassiadis told Bio4Energy Communications. He is a scientist on the research and development platform Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy and affiliated with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

“If we find that there is considerable value [to be gained] from the forest residues, the production chain will be adapted. For instance, it may be necessary to take the forestry residues out before the timber, since especially the needles need to be taken out fresh to have their value conserved”, he said.

The project relies on the assumption that the needles of coniferous trees, such as spruce and pine, contain valuable substances that, by means of extraction and processing, could be turned into high-value chemicals. These could be platform or specialty chemicals, for use in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, dietary supplements, foams, coatings or even bio-based plastics.

Read more: Industry-Academy Project to Map Availability of Forest Residues, Focusing on Conifer Needles for...

Bio4Energy Year of 2020

Delsjon AnnaStrom2018 400It was only a matter of waiting long enough. Summer has arrived in northern Sweden, where most of the Bio4Energy researchers are based. Photo by Anna Strom (Archives).In terms of research output, 2020 was the second most productive since the start of the Bio4Energy research environment in 2010. Several system analysis projects delivered results directly relevant to industry. One made the so-called 100 List of Sweden’s most commercially promising research projects, published annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. Due to restrictions imposed by the spread of Covid-19, all events moved online and successfully so.

Bio4Energy’s new management troika worked hard to put new routines in place and prepare the research environment for a possible third programme period from 1 January 2022. According to Katerine Riklund, chair of Bio4Energy Board and pro-vice-chancellor of Umeå University, funding for Sweden’s Strategic Research Environments—of which Bio4Energy is one—is set to continue at least until the end of 2022.

Sweden-based media picked up extensively on projects on combined production of edible mushroom and biofuel or prebiotics from biomass from the sea and forest, respectively. A magazine with an international reach, Bioenergy Insight Magazine published an interview on Bio4Energy scientists' efforts to bring sustainable bioenergy to Sub-Saharan Africa, drawing on technology for biomass gasification combined with production of biochar.

Attachments:
Download this file (Bio4Energy annual report 2020-v2.pdf)Bio4Energy Annual Report 2020[ ]448 kB

Scale Up of Bio-based Carbon Black to Start a Year from Now

RISE ETC Bio4Energy2021Bio4Energy partner RISE ETC, together with an industrial consortium, have a new project to scale up production of bio-based carbon black. Photo used with permission.Big strides are about to be made to scale up and improve production of entirely bio-based carbon black, which has characteristics to mimic Industrial Carbon Black.

The successful creation in 2018 of such “green” carbon black from pyrolysis oil, in turn made from solid biomass, sparked a wave of excitement and raised hopes for rapid industrial scale up.

However, sometimes one has to fight to realise a great idea. Today, the Bio4Energy scientists behind the invention finally have partners and funding in place to develop a pilot unit that will bring production to one kilogramme per hour, a year from now. While this may seem insignificant, it is not.

“This means we will make large enough volumes to be able to start testing the material as a replacement product in various applications”, said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., researcher at RISE Energy Technology Center (RISE ETC) and member of Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies.  

The industrial chemical and bulk commodity carbon black forms at the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products. It is widely used as a reinforcing filler in rubber products, such as car tyres, and as a colour pigment. It “possibly” causes cancer in humans, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, as a consequence of people inhaling dust containing carbon black fragments.

Read more: Scale Up of Bio-based Carbon Black to Start a Year from Now

Joint Production of Mushroom, Biofuel Acknowledged as Commercially-promising Innovation — Video

FCh XSh CMM Bio4Energy 170521From left: Feng Chen, Shaojun Xiong and Carlos Martín are doing research to make joint production of mushroom and biofuel commercially feasible. Photo published with permission.An innovative project started by funds from Bio4Energy—on developing joint production of edible mushroom and biofuel—is being recognised by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) for its potential to create value for industry in a “not-too-distant” future.

For the third year running, the IVA has selected 100 innovative research projects that have potential for industrial scale up, this year with a focus on making Sweden and its economy resilient in times of crisis.

“I think they appreciated our innovation—making two products together in an economical way—letting the fungi do the work”, said project leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

“The purpose is to convert the scientific part to future commercial use, I guess”, he added.

The concept of growing edible mushroom, such as shiitake or oyster mushroom, on wood originates from East Asia. The idea is to obtain commercial amounts of edible mushroom, a protein-rich source of food, while at the same time obtaining a suitable input material for making biofuel. If the growth conditions are right, the mushroom will not only thrive, but also break down a main polymer in the wood called lignin. This means that another well-known tree polymer—cellulose—can more easily be extracted and turned into ethanol biofuel.

Read more: Joint Production of Mushroom, Biofuel Acknowledged as Commercially-promising Innovation — Video

New Professor in Bio4Energy Wants to Reach Young People to Change World – Video

Sylvia Larsson Bio4Energy©2021Bio4Energy platform leader Sylvia Larsson and her postdoctoral student Glaydson Simões share a joke during their work, at the Biomass Technology Centre at Umeå, Sweden. Photo by courtesy of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. A 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 professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences since this month, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has been a platform leader in the research environment Bio4Energy since 2018. This means she is responsible for research and development on wood pre-processing, in the context of making renewable materials and fuels. Larsson is also the chief coordinator for the Bio4Energy Graduate School on the Innovative Use of Biomass.

“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.

Read more: New Professor in Bio4Energy Wants to Reach Young People to Change World – Video

Academy–Industry Collaboration to Identify ‘Sustainable’ Biofuel for Shipping in Arctic – Video

Dalia FORMASDalia Abdelfattah Yacout has done nothing but to show her front feet since joining Bio4Energy as a student in 2018. This year she starts her own major research project on finding a sustainable type of biofuel for shipping in the Arctic. Photo used with permission.A young Bio4Energy scientist has won funds for identifying an alternative solution to using fossil fuels for shipping in the Arctic, and for renewable fuel from bio-based waste to replace these former.

Funding body Formas Research Council decided to grant This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a three-year project to select and promote a biofuel with low environmental and climate change footprint, made from waste from pulp and paper industry, for the purpose of use in shipping in the Arctic region. Abdelfattah, researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, will do so in collaboration with a regional biofuel producer and a couple of senior scientists from Umeå University, Sweden.

If scaled up and implemented, the design is intended to tackle pollution and climate change in the Arctic region, while helping to solve the pulp and paper industry’s problem of excessive waste, as well as providing jobs for the production and transport of advanced biofuel.

The team will concentrate on investigating two existing routes of making biofuel by so-called thermochemical conversion. One draws on tall oil for the production of biodiesel and the other on sludge from the pulp and paper industry to make bioethanol.

“These fuels are already used in cars, but we are going to assess whether they can also be used in shipping”, said Abdelfattah.

In fact, the team will start by laying bare the environmental impacts of the two production routes across a number of indicators in a way that has not been done before, Abdelfattah said. Climate change and eutrophication effects will be considered. Cost-benefit analyses will be performed and offered to industrial stakeholders as guidance and, finally, social impacts calculated.

Read more: Academy–Industry Collaboration to Identify ‘Sustainable’ Biofuel for Shipping in Arctic – Video

Project on Biorefinery Production from Quinoa Residue, Capacity Building, to Strengthen Bolivian Economy

CristhianCarrasco CarlosMartín LeifJönssonFrom left: Cristhian Carrasco, Carlos Martín and Leif Jönsson on the Bolivian Altiplano, at the start of the Quinoa Project in 2017. Photo by courtesy of Carlos Martín.A groundbreaking research project on turning inedible residue from quinoa production in the Andes of South America into bio-based products, will have a long-term continuation. Fresh funds from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and a great investment of time and resources by the project leaders, mean that a number of students will be trained to lead the work in Bolivia and that new bio-based materials will be developed.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Bio4Energy at Umeå University (UmU), Sweden and Cristhian Carrasco of Bolivian Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, lead a part of the newly granted five-year Research Cooperation Programme that targets the development of bio-based materials.

The pair will oversee research and training on production of bio-based polymers—bio-based substances or materials consisting of very large molecules—that will eventually result in new materials made from quinoa stalks. These latter are what is left over after the protein-rich edible part of the plant has been removed.

The pharmaceutical and food industry are targets for the bio-based materials to be developed.

Bolivia, along with other Latin American nations place great belief in the nascent bioeconomy to provide renewable products and sustenance to farmers in financially challenged regions sharing the Andean Altiplano, the high-altitude plateau of the mountain range that straddles Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Read more: Project on Biorefinery Production from Quinoa Residue, Capacity Building, to Strengthen Bolivian...

The Bio4Energy Partners

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Bio4Energy Industrial Network

Strategic Partners

 RISE Processum

Piteå Science Park/Bothnia Bioindustries Cluster

Industrial Network - Founding Members

AkzoNobel

BillerudKorsnäs

BioFuel Region

CHEMREC

Domsjö Fabriker

Eurocon

Metso Power

MoRe Research

RagnSells

SCA Munksund

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Skellefteå Kraft

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Sunpine

Sveaskog

SweTree Technologies

Umeå Energi

Woodheads

Övik Energi

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