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advanced biofuels

  • Bio4Energy Scientists Acknowledged for Work on Biomass Inhibitors in Wood Biorefinery

    Leif Carlos Award 2Leif Jönsson and Carlos Martín Medina show the plaque and diploma their research group were awarded for the great interest shown by the research community in their scientific article on biomass inhibitors in wood biorefinery. Photo by InYung Sunwoo.

    A team of Bio4Energy scientists and partners have been acknowledged at a prestigious conference for their work to reduce the effect of toxic substances in the pre-treatment of biomass destined for conversion to advanced biofuels made using yeast or microbes to turn wood polymers into fuels.

    Their review article, Pre-treatment of lignocellulose: Formation of inhibitory by-products and strategies for minimising their effects, published in the Bioresource Technologyscientific journal, has not stopped receiving acclaim since its publication in 2016. At the time of New Horizons in Biotechnology Conference (NHBT-2019)—a conference given in India in November this year—results from the article had been mentioned 560 times in other scientific articles by researchers worldwide.

    This made the editorial board of Bioresource Technology decide to award the researcher with a diploma and a plaque for their Highly Downloaded Article 2019.

    “It is the most downloaded article steadily during the last two years and the most cited article of Bioresource Technology since 2016”, said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Umeå University and a PI on the platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies.

    “I think it helped that the review covered all three areas of pre-treatment, formation of inhibitors and strategies [designed to lessen] their effects”, Martín added, “and that the discussion included some new important inhibitors in terms of their effects. That is, compounds that form in small amounts, but which are very strong inhibitors”.

  • Innovation Project on Combined Mushroom, Biofuel Production Attract Headlines

    ShaojunXiong AnnaStrom2020Shaojun Xiong leads a project on developing joint mushroom and biofuel production, funded by the Swedish platforms BioInnovation and Bio4Energy. Photo by Anna Strom©2020. A highly original research project—on developing joint production of edible edible mushroom and biofuel—is receiving attention as a top-of-the-line innovation effort in Sweden, as part of the country's aim to develop new technologies and processes for a circular bioeconomy.

    A Bio4Energy researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences invented the concept, which rests on the idea that both production strands would be more cost effective and environmentally friendly if they were made in synergy.

    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.

  • New Projects to Map Cost of Increasing Carbon 'Efficiency' of Advanced Biofuels

    Bio4EnergyArlanda SE AnnaStrom2020Some of the feedstock that goes into bio-based jet fuel products being developed goes to waste already in the production process. Bio4Energy researchers have set out to find out how much and what can be done about it. Photo by Bio4Energy. researchers are launching the second in a series of projects, to map the extent of the so-called carbon efficiency of advanced biofuels and calculate the cost of efficiency improvements. In this context, carbon efficiency is a measure of the extent to which the carbon in the bio-based starting material, or feedstock, ends up in the final energy product.

    Whereas the first project looks at a number of routes to produce biofuels for road transport, via specific value chains; the second is focussed on bio-based jet fuel technologies and resulting products.

    According to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., researcher at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden; who leads the project on bio-based jet fuels; there is great variation in the carbon efficiency depending on the process route and technology.

    Biomass gasification employing Fischer–Tropsch technology and alcohols-to-jet, respectively, were two relevant tracks considered in this project in terms of using wood-based feedstock for jet fuel production in the short term, he explained.

  • Opportunity for Pulp Mill Operators to Make Climate-efficient 'Drop-in' Biofuels while Increasing Pulp Production Capacity

    Collage Sodra Morrum2 220920From the operating sites of two of the project partners: the Södra Cell Mörrum pulp mill and a worker at the Smurfit Kappa paper mill (insert). Both operations are in Sweden. Photos by courtesy of Per Pixel and Caroline Lundmark, respectively.A new report designed to lay bare the potential for coupling pulp production with biofuel making from pulping residue, shows that there is a double benefit to be had in doing so for pulp mill operators.

    First, production capacity could be increased at existing mills. Second, climate-efficient transport biofuel could be produced at a cost per energy unit that is on a par or better, compared with similar biofuels made from residues from forestry operations.

    The new fuels would be so-called drop-in biofuels, which means that they are functional equivalents of their petroleum fuel counterparts and thus can be directly blended in with these latter at any ratio.

    The researchers' report identifies two main technologies that would put the production cost of the biofuel at 80 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) or about 65-to-75 euro cents per litre. It is the result of a collaboration project between Bio4Energy systems analysis researchers at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in Sweden, companies in the sector and researchers from the RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

  • Prospects for Rollout of Poplar Plantations Investigated as Means to Increase Biofuel Production in Sweden

    Collage Populus plantation Bio4Energy2020 400Populus plants at the researchers' field trial plantation in southern Sweden. Photos by courtesy of Henrik Böhlenius.Researchers in Bio4Energy and a partner will investigate the potential for a rollout in Sweden of plantations of fast-growing poplar trees—Populus trichocarpa in Latin—as a means to increase biomass productionfor making renewable automotive fuels from wood and woody residue.

    While there is a great body of scientific literature to describe the trees and their properties in themselves, information on the economics and technical feasibility of doing so at a large scale is relatively scant, according to project leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., scientist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Contrary to most of the other Bio4Energy scientists who are based in the Swedish north, he is in the southernmost part of the country, at Alnarp.

    “We see a great potential for [rollout of] this type of plantation, along the lines of one million hectares that could be added to the current domestic production of bioenergy”, Böhlenius said.

    Sweden would benefit from making more advanced biofuels—renewable fuels that do not compete with food production and meet high quality standards in terms of their greenhouse gas footprint—at an affordable cost.

    Land is available, to believe official statistics. Roughly 400,000 hectares of agricultural land could be planted with poplar without jeopardsing food production. Another one-to-two million hectare of spruce tree plantations, sitting on former agricultural land, could be used to plant poplar or other fast-growing tree species. 

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