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Bio4Energy Industrial Network

  • ‘Fantastic Possibility’ to Promote Northern Sweden as Centre of Excellence for Development of Biomass Innovations

    FrancescoGentili Photo by AnnaStromFrancesco 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 Bio4Energypartner 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.

    A researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå, Gentili is an agronomist specialised in the production of algae in northern climates and its upscaling. Since spring 2018, he is a member of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Wood Pre-processing.

    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.

  • 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.

  • Award for Science-industry Project to Develop Prebiotics – Video

    UlrikaRova CourtesyLTUUlrika Rova has received the Luleå University of Technology's Innovator of the Year Award 2020, for her project to develop prebiotics from woody and marine biomass. Photo by courtesy of the LTU.Bio4Energy scientist This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has received a prize for her research group’s ground-breaking project to develop prebiotics for use in food and fish feed, from wood and the outer layer of sea-living organism.

    Bio4Energy partner Luleå University of Technology (LTU) awards professor Rova its 2020 Innovator of the Year Award for having taken “an idea further for the benefit of the surrounding society and who has been creative, innovative, driven, visionary, committed and entrepreneurial.

    "The innovation contributes with new opportunities to solve three of the world’s biggest problems: Poor public health, unsustainable resource management and limited food supply”, a press release from the LTU said.

    The project called ForceUpValue had recently concluded trials for food applications with successful results, professor Rova said in an e-mail message to Bio4Energy Communications. 

    This means that there is scientific proof that the bio-based prebiotics—or good-for-your-intestines fibres—can contribute to strengthening the immune system of people who ingest them. What prebiotics do, in fact, is to support probiotics which are key health-promoting bacteria in the human gut.

  • Bio4Energy Part of Nation-wide Effort to Develop Non-fossil Airplane Fuel

    Parked airplane AnnaStrom2021Bio4Energy scientists and members of its Industrial Network are part of Sweden's effort to develop non-fossil airplane fuel. Photo by Anna Strom©2021.This year has seen large-scale effort in Sweden to render possible the creation and development of non-fossil airplane fuel, so-called jet fuel, a press release from the state-run Swedish Energy Agency said. Bio4Energy is part of this effort, both through scientists and members of the Bio4Energy Industrial Network.

    Experts at developing membranes for various industrial processes, are using the microporous solid material zeolite (ZSM-5, to be precise) as a catalyst in the production of bio-based hydrocarbon olefins or petrol from methanol. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at Bio4Energy partner Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and colleagues are developing a process for making heavy hydrocarbons via the catalyst, without intermediate steps, according to a project description. 

    Industrial and institute partners are Haldor Topsoe, RISE Innventia and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

    Meanwhile, the Municipality of Umeå and Biofuel Region, have teamed up to assess needs in terms of policy development and market support mechanisms for rolling out fossil-fuel free fuel use by airlines flying on northern Sweden.

    The project will result in a roadmap for a transition to a sustainable airline industry in the northern part of the country, a project description said. Industrial partners are Swedavia, the company that operates Sweden’s ten busiest airports, along with the membership company RISE Processum and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.

  • Bio4Energy Scientists in Large Project to Capture and Store Greenhouse Gas Carbon Dioxide

    defaultPulp and paper maker BillerudKorsnäs' operations at Karlsborg, Sweden. Photo used with permission.Bio4Energy scientists are part of a large-scale collaboration to develop a technology for capture and onshore storage of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas, from pulp and paper making. Pulp and paper maker BillerudKorsnäs in the Bio4Energy Industrial Network is industrial partner.

    The researchers will use byproducts from the company's operations at Karlsborg, Sweden; coupled with enzyme technology; to capture carbon dioxide that would otherwise escape from the industrial process as biomass is burned. 

    Once captured, the gas will be turned into bicarbonate, a salt of carbonic acid, which is in fact a water-soluble form of carbon dioxide. The fact that it is water soluble will make it safe to pump into the ground, according to a press release from Luleå University of Technology(LTU) where the scientists work.  

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Io Antonopoulou of Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies will use lime mud and green liquor sludge from residual streams of the pulp and paper making to develop a technique for capture of biogenic carbon dioxide. Other researchers at the LTU will undertake a large-scale mapping exercise to assess the potential for geological carbon dioxide storage in Sweden.

    The Swedish Energy Agency funds the project via a large package of measures known as Industriklivet, part of the government's efforts to combat and prevent climate change.

  • 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 Magazinepublished 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.

  • Biofuel Region Annual Meeting, Onling Event

  • Course Opening for Students, Industry Wanting to Place Bio-based Innovations in System Perspective

    B4E students AnnaStromBio4Energy young researchers present their ideas for new courses in the Bio4Energy Graduate School, at Skellefteå, Sweden in May 2019. Photo by Bio4Energy.Systems’ Perspectives on Biomass Resources – one of the two generic course in the Bio4Energy Graduate School for PhD and postdoctoral researchers – is set to kick off at Luleå, Sweden, in October.

    The course gives an overview of methods and tools to assess the efficiency of a nascent bio-based technology from an environmental and economic perspective, and as part of the mix of technologies already on the market. It also comes with a project assignment, designed to give participants hands-on experience of applying system analysis in some form.

    “The purpose of this course is to place technology-based research in perspective so that the student [specialised in a certain niche of biorefinery research] gains an understanding of the way in which his or her work fits into a larger, societal perspective,” said course coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    “We want to give them methods and tools for that”, professor Lundmark added.

    Systems’ Perspectives on Biomass Resources is open to PhD and postdoctoral researchers interested in biorefinery, as well as representatives of industry. See below the Bio4Energy flyer for this third edition of the course. The deadline for applications is 27 September this year.

    “The expectation on those who enrol is active participation. They will be asked to bring their own research or subject of interest into the course. For instance, they can select a project they are already working on and apply system analysis to that”, Lundmark said.

  • Happy Summer from Bio4Energy

    Delsjon AnnaStrom2018 400Delsjon, Gothenburg in July. Photo by Anna Strom©2018.Bio4Energy wants to greet its researchers and partners—including the Industrial Network and stakeholders to the bio-based sector—and bid them happy summer. Or happy winter, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere. Thank you very much for your commitment.

    Most of the Bio4Energy people are having a break until September, but not all.

    August start for popular course on biorefinery pilots

    Late August, Bio4Energy will be kicking off the third edition of its popular course for PhD and postdoctoral researchers: Biorefinery Pilot Research. It is one of two generic courses in the Bio4Energy Graduate Schoolon the Innovative Use of Biomass.


    What

    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.

    When

    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 pageor view the course brochure (attached).

    For Whom
    • 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.
  • 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.

  • Innovation Project on Combined Mushroom, Biofuel Production Attracts 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 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.

  • 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.

  • Method to Raise Yields, Reduce Risk in Biofuel Making, Attracting Global Attention

    BDP credit RISE 400pxFor their verification experiments, the Bio4Energy researchers used the Biorefinery Demonstration Plant, at Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Photo by courtesy of RISE Research Institutes of Sweden.Late 2015, Bio4Energy researchers unveiled a series of articles describing how to raise yields in biofuel making by decreasing the impact of toxic substances generated in the pre-treatment step of biochemical conversion to fuels and chemicals, by using reducing agents. Their work, targeting advanced biofuel production from woody raw materials—sometimes referred to as the biorefinery of the future—has received a great amount of attention from researchers all over the world.

    Mid-March this year, the main scientific article in the series, giving a review of research in the area and outlining the new method, had received over 400 citations in other scientific articles written by researchers worldwide. This is more than 20 times the average of articles published in the prestigious Bioresource Technology journal, which carried the review, according to Carlos Martín of Umeå University (UmU). Martín and his co-author This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. are leading figures on the research and development platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies.

    “Friends and colleagues from all over the world sent their congratulations. Yesterday [25 March] we had received 410 citations. A lot of people have been asking for full-text papers”, a smiling Martín said.

  • New Initiatives to Meet UN SDGs: Bio4Energy Partner Universities

    LTU SUN 020221Natural resources of the Swedish north. Photo collage by courtesy of Luleå University of Technology.Two of the partner universities in the research environment Bio4Energy are launching major initiatives to make researchers from different disciplines collaborate with each other and with industry to make northern Sweden lead the way in adapting to and countering climate change, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

    Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northernmost part of Sweden takes aim at basic industry in the region—sectors that draw on forest trees, mining ore or dams or waterfalls for hydropower—to carry out the transition to a sustainable economy.

    “Meeting the climate [change] goals and transforming basic industry requires an increased use of northern Sweden’s natural resources. We need new technology and new methods; new products and new solutions for fossil-free electrification, energy storage, efficient use of raw materials and use of byproducts”, said a press release from LTU.

    Research group leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy has been elected assistant scientific leader of the LTU initiative SUN—Natural Resources for Sustainable Transitions.
     
    “Industry’s transition is going to require a great number of skilled people. We need to create attractive conditions for them to come here”, according to Söderholm.
  • New innovation ecosystem launched to support market access for bio-based consumer products

  • Nu utreds fossilfritt flyg i norra Sverige

  • Ny start för programmet som accelererar gröna affärsidéer

  • Phase Out of Fossil Coal in Sweden's Iron, Steel Industries on Cards with New Academy - Industry Project

    KU Biocarbon Bio4Energy2022Kentaro Umeki of Bio4Energy is part of an academy - industry project designed to develop a ready-to-implement system for phase out of fossil coal use in iron and steel industries in Sweden. Photos of biomass (left) and biochar, respectively; by courtesy of Kentaro Umeki.A project consortium including research groups, technology development companies, plant owners and iron and steel industry; is about to take a large step toward phasing out the use of fossil coal in the iron and steel industries in Sweden.

    Thanks to a substantial grant from the Swedish Energy Agency, the partners will be able to deliver a reactor concept and a roadmap detailing the way in which to implement a switch from fossil coal to biocarbon in existing district-heating plants, using fluidised-bed gasification technology.

    Whereas fossilised coal is extracted from the Earth’s interior in mining operations, oftentimes transported over long distances and a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions; biocarbon is high-temperature treated biomass from woody residue or industrial bio-based waste that will be sourced regionally by the partners. 

    In fact, when treated at a temperature range of 500 - 900 degrees Celsius, biomass becomes almost pure solid carbon and earns the name "biocarbon". It is seen as carbon “neutral” under the current regulatory framework and so the expectation is that the new technology will deliver net zero emissions of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas. 

    Seven-to-nine per cent of global emissions of carbon dioxide hail from iron and steel making operations. In Sweden, where the sector is both an important employer and provider of exports, this figure is 12 per cent.

  • Public Seminar: Fossilfrihet – med eller utan palmolja?, Almedalen, Sweden

  • SCA:s koncernchef: Därför är miljardprojekten i norr hotade

    Bio4Energy Industrial Network: SCA:s koncernchef: Därför är miljardprojekten i norr hotadeTidningen Näringslivet