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  • 'Natural' Choice of New Leader for Bio4Energy Wood Pre-processing

    TL MT SL 11116Sylvia Larsson is a new leader for the research and development platform Bio4Energy Wood Pre-processing. She is pictured together with her platform colleagues Torbjörn Lestander (left) and Mikael Thyrel. Photo by Bio4Energy.Bio4Energy Wood Pre-processing has a new leader. As of 2018, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) at Umeå takes over the reins of Bio4Energy’s smallest research and development platform. Already an established research leader in Bio4Energy and head of the pilot facilities at the SLU Biomass Technology Centre(BTC), she is the management’s and the previous platform leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.preferred choice of successor.

    “She has shown that she is a successful research leader with encompassing knowledge on the pre-treatment of biomass. [Since the launch of Bio4Energy] she has taken on the role as head of lab at BTC Röbäcksdalen and become an appreciated thought leader in the [Bio4Energy] Graduate School”, according to Bio4Energy’s programme manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    “We see Sylvia as Torbjörn's natural successor and are confident that she has both the necessary qualifications and will make a substantial contribution” as a platform leader, Boström added.

    Since clinching her Bachelor of Science degree in Energy Engineering at Umeå University in 1999, Larsson has been working her way up the academic ladder as an affiliate of the SLU and winning her current title of associate professor in 2014. She manages a research group of two students and works closely with associate professor Torbjörn Lestander and researchers Mikael Thyrel, Mikko Mäkelä, Alejandro Grimm, Magnus Rudolfsson and David Agar; all members of Bio4Energy.

  • A Biorefinery Research Environment

    tree_on_globeThe research environment Bio4Energy aims to create highly efficient and environmentally sound biorefinery processes—including methods and tools for making products such as biofuels, "green" chemicals and new bio-based materials—that draw on biomass sourced from forests or organic waste as a raw material. 

    Raw materials, or "feedstock", should be used as completely and as efficiently as possible at all stages of the biorefinery value chain. This is taken to mean from the designing or planting of the first seed for growing a tree, through to the development of consumer products that can be commercialised and add value for their soundness in terms of economic, environmental and social impact. 

    Some of the things Bio4Energy aims to do differently are to use all parts of the tree and to recycle or recover by-products that typically go to waste in mainstream forestry operations. Some of the Bio4Energy scientists—there are more than 220 of them—are developing processes by which to turn such residual streams into energy, high-value specialty chemicals or other bio-based products.


    Research organisation

    At the core of Bio4Energy are two process platforms. They are Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologiesand Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies. Researchers on the two research and development (R&D) platforms turn out new or improved processes for making advanced biofuels, such as dimethyl ether or second-generation bioethanol; new bio-based materials or "green" chemicals which, in turn, may be used as building blocks in bio-based products. These may be plastics or pharmaceuticals, coatings, liners, adhesives or a number of other things; all based on woody feedstock or organic waste as a raw material.

    The research environment Bio4Energy also has a team that studies and develops the woody feedstock. Simply put, researchers on the R&D platform Bio4Energy Feedstock, hosted by Umeå Plant Science Centre, make "better" trees. Since Bio4Energy is based in Scandinavia, a large part of which sits in the boreal belt, the foremost feedstock for the technology processes being developed derives from spruce and pine trees, or residue from industrial processes in which they are used, such as pulping. However, poplar or hybrid aspen trees are also being studied and the question put whether these tree species may be grown successfully on northern latitudes. A part of the Materials and Bioscience branch of the research institute RISE is part of the platform Bio4Energy Feedstock. It has developed an encompassing database by which genetic data may be cross-read with data on mechanical characteristics of trees: the Bio4Energy Traits Database.


    The R&D platforms Bio4Energy Wood Pre-processing and Bio4Energy Chemical Catalysis and Separation Technologies, for their part, are there to facilitate the journey that the carbohydrate and aromatic content of the biomass must make for it to be converted to products, as well as a cost-competitive alternative to petrochemicals. Seemingly small inventions in these platforms may make all the difference in terms of the efficiency of the thermal or biochemical conversion of biomass to fuels or chemicals. The task then of the platform Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomyis to make sure various processes, such as in a biorefinery, function with maximal efficiency in terms of energy use and as a unit. In a biorefinery, a number of processes and their streams of primary and side products have to function efficiently together. This is Bio4Energy's most recent R&D platform and its members also carry out integrated market analyses and environmental system analyses.

    Finally the task of the platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recyclingis to check and make sure that the methods and tools being developed by the other six platforms have a low or no detrimental impact on the environment, with the aim of 'closing the loop' in terms of only inputting renewable raw materials and limiting noxious emissions to air, ground and water to a strict minimum. In the first programme period of Bio4Energy, 2010-2015, the platform's dual foci were placed on system analysis assessing mainly climate change-inducing emissions of bio-based processes, on the one hand, and on limiting organic emissions at source, on the other. In Bio4Energy's second programme period, 2016-2020, the perspective has been expanded to encompass resource efficiency along the value chain of biorefinery products and calculating the cost of various options for making sure biorefinery operations are sustainable.

    One vision, many partners

    A large number of industrial operators have endorsed Bio4Energy and are part of a Bio4Energy Industrial Network. The scientists cooperate with them to develop advanced biofuels, "green" chemicals or other bio-based products, such as new materials made using nanotechnology. Another strand of work focuses on eliminating noxious emission or undesirable residues from existing industrial processes. For instance, methods are being developed to convert biomass ashes and sludge into renewable energy, liming materials or low-polluting fertilizers. In some cases, high-temperature processes in combination with filters that capture particulate matter and heavy metals will be used to rid the biorefinery process of toxic organic compounds.

    Another promising line of research in Bio4Energy targets the capture and recycling of carbon dioxide (CO2), the international reference for greenhouse gases. New technologies for CO2capture and reuse that rely on catalytic conversion are being invented. When it comes to development, Bio4Energy researchers have realised inventions that have led to pilot facilities being installed (just off the campus of the lead organisation Umeå University) for the pre-treatment of biomass by roasting (torrefaction), at a BTX Fornax facility. Two other groups have made ample use of Sweden's only demonstration unit for bioethanol production, the Biorefinery Demonstration Plantat Örnsköldsvik, Sweden. Yet others collaborate with Swedish pellet industry, characterising and modulating biomass materials at the Biomass Technology Centre that hosts pilot facilities for the separation and fractionation of biomass at SLU Röbäcksdalen, at Umeå, Sweden. Further north, at Piteå, Bio4Energy researchers are an integral part of a team tasked with trialling, perfecting and upscaling production of biofuels made via the gasification route. At the LTU Green Fuelscentre, "ultra" low-polluting dimethyl ether (bioDME) fuel is made from a residual product of the pulping process, black liquor, using entrained-flow gasification technology. Part of the same industrial site, the RISE Energy Technology Center has facilities for optimising gasification and pyrolysis processes and serves as link between academia and industry.

    A research 'environment'

    Bio4Energy is not only a research programme, but also a research environment. At its core are three Swedish universities recognised as national leaders in education and research on bioenergy, biotechnology and forest management. They are Umeå University, Luleå University of Technologyand the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå. A large number of Sweden-based firms and a handful of innovation and research institutes have signed up to become partners. Of these, RISE (groups in the Materials and Bioscience and Bioeconomy branches, respectively) and the RISE Energy Technology Center are founding members of Bio4Energy. RISE Processum and Piteå Science Park, both of which organisations are close to or representing industry, are the Strategic Partners of Bio4Energy. Several other cooperation partners could be mentioned here.

    Moreover, scientific collaboration is underway with research organisations or groups in Europe as well as in the U.S.A., Bolivia, Australia, Canada, China, Korea, Japan, Russia, Taiwan, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, South Africa and other countries. The Bio4Energy research programme is committed to the sustainable use of natural resources and aware of the European Union's efforts to combat climate change by lessening the reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the use of renewable energy. In particular, Bio4Energy works to align its practices on advice issued by the European Technology Platforms devoted to forests, plants and biofuels. Since early 2014, Bio4Energy is a member of the European Bio-based Industries' Consortium, which has seen the birth of a Bio-based Industries' Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) as a part of the European Union's Joint Technology Initiatives' process. In Sweden, the programme part of Bio4Energy is a member of BioInnovationa cross-sectoral platform designed to promote bio-based innovationand of the f3 Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels.

    Bio4Energy aims to be a driving force for innovation and thereby the creation of small and medium-sized enterprises. It has set up its own Graduate School on the Innovative Use of Biomass to provide post-secondary training for a new generation of academic researchers, to develop scientific expertise in bioenergy, bio-based chemicals and, as a separate strand, biotechnology.

    Bio4Energy was born in late 2009, when the Swedish government agreed to offer a constellation of 44 mostly Swedish biorefinery researchers its support for developing over five years a Strategic Research Environment, tasked with drawing together some of the best brains in bioenergy and biorefinery research and development, as well as create links and collaboration within the academic cluster and cooperation with industrial actors.

    The government's generous support, topped up with contributions from the member universities and external funds won as a result of it, have allowed Bio4Energy to expand from the initial 44 to 220 researchersin September 2020, originating from a number of countries but affiliated with one or more of Bio4Energy's founding member organisations. In 2009, more than 20 industrial companies pledged their support for the creation of Bio4Energy by signing letters of endorsement.

    Press and mediaare most welcome to contact Bio4Energy Communications by e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at +46 90 786 5247 (weekdays).

    --
    Hereunder is the standard sentence that researchers may put towards the end of their scientific articles to acknowledge or thank Bio4Energy for its support:

    We thank Bio4Energy, a Strategic Research Environment appointed by the Swedish government, for supporting this work.
    --

  • Bio4Energy Has No Vacancies

    Bio4Energy is not hiring at the moment, but please check
    back with us regularly.Conifer by ASSnuggling up to a conifer in June, in northern Sweden. Photo by Anna Strom©.

    Thank you for your interest.
  • Bio4Energy Researchers Acknowledged for 'Milestone' Article on Ash Transformation Chemistry

    NS MOh DB MB ChB AS8617For a long time, the selection of fuels for biomass combustion, in terms of avoiding problems such as slagging and fouling of the reactors, often was carried out based on trial and error. About a decade into the 21st century, a group of Sweden-based researchers with long-standing experience in high-temperature conversion of woody feedstock to heat and power started to mull over a more systematic approach to assessing the reactions in thermal conversion of the chief trouble-making content of the biomass: the inorganic compounds forming the ash.

    In 2012, the scientist, brought together under the umbrella of Bio4Energy, published an article on Ash Transformation Chemistry during Combustion of Biomass in the interdisciplinary scientific journal Energy & Fuels by the American Chemical Society (ASC). The article describes a conceptual model by which any type of biomass—whether originating from wood, woody or agricultural residue or other types of combustible waste—may be characterised, and thus understood, in terms of the basic chemical reactions that take place during thermal conversion of biomass into heat, power, fuels and chemicals.

    After having been amply cited by other researchers around the world, this spring, the article by Bio4Energy scientists received the 2017 Energy & Fuels Joint Award for Excellence in Publication.

  • Bio4Energy Thesis Defence: Characterisation and Densification of Carbonised Lignocellulosic Biomass, Umeå, Sweden

    Bio4Energy PhD student researcher Magnus Rudolfsson will be defending his thesis Characterisation and Densification of Carbonised Lignocellulosic Biomass.

    Venue: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå. Room: Björken.

  • Bio4Energy Thesis Defence: Particle emissions from residential wood and biodiesel combustion, Umeå, Sweden


  • Bio4Energy Thesis Defence: Pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulose, Umeå, Sweden

    Full title: Pretreatment and enzymatic saccharification of lignocellulose: formation and effects of pseudolignin
  • Bio4Energy Thesis Defence: Process Integration to Increase Woody Biomass Use for Energy Purposes, Luleå, Sweden

    Sennai Mesfun of the R&D platform Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy will be defending his PhD thesis on Thursday 09/06 at 14:00, in room E632 at the Luleå University of Technology, LTU.

    The title of this thesis is "Process integration to increase woody biomass utilization for energy purposes" and his advisor is the LTU professor Andrea Toffolo.
  • Bio4Energy Year of 2019

                                   After the rain: Oak leaves drying in the sunshine. Photo by Anna Strom©2020.The year of 2019 were one of the most productive for the research environment Bio4Energy since the start in 2010. This included not only technical research and innovations, but also efforts were stepped up to check the feasibility of introducing those latter on the market, using system analysis.

    The invention of entirely fossil-free green petrol and diesel received massive media attention that started at the first Bio4Energy press release in 2018 and continued throughout the year 2019 and into 2020.

    A first-ever webinar series by Bio4Energy and partner programmes at Umeå University, Sweden, informed stakeholders around the world about the latest advances in R&D pertaining to Sustainable Cities and Circular Bioeconomy.

    Finally, Bio4Energy prepared to change leadership, with a new management troika taking over the reins 1 January 2020. Efforts got off the ground to prepare for a possible third programme period of Bio4Energy.

    Bio4Energy’s second five-year mandate is set to end 31 December 2020.

  • BioInnovation General Assembly, Stockholm, Sweden

    BioInnovation General Assembly, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Clean-burning Cooking Solutions, Electricity, Being Developed for Africa

    The world needs clean-burning stoves for use in countryside households in third world, the Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting (UREM) 2016heard today. Many such households, for instance in Sub-Saharan Africa, rely on burning of untreated wood or agricultural residues inside the home and in simple appliances with few or no checks on polluting emissions.

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    Although international initiatives such as the Global Cookstove Alliance have made great strides in the right direction, the effect of emissions on human health of particulate matter and soot are still not well understood, Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. told the UREM conference. Boman leads a cross-disciplinary project in which Bio4Energy researchers from Umeå University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences collaborate with the Stockholm Environment Institute and African non-governmental organisations, of which the World Agroforestry Centre in Kenya, to evaluate current so-called clean-burning cookstoves and develop medium-sized facilities for electricity production in the Kenyan countryside.

  • Decisive Step Taken in Project to Bring Sustainable Bioenergy to Sub-Saharan Africa

    Fueling the reactor AnnaStrom2020Robert Lindgren of Bio4Energy fuels the pilot reactor for biomass gasification. Photo by Bio4Energy© 2020.Scientists in Bio4Energy have taken a decisive step in a multi-actor project to provide sustainable bioenergy solutions for people in some of the least well-off countries in Africa, by designing a pilot installation that will produce energy-rich gas and biochar from pre-treated biomass residues.

    The construction of the two-metre tall pilot—which is still a miniature version of what a future commercial-scale gasification reactor would look like—is a collaboration between Bio4Energy researchers at Umeå University and at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå, Sweden.

    “The reactor makes us able to close the loop, or construct a total system, of upgrading and using residual biomass products from the agricultural industry”, said project leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling.

    Boman and his colleague and former student This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., of the same R&D platform, have been championing the project since the outset in 2012, and with funding granted in 2015.

  • EU Project Mobile Flip Final Seminar, Umeå, Sweden

  • European Biomass Conference & Exhibition, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    During the conference, Bio4Energy researcher Carlos Martín will be giving a talk entitled, Evaluation of the potential of cassava stems for ethanol production.
  • Gasification 2017, Helsinki, Finland

    ACI’s 6th Annual Gasification Summit, taking place on 15-16 March 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. The conference will comprise two days of formal presentations, interactive roundtable discussions and excellent networking opportunities. The event will be providing an ideal setting to convene with your peers to discuss both current operational & future planned gasification plants, end product markets, potential barriers & support policies as well as project economics & finance.

    Agenda Committee:
    • Thomas von Kossak, Shell
    • Alison Kerester, The Gasification And Syngas Technologies Council
    • Juhani Isaksson, Valmet
    • Reinhard Rauch, Bioenergy 2020+
    • Christiaan Van Der Meijden, Biomass Energy Engineering
    • Chris Higman, Higman Consulting GmbH
    • Silvio Arienti, Amec Foster Wheeler
    • Berend Vreugdenhil, ‎Innovation Manager Gasification, ECN
    Site Visit:

    Exclusive Lahti Energy’s Kymijärvi II power plant Site Visit – Tuesday 14th March 2017

    During the afternoon of 14th of March 2017 up to 40 conference attendees will receive a unique opportunity to visit Lahti Energy’s Kymijärvi II power plant. Kymijärvi II is the world’s first gasification plant that utilizes solid recovered fuel (SRF). At the 160 MW plant, waste-derived fuel is gasified, the gas is cooled down and cleaned, and the clean gas is then burned in the boiler.

    There is no extra charge to attend the site visit, but spaces are limited and allocated on a first come first served basis. Please register your attendance for the site visit when booking for the conference.
  • IEA for EU4Energy Policy Forum discussed opportunities and challenges for bioenergy use

    IEA for EU4Energy Policy Forum discussed opportunities and challenges for bioenergy use, European Biogas Association
  • International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries, Wroclaw, Poland

    13th International Conference on Renewable Resources & Biorefineries
  • International Day of Forests 2017

    International Day of Forests 2017

    The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on ForestsThe theme for 2017 is Forests and Energy.
  • KSLA Seminar: Forests, Bioenergy & the Global Climate, Stockholm, Sweden

    Forests, Bioenergy and the Global Climate

    There is a wide consensus in the scientific community that energy systems, which rely on fossil fuels, are unsustainable. Wood-based solutions have been proposed as an alternative and gained wide support. However, disagreement exists among experts as to whether contemporary forest management as a source of wood-based alternatives is indeed sustainable. In February 2016 the journal Science published a paper stating that “Europe’s managed forests contribute to warming”, followed by a letter from eminent scientists to ten US senators in which they question the carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy. These publications contradict earlier views that are widely published in scientific literature and cited in, for example, the assessments of the Inter-Governmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC).

    In Europe, forest based biomass used to be generally viewed as sustainable, carbon neutral, and a solution to on-going climate change. The aforementioned recent publications suggest that the role of forestry in climate mitigation is much more limited than stated earlier. Given the importance of woody biomass in the energy production of Sweden and Finland, the new research received much public attention. How can this dispute be understood? Can the dispute be settled or do we need to adopt a new approach and strategy to forest management especially in light of the Paris Climate Agreement?

  • Lack of Funding Puts End to Large-scale Pilot Trials of BioDME and Bio-based Methanol in Sweden - Audio

    LTU Green Fuels at Pitea SEBiofuel production at large-scale pilot operations at Piteå, Sweden will cease. Photo by courtesy of the Luleå University of Technology.

    LTU Green Fuels at Piteå—Sweden's only large-scale pilot operations for the production of liquid biofuel from forestry residue—are going to cease its activities due to lack of funding, according to a press release issued by its owner, the Luleå University of Technology.

    Despite the pilot plant's having delivered about 1000 tonnes of clean, bio-based dimethyl ether (DME) and methanol, and despite the product having been successfully trialled as fuel in commercial trucking operationsby the car manufacturer Volvo, the Swedish Energy Agency had decided not to extend funding beyond the 100 million Swedish kroner it had granted for the past three years, the press release said. It appears that the current 17 employees at LTU Green Fuels will soon have to look around for other work.

    "I think it's a shame that we have to discontinue the work at the plant but I am nevertheless hopeful that the technology [developed there] has a future. It has been thoroughly verified in our pilot plant", said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at the LTU and part of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies.

    In successive interviews since the start of Bio4Energy in 2010, he has been pointing out that for industry to take the step to commercialisation, a long-term and stable political framework is needed that is supportive of a large-scale roll out of second-generation or more advanced biofuels and co-products.