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Luleå University of Technology

  • 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.

  • Nordea Science Prize 2016 Goes to Bio4Energy Researcher Kristiina Oksman

    KO B4E 2 Kick off Photo by Anna StromBio4Energy expert on bio-based applications created using nanotechnology, Kristiina Oksman, has won this year's Nordea Science Prize. Photo by Anna Strom©.The Nordea Science Prize 2016 has been awarded Bio4Energy researcher This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at the Luleå University of Technology(LTU). She received it during a prize ceremony held last weekend at Luleå in northern Sweden. It is the Swedish bank Nordea, in cooperation with the LTU vice-chancellor and deans, who decide on and hand out the prize each year to a scientist who has made "outstanding contributions to the promotion of scientific research and development" and who has been "a good representative [of] the university", according to a press release from the LTU.

    "When they first called me [to announce the prize] I couldn't believe it was true. This is such a great encouragement. I am very happy", said Oksman whose research group creates nanocellulose applications and bio-based composites materials using nanotechnology. Oksman was a platform leader in Bio4Energy between the years 2010 and 2015. Currently she and her group are members of the research and development platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies.

  • Norra Sverige ska bli bäst i världen på basindustrins klimatomställning

  • 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.

  • Popular PhD Course Cancelled, But New Online Introduction on Cards

    Sylvia Larsson Kumar Das 030620Sylvia Larsson is new coordinator for education in Bio4Energy. Here with co-worker Atanu Kumar Das.Bio4Energy is having to cancel this autumn’s course in the Bio4Energy Graduate School for advanced students. Biorefinery Pilot Research has been hugely popular for its on-location learning about pilot and demonstration facilities along the coast of northern Sweden. However, the risk for spread of the global Coronavirus means the course has been postponed to next year.

    “We will be giving the course as soon as things settle down; hopefully already in spring”, said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., new coordinator for education in Bio4Energy.

    Instead an online introduction will be developed so that all PhD students and postdoctoral researchers interested in research and development in the area of wood biorefinery will have the possibility to learn more about the Bio4Energy research environment and the basics of its activities.

    “We are going to make something exceptional that will serve as an entry point to the Graduate School”, Larsson said;

    “It is about giving all PhD student the possibility to access what we have to offer. It will place the focus content of the hands-on courses in context. It gives students from different universities the possibility to study together. We have a lot of international students”, she explained.

  • Prebiotics to be Developed in Science-industry Project

    Bio4Energy researchers with expertise in biochemical conversion technologies and wood pre-processing are at the helm of two new projects to develop prebiotics and commercial fish feed, and fungi and biofuels, respectively, from bio-based starting materials. Both are three-year projects granted in the 2017 round of funding for innovation projects by BioInnovation, a Swedish national platform for bio-based innovations, and have a substantial line-up of commercial companies as partners.

    The first project, called ForceUpValue for short, aims at demonstrating the production of low-cost prebiotics—food or feed ingredients that, once in the gut, induce the growth of microorganisms and which activity can have a positive effects on human health—starting from two abundantly available sources of bio-based feedstock: Forestry residues and a sea-living organism called Ciona intestinalis. The latter is known to have an outer layer, a tunic, rich in cellulose, which the project partners expect to use in the production of prebiotics.

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  • Problem-solving Studies on Biomass Gasification, Waste Water Treatment Enabled by VR Grants

    gallery thumbnailsBio4Energy researchers won funds for water treatment projects. Photo by courtesy of FDP.Bio4Energy researchers have won funds for carrying out scientific studies on reducing soot formation in biomass gasification for making biofuels, as well as two projects on water purification in developing countries. The prestigious Swedish Research Council(VR) announced a number of decisions on research funding this week, with the grants to Bio4Energy's researchers corresponding to the 'Natural and Engineering Sciences' and 'Development Research' categories. Bio4Energy PIs 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. were the three happy recipients.

    "It's very good. I would like to develop better [biomass] gasification technology", said Umeki who is an associate professor at the Luleå University of Technology (LTU) in northern Sweden, who received funding for the project Chemical Interaction of Closely Located Reactive Particles in Gas Flow.

    "We are going to develop tools to optimise gasifiers in industrial scale conditions and a new model that will assimilate [or mimic] the gasification process" more adequately than current models, he explained.
  • Projects on Next Generation Bio-based Materials, Processes to Start Next Month

    VR grants 21117Bio4Energy researchers will kick off three new projects next month designed, respectively, to make carbonised lignin materials, and chemicals from carbon dioxide and electricity, as well as to create knowledge on nutrient interactions with heavy metal content in biomass ash used as fertilizer.

    This week, the prestigious Swedish Research Councilannounced its decision fund them, along with 322 other top-of-the-line fundamental research projects nationally, on the back of its annual call for proposals on Science and Technology.

    All three projects run over four years. Each are at the leading-edge of bio-based research, expected to pave the way for industrial innovation. In Bio4Energy, they are under the supervision of scientists on two different R&D platforms: Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies and Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling.

  • 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. 

  • R&D Platform Meeting: System Analysis and Bioeconomy, Umeå, Sweden

  • Research Council Formas Grants Projects on Bio-based Carbon Black, Marine Applications, Maritime Fuels

    AllSaintsDay AnnaStrom2020It may be winter in northern Sweden, but the Bio4Energy researchers keep winning new projects. Photo by Anna Strom©2020.Three new projects on bio-based maritime fuels, marine applications and carbon black will kick off thanks to new funding grants from the Research Council Formas, in its annual round of research funding.

    Scientists representing three different Bio4Energy Research and Development Platforms will be running these multi-annual projects, with the main applicants acknowledged as follows:

    • Development of lignin-based eco-friendly antifouling coatings for marine applications (NATURAL) by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies at the Luleå University of Technology;
    • Green carbon black by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy Thermochemical Conversion Technologies at the RISE Energy Technology Center and;
    • Forest-based biofuels for sustainable maritime shipping in the Arctic by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy System Analysis and Bioeconomy at Umeå University.
  • Season's Greeting from Bio4Energy 2020 with Updates

    Bio4Energy SG AnnaStrom2020 500Season's Greetings from Bio4Energy. Photo by Anna Strom© 2020It is the end of the season. And boy what a season. There was the coronavirus disease, Covid-19; that turned plans on their head and saw us turn the regular Bio4Energy events into online meetings. 

    There was intense work to prepare the research environment Bio4Energy for a much-hoped-for third programme period, from 2022. Programme manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., professor at Umeå University, is leading the work to develop a new programme plan and context analysis with input from the Bio4Energy platform leaders and research group leaders.

    Last but not least, there was great progress made across the seven research and development (R&D) platforms to deliver excellent research and develop collaborations. Please review the news of this page or find our Newsletters in the Twitter feed.

    With this said, Bio4Energy wants to wish all its followers from near and far,

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    We would be delighted for your continued support and exchange of experiences in 2021. Thank you very much for 2020 Bio4Energy researchers and students, Board and Steering Group, as well as members of the Industrial Network.

  • Season's Greetings from Bio4Energy

    To all the Bio4Energy researchers, the Bio4Energy Industrial Network, Bio4Energy Advisory Board, the Steering Group and Board, as well as all our followers, funders, colleagues in the sector and friends everywhere:

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    MerryChristmas Bio4Energy2019A northern Sweden Christmas tree, also known as Norway spruce. Merry Christmas. Photo by Bio4Energy© 2019.

    Thank you for all the hard work in 2019! Next year will be pivotal for Bio4Energy as we try win funding for a third programme period. Please keep spreading the message about the work we do to deliver world-class tools and methods for conducting sustainable and efficient biorefinery based on wood or organic waste: Advanced biofuels, "green" chemicals and smart bio-based materials.

    From Seed to Advanced Fuels and Chemicals

  • Swedish Centre for Biomass Gasification Gets Four More Years

    JoakimLundgren Photo by AlanSherrardJoakim Lundgren gives a talk at a 2016 seminar by the Swedish Centre for Biomass Gasification. Photo by Alan Sherrard, Bioenergy International.The Swedish Centre for Biomass Gasification(SFC)—launched in 2011 to provide coordination of Sweden-based efforts to develop gasification of biomass into a viable alternative to fossil energy carriers—looks set to continue its operations for four more years. The much-awaited announcement came as a the Swedish Energy Agency confirmed its decision in a press release to provide provisional funding for another programme period, from 20 April 2017 to 19 April 2021. 

    “The decision is wonderful news. We are so happy. We have achieved a lot in a short time, six years; and now we can build on it, provide an edge to the technology, according to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. who directs the centre since 2014.

    Gasification of biomass, in which lignocellulosic feedstock is turned into synthesis gas and then converted to liquid biofuel or electricity, is taken to be one of the cleanest and most technology-ready options when it comes to renewable alternatives to fossil energy carriers. According to estimates outlined in a government-commissioned package of reports from 2013, one in three cars travelling on Swedish roads could be running on the new fuels in 2030. These could be renewable dimethyl ether, methanol, methane or synthetic diesel.
  • Swedish Government Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation Visits Bio4Energy, Umeå, Sweden

  • System Analysis Needed for Pointing Politicians, Scientists, in Right Direction on Energy

    Ibrahim Balyan SAEE 2016Sweden's energy minister Ibrahim Baylan told a conference that academic input had been vital for the government's recent Energy Agreement with opposition parties to go through. Photo by courtesy of the Luleå University of Technology.

    A conference by Bio4Energyresearchers and colleagues on the transformation of Sweden's energy system finished at Luleå last week, with keynote speaker Ibrahim Baylan, the Swedish energy minister, concluding that the recent Energy Agreement struck by the government and parties in political opposition before the summer recess hardly had been possible had the government not consulted widely with academic stakeholders.

    "He spoke about the Energy Agreement, but included a discussion on the need for research as a basis for political decision-making", said conference coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., who represents Bio4Energy's System Analysis and Bioeconomy branch.

    The agreement between the ruling Social Democrats and Greens, and the Moderate Party, Christian Democrats and Centre Party in opposition, states that Sweden aims for its economy to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and for its electrical power production system to be "100 per cent renewable" by 2040.

    The 23-24 August conference, hosted by the Swedish Association for Energy Economics and the Luleå University of Technology (LTU), also heard energy profile Tomas Kåberger, professor at the Chalmers University of Technology, contribute a global perspective and, notably, talking up solar energy as having a great potential of increasing the share of renewables in the overall energy mix. He had pointed to the example of how Germany has kept subsidising solar power installations and how, subsequently, solar panels have become mainstay on German rooftops, according to professor Lundmark.

  • Systems' Perspectives on Biomass Resources

    Bio4Energy studentsltu AnnaStromExtent and credits: 7.5 ECTS             


    Course coordinator: Robert Lundmark 



    Objectives

    On completion of the course, students will:

    • Be able to understand how to apply a systems' perspective on their own research;

    • Have gained insights into the current global energy and environmental challenges; 

    • Have gained insights into the rational of sustainability; 

    • Have awareness of tools and methods used for environmental, technical and economic systems analysis. 

    Dates and locations

    Autumn 2019

    28 October - 1 November, Luleå, Sweden: Lectures and workshops;

    Followed by independent work on a project assignment.


    Contents

    The course consists of:

    • Lectures (on sustainability issues, systems analysis approaches and tools) and workshops;

    • Lectures on essential subjects for large-scale biorefinery or bioenergy research and;

    • A project assignment, where the students identify suitable systems analysis tools or methods to be applied to their own research. The outcome will be a draft research proposal, a journal or conference manuscript or a chapter of a thesis.

    Application and prerequisites

    The application for enrolment in Systems Perspectives on Biomass Resources is closed.

    For enquiries regarding the course content, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Thermal Treatment of Sludge Could Boost Phosphorus Resources, Solve Waste Problem

    MarcusOhman 2916rsBio4Energy vice programme manager Marcus Öhman will develop a new efficient method for phosphorous recovery from waste sludge, together with colleagues in Bio4Energy. Photo by courtesy of Marcus Öhman.

    Bio4Energy researchers are developing a new efficient method for phosphorus recovery using thermal treatment of sludge from municipal waste treatment facilities or pulp and paper operations. Once implemented, the scheme is expected to provide for a reduction of the risk of contamination of food and feed crops by heavy metals—as well as reduce the problem of how to dispose of toxic waste sludge—and produce an economic benefit for industry. Research leader This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. said that the technology could be ready for industrial uptake within a decade.

    "We could be at the stage of industrial demonstration of the technology in five years. Then a certain amount of time would be needed for classification of the product. We know that it would be economically beneficial for some [existing] bioenergy operations which use fluid-bed technology to start co-firing dried sludge with [fuel wood]", according to Öhman, who is a professor in Energy Engineering at the Luleå University of Technology(LTU).

    The research and development project, which is the fruit of collaboration between Bio4Energy researchers at LTU and Umeå University, has been several years in the making. Now it can go ahead thanks to a recently announced multiannual grant from the Swedish Research Council Formas.

    Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plant growth and thus for food production. It is extracted by mining in a handful of countries worldwide and its maximum production is expected to peak in the year 2030. After that predictions range from 50 to several hundred years before it runs out. Research is ongoing on a handful of methods for recycling the mineral from sludge, but which either perform inadequately (when it comes to removal of toxic heavy metals present in sludge or to phosphorus recovery rates) or are inhibitively expensive, to believe Öhman.

  • Thesis Defence: Processing of Continuous Fibers Based on Nanocellulose, Luleå, Sweden

    Saleh Hooshmand of the R&D platform Bio4Energy Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion Technologies will be defending his PhD thesis Thursday 9  June 2016 from 10:00 in Room E632, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.

    His supervisors are professors Kristiina Oksman and Aji Mathew of the same platform.

    Opponent is professor Stephen Eichhorn, University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.



  • Transformation of Sweden's Energy System Discussed at Luleå in August

    Akkats power station Credit LTUAkkats hydro power station far north in Sweden at Jokkmokk, owned by state-run energy utility Vattenfall. Photo by courtesy of Vattenfall AB.Bio4Energy researchers and industrial partners are calling on energy stakeholders—representatives of Swedish authorities, business and industry, research institutes and academics—to join them 23-24 Augustat Luleå, Sweden, for talks on how far the country has come in implementing a sustainable energy system.

    Summarising the economic, social and environmental side of things, as well as discussing ways forward, does not sound like an easy task to accomplish in two days, but conference coordinator This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. believes it can be done.

    "The transformation of the Swedish energy system is a great undertaking and requires a broad start. There will be 50 research presentations and a number of keynote [addresses] by people from industry and authorities and politicians. People can expect to hear about systems' studies, analyses of political support measures, how to promote biofuels and the development of markets and trade", according to Lundmark, who is a professor at the Luleå University of Technology.

    Ibrahim Balyan, Sweden's minister for energy, and Tomas Kåberger, Swedish energy profile and professor at Chalmers University of Technology, are posted as keynote speakers on the website of the Swedish Association for Energy Economics Conference 2016, and the event is subtitled 'Current and future challenges of energy systems in Sweden and neighbouring countries'.