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Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

  • 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.

  • Potentially Toxic Chemicals in Thermal Conversion of Biomass Need to Be Investigated, Controlled

    QiujuGao 416Bio4Energy PhD researcher Qiuju Gao checks torrefied material for toxic organic chemicals in a laboratory at the University of York. Photo by courtesy of Qiuju Gao.In large-scale production of heat and electricity in the developed world, emissions from biomass burning are generally well controlled. Recently, however, new high-technological methods have been invented that are designed as a pre-treatment step to various forms of temperature-dependent conversion of renewable biomass to fuels, chemicals and materials, often in combination with heat and/or electricity production.

    Because in such thermal conversion every new process step could be a potential source of undesirable emissions, and because these need to be controlled for the purpose of safeguarding human health and the environment, Bio4Energy scientists set out to investigate the matter with a focus on toxic emissions in relation to pre-treatment technologies that are still in their infancy: Microwave-assisted pyrolysis and torrefaction. While the former is designed to produce a bio oil using microwave technology (and which oil then may be further refined into value-added specialty chemicals), the other is a form of roasting of the biomass which renders light-weight and hydrophobic solid pellets or briquettes. Both methods are performed in an oxygen free, or near oxygen-free, environment.

    In a set of studies carried out by Bio4Energy PhD student This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and colleagues at Umeå University in Sweden and at the University of York in the UK, the researchers wanted to find out whether each of the two technologies gave rise to the formation of dioxins or dioxin-like substances that are toxic organic compounds that can spread over large distances, accumulate in the fatty tissue of humans and animals and persist for a long time in the environment. These chemicals are regulated under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which is a global treaty agreed under the auspices of the United Nations in 2001. It aims for countries to phase out the use of POPs since these are known to induce cancer and immune system deficiencies in humans.
  • 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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  • R&D Platform Meeting: System Analysis and Bioeconomy, Umeå, Sweden

  • Report on New Method to Map Biomass Properties Receives Praise, but Author Warns Large-scale Testing, Industry Cooperation, Needed

    Mikael Thyrel Photo by Anna StromBio4Energy reseracher Mikael Thyrel has been acknowledged for his work by the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. Photo by Anna Strom©.The composition of different types of biomass materials varies widely and may even vary within, say, a single species of wood. This is generally seen as an impediment to the large-scale roll out of biorefinery—meaning industrial operations designed to make a cascade of bio-based products such as biofuels, "green" chemicals or bio-based starting materials for products—since each biorefinery process may have to be adapted to biomass materials from a single source. This is especially true for lignocellulosic biomass, meaning biomass from wood or inedible parts of plants.

    Thus, knowledge about quick and easy ways to judge the properties of each type of biomass is high in demand. Bio4Energy postdoctoral fellow This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. has focused his research on such methods, in the pre-treatment step of the biomass intended for use in biorefinery processes. Using sophisticated X-ray fluorescence and near-infrared spectroscopy, he found that the two techniques may be used to gauge the amount of non-desirable ash-forming elements or contaminants and to single out wood chips for their content of value-added extractive substances, respectively.

    While the conclusions of Thyrel's work so far are based on testing on a laboratory scale, this has not stopped the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry (KSLA) deeming it useful and novel enough to grant him an award for "best PhD thesis 2016" for the report in which he sums it all up:  Spectroscopic Characterisation of Lignocellulosic Biomass. Thyrel is to receive a diploma from the hands of the Swedish prince Carl Philip, 28 January in Stockholm and has received a personal grant.

    "As the [biorefinery] industry is trying to start up new methods are needed for the characterisation of biomass. Biomass is heterogeneous in nature. Especially targeted processes for producing chemicals are rather sensitive [to impurities in the biomass]. One batch of wood chips does not look the same as the other. We have to find a way to characterise them so that the polluting elements can be removed or handled", said Thyrel, who works at the Department of Forest Biomaterials and Technology of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • 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

  • Seminar on Bio-based Feedstock: 'Make No Mistake, There is Still Momentum for Building the Bioeconomy'

    Is the efficient and sustainable biorefinery of the future challenged by the low price of oil and gas and the lack of a political framework that encourages bio-based production in the long term? Yes. Have actors in the sector shut up shop while waiting for conditions to be right for launching the bioeconomy? Not at all.

    Judging from developments in Sweden, a precursor country in terms of biorefinery development based on woody materials and organic waste, great strides are being made in industry and academia to pave the way for a transition from an economy heavily reliant fossil fuels and materials based on petrochemicals, towards a bioeconomy. A few such developments were highlighted yesterday at a seminar at Umeå, in northern Sweden, on Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production, by the Swedish Knowledge Centre for Renewable Transportation Fuels (f3 Centre), the research environment Bio4Energy and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

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  • Seminar: Feedstock for Sustainable Biofuel Production, Umeå, Sweden

    Feedstock for sustainable biofuel production

    - Perspectives on tailor-made feedstock, influence of choice of method on estimates of climate impact and the role of EU policy and regulation

    a co-arrangement by f3, SLU and Bio4Energy

    6 February 2017, 10:15 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Venue: P.O. Bäckströms sal/aulan, SLU, Umeå

    The aim of the seminar is to give different perspectives on the feedstock side of the value chain of biofuel production. We choose to focus on the potential of tailor-made feedstock, effects of the choice of method on evaluating sustainability issues, as well as give an update of the role of EU policies and regulation in the development of sustainable biofuel production. The target audience is industrial, public and academic actors with an interest in the use of forest biomass, biorefinery and biofuel production and use. In addition, this will be an excellent opportunity to network with researchers, industry representatives and actors from the public sector representing the value chain of renewable transportation fuels.

    The programme contains plenary presentations and study visits to the Biomass Technology Centre (BTC) and the demonstration plant for torrefaction in Holmsund, IDU.

      

    f3 – fossil free fuels: The aim of the networking organization f3 is to contribute, through scientifically based knowledge, to the development of environmentally, economically and socially sustainable renewable fuels, as part of a future sustainable society. http://www.f3centre.se/

    SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences: The vision of SLU is to be a world-class university in the fields of life and environmental sciences. https://www.slu.se/en/

    Bio4Energy: The 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—which draw on biomass sourced from forests or organic waste as a raw material. http://www.bio4energy.se/

  • Swedish Government Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation Visits Bio4Energy, Umeå, Sweden

  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden
  • Towards Genomic-based Breeding in Norway Spruce

    Zhou L. 2020. Towards Genomic-based Breeding in Norway Spruce (PhD dissertation). Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå, Sweden. Online 8 August
  • Training Course: High Throughput Sequencing DNA-Seq and RNA-Seq Analysis for Plant Breeding

    The purpose of this course is to familiarise participants with data analysis methodologies and provide hands-on training on the latest analytical approaches. Lectures will give insight into how biological knowledge can be generated from high-throughput sequencing experiments and illustrate different ways of analysing such data. Practicals will consist of computer exercises that will enable the participants to apply statistical methods to the analysis of sequencing data under the guidance of the lecturers and teaching assistants, specialists in the topics addressed by the course.
  • Umeå Plant Science Centre 50-year Anniversary Symposium, Umeå, Sweden

    Please see the Bio4Energy Events' page.
  • Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting 2016, Umeå, Sweden

  • Umeå Renewable Energy Meeting, Umeå, Sweden

    UREM 2017
  • Worskhop om framtidens skogssektor med Näringsdepartementet, Umeå, Sweden

    Nationella skogsprogrammet bjuder in studenter till workshop om framtidens skogssektor

    Temat för dagen är hur vi kan göra skogssektorn mer attraktiv.

    Hur kan vi ta tillvara skogens alla värden i en växande bioekonomi? Hur kan vi nyttja vår skog på ett bättre sätt och hur ska råvaran användas? Vi kommer för att ta del av er kunskap och era synpunkter.

    Statssekreterare Elisabeth Backteman och Näringsdepartementets skogssekretariat bjuder tillsammans med Skogshögskolans studentkår in till en workshop för alla studenter med intresse för skogen.

    Kom och bidra med era tankar och idéer! På vilket sätt kan och vill ni bidra till det nationella skogsprogrammets vision? Vi arbetar nu med att ta fram det första svenska nationella skogsprogrammet någonsin. Och vi vill träffa er studenter som vill bidra i detta arbetet.

    Visionen för det nationella skogsprogrammet är ”Skogen – det gröna guldet – ska bidra till jobb och hållbar tillväxt i hela landet samt till utveckling av en växande bioekonomi”. Programmet tas fram i bred dialog med aktörer och intressenter som bedriver  verksamhet med skogen som bas.

    Varmt välkommen!

    Statssekreterare Elisabeth Backteman

    Tid:Måndag 4 april
    kl 13.00–17.00
    Registrering 12.30–13.00
    Dialogmöte 13.00–17.00
    Fika och förfriskningar serveras
    Plats: Kårhuset, Skogshögskolan, Barrskogsgränd 10, Umeå
    Anmäl dig via E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    senast den 21 mars

    Kontaktperson: Gustav Nord
    Antalet platser är begränsat