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Academy – Industry Collaboration to Identify ‘Sustainable’ Biofuel for Shipping in Arctic

Dalia FORMASDalia Abdelfattah Yacout has done nothing but 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 identify a biofuel with low environmental and climate change footprint, made from waste from pulp and paper industry 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 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. Climate change and eutrophication effects will be considered. Cost-benefit analyses will be performed for use by industrial stakeholders and, finally, social impacts calculated.

Read more: Academy – Industry Collaboration to Identify ‘Sustainable’ Biofuel for Shipping in Arctic

Project on Biorefinery Production from Quinoa Residue, Capacity Building, to Strengthen Bolivian Economy

CristhianCarrasco CarlosMartín LeifJönssonFrom left; Cristhian Carrasco, Carlos Martín and Leif Jönsson; on the Bolivian Altiplano, at the start of the Quinoa Project in 2017. Photo by courtesy of Carlos Martín.A groundbreaking research project on turning inedible residue from quinoa production in the Andes of South America into bio-based products, will have a long-term continuation. Fresh funds from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), and a great investment of time and resources by the project leaders, mean that a number of students will be trained to lead the work in Bolivia and that new bio-based materials will be developed.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. of Bio4Energy at Umeå University (UmU), Sweden and Cristhian Carrasco of Bolivian Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, lead a part of the newly granted five-year Research Cooperation Programme that targets the development of bio-based materials.

The pair will oversee research and training on production of bio-based polymers—bio-based substances or materials consisting of very large molecules—that will eventually result in new materials made from quinoa stalks. These latter are what is left over after the protein-rich edible part of the plant has been removed.

The pharmaceutical and food industry are targets for the bio-based materials to be developed.

Bolivia, along with other Latin American nations place great belief in the nascent bioeconomy to provide renewable products and sustenance to farmers in financially challenged regions sharing the Andean Altiplano, the high-altitude plateau of the mountain range that straddles Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Read more: Project on Biorefinery Production from Quinoa Residue, Capacity Building, to Strengthen Bolivian...

New Measurement Method for Bettering Plant Growth Is Here: Bio4Energy Scientists in EU Project

Sensors TotteNiittyla 040321Newly created electrochemical sensors will help researchers understand sugar transport in plants, to improve agricultural and biorefinery raw material production. Pictures published with permission.A new system to monitor sugar levels in plants or trees in real time, for the purpose of optimising growth conditions, in the face of climate change. Seems futuristic? It is here, in any case.

Bio4Energy scientists with expertise in feedstock research teamed up with partners in Sweden, Italy, France, Greece to create cheap-to-produce sensors that gauge the levels and whereabouts of sugar in plants, as they vary over the day and with changing climatic conditions.

The idea is to have a versatile way for researchers to implant small electrochemical sensors directly in the plant to monitor the fluctuations in the way in which the sugar is transported stored in the plant. The results are directly visible.

With this kind of research tool, it will be possible to gauge optimal conditions for growth for various types of plants, for instance which kind of soil, soil moisture and temperature conditions should be preferred.

Read more: New Measurement Method for Bettering Plant Growth Is Here: Bio4Energy Scientists in EU Project

Recent Bulletin from IEA Bioenergy on Use of Woody Biomass for Energy

Bio4Energy highlights a February 2021 bulletin by the International Energy Agency's Bioenergy branch (IEA Bioenergy). The bulletin attempts to nuance the debate and clarify some misconceptions that are common in current media campaigns that criticise the use of bioenergy. The bulletin can be found here, Campaigns questioning the use of woody biomass for energy are missing key facts.

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.

Read more: New Initiatives to Meet UN SDGs: Bio4Energy Partner Universities

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.

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.

Read more: Season's Greeting from Bio4Energy 2020 with Updates

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.

Read more: Award for Science-industry Project to Develop Prebiotics – Video

Technology Researchers Listen Up: We Can Help Make Your Processes Environment-friendly

Bio4EnergyBio4Energy SAB AnnaStrom2020x500Bio4Energy system analysis researchers at Umeå can help applying life-cycle assessment on bio-based technology projects. Illustration by Bio4Energy© 2020. system analysis researchers at Umeå, Sweden have joined up to issue guidance on the way in which life-cycle assessment (LCA) may be applied to technology-based projects in the areas of advanced biofuels, ‘green’ chemicals or bio-based materials, in line with the topical focus areas of the research environment.

In a new compendium, which starts with an introduction to the LCA method and the need for its application, they outline finished and ongoing LCA-to-biomass projects shepherded by two expert teams at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Umeå University, respectively.

“It shows the work that has been done in Bio4Energy and informs technical researchers of the possibilities afforded by applying LCA to technology-based projects”, said This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Bio4Energy researcher at the SLU.

Read more: Technology Researchers Listen Up: We Can Help Make Your Processes Environment-friendly

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.

Scientific Articles


Effects of Biosurfactants on Enzymatic Saccharification and Fermentation of Pre-treated SoftwoodMolecules 25(16):3559. 28 February
Exopolysaccharides Production by Cultivating a Bacterial Isolate from the Hypersaline Environment of Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia) in Pretreatment Liquids of Steam-Exploded Quinoa Stalks and Enzymatic Hydrolysates of Curupaú SawdustFermentation 7(1):33
Diurnal in vivo xylem sap glucose and sucrose monitoring using implantable organic electrochemical transistor sensors. iScience 24 (1) 101966. 22 January

Cultivation of Pleurotus ostreatus Mushroom on Substrates Made of Cellulose Fibre Rejects: Product Quality and Spent Substrate Fuel PropertiesWaste Biomass Valor. 3 December
Integrated production of edible mushroom (Auricularia auricular-judae), fermentable sugar and solid biofuel. Renewable Energy 170, 172-180. June
Impacts of Fuel Nonequidiffusivity on Premixed Flame Propagation in Channels with Open EndsPhysics of Fluids 33, 13604, American Institute of Physics (AIP). January
Understanding Flow Properties of Mannitol Powder at a Range of Temperature and HumidityInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics 120244. January