Tag Archive for: biorefinery education & training

Season’s Greetings from Bio4Energy

As the season draws to a close, Bio4Energy wants to wish its friends and followers a

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We wish our researchers and partners to have break over Christmas, to come back strong at work in the New Year.

Education in focus in 2024

For our part, 2024 will have a focus on education with two of the three generic courses of the Bio4Energy Graduate School launching.

Biorefinery Pilot Research, our flagship training where students are introduced to the innovation processes of bio-based applications and technologies by paying visits to industry—both a biorefinery and technology developers—is set to kick off late August.

Systems’ Perspectives of Biomass Resources, gives students the tools with which to place their technology research projects in a regional and global context of biorefinery and bioenergy development, is planned to start sometime in autumn of 2024.

Wood Biology and Biotechnology is an extra special five-day intensive training that is designed to give an edge to students of biorefinery interested in the modification of trees and plants for use as input material in bio-based processes. The knowledge and experienced shared here are not available in textbooks and come from leading scientists, several of whom member of our research platform Bio4Energy Forest-based Feedstock.

Nordic Wood Biorefinery conference to northern Sweden

As is custom, Bio4Enegy will host Researchers’ Meetings for further integration of the research performed on our seven research platforms. The next one is planned for June.

For the first time, the conference Nordic Wood Biorefinery is set to be held Örnsköldsvik, mid-October. Bio4Energy is part of the organisation.

Thank you for 2023! We look forward to continuing the work together with you in 2024

Bio4Energy Graduate School: Development of Biorefinery Innovations Up Next

Bio4Energy’s core curriculum is contained in the courses of its Graduate School. The flagship training Biorefinery Pilot Research gives PhD students and postdoctoral fellows access to the unique park of pilot and demonstration facilities that line the coast of northeastern Sweden, when it comes to the production of advanced biofuels, “green” chemicals and bio-based materials.

Students construct and conduct their own projects to experience the innovation process hands on. First-hand access to professionals in industry and their peers allow for networking. Industry professionals are welcome to apply and to attend the course, to top up their knowledge with the latest in biorefinery development based on residues of woody biomass or organic waste.

A new edition of Biorefinery Pilot Research is scheduled for autumn 2024: End of August to October. First come, first serve!

Moreover, a much awaited new edition of Systems’ Perspectives on Biomass Resources will launch in autumn 2024. Students learn the basics of system analysis, by applying its principles on their own research projects. They also receive an overview of energy and sustainability issues on the global level, framed in the context of biorefinery development.

New course leaders as of November 2023 are Joakim Lundgren, Elisabeth Wetterlund and Andrea Toffolo; all three affiliated with Bio4Energy core partner Luleå University of Technology.

Finally, the new History of Biorefining in Nordic Countries‘ training paints the background of biorefinery development, as well as current trends and progress. Study visits and sessions on sustainability challenges alert students to the fact that we need to do better tomorrow to achieve circularity; efficient and effective production systems with low or no pollution escaping out into the environment.

Carmen Cristescu coordinates History of Biorefining, which just concluded in November this year, with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences at Umeå, as the hub for lectures and group assignments.

So say our students

PhD students Edouardo Arango-Durango and Mahsa Mehrara traveled from Luleå and the university there to attend the first-ever edition of the course.

“It has been amazing. I am from Colombia where forestry is different. Here [in Sweden] innovation is more advanced. It was an opportunity for me to learn”, Arango-Durango, Thermochemical Conversion, told Bio4Energy Communications at the end of lectures 27 October.

Standing beside him, Mehrara is part of Systems Analysis and Bioeconomy and, in her work, performs simulations to lay at the base of various research investigations.

“I joined because I wanted to know more about the background of my research. It is nice to know [what happens with] the feedstock in the real world”, she said.

“I liked the course, but it could be made more challenging”, Mehrara added.

For more information

Bio4Energy Graduate School

Biomass Feedstock, PhD Education, Synchrotron Research in Focus at Bio4Energy Event

The recent Bio4Energy Researchers’ Meeting, drawing together sixty of its researchers to meet at Umea in northern Sweden, is real-life example of the deliveries that Bio4Energy took on making as a Strategic Research Environment, appointed by the Swedish government.

Biomass input materials for making renewable fuels, chemicals and materials

The members of the Bio4Energy Forest-based Feedstocks platform are designing trees that are better suited to resist challenging climatic conditions and to grow faster. Tree genes are studied in depth for the purpose of knowing how to enable an easy separation of the polymers in the wood matrix, for the production of advanced biofuels, “green” chemicals and bio-based materials. Four group leaders presented their latest research on wood engineering and characterisation, as well as resilience in times of climate change.

Education and training for advanced students: Tomorrow’s knowledge workers of the bioeconomy

Bio4Enegy’s core curriculum is contained in the courses of its Graduate School. Biorefinery Pilot Research gives students access to the unique park of pilot and demonstration facilities that line the coast of northeastern Sweden. Students construct and conduct their own projects to experience the innovation process hands on. First-hand access to professionals in industry and their peers allow for networking.

The new History of Biorefining in Nordic Countries‘ training paints the background of biorefinery development, as well as current trends and progress. Study visits and sessions on sustainability challenges alert students to the fact that we need to do better tomorrow to achieve circularity; efficient and effective production systems with low or no pollution escaping out into the environment.

Course coordinator Francesco Gentili flagged that Biorefinery Pilot Research will be given in connection with the Nordic Wood Biorefinery Conference at Örnsköldsvik in autumn 2024, while Carmen Cristescu outlined the outcomes of the first ever edition of History of Biorefining, which just concluded in November this year.

Shining bright like a Bio4Energy student

Eleven of them painted the gist of their bio-based projects in minutes-long talks and fleshed them out later on research project posters, which were the focus of discussion during mingling time. Three winners of Best Poster Presentation were selected by a jury composed of more senior Bio4Energy colleagues.

Nitrogen regulated wood formation, Anna Renström — Forest-based Feedstocks

Biopolymers from residues: A Comparative characterisation of Halomonas boliviensis PHB, Diego Miranda — Biopolymers and Biochemical Conversion

What Makes a Tree a Tree?, Edouardo Soldado — Forest-based Feedstocks

Conference presentations

Forest feedstocks in the context of climate change, Sonali Ranade — Forest-based Feedstocks

Engineering of forest feedstocks for bioeconomy, Ewa Mellerowicz — Forest-based Feedstocks

Dark matter of the spruce genome, Peter Kindgren — Forest-based Feedstocks

Developments in forest feedstock characterisation, Gerhard Scheepers — Forest-based Feedstocks

Bio4Energy Graduate School: Biorefinery Pilot Research, Francesco Gentili — Enviroment and Nutrient Recycling

National infrastructure and synchrotron-related research, Nils Skoglund — Enviroment and Nutrient Recycling

Treesearch and Formax, Mikael Thyrel — Feedstock Pre-processing

Meeting programme

Logistics of Biomass Transport Subject of New European Training

Biomass as an input material for biorefinery needs to be handled and stored in a way that is efficient and designed to preserve the raw material, for the nascent bioeconomy to become viable on its own, according to a leading member of the Bio4Energy Industrial Network.
 
On behalf of his organisation BioFuel Region, based in northern Sweden, Magnus Matisons teamed up with experts in six European regions to develop a training on the subject for professionals of the bioeconomy.
 
It has three legs, which three corresponding training sessions. 

  • Introduction to challenges of biomass logistics, 7 September, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • End-users’ challenges in the local value chain, 26 September, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Sustainability and policy drivers for a regional bioeconomy, 19 October 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“For the bioeconomy to expand, more biomass will have to be transported to processing. With the project Scale-up, six regions in the European Union have come together to develop the way in which we use regional biomass resources”, said Matisons, who leads the Nordic part;
 
“We have been looking at this issue for 20 years [and come to the conclusion that] this type of training will benefit all those whose activities concern biomass”, he told Bio4Energy Communications over the phone.
 
While the Nordic part of the project starts from input materials such as saw dust, bark and other forestry residue, other European regions have chosen to target spent olive kernels, hemp or residue from breweries or from apple juice making.
 
“It will be an experiment in using technology, as well. Each region will be able to follow the sessions in their main language”, Matisons mused.
 
The sessions will be offered via the Microsoft Teams online conferencing system. There is no additional software required for those who sign up as participants.

Register now (please click the link)

For more information

Efficient regional biomass logistics and infrastructure

Introduction to challenges of biomass logistics: Agenda

Bio4Energy Contacts

Barbro Kalla — BioFuel Region & Bio4Energy Industrial Network

Dimitris Athanassiadis — Bio4Energy Graduate School Coordinator

Greeting to Our Followers

We are taking a break and want to wish our followers and stakeholders a very happy time ahead.

We will be back mid-August, focusing on the launch of our new training for advanced students; as well as institute or industry representatives; interested in bioenergy, biorefinery and the development of the forest industry. It starts in October this year and deals with the topic right below.

Many thanks for taking the journey towards the bioeconomy with us!

Bio4Energy

with our 200 researchers and advanced students, Programme Managers and their Deputy, Steering Group, Board, Advisory Board and Communications

New Training: History of Biorefining in Nordic Countries

Bio4Energy is launching a new course for PhD and postdoctoral researchers, which paints the background of, and serves as a framework for, the development of biorefineries based on woody biomass.

It has a focus on the Nordic countries; notably Sweden, Finland and Norway. This is not only because the Bio4Energy research environment is based here, but also because of their historic importance as a hub for forestry adapted to the geological and climatic conditions of the boreal belt.

These are conditions that have allowed the Nordics to become an exporter of timber and wood products, as well as evolve to lay foundations for today’s biorefineries: Plants that run a range of processes for the refining woody biomass or residual streams from pulp and paper industry.

In fact, even though the term ‘biorefinery’ may be recent, some experts on the topic would insist that biorefineries have existed for thousands of years.

“The need for PhDs to know the background and development of the forestry industry has increased. Here we provide the historical background. Biorefinery is a new concept, but conversion into useful energy has existed since ancient years”, according to Dimitris Athanassiadis, Bio4Energy Graduate School Coordinator.

The format will be three weeks of fulltime study, of which one week on location at Umeå, Sweden. This second week (6-10 November) will include study visits to relevant industrial operators such as the biorefinery at Örnsköldsvik, Sweden (Domsjö Fabriker AB of Aditya Birla), harvesting operations and a wood yard.

Just as the other two generic courses of the Graduate School, it will be offered biannually.

“It is very important to understand how we reached were we are now. [We will be looking at] technological developments, historical aspects… and legislation. Mistakes of the past should not be repeated”.

Athanassiadis is a researcher at Bio4Energy partner Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and is working on the launch along with his team member Carmen Cristescu, researcher.

“We look forward to meeting the student and are very happy… to organise and plan this course to make it interesting”, he said.

For more information

Historical, technological and societal background to forestry and forest-based biorefining in Nordic countries — Bio4Energy Graduate School

Contacts

Dimitris Athanassiadis — Bio4Energy Graduate School Coordinator

Carmen Cristescu — Course Leader for Historical, Technological and Societal Background

Related News

New Coordinator for Graduate School: Course Starts in 2024

Starting Soon: Training on Developing Biofuels, Chemicals, Materials

Pierre Oesterle, PhD student, has been awarded a prize for his research to remove micropollutants from wastewater. Photo by courtesy of Pierre Oesterle.

PhD Student Wins Prize for ‘Outstanding’ Work to Capture Micropollutants

A Bio4Energy PhD student at Umeå University (UmU) has won a prize for his work on waste management, bio-based materials and recycling, by a Sweden-based institute that represents his home country, France.

In his research, Pierre Oesterle investigates ways to re-use by products from forestry industry; and the ways in which these can made to remove micropollutants from wastewater.

In doing so, Oesterle is one of the forbearers in the field of bio-based chemicals and materials, who aim to tackle the rapidly expanding problem of micropollutants that leak into the environment as a result of pharmaceutical drug use.

For the most part, this kind of pollution is not being picked up and filtered out by current wastewater treatment plants.

Using sorbents for treating wastewater is not new in itself, but the ones on the market are based on activated charcoal. In a context of aiming to contain climate change, such materials are not deemed environmentally friendly.

A sorbent–whether based on petrochemicals or biomass–is a material that acts as a molecular sieve, which attracts micropollutants and holds them to it, in a layer of thin film.

“My research tries to design bio-based activated biochars from waste of mining and forestry industry to replace those activated carbons in wastewater treatment plants”, Oesterle writes in an e-mail to Bio4Energy Communications and; “to regenerate or recycle these spent sorbents using hydrothermal deconstruction.

“The idea behind this technology is to use a low temperature, but a high pressure; to degrade the contaminants adsorbed on the surface of the activated biochar and to check the regeneration efficiencies of the material afterwards”.

Circular economy

The French Institutes of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden in their Nordic Award 2023 are targeting “outstanding achievements” to pave the way for a circular economy, by young French nationals.

“This award aims to promote cultural and scientific cooperation between France and the Nordic countries and to reward the outstanding achievements of young researchers”, according to the call for applications.

Oesterle will receive his prize from the hand of the French Ambassador to Sweden, 20 June. It comes with a paid-for trip to meet likeminded colleagues in the French region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, so that more cross-border and circularity friendly research may be spawned.

This edition of the FINA prize aims to help achieve three of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Sustainable consumption and production, climate change abatement and zero hunger.

“Few removal [or] degradation processes are currently used, such as ozonation or activated carbon. The drawback of using activated carbon is the unsustainability of the technique; as when the adsorbent is spent, most of the activated carbons end up incinerated or in landfill; inducing a potential secondary pollution. Moreover, most activated carbons are based on non-renewable resources (coal), which do not meet the SDGs”, Oesterle wrote.

Upcoming event: Webinar via Zoom, in which the FINA finalists present their research, hosted by the French Institue of Sweden. Thursday June 8, from 1:30 p.m. All welcome to attend.

Research platform: Bio4Energy Environment and Nutrient Recycling

About Pierre Oesterle: Personal page and list of publications, Umeå University

Circular economy is a system of production, exchange and sharing that allows for social progress, preservation of natural capital and economic development, as defined by the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations.

New Coordinator for Graduate School: Course Starts in 2024

The Bio4Energy Graduate School, with flagship training on biorefinery demonstration and systems analysis of biomass resources, has a new coordinator.

Dimitris Athanassiadis of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) at Umeå is taking over from Sylvia Larsson, who has moved on to industry and is working at MoRe Research, Örnsköldsvik.

Athanassiadis is not only an associate professor, but also has longstanding experience of coordinating higher education initiatives and most recently a graduate school at his home organisation SLU.

“It feels like I have had a lot of practise already at the Faculty of Forest Sciences.

“You really can help PhD students—and at the same time Bio4Energy—with networking and [with shaping their] education… by providing them with information about courses they may not realise are available and giving access to each other”, he said.

Athanassiadis envisages creating short webinars, organising site visits to companies in the sector or even arranging seminars.

As for the generic courses of the Bio4Energy Graduate School, he is planning to launch new editions of both during 2024. Biorefinery Pilot Research will be given in spring and Systems’ Perspectives on Biomass Resources in autumn.

For advanced students interested in furthering their education with the research environment, he advises candidates to contact research leaders in Bio4Energy whose work remit corresponds to the candidate’s topical area of interest.

Open positions will be announced via Bio4Energy’s website, he adds.

Starting Soon: Training on Developing Biofuels, Chemicals, Materials

Bio4Energy is announcing the start of its flagship training course Biorefinery Pilot Research early April 2022.

It is one of two must-take courses for advanced students interested in innovation and development of advanced biofuels, chemicals and materials from wood or organic waste.

The application opens today and will close 15 March.

Biorefinery Pilot Research is part of the Bio4Energy Graduate School on the Innovative Use of Biomass. It is for PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and industry professionals who want to develop their understanding of the innovation and development process.

For more information

Course brochure for Biorefinery Pilot Research.