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 said.
He 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
Dimitris Athanassiadis — Bio4Energy Graduate School Coordinator
Carmen Cristescu — Course Leader for Historical, Technological and Societal Background