Pilot important for green economy

Published: 2 September 2013

Professor Patrik Soderholm at Luleå University of Technology is leading a research project in which the socio-economic importance of pilot and demonstration plants in biorefining and bioenergy are studied. A more effective transition to a bio-based economy is the goal.

Large-scale investment in new green technologies is risky for industry and pilot plants are an important bridge between basic research and commercial applications. State financing of these facilities is often necessary, but also demands that the money makes a difference. The EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 highlighted the importance of pilot plants and the knowledge associated with them. Luleå University of Technology has been granted 16 million from Formas to study how work on pilot plants can be led, organized and supported in an appropriate manner. The project has also co-financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and the Strategic Research Bio4Energy

- Our focus is on pilots for scaling up of green products made from wood, such as transportation fuels, but the research will be relevant for other sectors as well, says Patrik Soderholm. We will examine the value of pilot facilities for community and industry and identify how policy instruments and decision-making can be designed to promote the development of technology.

Recommendations, for such as designing cooperation between business, government, politicians and other key players, new management and organizational structures, management of conflicts of interest between society, industry and universities, etc., policies and how to measure the value of knowledge transfer to other industries and research are examples of the specific value.

Case studies from BioDME pilot in Piteå, ethanol pilot plant in Örnsköldsvik, GoBiGas in Gothenburg and Lignoboost in Bäckhammar, which include testing the large-scale production of bio-based fuel oil, are the basis for the studies. Comparisons are also made with similar facilities in countries like USA, Canada, Finland and Brazil. The research is done collaboration with SP in Gothenburg. From LTU participates, in addition to Patrik Söderholm, also Johan Frishammar and Hakan Ylinenpää.

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