Renewable energy Bioenergy
SINTEF has decades of research experience in environmentally friendly and energy- and cost-effective bioenergy
SINTEF's expertise helps industry, government and other organizations to assess and implement the use of biomass and waste for energy purposes. Putting these energy sources to work requires the knowledge that SINTEF can provide to ensure bioenergy is both environmentally friendly and highly efficient.
Biomass is the only renewable carbon source and can therefore be used for production of renewable fuels and chemicals. Biofuels are foreseen as a promising alternative to today's fossil fuels, given their potential to substitute fossil fuels in the existing energy supply infrastructure. In contrast, intermittent renewables such as wind and solar energy are clearly more challenging considering the ways energy is distributed and consumed, particularly in the heavy transport sector.
From biomass to energy, fuels and chemicals. The products from biorefineries replace or substitute products from traditional oil refineries. The utilization of renewable raw materials (wood, agro and industrial waste and marine biomass) minimizes the emission of greenhouse gases.
Catalysis is involved in 85-90 % of all chemicals production. SINTEF has extensive experience within both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis. Our projects are often directed towards understanding the operation of the catalyst and the interplay between the catalyst and its process. We work closely with partners in academia and Norwegian and international industry.
The CFD group at SINTEF Energy Research has more than 30 years of experience in performing numerical modelling of chemically reactive processes in laminar and turbulent flows consisting of single-phase (gaseous fuels combustion) or multi-phase (solid fuels combustion) configurations. Depending on the specific needs and time constraints of our customers, we are able to perform numerical simulations that boast a wide range of accuracies, geometric complexity and computational cost.
At SINTEF we work with the development of new chemical processes, separation sequences, process intensification and optimization of unit operations and complete plants. The activities span from the analysis of chemical properties and building of bench scale testing equipment to the design and commissioning of large scale pilot plants. Process modelling and simulation are integral activities of this work.
Combustion of fuels such as gases, wood, gasoline and coal are a main source of heat, steam and power, both in industrial processes as well as in our private lives (wood stoves, transport). Combustion is a main source of emissions to the atmosphere, such as NOx, SOx, CO, CO2 and soot and particulates. The combustion group at SINTEF Energy Research has extensive experience within analysis, measurements, optimization and design of combustion processes. We work with users, manufacturers and authorities in order to improve combustion technology and generate new concepts and design. Our work is motivated by the need for more sustainable and efficient use of fuel resources with emissions as low as possible.
Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine develops processes for fractionation and purification of products produced by fermentation, and from biomass. The department has experience and infrastructure for purification of small, bioactive molecules, as well as macromolecules such as proteins and virus.
Microbial bioprocesses is an important research area at SINTEF Materials and Chemistry. Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine has for the last ten years worked with microbial processes related to environmental technology. Examples are conversion of various types of feedstock to biofuel and platform chemicals, expertise within degradation of crude oil and other unwanted and recalcitrant chemicals in nature and bioreactors, and microfouling/biofilm formation on various surfaces from water systems to ship hulls.
Fuel characterization is the primary and a critical step in the evaluation of biomass and waste feedstocks' suitability for a thermal conversion process. Detailed and accurate characterization is especially important for proper utilization of inhomogeneous and low quality biomass and waste feedstocks, to prevent operational related problems, optimize conversion processes and design conversion systems.
Functional Metagenomics R&D is a relatively new and rapidly growing research area at SINTEF. Building on a long tradition of Marine Bioprospecting at SINTEF and NTNU, it aims at accessing and exploiting the metabolic potential of the entire microbial biodiversity in natural habitats, including the great majority of microorganisms that cannot be readily cultivated under laboratory conditions.
Biomass gasification coupled with catalytic synthesis or heat and power production has been identified as one of the most promising technologies addressing the 1.5 global temperature target. In our projects we are using unique infrastructure to investigate biomass gasification, fuel synthesis and heat and power production together with both national and international industry and research partners.
SINTEF has advanced facilities for high throughput screening and is working with lab automation and high throughput screening in a range of projects. The robotic screening facility at SINTEF has state of the art equipment for efficient automation of assays and cultivation in microplate format. Several thousands of samples and cultures are processed per day on a regular basis in the screening facility.
Hydrogen will be an important supplement to electricity as an energy carrier in future sustainable energy systems. In addition to being fuel for the transport sector, hydrogen will contribute to increased utilization of renewable energy sources. The need for energy storage will increase dramatically, and hydrogen will be the preferred option for large amounts of energy, and storage over longer periods.
The HTL conversion process occurs in liquid phase, with water used as the reactive medium. During the process, the feedstock decomposes forming solids, a liquid phase, consisting of aqueous and oily streams and a small amount of gas. It is ideal for processing wet biomass since large thermal energy savings can be achieved by avoiding the drying step that is required in conventional thermal processes. Moreover, the energy used to heat up the feedstock in the HTL process can be recovered effectively from product streams. This leads to high energy efficiencies from raw feedstock to the biocrude of the HTL step.
Industrial biotechnology is a key research area at SINTEF Materials and Chemistry. Industrial biotechnology uses enzymes and micro-organisms to make biobased products in sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and feed ingrediens, detergents, paper and pulp, textiles and bioenergy.
Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine has several projects focusing on increased value creation and generation of novel products from marine biomass and marine organisms. Marine microorganisms produce a range of components with biological activity.
Biological and biotechnological systems are often very complex, containing a large number (hundreds to thousands) of distinct chemical compounds. The use of mass spectrometry (MS) coupled to chromatographic separation (GC, LC, IC, FFF) allows for sensitive and robust quantification (ng/ml and below) of one or several selected compounds. This can be done even when the compound(s) of interest is present at very low concentration and in complex mixtures with closely related molecules. No other analytical technique can provide the same combination of sensitivity, selectivity and specificity for biological systems.
Pyrolysis of biomass has grown significantly as a research area the last decade. SINTEF carries out basic and applied research within pyrolysis of biomass for increased process understanding and production of upgraded fuels. We work together with both national and international industry and research partners to develop and improve value chains with pyrolysis oil or biocarbon (charcoal) as the main end product.
SINTEF Materials and Chemistry, Department of Biotechnology and Nanomedicine has been and currently is coordinating and participating in several transdisciplinary national and international projects aiming at systems scale understanding of microbial cells. The aim is to develop them into efficient microbial cell factories by means of metabolic engineering and applying top-down Synthetic Biology and metabolic engineering approaches.
Torrefaction is a thermochemical process for pretreatment of biomass. The treatment results in increased heating value and increased energy density (after compaction), lower grinding energy requirement, smaller particles and narrower particle size distribution after grinding and a hydrophobic nature of the solid product. The hydrophobic nature means that the solid product has much better water repelling properties, which makes it very resistant to biodegradation. Dry torrefaction is often referred to as a mild pyrolysis (200-300 ºC) process, which means that the thermal degradation occurs at relatively low temperature and at inert conditions. Wet torrefaction is also possible, where the biomass is heated in pressurized water. The pressure is high enough to keep the water in liquid form, and lower temperatures are needed compared to dry torrefaction. The additional benefits of wet torrefaction are the possibility to use very wet biomass as well as washing out water soluble ash elements.
The WtE sector is the backbone of the district heat network in Norway. However, WtE faces an array of challenges concerning process stability and energy efficiency, energy utilisation, environmental emissions (and carbon footprint), integration in future flexible energy systems, econimic aspects as well as public perception and regulative framework. SINTEF works on all those aspects both technically and at the value chain level.
Since the beginning of the eighties SINTEF has accumulated an extensive and versatile competence within development of small-scale heating technologies for the residential sector through solid biomass combustion, e.g. within pellets- and wood stove technologies.
High throughput screening facility, Trondheim
The robotic screening facility at SINTEF are optimized for high throughput analytical and cultivation work and enables us to process of thousands of samples or cultures per day.
Ambition – Advanced biofuel production with energy system integration
The ECRIA project AMBITION aims to develop a long-term joint European Community Research and Innovation Agenda on the integration of biofuels production and surplus grid electricity valorisation. AMBITION brings together eight partners from eight different countries into a European wide lasting research partnership, which is closely linked to EERA Bioenergy.
ERIFORE - Research Infrastructure for Circular Forest Bioeconomy
The ERIFORE will realize the European potential to consolidate its place as a world leader in biomass based research and innovations. ERIFORE builds on a new firm alliance aiming to establish open access distributed forest bioeconomy research infrastructure across Europe enabling scientific discoveries to be transferred to new business models, novel products and services enabling sustainable growth. The research infrastructure will focus on topics supporting Circular Forest Bioeconomy concepts starting from fundamental teaching and knowledge sharing to high level research laboratories and large scale piloting facilities.
Clean and efficient wood stoves through improved batch combustion models and CFD modelling approaches
SINTEF awarded three new Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research
The Research Council of Norway has granted funding to eight new Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME). Each new centre is guaranteed an annual allocation of NOK 15‒25 million for up to eight years.
Towards a bioeconomic future
Can our forests, seaweed, grass and fisheries waste be transformed into new and valuable raw materials? Researchers are asking 1500 Norwegian companies what they're currently doing with their resources, and what they see themselves doing in 2030.
SINTEF Energy Lab opening
2. September HRH The Crown Prince Haakon Magnus opened our new SINTEF Energy Lab.