The BioRefine - New Biomass Products Programme of Tekes,
Finnish Funding Agency for Tech-nology and Innovation,
for 2007-2012 has aimed to generate new and unique
expertise in pro-cessing of biomass and to apply it to
the creation of processes, products and services related
to biorefineries. A further objective has been to promote
the development and use of second-generation production
technologies in biofuels for transport.
A broad Finnish effort to develop new biorefining
competencies and technologies has been co-ordinated under
the umbrella of the BioRefine programme. The BioRefine
programme together with the FuBio programmes of Finnish
Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC Ltd (former Forestcluster Ltd)
and the special pilot and demo funding of the Ministry of
Employment and the Economy has formed an extensive
network of national and international collaboration. This
entity has harnessed an exten-sive network of national
research institutes, universities and enterprises. The
total volume of the projects funded by Tekes in the
BioRefine programme has already reached 285 million.
The projects of the programme cover a spectrum of
products - biofuels, chemicals, materials - utilising
biomass in a variety of forms. One of the main focus
areas has been forest-based biorefineries. In addition to
forest-based raw materials also opportunities of agro
biomass, waste fractions and new biomass sources, like
algae and microbes, have been worked with.
The research, development and demonstration of production
technologies of biofuels has had a large role, e.g.
technologies for producing biofuels for transport via the
synthesis-gas route and the fermentation route and new
liquid biofuel concepts based on integrating a
fluidized-bed boiler and fast pyrolysis have been
developed and demonstrated. Also the use of biofuels has
been demonstrated, e.g. in the field tests with a bus
fleet in the Helsinki Metropolitan area. Also
opportunities of algae production and utilization in
biofuel and bioenergy production have been studied.
Green-house gas and other environmental impacts of
production and use of biofuels have been assessed.
Several novel routes to produce materials and chemicals
from biomass have been developed. Projects of the
programme have focused e.g. on new fractionation methods
of biomass, cost-effective methods to produce sugars from
biomass, production of biopolymer foams, and methods to
modify lignin into materials applicable for composites,
coating adhesives and barriers. The pro-gramme has also
been a platform for small and medium-sized companies to
carry out development projects together with research
institutes and universities.
The programme has facilitated innovations on the
bioeconomy, and hence it has intensively paved the way
for bioeconomy in Finland.