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    The U.S. Embassy in Finland and the Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy jointly sponsored a U.S. Em­bassy Science Fellowship to survey biorefinery research and development (R&D) activities in Finland and the United States and to seek cooperative research efforts between the two countries. The biorefinery effort in Finland started from concerns about global climate change and a need to comply with terms of the Kyoto agreement on greenhouse gas emis­sions. The biorefinery program in the United States started from concerns about the rising cost of crude oil and a desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil for U.S. transportation fuels. Although different in original intent, the two country R&D programs have many similarities and offer numer­ous opportunities for collaborative efforts. The program in Finland is more focused on direct replacement of high-carbon fuels, such as coal and peat, and gasification and gas reforming as a path toward transportation fuels. Chemical and biochemical research on biorefinery includes produc­tion of ethanol as a transportation fuel but is more focused on specialty chemicals and use of biomass chemical frac­tions in films and plastics. The U.S. focus is primarily on transportation fuels, with about equal efforts on gasification and Fischer–Tropsch reforming, and cellulose hydrolysis with fermentation to ethanol. This difference in emphasis is partially dictated by difference in raw materials. About two-thirds of the biomass available in the United States is dedicated annual crops and unused stalks and leaves of ce­real grain agriculture. The bulk of the biomass available in Finland is thinnings and logging slash from softwood tree species. Agricultural residuals are more readily hydrolyzed than softwoods and, because of higher ash content, more difficult to handle in gasification and direct combustion. The difference in program emphasis between the two countries is largely a response to different climate and geographic condi­tions in Finland and the United States.

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    Rudie, Alan W. 2009. State of the art in biorefinery in Finland and the United States. General Technical Report FPL-GTR-185. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 22 p.


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    Biomass, refining, Finland, United States, biomass energy, biorefinery, gasification, saccharification, hydrolysis, fermentation, Fischer-Tropsch

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