Building Biofuels Research

The Biofuels Research Infrastructure for Sharing Knowledge (BRISK2) provides researchers with access to equipment and expertise across Europe, with funding from EU Horizon 2020.

New and established biofuels researchers can take advantage of the range of research, networking and professional development opportunities presented by BRISK2, with a programme of transnational access and joint research activities, as well as summer schools, exhibitions and events. Transnational access with BRISK2 is ideal for early career researchers and industry professionals working with biomass and biofuels: both individual and team proposals are welcome.

There are fifteen partners in the infrastructure, located in eleven European countries. Their collaboration forming the Biofuels Research Infrastructure makes equipment available for a range of processes, spanning biomass characterisation and pre-treatment to pyrolysis and gasification. The full list of 55 available installations is on the BRISK2 website, and includes pyrolysis at Aston University, ECN’s OLGA tar remover and MILENA gasifier, and biochemical conversion at LNEG among its facilities. Calls for proposals for transnational access are now open online. The length and timing of planned transnational access research visits should be negotiated directly with project partners.

logo-brisk2BRISK2 has also recently announced the first BRISK2 Biofuels Summer School, taking place at CERTH Centre for Research and Technology, Hellas (Thessaloniki, Greece) from 20th to 22nd June 2018. A full three-day schedule is on offer to provide a firm grounding in the science and technologies of biomass and waste processing to produce biofuels. At the end of the summer school, course participants will have a clear understanding of the thermal, biological, catalytic and physical processes that are required to effectively and efficiently convert biomass and waste into valuable fuel. Sessions are led by BRISK2 experts from across the infrastructure, with interactive workshops, case studies, examples and discussions. There are 50 places available, allocated on a first come, first served basis. The summer school is free to attend, with lunch and refreshments included. Registration for this event is also now open on the BRISK2 website. BRISK2 follows in the footsteps of the first Biofuels Research Infrastructure for Sharing Knowledge, which ran from 2011 and 2015 and supported over 200 research visits across Europe.

BRISK2 will run until 2022 with funding of nearly €10m from the European Horizon 2020 programme to fund transnational access with some joint research activities involving the project partners. Project Co-ordinator, Andrew Martin of The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm said: “It is a pleasure to be a part of BRISK2, and I look forward to working with the consortium and welcoming researchers for Transnational Access. The exciting part of BRISK2 is the ability to offer Transnational Access to researchers both inside and outside Europe, making this project truly international.”

As a core BRISK2 activity, the call for transnational access proposals is ongoing until 2022, with applications evaluated by a panel of independent assessors. Academic and industry biofuels researchers are invited to submit BRISK2 proposals to support their research via the BRISK2 website. BRISK2 will provide successful applicants with a grant of up to €1200 per individual or team for travel, accommodation and subsistence. BRISK2 has expanded to welcome applications for transnational access from around the world, not just from within the EU. Researchers working on biofuels or related projects, including thermochemical conversion, biorefinery and biochemical conversion can apply to BRISK2 facilities located outside of their current country of work or study. BRISK2 aims to provide hundreds more opportunities for biofuels research visits.

Project Co-ordinator KTH is leading the project, with returning BRISK partners Aston University, ENEA, Bioenergy 2020+, ECN, TU Delft, CERTH, TU Graz and SINTEF. BRISK2 also has six new partners, including CENER, LNEG, VTT, Wageningen Research, KIT and Politecnico di Torino. The proposal process requires applicants to first identify the installation they would like to visit and contact the relevant project partner to discuss the viability of their proposal, before refining it under guidance and submitting it via the website. At the final stage, proposals will be assessed by an evaluation panel comprising two BRISK2 partners and two independent experts. The call for early 2019 research visits is open until October 2018. Prospective applicants should visit the BRISK2 website at to find the full rig list, partner contact information, application form, as well as the up to date evaluation panel schedule. Eligible applicants require a minimum Bachelor of Science (BSc) or equivalent in a relevant science or engineering discipline. Applications must be made to infrastructure partners outside that of the applicant’s current country of work. Priority will be given to applicants who do not normally have access to similar research facilities within their current country of work or study. Priority will also be given to first time applicants. The number of grants provided to non-EU applications is limited to 20% and eligibility is determined by the applicant’s current country of work or study.

Alongside transnational access, BRISK2 project partners are also collaborating on joint research activities; investigating feedstock characterisation, developing advanced measurement techniques and system simulation tools, as well as researching innovative biorefining approaches. BRISK2 is also proud sponsor of the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition 2018 at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, and will be presenting at the 12th ECCRIA Conference September 2018 in Cardiff, UK.

To find out more about the BRISK2 programme of Transnational Access or Biofuels Summer School 2018, visit the project’s website or email Project Coordinator KTH at

The project partners are: Aston University (UK), CENER (Spain), KIT (Germany), KTH (Sweden), Bioenergy2020+ and Graz University of Technology (Austria), ENEA and Politecnico di Torino (Italy), Sintef (Norway), LNEG (Portugal), ECN, Delft University of Technology and Wageningen UR (Netherlands), CERTH (Greece) and VTT (Finland).

nuova-immagine-9Funded by Horizon 2020, Grant Agreement Number 731101, BRISK2 will improve the success of biofuels implementation by accelerating the development of expertise and knowledge, leading to new renewable energy developments across Europe. It will provide opportunities for continued international collaboration, support a culture of co-operation and further establish Europe as a global centre of excellence in biofuels.

This article is by Pippa Try, Aston University.

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