Minnesotans to tour Swedish biomass operations

By Ryan C. Christiansen
Web exclusive posted Jan. 22, 2009, at 2:51 p.m. CST

The BioBusiness Alliance of Minnesota and the Scandinavian Cleantech Export Association will take up to 40 representatives from Minnesota government, business, and education who are involved in bioenergy system development to Sweden in March for the SCE Green Energy Tour 2009, which will showcase Sweden's renewable energy technologies.

"We are really looking to continue the momentum that was created through the first International Bioenergy Days conference," said Gregg Mast, senior program manager for the BioBusiness Alliance. International Bioenergy Days was held this past fall at Minnesota State University, Mankato in Mankato, Minn., where a delegation from Sweden learned about what is being done in the Minnesota region to convert woody biomass, agricultural residues, and manures to solid fuels and convert biomass using gasification and pyrolysis, as well as other topics. "We're hoping that it (the tour) will continue more of the technology transfer and open up opportunities for licensing, manufacturing, and distribution of Swedish technology with Minnesota companies," Mast said.

The four-day Green Energy Tour begins March 1 and will include large-scale municipal solid waste-fed combined heat and power facilities, wood-fueled district heating systems, pellet-fueled residential heating, biogas production, biodiesel production, and energy efficient construction methods. The delegation will visit a waste-to-energy power plant in Säve, a 3.5 megawatt wood chip-fed district heating plant in Floda, a fire department in Floda that's heated using a 200-kilowatt wood pellet furnace, a municipal solid waste treatment facility that produces biogas and has a biogas filling station for cars and trucks, a 40,000-ton-per-year wood pellet production facility, and a plant that produces biodiesel from rapeseed oil, as well as other renewable energy facilities.

Mast said the delegation will also meet with Swedish government officials about the policies and strategies that have been implemented in communities or regions of Sweden to encourage the development of renewable energy solutions.

So far, Mast said 15 people have confirmed their participation in the tour. The BioBusiness Alliance has also invited tour participants to attend the European Pellet Conference, which will be held Feb. 25-26 in Wels, Austria.