Since the signage of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton and the Swedish Ministry for Enterprise and Innovation on bioenergy cooperation, a Swedish Delegation has worked with the Great Plains Institute to help convene interested parties in the exchange of ideas and to build long-term relationships for potential bioenergy project collaboration.
The Swedish Delegation has visited Minnesota with a focused interest on collaboration in biogas since 2014. The trips led by the Swedish Energy Agency, aim to promote information and business exchange between Minnesota and Sweden while increasing the share of renewable energy through the intended collaboration. You can read about a previous Swedish Energy Agency visit to MN here
This year GPI arranged meetings between the Swedish Biogas delegation and various companies and organizations around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and even partook in a visit to Wisconsin. Sites visited included the Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy Center, Hastings Cooperative Creamery, Covanta Energy Corporation, Hennepin County Public Works Department, NatureWorks LLC, Jon-De Farm Inc., Ever-Green Energy, and the University of Minnesota.
Technology solutions for different intended projects were discussed. At the Hastings Cooperative Creamery, ideas were shared about the possibility of a bigger facility to help with the reduction of waste water produced by the creamery and improved efficiency.
At Covanta, the meeting focused on sharing solutions to help shape an advanced waste processing project for the City of Minneapolis.
Hennepin County is exploring the potential for an anaerobic digestion project to process household and commercial source separated organics that are currently being collected but composted.
NatureWorks is currently conducting a Department of Energy research project to use methane to produce lactic acid. They prefer a source of biomethane and are examining options for a pilot biomethane-to-lactic acid project. They are looking to bring online the first global-scale methane-to-lactic acid fermentation facility.
The Swedish Delegation openly expressed their feedback and gave opinions on how these various businesses and organizations could partner with Swedish companies to implement and improve current existing technologies.
The meetings also aimed to spark interest in a call for proposals. The Swedish Agency hopes to receive interest from around the globe, including Minnesota, to receive a grant for a feasibility studies or demonstration projects for bioenergy technology applications, including biogas. The grant will be funded through the Swedish Energy Agency. The application will open in late July and will be due at the end of August. Key findings of the studies will be presented on the next Swedish Delegation trip to Minnesota in the spring of 2017.