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Granholm Says Partnership with Sweden Fueling Growth of Michigan's Bio-Economy, Job Creation


October 21, 2010

Second biogas facility planned for Reed City 

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that Swedish Biogas International AB is exploring the development of a second facility in Michigan to produce renewable energy from municipal and agricultural waste.            

Granholm made the announcement as part of her Swedish investment mission following a reception with company and government leaders at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm.            

"Companies like Swedish Biogas International are transforming Michigan into the clean energy capital of North America," Granholm said.  "This is all part of our aggressive strategy to diversify the Michigan economy and expand our state's clean energy capabilities to create jobs and in the process reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil."          

The Swedish Biogas International facility in Flint, one of Michigan's first Centers of Energy Excellence, was initiated in 2008 and involves collaboration with Linköping University in Sweden, Kettering University and the city of Flint to convert wastes from the city's wastewater treatment plant into bio-based energy. 

"The Flint operation is showing real promise," said Greg Main, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.  "We are very excited about accelerating the commercialization of clean technology in Michigan." 

Matthew Barzun, U.S. ambassador to Sweden, said the success of Swedish Biogas demonstrates the potential for future job-creating projects.           

"Governor Granholm and the state of Michigan are demonstrating to the world the role global partnerships can play in creating jobs back home," Barzun said.  "Our goal through the Swedish American Green Alliance initiative is to help Michigan and others in the United States foster those partnerships that will ultimately grow jobs to the benefit of both nations' economies."            

The scope of the project in Flint was expanded this year to include co-digestion of agricultural waste, increasing the overall biogas potential.  The biogas produced at this plant will be used to generate electricity and will open the door for biofuel in the form of biomethane in the near future.  Additionally, Swedish Biogas International chose to make the new Innovation Center at Kettering University its North American headquarters, setting the stage for Flint to be the launching point for expanding the use of this technology throughout Michigan and North America.          

Swedish Biogas is currently conducting an engineering study for a co-digestion project at Reed City's municipal wastewater treatment plant.  The project has potential to generate biogas for the purpose of producing affordable electricity and expanding the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant.  The General Mills Yoplait plant in Reed City, one of the largest yogurt plants in the world, is in discussions with the company and may provide feed sources for the digester. 

"We are excited about the opportunity to build a biogas facility in Reed City as it is an essential building block for the Biogas Center of Energy Excellence," said Thomas Guise, CEO, of Swedish Biogas International.   "At Swedish Biogas we believe that a combination of public and private biogas facilities, collaborative research among Michigan universities and the creation of knowledge-based jobs are essential elements in creating a world-class Center of Energy Excellence."           

"With engineering work underway, we have opportunities to provide renewable energy from waste and promote the growth of our agricultural-based businesses," Granholm said.  "Our Michigan-Sweden collaboration has made these opportunities possible, building on Sweden's recognized international leadership in alternative energy and decades of experience in biogas production."            

On Thursday, Granholm was also honored by the King of Sweden, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf, and was presented with the insignia of Commander First Class of the Royal Order of the Polar Star for her work in fostering relations between Michigan and Sweden in clean energy.  The Order of the Polar Star was created in 1748 and is now awarded to foreigners and members of the Swedish royal family for services to Sweden.           

Prior to the ceremony at the Royal Palace, Governor Granholm, Ambassador Barzun and other members of the governor's delegation toured Hammarby Sjostad, a former run-down industrial area that is being transformed into an environmental role model.  

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