MSU CANR Expert Developing Bioenergy in Sweden That Could be Applied in U.S.
Researchers from Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources are teaming up with Swedish scientists to study butyric acid, a biobased acid that may be used as a petroleum alternative. Given the Swedish government’s recent announcement that the country will stop using oil by 2020, this research is essential to developing ways to use the country’s large agricultural and forest resources to produce petroleum alternatives. Kris Berglund, MSU professor of chemical engineering and food science, is taking the lead on the project, and says that Michigan can learn a lot from the Swedes when it comes to energy independence and using abundant forest resources to become self-sufficient in energy. Butyric acid can be produced from forest-sourced raw materials or agricultural residue, and can later be processed into a high-value chemical. Berglund’s research and entrepreneurial endeavors are part of a larger collaborative effort between Sweden and MSU to share ideas about growing a biobased economy in both countries, creating jobs and launching companies that work to replace fossil fuel-based products with alternatives derived from plants and microbes.