Georgia could further develop its biofuel industry with help from Swedish companies that have the technology and the experience, according to Tom Rosseland, chairman of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce Atlanta Inc.
Mr. Rosseland, who is also an attorney with Bodker, Ramsey, Andrews, Winograd & Wildstein LLP, has been working with the chamber’s bioenergy committee to build relationships between Swedish and Georgia companies to explore cooperation in biofuel made from wood and other organic materials.

“One of the things that will distinguish technology from Sweden is the ability to use something that is naturally available in Georgia. We have a lot of pine wood that could be harvested for conversion to either ethanol or other uses that could be considered a ‘green’ kind of technology,” Mr. Rosseland said.

The United States is “playing catch up” with Europe in terms of developing viable bioenergy products and is some 10 years behind Swedish technology in this field, Mr. Rosseland said, noting that Sweden already has gas stations located at ethanol manufacturing plants for use by consumers.

But Sweden could help Georgia “put itself on the map” in the alternative energy field, he added.

“We’re very optimistic that something will come through,” he said of the chamber’s recent meetings about bioenergy with Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office, various Georgia General Assembly legislators, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology and the Advanced Technology Development Center.

“My vision would be to have closer cooperation directly with Sweden, either from a legislative or technology perspective. We need to actually get real people here on the ground from Sweden who can be a resource to policy makers and business interests that are serious about looking at options available from the Swedish way,” he said.

He said the Swedish chamber is available to help match Swedish companies with Georgia partners for bioenergy projects, as well as advise on two-way trading opportunities. Sweden is interested in developing the use of canola oil for fuel, so there could be potential for trading canola for wood-based bioenergy technology, he said.

Mr. Rosseland cited a Swedish company that is producing wood pellets in Florida to be used for fuel in Europe as an example of a bioenergy project that Swedes are already conducting in the Southeast.

He added that the chamber held its second annual bioenergy summit a few weeks ago that brought a group of Swedish experts here to coach Georgia companies and policymakers on developing a bioenergy industry in the state.

At the national level, President Bush met with Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt two weeks ago as part of a dialogue on Sweden-U.S. cooperation in the research and development of environmental technologies. The Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce USA Inc., which hosted a Swedish-American Entrepreneurial Days business networking event April 16-18 in Chicago, introduced 30 Swedish technology companies to U.S. venture capital funds around the country.

Mr. Rosseland encouraged Georgians interested in renewable energy technology to attend an event taking place in South Sweden in August called Swedish-American Entrepreneurial Days.

The August 20-23 event is hosted by the cities of Växjö, Malmö, Karlskrona and Kalmar, Sweden, and highlights bioenergy, food and health, heavy vehicles, information and communication technology, interior design, life sciences, logistics, packaging and transportation, research and development, wood industry and building products.

Closer to home, Mr. Rosseland invited Atlantans to attend a Swedish National Day celebration on Wednesday, June 6. Hosted by the Swedish chamber, the Honorary Consulate of Sweden and other Swedish groups in Atlanta, the event is to be held from 7-9 p.m., on the Emory University campus in the mathematics building.

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Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce

Tom Rosseland

RSVP for Swedish National day with Sara Sundqvist or (770) 670-2480. Cost is $15 for Swedish National Day tickets.