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According to a new study from Chalmers, grass and clover can become an alternative to imported soy and natural gas as lining and fuel for Swedish agriculture. The researchers have investigated the possibilities of using biogas from grass and clover as fuel instead of natural gas and protein from the plants as feed instead of soy.
The study shows that grass and clover have the potential to replace all imported soy to Sweden and 13 percent of natural gas. In addition, growing grass and clover in Sweden can increase biodiversity, reduce climate impact and promote local agriculture. The researchers point out, however, that more research and development is required to optimize the cultivation and production of grass and clover as biofuel and lining.
A large part of the feed used in Sweden comes from imported soy, which is a big burden on the climate because the production of soy often takes place at the expense of forests and biodiversity in South America.
In order to be able to use grass and clover for feed and energy, we need to build biorefineries in Sweden. These are facilities that manufacture products such as chemicals, energy and various materials from a bio-based raw material. Building an entire system of biorefineries can be complicated, but the researchers believe they have a solution.
"It is not easy to construct a mathematical model with raw material producers, logistics, biorefineries and consumers who also interact with each other in different ways. But overall, our model represents the entire system, says Sebnem Yilmaz Balaman", researcher at Chalmers and the one who has constructed it model on which the study is based, in a press release.