Biofuel Leader: Sweden Gets Energy from Wood Waste, Organic Waste

Air Date: 04/21/2008
Source:
NBC Nightly News
Creator:
Brian Williams/Anne Thompson
Air/Publish Date:
04/21/2008
Event Date:
04/21/2008
Resource Type:
News Report
Copyright:
NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
Copyright Date:
2008
Clip Length:
00:03:01

Sweden is one of the pioneering countries in "green living", attempting to cut it's carbon emissions but still growing its economy.

Biofuel Leader: Sweden Gets Energy from Wood Waste, Organic Waste

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor:

Have you ever noticed whenever you see those stories about which people are the most contented around the globe, whenever they profile the Swedes, they always seem to be so happy and beautiful? Now there's another reason to be green with envy about the Swedes. We're told they are living green lives, showing kindness to the planet and saving a ton of energy in the process. Here is our chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson.

ANNE THOMPSON reporting:

Sweden's official colors are blue and yellow, but it lives green. From the citizens who can eat the fish from waterways in Stockholm to King Carl XVI Gustaf, who rules the land and drives an ethanol-powered car.

Can the rest of the world learn from Sweden?

King CARL XVI GUSTAF: If you--if you are willing to, yes.

THOMPSON: To learn, the world travels through Sweden's forest to its living green laboratory Vaxjo. A city of nearly 79,000, it is a pioneer in green living, cutting its carbon emissions by 30 percent per person in the last 15 years while still growing its economy. The crown jewel, its power plant that once burned oil.

What does this big pile do? What is it used for?

Mr. LARS EHRLEN (Veab Heat and Power Manager): This pile is our fuel for our...(unintelligible)...heating and electricity production.

THOMPSON: Wood waste goes from truck to conveyor belt to boiler. Though they need 30 times more wood waste than oil, it only costs 1/5 the price and produces near-zero carbon emissions.

Mr. EHRLEN: We think that by doing this, we'll not increase the greenhouse effect.

THOMPSON: Because Sweden has no oil of its own, scientists like Anders Bowden are trying to turn wood into synthetic fuel.

How long will it take before cars in Sweden can run on gas by wood?

Mr. ANDERS BOWDEN: I would say within 10 years.

THOMPSON: In time to meet Sweden's goal to be fossil fuel-free by 2020.

But even here in Europe's greenest city, some ways of life are much harder to change, like trying to convince people to ride on two wheels instead of four. Mayor Beau Frank thinks he knows how.

Mayor BEAU FRANK: You need the whip and the carrot. Whip is to make it more expensive to use fossils, and the carrot to make it more inexpensive to use alternatives.

THOMPSON: Alternatives like the fuel made from organic waste that powers this train.

Why are Swedes so open to the idea of renewable fuel?

Mr. BERTIL CARLSON (Svenkbiogas Train Project Director): We love the nature. We love what we have around us.

THOMPSON: Even in Stockholm, green works. To reduce traffic, Swedes pay to drive in the business district. A three-mile pedestrian mall runs through the heart of the city. Here it is a way of life, even at the royal palace.

King CARL XVI GUSTAF: We are not perfect, but we can--we can change knowledge and experience and technique.

THOMPSON: Creating, perhaps, Sweden's most important export: real world ways to live green.

Unidentified Man: Unbeatable biofuel.

THOMPSON: Anne Thompson, NBC News, Stockholm.

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