New honorary doctor wants to make a difference for the climate — through scaling up all the way

His successful work to scale up and further develop the fungi-based processes developed in the research area of Resource Recovery at the University of Borås is what led to Andreas Gundberg’s recently being awarded an honorary doctorate.

“It is surprising and incredibly fun. I feel proud and honoured,” he said of the award.

At the same time, Andreas Gundberg humbly maintains that this work was not done solely by him, but as part of a team. He highlights that a large number of people, both from industry and, above all, from very competent research teams at the university, stands behind this result. 

“What I want to get attention is the incredibly important collaboration between academia and industry, that we take innovations that are in their infancy and make them commercially viable. When it comes to the possibilities of scaling up processes and achieving sustainability, both when it comes to business and environmental concerns, I have hopefully been able to contribute both from an industrial perspective and a business development perspective. “

In Norrköping, at one of Lantmännen’s three biorefineries, Andreas Gundberg has worked on large-scale fungi cultivation, and together with the University of Borås, has demonstrated the possibility of streamlining different production processes.

“If we can succeed in this, of course, other companies will also have the prerequisites to do so. My hope is to be able to contribute both with industrial applications and with my skills in business development,” said Anders Gundberg — something that, if the honorary doctorate is anything to go by, he has already accomplished.   

Early interest in the environment

Raised around agriculture, he had an early interest in the environment, most notably in renewable raw materials, and was educated as a civil engineer with a focus on biotechnology. After completing his education, Andreas Gundberg began working in the process industry where he became fascinated by connecting renewable raw materials with processes. As resource efficiency and circular flows are areas of focus at Lantmännen, he was a natural fit for the cooperative, where he has now worked for 15 years in different positions. Always with Lantmännen's core value of sustainability in focus. 

For a time, Andreas Gundberg was head of innovation at one of Lantmännen’s corporations, and in that role had the opportunity to link to a larger network of contacts, including those from academia and other collaborators. 

“Since the beginning of the 2010s, we have been working in various forms with the University of Borås, which has a very high level of competence when it comes to filamentous fungi. Together, we have taken several important steps in the further development of this area to make different processes commercially viable and develop new application areas. It's been a mutual journey,” he said. 

That journey, through continued collaboration, is taking a direct route to the future. 

“It's exactly in these areas that we need to focus going forward to be able to tackle the global challenges we face. This is about achieving the set climate goals.”

Residues become raw material

Andreas Gundberg spoke about the so-called waste hierarchy, which at the top level means we need to reduce our waste in every way possible.

“Next, it comes down to resource reuse and resource recovery, meaning that residues from one industrial process become a raw material in another,” he said, giving as an example old, unsold bread that, through a fungus-based process, can ultimately be used to produce new foods, biofuels, or protein feed for animals.

“By streamlining processes and implementing circular flows, we can make a big difference for the climate.”

Andreas Gundberg is passionate about making even more efforts in a field that is developing rapidly.

“I have worked for a very long time at a company which places central focus on efforts to replace fossil fuels, and at the biorefinery in Norrköping, we have a unique greenhouse gas performance on our products. Sustainability has thus been a key issue throughout the course of all my work — and this will certainly continue.”

This key issue also lies close to his heart, which he wants to work on now and in the future.

“I want to make a difference and it's only when we reach a critical mass and such processes are widely adopted that we can make the crucial difference. I want to be part of these efforts to scale things up, so that we go all the way. If I can somehow contribute to a more sustainable world, that would be fantastic,” said Andreas Gundberg. 

Open seminar on 27 April

Andreas Gundberg will give a lecture on resource efficiency and recycling – a key issue to stop global warming. This lecture will be held in English. Read more about the lecture
Andreas Gundberg will be introduced by Mohammad Taherzadeh, a Professor of Bioprocess Technology. 

Time: April 27 at 11:00–12:00
Link to the lecture:

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The research area Resource Recovery