Bio Energy netherlands
Bio Energy Netherlands focuses on converting sustainable biomass into biogas (syngas). Initially, it is used to generate green heat and green electricity. At a later stage, green hydrogen and CO₂ will also be produced. These are the basic chemicals used in green chemistry and for the creation of bio-fuels.
Bio Energy Netherlands wants to generate green electricity and heat from renewable sources and through this process take the step towards the production of green molecules, to be used as a resource in chemistry and for transport fuels. We aim to do this by making optimal use of local sustainable residual biomass flows.
The biggest challenge of the energy transition is finding sustainable alternatives for fossil fuels, mainly for the generation of green heat and green electricity. For Bio Energy Netherlands, this is only the first step. The ultimate goal is to additionally produce green molecules that can also replace fossil resources in chemistry, industry and transport. Sustainable biomass is a renewable resource that may replace fossil resources on all fronts.
Using modular plants, Bio Energy Netherlands gasifies biomass into syngas, which is used to generate green heat and electricity. Later, Bio Energy Netherlands will also produce hydrogen and CO₂ for the chemical sector. Because of the modular structure, Bio Energy Netherlands can respond flexibly to the local demands for its end products.
- Green heat for district heating and/or industrial applications
- Green electricity
- Green hydrogen
- Green CO₂
We cooperate with public authorities and industrial clients, realising the entire project from planning and financing to construction and operation.
The founders believe that sustainability requires action. Sustainability should be the standard and the foundation of any healthy – profitable – business. Because of this, they, together with a team of likeminded partners, invest in several initiatives that are to accelerate the energy transition. Using the European license for American gasification technology they invest in the Netherlands, supporting their partners with the planning, financing, construction and operation of the plant.
“We know that our partners don’t want to produce steam or electricity themselves, yet often do need it in their production process. This is why we help them with the plants, so they may focus on their core business, like we focus on ours.”
Bio Energy Netherlands
By gasifying the wood instead of combusting it, not only are many harmful emissions avoided (much less nitrogen and particulates, amongst others, are emitted), but extra resources may be extracted during the process. As it happens, biomass is not only suitable for replacing fossil fuels in the energy sector, it can also replace them in other sectors and industries. For example, many molecules that are used in chemistry may also be extracted from biomass. For this reason, Bio Energy Netherlands strives to extract hydrogen and CO₂ from biomass in addition to supplying heat and electricity. This way fossil fuels are no longer required in order to gain these resources, and Bio Energy Netherlands simultaneously contributes to the transitions to renewable energy and a circular economy, as well as a transition to a biobased economy.
The gasification plants of Bio Energy Netherlands use biomass, mainly in the form of residual wood. ‘Biomass’ (in this context) means all organic and biologically degradable materials that may be used as resources or fuel. The use of biomass is only sustainable under the right conditions. This is why the gasifiers of Bio Energy Netherlands exclusively use residual flows, making sure that the biomass was never harvested for the production of energy.
When untreated residual wood, which can no longer be reused in any other meaningful way, is left to rot, harmful substances are released during its decomposition. This includes methane, a very potent greenhouse gas. Often the material is burned, releasing the CO₂ that was stored in the wood back into the atmosphere. During the gasification of the wood the harmful emissions are minimal. In fact, gasifying the wood at the Bio Energy Netherlands plants, instead of combusting it, leads to net negative CO₂ emissions, because not gasifying this wood would cause more CO₂ emissions.
The gas that is produced by Bio Energy Netherlands can be used to generate heat and electricity. Here too, emissions of greenhouse gasses are reduced by replacing heat and electricity from fossil fuels. Because windmills and solar panels are mainly utilised for generating electricity, the gasified biomass of Bio Energy Netherlands is especially useful for improving the sustainability of heat production. As a matter of fact, heat production is responsible for the largest amount of energy usage in the Netherlands. Currently this heat is mostly produced using natural gas. A lot of greenhouse gas emissions reduction can be achieved by improving the sustainability of the Dutch heat production.
In order to make the whole process as sustainable as possible it is necessary to look beyond the gasifiers alone. This is because energy is also used during the gathering and delivery of the biomass. For this reason, the plants of Bio Energy Netherlands exclusively make use of regional biomass, limiting the transportation distances to a minimum.
Bio Energy Netherlands’ first wood gasification plant is located in the port of Amsterdam. This commercial wood gasifier is the first of its kind in the Netherlands. The choice for gasification is deliberate, as this results in 60-70% less nitrogen and particulates emissions compared to incineration. Moreover, gasification has an energy efficiency of 82%, much higher than incineration. The gas produced with biomass is used to generate heat and electricity. Initially, the wood gasifier will deliver 10MW, of which 80% is destined for heat and 20% for electricity. The intention is to further expand this capacity in the future, in addition to extracting hydrogen and CO₂ from the gas.
The wood gasification plant initially has two gasification reactors, each with a maximum capacity of 6MW. ‘Stratified Fixed Bed Downdraft Gasifiers’, developed by the American ZeroPoint Clean Tech, were chosen as reactor type. ZeroPoint Clean Tech’s patented gasification technology makes it possible to produce syngas with an extremely low tar content on a commercial scale. An inherent advantage of fixed-bed gasification reactors is that the resulting gas hardly contains any tar, as opposed to many other types of gasification reactors. This increases efficiency, as tar is difficult and costly to remove from the syngas afterwards. Until now, however, the production capacity of this type of gasification reactor has been limited due to scale constraints. ZeroPoint Clean Tech has succeeded in significantly increasing the size of the reactor and thus its production capacity, making this type of gasification reactor suitable for the commercial-scale gasification of biomass.
The wood to be gasified is supplied from the region, it is exclusively non-recyclable wood, which has no other possible destination (eg. prunings). Before the wood enters the reactor, it is first dried and shredded. The wood chips are then put into the reactor at the top, where the biomass is heated under low-oxygen conditions. The resulting gas is called ‘syngas’ (synthesis gas), which consists mainly of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The syngas leaves the gasification reactor at the bottom, leaving the remaining residues behind. These residues in the form of ‘activated carbon’ (biochar) can be used as a soil improver, among other things. Before the syngas is used, it is first cleaned with a water scrubber and a bag house filter, which filter out most of the residues and fine dust.
The syngas has many different applications. The wood gasification plant initially produces electricity and heat. Electricity is generated by means of a Jenbacher gas engine that can use syngas as fuel. The heat released during the gasification process and the generation of electricity is supplied to the nearby Afval Energiebedrijf of the municipality of Amsterdam, which is connected to the Amsterdam heat grid. Later, Bio Energy Netherlands’ wood gasification plant will also extract hydrogen and CO₂ from the syngas using the Water-Gas-Shift reaction, which can be used for transport fuels and in chemistry, among other things. During this process, the syngas will also be desulphurised.
ZeroPoint Clean Tech’s innovative technique has been assessed by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), the most important research institute in the field of energy in the Netherlands, and is considered proven from a technological point of view. The technique has previously been tested and optimised in various demonstration projects. Bio Energy Netherlands is using the technique for the first time on a commercial scale.
The energy transition is initiated for a better future. Such a profound change brings challenges, which Bio Energy Netherlands meets in multiple areas. For example, the generation of electricity using wind and sunlight is weather-dependent. Reserve capacity is necessary for times when both are scarce. The biomass gasification plants of Bio Energy Netherlands are capable of generating this non weather-dependent electricity whenever required.
Additionally, the port of Amsterdam is an important transhipment port for coal. When the energy transition results in a decreased demand for coal, parts of the port will need to be revised. Bio Energy Netherlands’ first gasification plant can be part of a solution, for when it starts its production of molecules for the chemical industry, the port of Amsterdam can become an interesting location for chemical business to cluster.
Meanwhile, the gas extraction in Groningen is gradually being stopped. Heat production forms the majority of the Dutch energy demands, with natural gas being its main fuel. Bio Energy Netherlands plants can deliver sustainable heat to heat networks, partially compensating for the reduced supply of natural gas from Groningen.