ECN and Planet Capital Management launch SulphCatch BV, an innovative desulfurisation technology company

Saturday September 17, 2005 11:56

Petten, September 7, 2004 Scientists at the fuel processing division of the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) have developed a new technology to remove a widely used odorant, THT, from gaseous fuels such as natural gas and LPG. By removing this odorant from the natural gas that fuels equipment containing catalytic subsystems, such as fuel cells, this equipment will function longer and its exhaust gas is cleaner. Although specifically developed to remove THT from natural gas, the SulphCatch technology removes other organic sulfur components as well.

This ECN technology is offered on the market by the company SulphCatch BV, a spin out of ECN. Venture capital firm Planet Capital, also shareholder of SulphCatch, is providing hands-on assistance in the commercialisation process.

Frank de Bruijn, Unit Manager of ECN’s Fuel Cell Technology Division and Managing Director of SulphCatch BV, said: “In about 5-10 years households will begin to use natural gas to generate their own heat and power with fuel cell systems, in a silent, highly efficient and much cleaner way. The presence of an extensive gas network and the current intensive research and product development efforts of leading Japanese, US and European heating systems manufacturers create a promising environment for large scale use of this new technology. We foresee that SulphCatch desulfurisation technology will be used in this market, especially on the European continent, where THT is used to odorise natural gas. We expect that other markets will adopt our technology even much earlier, because the need for sulfur removal from gas is wider than just the market of fuel cells.”

Marco Pieterse of Planet Capital Management stated: “SulphCatch technology of ECN presents a breakthrough both in sulfur removal efficiency as well as in costs. Firstly, the treatment of natural gas in the cogeneration market by SulphCatch filter material leads to a lower cost price for the generated heat and power. I expect that other possible fields of usage will be in power generating installations where removal of small quantities of organic sulfur compounds is important for meeting the quality and environmental requirements downstream.”

ECN is an independent, market-oriented organisation for research, development, consulting and knowledge transfer. ECN plays a key international role in the development of technologies needed for a sustainable energy supply. For the commercialisation of developed technologies, ECN then looks for competent partners who have the necessary marketing and sales infrastructure to successfully position the new technologies in the world market.

Planet Capital Management is a venture capital firm that focuses on investments in early stage energy technology ventures in renewable energy systems (including wind, solar, water, biomass), decentralised power generation systems (including fuel cells, micro-turbines and storage technologies) and demand-side efficiency.

Note for the editor

For further information on the company, details of the SulphCatch material and purchase orders please see the company website at

Dr. Frank de Bruijn, Manager ECN Fuel Cell Technology, P.O. Box 1, 1755 ZG Petten, The Netherlands, Tel. +31-20-224-564949,,

Marco Th.A. Pieterse, Managing Partner Planet Capital Management BV, Bergweg 171, 3707 AC Zeist, The Netherlands, tel.+31-30-6668318,,

Category: Corporate