ECN tests sustainable technology in Dutch Rijnmond area

The Rotterdam-Rijnmond region and its many chemical and petrochemical companies is an important pillar of the Dutch economy. A good reason for ECN to be there, starting with a plant that can make complex separation processes in the chemical industry more efficient, low-cost and energy efficient.

A crucial element in the technology launched by ECN for purifying liquids is the Hybsi® membrane.  This new ceramic membrane is very good at separating water from organic solvents, remains stable at high temperatures and is water, solvent and acid resistant. As a result, its capacity has doubled compared to the previous generation of ceramic membranes and has a wider deployability. It offers users a cleaner end product and a higher yield at a comparable investment. On top of this, companies can save on  average 30 to 50 percent on their energy costs. In some cases the energy saving can be as high as 80 percent. Wide deployment of this membrane will thus offer an important contribution to making the industry more sustainable.

Plant One

The Hybsi® technology has proven its worth on laboratory scale. The next step is to prepare for industrial applications. ECN is thus one of the pioneers in the new test facility for sustainable processing technology Plant One, opened in May by Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The plant, which is 250 times larger than laboratory scale, has been set up and is currently being tested with water. The real tests will start soon. The first test that is planned will focus on upgrading a fuel with a high water content. Removing the water will increase the fuel quality, reduce the need for co-firing natural gas in the combustion and extend the life of the burners. Money can be earned from energy saving!


To bring the HybSi® membrane technology to the market, membrane manufacturer Pervatech acquired a permit for the production of the membranes. The technology transfer is progressing and Pervatech has meanwhile manufactured and sold the first membranes. ECN is currently negotiating with a second membrane manufacturer. Moreover, ECN is engaged in talks with end users of the membrane technology to set up a pilot and demonstrations on an industrial scale. Producers and end users as thus closely involved in the implementation of this new membrane technology based on the HybSi® membranes.