An exciting game

September 2013

ECN and filtration solutions producer Royal Dahlman have jointly developed the MILENA-OLGA technology for gasification of biomass and waste. Recently, the British Energy Technologies Institute selected the Dutch Royal Dahlman, next to two British companies, to work on the front end engineering design for the world’s most efficient process for energy from waste. MILENA-OLGA technology is used as the basis. Meantime dozens of other projects are also being planned. A breakthrough seems to be very near for this technology.

The combined Dahlman-ECN  team, with Berend Vreugdenhil on the left front side
and Jan-Willem Könemann on the right front side

Jan Willem Könemann, sales manager renewable energy at Royal Dahlman:

‘In 2001, we received a phone call from ECN. They were making plans to develop a gas scrubber to purify the production gas resulting from biomass gasification. In the gasification process, tar molecules are released that are deposited in the installation and clog the pipes. This first contact was the start of an intensive collaboration, which has given our company opportunities that we otherwise would not have had. It did take a bit longer than expected to get the technology ready for the market; together we have faced many challenges. And the distribution of roles also changed along the way. At first ECN invented the technology and we tried to sell it.  Our relation is no longer that simple. Royal Dahlman has a very active role in delivering know-how and engineering to the ECN concept. Moreover, our position in the market has also changed. We do more than just deliver equipment; our responsibility is much larger today. We design the entire installation, look for a location, close contracts for feedstock and electricity, and we arrange the permits and the financing. What started out as a kind of hobby twelve years ago, has now become an independent business activity of the company, for which we have high hopes at Royal Dahlman. We have dozens of projects all over the world, some of which are very concrete. I strongly feel that we are on the verge of a breakthrough.’

Berend Vreugdenhil, chemical technologist and researcher at ECN

‘Thanks to the combined MILENA and OLGA technologies, Dahlman is able to offer a strong package, in which the gasifier and the gas scrubber are perfectly aligned to each other. We are currently involved in two challenging projects. We are doing fundamental research on tar reduction in the gasification process in the framework of the Top Sector Energy. Moreover, and we are designing a complete waste gasification plant at pilot scale for the Energy Technology Institute. These two projects are very complementary: what you learn from one project can be used in the other project. This way we are jointly working on making both MILENA and OLGA even better, more reliable and affordable. It is a pleasant and intensive collaboration. The teams of ECN and Dahlman have consultations every three months and we talk to each other weekly. A former colleague of ECN has even joined Dahlman. ECN often likes to scientifically explore the technical problems, while Dahlman is mostly focused on direct results. This creates a tension field, but also makes it a fascinating game; a game that is needed to realize new technologies and to really get these to the market.’

Would you like to find out more about the innovative gasification and tar removal technology? Click here.