‘Close the chain with a regional partner’
ECN enters into a partnership with energy and waste company HVC. This way HVC can convert its ‘complicated waste flows’ into green energy and ECN can scale up its technology and prove that the technology can also perform well on a large scale.
Eljo Vos-Brandjes, manager Strategy and Policy of the HVC Group:
‘Our mission is to turn all waste flows we receive into energy in the most efficient manner’, summarises Eljo Vos-Brandjes, manager Strategy and Policy at the HVC Group. ‘That is the interest of our 52 share holders: the municipalities and district water boards whose waste we process. Wood waste, pruning and mown verge grass are among the most complicated waste flows: there is not much you can do with them.’ Luckily, ECN has developed a successful lab-scale high-efficiency technology for converting wood fibres into green gas. ECN is ready for a demo installation that can handle 40,000 tons of wood waste and pruning every year in Noord-Holland Noord, which is exactly the volume that HVC processes. ‘It is nice that we can close the chain as partners in the region and that we can jointly do something for the region, says Eljo Vos-Brandjes. ‘We complement each other perfectly. ECN has the scientific know-how and we know all about bolts and nuts and deliver the raw materials.’
Bram van der Drift, group leader Syngas at ECN:
‘Before new technology can be implemented in practise on a large scale, businesses and consumers would first like to see that the technology performs well on the scale that will be used by these businesses and consumers. Otherwise it would seem like you are trying to sell a mobile phone with fantastic new opportunities, but without a certificate of guarantee. It would be a shame if that mobile phone never made it to the market. ECN is perfectly capable of testing a new solar cell in practise, but large installations such as MILENA require a partnership with a company. It is too expensive for ECN and it brings along certain risks for the industry. Where do you find partners with vision, willing to invest in a sustainable future in these uncertain times of economic setbacks? Both ECN and society are lucky to have found a launching customer like HVC that is willing to take the risk.’