AgriForValor Hub Ireland organized a successful two-day bioeconomy interhub mission to the Netherlands

14th & 15th February 2018

Published on 03-04-2018 15:53:13 by AGRIFORVALOR

CakePHP The study visit took in two biorefinery site visits, to Empyro and Newfoss B.V. along with a visit to Wagenignen University Food and Biobased Research, including the Biobased Product Innovation Plant.




Fig 1: Vist to Empyro Plant

The first vist on 14th February was to BTG Biomass Technology Group BV (BTG) and the Empyro FPBO Plant - BTG is an independent, private group of companies, headquartered in Enschede which for the past 30 years has specialised in the process of conversion of biomass into useful chemicals, fuels and energy. BTG primarily focus on thermochemical technologies at different stages of development ranging from R&D activities to commercial application. BTG facilitated a tour of their research facilities at Enschede and introduced a number of ongoing biobased projects including; RoadToBio (BBI JU) delivering a roadmap illustrating the ‘sweet spots’ for Europe’s chemicals industry towards the Bioeconomy up to 2030;  Bio4Products a 3 ton/annum pilot plant (visited by participants) aiming to demonstrate an innovative two-step conversion method to transform straw, bark, forest residues and sunflower husks a wide variety of end products; MAGIC  (Marginal Lands for Growing Industrial Crops) aiming to promote the sustainable development of resource-efficient and economically profitable industrial crops grown on marginal lands. Participants then visited the Empyro Fast Pyrolysis Bio-oil commercial-scale facility at Hengelo developed by BTG, producing 20 Million Litres of pyrolysis oil annually from woody biomass, which is used for substitution of natural gas in steam generation by Friesland Campina 30 km away. The pyrolysis oil can be upgraded to transport fuel and can also be blended within conventional refineries, and used as a building block for chemicals. The participants were impressed by the commercial potential of the thermochemical processing plant in Hengelo in addition to the piloting facilities developed for the 3/ton per hour Bio4Product project as Enschede. The potential of the technology was of interest particularly to forestry representatives, while the potential of new industrial crops as part of the GRACE project was interesting to those coming from an agricultural background.

The next visit on the 14th February was to Newfoss Green Biorefinery in Uden where residual grass (e.g. verge grass) and waste biomass streams, are refined using a mild extraction process to isolate fibres which with applications as a raw material for the paper & cardboard industry and a residual juice fraction which can be used for composting with potential as biogas and liquid fertilizer replacement, as well as a platform for polylactic acid (PLA) production. This visit was particularly interesting for members of the grass biorefinery innovation partnership group (Biorefinery Glas), and particularly for stakeholders from Ireland which has over 50% of grassland.

Fig 2: Visit to Newfoss BV

On the 15th of February the group visited the Wageningen University Bio-based Products Innovation Plant, a large R&D facility used by WUR bio-based researchers to develop innovative processes to convert green raw materials (biomass) into bio-based products. Aside from a visit to the Innovation Plant, the participants heard from leading Netherlands experts on topics including small-scale biorefinery opportunities for agriculture, industry developments in the circular bioeconomy, and research innovation at Wageningen Food and Bio-based Research. A pitching session was also held at this event, and networking between participants was held in between talks.