In the Netherlands biomass is currently mainly used in food, animal feed and energy applications. Bioenergy is contributing to the European goal of achieving 14 percent sustainable energy generation by 2020. Bioenergy is also of major importance in the biobased economy for realising sustainable biorefinery chains.
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has been performing research into bioenergy for both industry and government for decades. The knowledge and experience we have gathered are used in specific bioenergy projects as well as other market sectors or projects aimed at upgrading biomass incineration and fermentation facilities.
Bioenergy as a motor for the biobased economy
The logistical infrastructure and knowledge developed in the energy sector for generating bioenergy from biomass is very applicable in the transition to a biobased economy. Knowledge and experience must be used in the proper way, however, for example by adapting and applying specific biomass certification systems and contracting strategies. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research contributes to the intelligent use of this expertise in various projects. Projects we are partnering in include contributing to the development of a vision for the Dutch energy sector in the transition to a biobased economy (commissioned by the Platform Bio Energy). We are also working on the application of alternative raw materials in the Essent bioenergy plant in Cuijk (NL), and application opportunities for nature and roadside grass for thermal conversion. Internationally we are contributing to the development of a sustainable biomass import chain between the Netherlands and the Ukraine (the ‘Pellets for Power’ project).
Bioenergy in the energy sector
The energy sector is also interested in the sustainable generation of electricity, heat and gas based on available and affordable raw materials. This can be realised by integrating processes with biorefinery processes in other market sectors. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works with collaborating partners throughout the sustainable biomass chain: From producers to end users. This expertise has given us insight into the final residue flows from biorefinery processes and how to use these in the bioenergy sector. Based on existing knowledge and expertise we advise clients in the energy sector on the bioenergy opportunities offered by the biobased economy.
Bioenergy powered biorefineries
To generate bioenergy, various biomass incineration and fermentation facilities have been realised over recent years. These facilities can be upgraded to bioenergy powered biorefineries. These biorefineries combine the production of secondary energy sources with the production of biobased products, such as proteins, chemicals and materials. This way the available biomass sources are used as efficiently and sustainably as possible. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research is working on this upgrading process in various Dutch and European projects.
Upgrading has many benefits: On the one hand it allows us to maximise the economic yield of existing facilities; on the other hand we can reduce investment costs for new biorefinery facilities and ‘hitch along’ with existing license trajectories. Based on its knowledge and experience with existing facilities, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research also advises clients on upgrading opportunities.