Studentenverhaal

Bio-refinery of grass

My name is Roy and I follow the BCT-track of Biosystems Engineering. Since I was young, I was always interested in agriculture and technology. I worked on a dairy farm for almost ten years, so I also have a good background in agriculture. During my second last year in secondary school, I came in contact with the study programme of Biosystems Engineering.

The subject of my internship was planning and leading a project where biorefinery of grass is implemented on several dairy farms.

I started in Wageningen in 2012 and got to know a wide variety of areas where I could focus my work on. One of these areas, where I developed a special interest in was bio-based chemistry and technology. Some years passed and in my master's, I decided to focus on the BCT-track, to develop myself in this area.

My master's thesis dealt with designing farm located conversion systems for agricultural products and residues. During my thesis, I came in contact with GRASSA! by coincidence. The company is specialised in the biorefinery of grass and other green leaf materials. Grassa makes the connection between agriculture, technology and chemistry. In other words, I found the perfect combination of elements of my interest. I applied for an internship and it was approved. The subject of my internship was planning and leading a project where biorefinery of grass is implemented on several dairy farms.

A few years back a desk study was done to calculate the economic and technological feasibility of biorefinery on seven dairy farms. Depending on the operational management some farms had more potential than others but in the end, the desk study predominantly showed a positive outcome for all dairy farms. This theoretical study had to be verified in practice and that was what I am trying to achieve in this project. I had to plan this whole project for three dairy farms, besides I have a role in optimising and adapting the current process for biorefining grass. I will be the project leader which includes a very broad range of activities including aspects of agriculture, technology and biobased chemistry. It is a relatively small company but I am involved in a lot of activities within the company. It is a great opportunity to get to know the company and gain experience and I am really enjoying my time here.