830 km of Dutch Biobased Study Tour for new PIB Liaison from Ukraine

This summer Kateryna Kyrsta has joined the Partners for International Business (PIB) Biobased Energy Ukraine team as the new Liaison to enhance PIB’s initiatives and strengthen the Dutch presence in Ukraine bioeconomy market.

PIB Biobased Energy Ukraine is the Dutch public-private partnership established in 2015 to use the momentum of Ukraine energy sector transformation of switching from traditional fuels towards renewables as well as unlock enormous underestimated potential for biobased economy. The PIB is supported and financed by both the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands, as by Dutch companies active in biobased energy in Ukraine.

To learn about latest Dutch technologies and best practices of biobased projects Kateryna visited the Netherlands for one week intensive study tour that took her along 830 km of Dutch roads linking offices and project sites of companies forming the PIB. Overall during her week in Netherlands Kateryna met with 4 business companies, 2 knowledge institutions and visited 9 project sites of various biobased concepts behind, ranging from heat and electricity production to growing energy crops and high value added products synthesized out of biomass/biowaste supply, including bioethanol and pyrolysis oil.

Kateryna started her Dutch biobased journey with visiting KARA company in Almelo, that over 50 years is specialized in biomass fueled boilers production for industrial application. To show the strength and power of own boilers Willy Bijen of KARA arranged site visits to a local timber company and German nursery greenhouse that run boiler houses producing heat and electricity for own needs and supplying extra to the grid. Starting 2016 KARA together with its local Ukrainian partner Ukrteplo company launched local production of boilers in Kyiv area, thus providing its customers in Ukraine with a benefit to get additional premium for their feed-in tariff, that today is one of highest in Europe.

Following visit to boiler houses Kateryna visited BTG BTL company that is engaged in thermochemical decomposition of biomass into pyrolysis oil. BTG-BTL has its roots about 25 years ago at the University of Twente where the biomass fast pyrolysis technology was first invented. Following visit to the corporate office and the R&D lab where the company tests different types of biomass to define most valuable sources for pyrolysis oil, Gerhard Muggen of BTG BTL accompanied Kateryna to Empyro Plant in Hengelo – one of the first plants in the world to demonstrate biomass pyrolysis on a commercial scale.  Today Empyro converts 5 tons of biomass every hour into 3.5 tons of pyrolysis oil, rest is used to produce electricity and steam.

From the eastern side of the Netherlands Kateryna headed to Lelystad - city, built in late 60s on reclaimed land and located 3 meters above the sea level. In Lelystad one of the Wageningen research grounds is located and there is DSD company operating its bioethanol production facility with an application of Betaprocess. Direct processing with Betaprocess has primarily been designed to boost the production of bio-gas and bio-ethanol, but in the near future, it is expected to play a considerable role in the extraction of bio-components from biomass. According to Hans van Klink of DSD, direct processing with Betaprocess is very successful in processing of sugar beets into bioethanol

Next to DSD there is another member in PIB that is active in biomass processing into high value added products, this is NewFoss company that has developed a bio refinery process and supplies complete installations for grass processing into lignocellulosic fibers, that are the perfect, sustainable raw material for many industrial material applications, including paper, cardboard, etc.

On top of biobased solutions available for agriwaste processing PIB offers opportunity for municipal sector supplying solutions for wastewaster sludge digestion. Jos Captein from KSB arranged a special tour for Kateryna and Diana Samante from the Netherlands Enterprice Agency (RVO) showing wasterwater treatment facilities in 4 municipalities of Utrecht, Hilversum, Barneveld and Deventer. These facilities are equipped with pumps, valves and mixers supplied by KSB and 2 latter ones have sludge digesters producing biogas.

Next to 5 companies forming the business part, the PIB Biobased Ukraine also unites 2 knowledge institutions form the Netherlands: Wageningen University (WUR) – one of the leading global research and educational centers for agriculture, food and lifescience; and Saxion University of Applied Science specialized in business trainings. Target focus for both institutions in Ukraine is fundamental research of underestimated and unused potential of energy crops production in Ukraine and sustainable agriculture development. Wolter Elbersen from WUR and Jacques Bazen from Saxion are involved today in a joint research of Ukraine sugar beet sector and its biobased potential, which they do in close cooperation with local institutions in Ukraine. Results of this study are to be presented in March 2018.

To wrap up the week Kateryna was invited to visit the RVO office in Utrecht, where she was given insights into Dutch policy towards renewable energy sector development, including SDE+, ISDE subsidies highlighted by Wouter Siemers, as well as a general overview of Dutch Biobased Economy by Astrid Hamer and renewable/bioenergy heating by Sander Peeters and Lex Bosselaar.

The general outline of the PIB’s future G2G activities was later discussed with Kees Kwant. In short time prospective these are to include trainings and seminars on Dutch expertise in supporting the renewables promotion. G2G initiatives of the PIB are aimed to support Ukraine government in its policy development towards strengthening the energy security and implementation of EU directives in the energy sector.

With a background in economics and agribusiness Kateryna will be responsible primarily for PIB communications and local coordination of its Government to Government (G2G) and Knowledge to Knowledge (K2K) activities in Ukraine. You can reach Kateryna at kk@biobased-ukraine.nl. To find out more information about PIB Biobased Ukraine please visit www.biobased-ukraine.nl.

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