Harvestagg: The Greenest Gas from the Greenest Grass

Context of Transport Climate Action

The transportation sector and governments recognize LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) as a transition fuel in heavy-duty transportation (HDV) and as long as liquid fuels are needed for transport, bioLNG has the potential to be a useful option especially for HDVs. BioLNG can also contribute to global climate goals. The benefits include 80% CO2 reduction (compared to fossil fuel) and 50% noise reduction.

The Dutch company, Harvestagg is aiming to produce clean bioLNG from grass grown by farmers for this purpose. The HarvestaGG process is biobased, ‘circular’ and there is no waste. By processing grass in the energy farms, we help to bind (sotre) CO2 in the soil, making an important contribution to biodiversity, and also replace fossil fuels by biofuels from renewable (non-food chain) sources.

The HarvestaGG bioLNG process creates a short CO2 cycle and also enhances soil quality. With 20 Green ’Goods’ Farms enough bioLNG could be produce to serve about 4000 heavy transportation trucks, which is 10% of the total demand in the Netherlands.

Description

HarvestaGG B.V. Is a company based in Lelystad and its first Green Goods farm is to be built in Ter Apelknaal. The robust process is based on using the value of grass and vegetable biomass.

To create a sustainable circular biobased concept, the soil on which the biomass is grown must be managed. Biomass from above the ground binds CO2 from the air into the ground and the process that is used to produce biofuels does not break this circle.

The grass grown by farmers is transported to the Green Goods Farm a production location of HarvestaGG where different products are made. The grass is pressed to produce a protein rich animal feed which is an excellent replacement of soy proteins. The pressed grass together with natural and roadside grass is digested in large dry digesters to produce biogas, this process is handled by Gasunie. They then clean and liquefy the bio methane (biogas produced) and create very pure bioLNG.

The organic resides from the digesters are made into compost pellets and used to enrich the soil. This circular approach improves the CO2 reduction of the whole process.

 

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Implementation

Large-scale implementation of bioLNG is expected to start in 2017. The end user, AB Texel, wants to provide his customers the possibility to transport their cargo by clean trucks running on BioLNG by then. It is estimated that the annual production of 1 HarvestaGG Green Goods farm will provide enough bioLNG for 300 trucks.
HarvestaGG is currently (2015) applying for permits in Ter Apelkanaal. The biomass plant will be around 9 hectares with a total investment of €55 million. Investors are keen to invest in HarvestaGG because of the sustainability and the contribution to climate change actions and the final investors will include both equity providers and banks.

Benefits

The total climate benefits of the HarvestaGG system come from the full life cycle analysis. The return on energy for the production of bioLNG is 2,84, which is considered to be high ratio when making energy from biomass. CO2 emissions are avoided in multiple ways with the circular CO2 HarvestaGG process pathway:

  • avoiding soy harvest by using locally grown proteins for feed.
  • use grass and other vegetable biomass as input. Uptake of CO2 by plants. Enhancement of organic matter in the soil
  • Production of bioLNG with a return on energy of 2,84 and using it for transportation contributes to fewer CO2 emissions and noise reduction
  • production of organic compost pellets
  • Apart from the energy aspects, there are beneficial effects for the soil and increased opportunities for income for farmers in relatively poor rural areas that have fewer options for high value agricultural production.

Potential for scaling up

The HarvestaGG concept can be implemented in many regions worldwide.  20 suitable locations for green goods farms have been identified in the Netherlands. Apart from the Netherlands, other countries in North Western Europe can be possible areas for growing suitable grasses and for the production of BioLNG.

The HarvestaGG concept is very suitable for many European regions, as well as the United States, Canada, South America or others where these is a good agriculture infrastructure and a culture of arable farming.

Any locations with a surplus of biomass may also be helpful to scale up the production of biofuel for transport with this or similar processes.

HarvestaGG is always innovating. On-going research for example shows that building blocks for bioplastics can be created from the grass juice.

However Dutch and European legislation is a challenge for HarvestaGG as it is vague in the area of biofuels and its application in such a circular system. System innovation is not labeled as innovation and the production of biofuel, animal feed and organic compost all belong to different sectors that makes it difficult and complicated to comply with the rules and the application of the law is diffuse. A stronger focus and clarification of the legislation on the future of biofuels is needed.

There is still a lot of biomass which is treated as waste and it is a challenge for HarvestaGG to connect with different industries to lower energy spillage, and boost the replacement of fossil fuel sources, especially for transportation. HarvestaGG is always looking for smart connections and new partners.

Selected references

www.Harvestagg.nl

PROJECT INFORMATION

Location:

Ter Apelkanaal, Groningen, The Netherlands, Europe

Start:

2017

Finish:

On-going

Tags:

Europe, The Netherlands, Mitigation, Trucks, Lorries, Technology, Innovation, Partnership

Organizer/s:

Jan Cees Vogelaar CEO; Sophie Snaas projectmanager

Contact/s:

HarvestaGG B.V., Pelikaanweg 46, 8218PG Lelystad, 0612910071. sophie@harvestagg.nl

“With trucks running on HarvestaGG’s BioLNG we not only contribute to cleaner transport, but we also make the planet a little bit greener and healthier for the next generation”
Jan Cees Vogelaar CEO HarvestaGG