Thanks to flaring (the burning off of residual gases produced by various chemical processes) emissions don’t pose a threat to safety. If they were exposed to fire in an uncontrolled process, this could result in an explosion. Flaring releases methane, ethane and propane into the atmosphere. These compounds contribute to air pollution.

Holland Renewable Energy Technologies (Holland-RET), based at the RDM site in Rotterdam’s port area has offered an alternative. The company assembles and sells special gas turbines that can convert residual gases into electric power.

“If we used our system to convert all the gas flared around the world into electricity, we could provide every household in a country the size of Germany or France with free power.” said Ruud van Arent, Managing Director of Holland-RET Oxidation-based combustion

Managing Director Ruud van Arent further explains:

“Residual gases are collected in a special tank, where they are oxidised. You could say the gas is combusted as usual, but without a flame and at relatively low temperatures. This is more environmentally friendly, since it doesn’t produce the emissions associated with flaring like NOx (nitrogen oxides). The heat generated in the tank is fed to a gas turbine. This heat powers the turbine’s shaft, which in turn drives an electric generator.” The generated electricity can be fed back to the local power grid, for example – as is the case at one of Holland-RET’s first clients, a waste processing firm based in Limburg. “If we used our system to convert all the gas flared around the world into electricity, we could provide every household in a country the size of Germany or France with free power.”

But this innovative process doesn’t stop at simply generating power, explains Van Arent.

“We also put the residual heat to good use. For example, right now we’re working on a project in Ireland that uses the residual heat to dry chicken manure. This gives chicken farmers an additional revenue model. Up till now, they had to pay someone to pick up their manure; now they can actually sell the dried product. Indeed, the system that we’ve installed in Ireland pays for itself within four years. But there are numerous other applications you could use the residual heat for – heating offices, for example.”

Holland-RET doesn’t actually develop this technology in-house. It sources it from the American firm Ener-Core. Holland-RET has acquired the rights to sell the systems – called EcoStations.

“The parts arrive here by ship. We assemble the gas turbines at RDM Rotterdam, after which we transport them to our clients.”

In other words: as far as logistics is concerned, Rotterdam is a logical choice of location. But Rotterdam has a lot more to offer besides, according to Van Arent:

“So many industrial companies are set up in Rotterdam, making it an important potential market for our firm. In addition, you can find numerous degree programmes here. We want to keep handling maintenance and servicing in-house. You need qualified technicians for this. And you can find them in abundance here.”

Source & Image credit: Port of Rotterdam