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To deliver sustainability with gas

Energy Delta Gas Research’s (EDGaR) purpose is to make sure that the changes in the gas sector that are required, and in particular the sustainable use of energy sources, are well and timely prepared. Therefore, it subsidizes high-quality research on gas. We think that natural gas can be used in the energy portfolio, over the course of the next fifty years, to facilitate the implementation of a sustainable and reliable use of energy. Therefore, we have coined the motto ‘To deliver sustainability with gas,’ an expression that captures in a nutshell the main result of EDGaR.

University-industry cooperation

EDGaR has created a cohesive national public–private research program in the Netherlands. Partners collaborate to accrue benefits to all, because a research consortium brings in more value than scattered research projects. A criterion for the acceptation of a research project, therefore, was to have at least two partners. Cooperation has resulted in a dense network in which a partner works with between five and ten other ones (see figure 1). EDGaR has a heterogeneous organizational culture, because it includes gas transport and distribution companies, research universities, consulting firms and governmental research organizations. Therefore, there is a mix of productions coming from scientific disciplines (such as theories and concepts), industrial research (prototypes and testing), instrumentation (measurement protocol and devices) and the formal regime (industrial norms and standards). Researchers from the industry monitor new fundamental developments in natural, engineering and social sciences at the university. Meanwhile, university researchers stay current with the practical challenges that the gas industry faces.

Public-private cooperation in EDGaR

Figure 1. Map of the Netherlands showing the geographical location of the partners, the value of their research financing and the number of cooperation links between them. (Geographical location is indicative.)

Multidisciplinary research

Several breakthroughs come out of multidisciplinary research. Therefore, EDGaR cuts across traditional boundaries between the natural, engineering and social sciences (see table 1). In the natural sciences, researchers use chemistry to understand catalytic and combustion reactions, corrosion by chemical components on pipeline materials, as well as physics to measure gas with spectroscopic instruments for example. In engineering, they rely on mechanical engineering to understand the behaviour of physical components of the gas infrastructure and on process engineering for techniques to produce biogas and syngas, as well as the injection of these new gases into the grid. In social sciences, they use management science, which deals with operations of gas companies; economics, which puts emphasis on market changes; and law, concerned with the new set of laws and regulations for the gas industry.

Table 1. Examples of scientific and technical disciplines represented in the program

Natural sciences Engineering Social sciences

 

 

 

Atomic physics Chemical engineering Assets management
Chemistry of materials Computer sciences Business economics
Combustion science Electrical engineering Economics of infrastructures
Energy environment Electronic instrumentation Energy law
Environmental sciences Energy technology Environmental economics
Experimental physics Information technologies Finance
Geology of energy Mechanical engineering Innovation economics
Applied mathematics Metallurgical engineering International law
Physics of materials Process engineering International relations
Solid state physics Production automation Management
  System engineering Policy analysis
    Political science
    Psychology
    Spatial planning

 

High-quality research

EDGaR evaluates and monitors the quality of research against stringent scientific criteria. An international advisory board assesses the quality of the research proposals, while the program steering committee ensures that the projects remain up to par during their execution. EDGaR encourages research teams that have a strong record of scientific and technological achievements. Projects, aligned with one or several of the research themes, demonstrate a high degree of innovativeness in an international context. They will deliver results relevant to the scientific community, as well as social and economic benefits to the Dutch society.

Research consortium

EDGaR works on behalf of its participating companies and research institutions. It only awards research projects coming from them. To stimulate cooperation, it keep close track of research activities through contacts and conferences. To this day, EDGaR remains Europe’s unique research consortium that bring together industrial and university researcher from the full spectrum of sciences, to perform high-quality scientific research on natural gas. Its highest hope lies in bettering the world by providing an answer to how natural gas can facilitate the transition towards a sustainable use of energy.