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A turning point

2011-06-20

Participants to the Third Research Day brought the early, fresh results to the open

Participants discuss a problem during a workshop at the Third Research Day Participants discuss a problem during a workshop at the Third Research Day

Seventy participants attended presentations on the first results of the research program at the Third Reseach Day, in Zeist, on 15 June 2011. This conference represents a turning point in the short history of the program. At the First and the Second Research Days, participants joined up in teams to prepare project proposals.

Gas quality

The biogas industry, in development, poses several challenges to the Netherlands. It installs several, decentralized gas production points, which changes the whole dynamics of the supply chain, according to Albert van der Molen, innovation manager at Stedin. Mr van der Molen thinks that the industry has to solve the problem of the converter in the supply chain, so as to ensure a homogeneous quality of gas supply in the system.

This problem takes part of the new equation about gas quality. The Netherlands will have to face, over a long period, a technical transition to welcome the green gas and synthetics gas. Luc Rabou, expert researcher at ECN, and Howard Levinsky, professor at the University of Groningen and principal consultant at DNV KEMA, are working on this problem. The problem comes with the depletion of the Groningen field. Since the 1960s, this field has delivered a homogeneous gas quality, for which the manufacturing companies have developed the gas appliances and equipment.

New gas quality poses a problem to the gas infrastructure, as well. Mannes Wolters, technology manager at Kiwa, has pointed out the problem that it poses on the physical material, such as pipes, and the implication that it will have in the investment decisions of asset manager of gas transport and distribution companies.

Energy transition

The energy transition will challenge the social and economic institutions in the Netherlands. The country can seize the opportunity of maintaining its position on the European gas market by becoming a gas roundabout, according to Catrinus Jepma, EDGaR’s scientific director and professor at the University of Groningen and the Energy Delta Institute. Dutch citizens may, however, question the installation of gas facilities in their localities, which represents a problem for the social acceptance of the new gas technologies.

These were the salient themes discussed during the Third Research Day. Since the beginning of EDGaR, participants have submitted 40 project proposals, according to Bert Wiersema, EDGaR’s business director. The program has awarded 29 research proposals. Mr Wiersema indicated that the program has allocated most of the funds for research. The remainder will be use for a few new research projects during the last subsidy round. The research program will be active up until mid-2015.

By Jean-François Auger