ECN starts pilot at the test facility Plant One

On Monday afternoon, 23 May, Maxime Verhagen, the Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (EL&I) opened Plant One, a new test facility for sustainable process technology in the Port of Rotterdam.

This facility will be used to bridge the gap between the laboratory stage and full-scale production. Process improvements that look promising at laboratory scale can be demonstrated at pilot scale and further developed towards industrial deployment. The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) has set up a pilot installation at Plant One.

Plant One is a long-cherished wish of the Rotterdam region. The main objective of the initiators is to stimulate and accelerate sustainable development.

“The port of Rotterdam wants to obtain a leading international position in the field of sustainability. Therefore, it aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% in 2025 compared to 1990. Plant One will help realise this ambition”, explains Karin Husman, Director at Plant One. “This pilot location is different from other initiatives because of its large-scale approach and because it focuses on multiple techniques. Moreover, we have a framework permit which reduces the duration of a permit procedure per pilot from several months or even years to only a few weeks”, says Husmann.

18 months after the subsidy was granted, Plant One is not only ready for operation, but has meanwhile also welcomed its first pilots. ECN is developing a technology to make complex separation processes more efficient, reducing both energy use and cost. This so-called HybSi® membrane technology offers an alternative for distillation in the process industry. Its development has now reached the point where it is essential to translate industrial interest in actual deployment. Plant One offers an ideal location where various test for end users will be conducted. The first test, which is subsidised by the EOS-KT programme of NLAgency, will get started soon. The test will be conducted through a consortium consisting of Air products, Trion Partners, Sulzer Chemtech, Deltalinqs and ECN. Thanks to this industry test, ECN’s innovative membrane technology will be able to make an important contribution to increasing industrial sustainability.

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