The circular future has already begun in Cuijk
Polders, paper makers, and more potential: BECC points the way in the energy transition
Polders, paper makers, and more potential: BECC points the way in the energy transition
  • © 2023 BECC BV 0

Polders, paper makers, and more potential: BECC points the way in the energy transition

The conversion of the biomass plant in Cuijk into a BECC Energy Hub points the way for more opportunities in the energy transition on which the Netherlands is working. Flexibility and innovation must go hand in hand to further reduce the role of fossil fuels. BECC's partners see numerous opportunities in this outlook to 2030.

Gertjan de Jong of BECC: "In seven years, the power station will certainly no longer be the same as it is now after the delivery of the battery and the e-boiler. We will continue to invest in further renewal and modernization of the Energy Hub so that BECC will continue to play an important role in making the energy supply in North Brabant more sustainable in the distant future. Inventing new things remains necessary, and we just enjoy doing it."

Hydro storage

Robert Kleiburg of Recoy: "Solar and wind are now subsidy-free and competitive with fossil fuels. The next challenge is to integrate these variable sources into a stable system. Electricity production must also be maintained on dark days with little wind. Storage in a battery is a leap, but more steps are possible, such as the e-boiler that BECC also has. Abroad we see the advance of hydro storage, where water is pumped up with cheap electricity so you can use it to make electricity at other times. There will be more of that kind of production, also in connection with the countries around us. It has to be because coal-fired power stations will close in 2030. The war in Ukraine has also created a stronger urge to close gas-fired power stations as well."

Dan Ole Vikeså van Parat: "E-boilers continue to contribute to flexibility on the electricity network. They are interesting for all industries that require a lot of energy and heat. The situation in Ukraine has reinforced this development."
With all the protocols, software, computers, pumps, valves, and more, you have to be sure that everything works exactly right.
Julian Croker, Technical Project Manager Team Lead at Spectral

Need more direction

Guus Bengsch of GES: "Currently, the electricity grids are insufficiently equipped for the sustainable sources we add. The old tree structure based on large power stations squeaks and creaks. We can improve that by adding batteries, which is the technique to enable a different network architecture and limit the adjustment pain."

In 2023, the pace is still too slow, says Bengsch. "There are many projects, but there is much talk, little ordering, and even less construction. It is not all that easy to solve because the technology and the rules are not yet ready for it. What this sector actually needs is more government direction."

If the government takes up this challenge, he sees an optimistic scenario for 2030: "All energy generating locations must participate, certainly all solar and wind power stations. There will be hundreds of these types of systems in the Netherlands. Tennet wants to be able to balance thousands of megawatts. The battery at BECC accounts for 10 of those."

Paul Weersink of Kaisec: "The entire energy world is working on optimizing existing installations, and e-boilers are one of the tools for this if you can integrate them. That is often a matter of millimeters, and it is important for the business case that there is already a connection to the 10 kV grid. Because if you still have to apply for it, you will be placed on a waiting list, and the costs will increase. In 2023, ten to fifteen e-boilers will be under development in the Netherlands. We still have a long way to go before the e-boiler replaces natural gas as an industrial heat source, but at the moment, they are a good way to collect surplus electricity from the sun and wind so that the grid remains in balance."

Consider another e-boiler

Jurgen Duivenvoorden of Greenchoice: "If the demand for steam increases, BECC could add another e-boiler. Investing in extra flexibility of the biomass plant itself is also conceivable. He can turn a little faster or softer, but we think there are more possibilities if BECC also sees opportunities there."

"Now we are taking a big step in this project with Greenchoice. Looking ahead to 2030, I think we will see BECC's Energy Hub as one of the first projects to combine e-boiler, battery, and power plants. I expect more of these types of locations that contribute to the balance of the electricity network. As energy companies, it is our central task to offer more flexibility on the network. Since we started with the first large battery in 2019, I think we can celebrate the retrospective party as early as 2029."

Pumping station

Julian Croker of Spectral: "There are still many untapped opportunities in heavy industry. The chemical industry, paper production, and paint factories use energy-intensive equipment that can be used much more flexibly and can therefore contribute to balancing the electricity grid and thus to the progress of the energy transition. All those water pumps in the Dutch polders pumping stations are also waiting for smart additions, as there is great potential for flexible energy there. The lack of flexibility means wind turbines too often stand still, costing 5 to 10 percent of the possible production. That is unnecessary waste."