Energy Valley Mission
Energy Valley's mission is to encourage, incite, facilitate and connect companies, knowledge institutes and government bodies to develop projects together and make real progress in clean, reliable and innovative energy.
2. How is green gas made?Green gas is can be made in 2 ways, via fermentation (biochemical process) and via gasification (thermochemicalthermo chemical process).
In fermentation, bacteria break down organic materials, producing a gas primarily made up of methane and carbon dioxide. We call this biogas. In an 'upgrading plant', the biogas is 'scrubbed' (a large portion of the carbon dioxide and some other substances are removed). This way the biogas is converted and brought up to a natural gas levels of quality. Gas produced in this way can replace natural gas in all of its applications. We call it green gas.
With gasification, the material is not broken down by bacteria, but rather by heat. A thermochemical reaction at high temperatures with a controlled amount of oxygen will result in a gas mixture called syngas. This Because only a tiny amount of oxygen is let in, the material does not burn up completely. This produces is a gas (essentially consisting of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and some methane). Additional treatment is required here as well to attain the same level of quality as natural gas.
3. What is the difference between green gas and natural gas?The main difference from natural gas is that natural gas comes from plant materials that grew some 300 million years ago, whereas green gas is made from materials grown only a few years ago. Just like other fossil fuels, natural gas contains carbon dioxide that was stored in plants millions of years ago. Thus, at that time, the carbon dioxide did not return to the atmosphere after the plants died. So by using natural gas one puts additional, fossil carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (from outside of the normal CO2 cycle). Using green gas returns carbon dioxide to our atmosphere that was taken out of our atmosphere by plants in the recent past (i.e. not additional CO2). What’s more, green gas is renewable. It is made from biodegradable materials, which will always be available. This is not the case with natural gas, which is finite: reserves will one day run out.
5. How much green gas can the Netherlands produce?Green gas is currently being produced via fermentation. Using this method, the Netherlands, using its own biomass, can produce a maximum of 2 billion cubic metres of biomass per year (enough for over 2 million households). If green gas is produced via gasification, we could multiply the figure of 3 billion several times.
6. Is green gas more expensive than natural gas?Yes, as with all other forms of sustainable energy, green gas is also currently more expensive than fossil natural gas. By stimulating the production of sustainable energy, the government of the Netherlands intends to bring its cost price down progressively over time.
7. Can I use green gas in my home too?Technically speaking, that is already possible. A certification system is available for green gas, just like the one for green power. This will uncouple green gas production from use. Green gas producers deliver their gas to the natural gas network, after which it is no longer distinguishable from natural gas. Certified green gas producers have been awarded a certification for green gas production. Vertogas (a subsidiary of Gasunie), the Dutch green gas certification body, keeps meticulous records of the amount of green gas being produced. This ensures that if someone consumes a certain amount of green gas, this amount was also actually produced by a sustainable energy source.
8. Is green gas suitable for vehicles?It sure is. Vehicles that run on natural gas can also run on green gas with no problems. Powering vehicles with natural gas offers major advantages. Thanks to its clean burn, it emits less nitrogen oxides and fine particles. Using green gas would takes this a step further by adding climate-neutrality and contributing to decreased dependence on oil.
9. Can green gas, like natural gas, also contribute to the Netherlands’ economic development.Since the discovery of the Groningen gas field, the Dutch government has earned over €211 billion in natural gas profits. A lot needs to happen before green gas attains this status. What is clear is that green gas has all of the elements in place to capitalise on the enormous amount of knowledge that we in the Netherlands, thanks to natural gas, have built up with regard to gas transport and applications.
11. What does the Energy Valley Foundation do in the area of green gas?As a network organisation, the Energy Valley Foundation brings together different groups, develops project ideas and dedicates itself to creating optimal preconditions for large-scale green gas production in the Northern Netherlands. This is accomplished by working in close cooperation with the Northern Netherlands Green Gas Taskforce: an association bringing together all manner of professionals. The institute does not develop any projects itself, that is a concern for the market parties. We do support these market parties, if desired, in project development.
The green gas project leader, Ruud Paap, is a member of the panel of experts at Club Green www.clubgreen.nl