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    Dutch Stercore Wins Biogas Licence (Update)


The company plans to produce enough methane to heat 24,000 homes.

by: William Powell

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Dutch Stercore Wins Biogas Licence (Update)

(Adds comment from GasTerra at end)

Dutch company Stercore has secured the country's first licence to manufacture methane from manure and will build a plant in Emmen. It had assistance from a number of backers including GasTerra, the Dutch gas marketer. According to Stercore's CEO Hans Jansen, who had waited two years for the licence which was awarded February 6: "Manure is not a problem but a solution."

Explaining the time taken to receive the licence, Jansen said the company's "innovative approach is so new that our initiative can’t be tested. Existing calculation models operated only on the basis of data from fermentation plants and plants running on natural gas, [so] there really isn’t yet any such thing as a sustainable power." 

The plant, which will employ around forty people, will run mainly on sustainably generated electricity and will, at the plant’s own initiative, be fitted with a nitrogen meter. Jansen said he expected the manure market to change into a demand market. "Our business model already reflects our view that in future manure will have to be paid for. That is a positive development because it will do away with manure fraud, and livestock farmers will be able to pay for emission-cutting measures on their farms from the money that manure brings in," he said.

Stercore is also producing bio-based carbon, a valuable organic replacement for artificial fertiliser and soil improver, on an industrial scale and so is helping make agriculture and horticulture more sustainable. 

Work on building the first green gas plant in Emmen will start this year, and it should enter production in about two years. In future over 24,000 households will be able to benefit from the green gas produced by Stercore. ‘The granting of the licences we needed is a recognition of our super-clean contribution to the major challenges," Stercore said. 

GasTerra told NGW in an emailed comment that the project "fits well in our energy transition program, specifically our strategic goal to stimulate the production of bio methane (green gas). We buy this gas and sell it either as natural or certified green gas to customers. All of this helps to decarbonise gas and increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix."

Creating biomethane from manure also partly solves the problem of nitrogen, a heavy agricultural pollutant. Dutch transmission system operator Gasunie and DNV-GL were also involved in the project's launch.