Increased social value at Centrale Rotterdam. Hydrogen, fertilizer and pulp production

CE Delft is supporting Engie in its search for ways to transform the Centrale Rotterdam (CR) power plant into a utilities hub integrated into a bio-economic cluster projected at the Port of Rotterdam. In this supporting role CE Delft has already carried out an initial, exploratory study on three issues:

  • biomass availability
  • available conversion technologies
  • markets for conversion products.

The present study, for Engie, delves deeper into the issues, considering the following aspects of four technologies:

  • approximate mass and energy balances, incl. consumption of steam and other auxiliaries
  • rough estimate of greenhouse gas balance and waste production
  • rough business case for large-scale processing
  • sustainability of available biomass feedstocks.

A rough assessment was also made of the physical scope for installing large-scale processing plant on the site of the CR power plant.

The following technologies were assessed:

  1. Hydrogen production for external users based on RDF gasification and co-firing of CO-rich flue gas in the CR power plant.
  2. Hydrothermal carbonisation of sewage plant sludge with nutrient recovery and co-firing of ‘hydrocoal’ in the CR power plant.
  3. Organosolv pulping of straw for paper-pulp production and co-firing of the lignin-rich waste fraction in the CR power plant.
  4. Steam explosion pre-treatment of low-grade woody biomass for firing the CR power plant with recovery of chemicals from residual process water.

Prompted partly by this study, work has begun on a steam explosion pre-treatment plant.

The results of the study have been discussed with several environmental organisations. They had no objections to our recommendations or potential implementation, nor criticism thereof.


Frans Rooijers

Increased social value at Centrale Rotterdam (only available in Dutch)

Authors CE

Frans Rooijers

Delft, June 2018