The ADAPNER project examines how these ecological and logistic problems in their mutual relationship can be solved by a system change. As far as logistics are concerned, we are inspired by the 4C concept (Cross Chain Collaboration Centre) when we cluster transport flows. We try and find technical and organisational opportunities and analyse how sustainable such a system is and how it is growing (adjustment and development).?
In doing this, the University of Groningen (RUG) is working together with its project partners Holthausen B.V. (transporter of gas contained in cylinders), Gasunie (gas pipeline network operator) and Gasterra (trader in natural gas).
Project leader Hans Wortmann said: 'Apart from biomass and biogas, farms have many supply and discharge flows, on a regional level in particular. Milk, cattle, cattle feed and crops spring to mind. Currently, these transports are not clustered. Imagine they are; imagine lorries are loaded both on the way there and back. If farmers, transporters and other chain partners cooperate, they must be able to set up a robust and flexible regional logistic network. In these kinds of scenarios, though, one should take any changes in production processes into consideration, as well as ecological consequences. Fortunately, much of the knowledge that is required is available in this project.'
Using the data supplied by the project partners, which means information from practice, the first thing we'll do is have a look at where a network could be set up, both from a technological and an organisational point of view. Mr Wortmann said: 'What markets could be opened up? Which companies would be able to increase their margins by working together? Canisters spring to mind; those are hardly used nowadays in the Netherlands. Using new technology, though, we can make them much larger, which means that delivery can be limited to only a few times a year. Consequently, transport costs will be considerably lower. Consumers who prefer green energy will find this interesting. We are going to research this idea in our ‘Farmersgas’ concept, in which a local farmer supplies biogas to the local community for the purposes of heating and cooking.’
Using various means, in particular simulation models, the project also researches other new business concepts.
BioHub and BioPower
A second example is 'BioHub'. Imagine that biogas produced by various farmers within a region can be transported to the 'BioHub', for instance, at a waste disposal company, where it is then enriched into a useful product - ‘green gas’. It would make a huge difference for these farmers, because there would be no need for each individual farmer to invest in their own enrichment facility. Each farmer would then have to store their biogas in a large gas cylinder, which would need to be collected every once in a while, when it is full, and replaced by an empty one. These gas cylinders could be owned by logistics providers specialised in transport of gas, Holthausen, for instance.
A third example is 'BioPower'. Mr Wortmann said: 'Should we succeed in reducing the cost of logistics and biogas becomes cost-effective, it may catch on quickly. There is a reason that Friesland Campina is willing to invest in 1,000 new biogas facilities. When this happens, export or transport of biogas across longer distances would be an option too.’