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The Netherlands would like to stop extracting natural gas and it is planning to close down its operations in this area by 2030 at the very latest. To be able to do this, however, it needs to come up with some viable alternatives right now. Important developments are being made in this field in Nimwegen, where ARN is heading in new directions as part of a public private collaboration project.
The Netherlands is not only an important natural gas producer, it also has one of the biggest natural gas markets in Europe. The country’s decision to stop producing gas by 2030 has automatically thrown up a pressing question: where will the supplies of gas be sourced in the future? As far as Gerard van Gorkum, managing director of ARN B.V., is concerned, the answer is staring us in the face: “The demand for green energy models will grow rapidly over the coming years.” Being a supplier of climate-friendly energy, this Nimwegen-based firm is well prepared for this development.
The biogas is produced by capturing and liquefying carbon dioxide. It is then fed to market farms, reducing the amount of primary CO2 generated by these businesses.
ARN uses waste to produce energy, namely electricity, heat and biogas. Its operations not only help conserve our planet’s fossil fuel reserves, it also cuts carbon emissions by more than 62,000 tonnes every year. REMONDIS has owned a 40% share in this Dutch company since 2006. The remaining shares are owned by public bodies, with the Nimwegen regional authorities being the biggest shareholder. Thanks to this public private venture, ARN has been able to steadily grow its activities over the last few years, positioning itself more and more as a high performance energy supplier.
tonnes of CO2 are saved by ARN every year
The company’s main line of business is producing electricity and heat from incinerating waste. To be able to do this, ARN cooperates with a German partner facility that has sufficient capacities and can guarantee a reliable supply of energy. For four years now, the company has been supplying households in a number of new residential areas in Nimwegen with heat. Thousands of customers have already been connected to their network; this number will have increased to 14,000 by the end of this project. Gerard van Gorkum commented, “This project has shown that ARN is able to supply a large part of the town with sustainable energy. Plans are for further town districts to be connected to the network in the future.” A further cooperation project with REMONDIS led to an innovative digester and composting plant being built for organic waste in 2013. Unlike in Germany, the biogas produced there is not used to generate electricity but is fed into a newly developed facility that is able to process it so it has the same quality as natural gas.
“This project has shown that ARN is able to supply a large part of the town with sustainable energy.”
Gerard van Gorkum, Managing Director of ARN
ARN already plays a significant role in developing and implementing sustainable energy models in the region – a role that will continue to grow in importance. The company is already working on ways of delivering other forms of energy and has a number of plans besides its established business operations. There are a host of possibilities that can be explored. The gas produced by the company could, for example, be supplied to other households that are not connected to the district heat network. Alternatively, the gas could be transformed into heat which could then be distributed via the existing network. Other options include solar energy as well as transforming electrical energy into hydrogen gas.
Cooperation partners since 2013 (from left to right): Dr Andreas Krawczik, Managing Director of REMONDIS Niederlande, Gerard van Gorkum, Managing Director of ARN, Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the REMONDIS Group, and Dr Gerd Terbeck, Managing Director of REMONDIS Industrie Service Niederlande
The region’s efforts to switch to green energy are being helped greatly by ARN’s public private set-up. The local authorities are primarily responsible for developing their region’s energy supply. REMONDIS, however, can help drive innovations in this area and create the best possible framework conditions for long-term plans to be put in place. “The close cooperation work between the two parties enables the business to perform better and achieve more,” explained Gerard van Gorkum. One thing is certain, he said: “It’s definitely good when the public and private sectors collaborate as they can master the challenge of how to switch from fossil fuel to renewables together.”