The award committee’s citation:
The Bioenergy Innovation Award 2012 goes to a Norwegian technology enterprise founded in 1989, which has remained innovative for many years, and which still continues to rediscover itself. The company possesses a sound knowledge network and succeeds in generating commercial successes from the products it develops. It has become world-renowned in spite of a very restricted domestic market.
The award criteria were:
- A contribution towards innovation in the discipline
- The level of innovation – how new and how valuable?
- Long-term significance
- Commercial potential
- Technical documentation
'The winner continues to develop, market and construct efficient processing plants for the production of biogas from wet organic waste and biomass derived from decontaminated sewage. Leading customers regard the technology as the best available (BAT), and 26 plants have been sold in several countries. Every year these plants convert sewage sludge from 20 million people into pathogen-free fertilisers and 1.6 TWh of biogas.
The company is heavily research-oriented and has received funding from the Research Council of Norway and Enova. It is an active participant in several research projects both in Norway and overseas, including the construction of test rigs and pilot plants designed to test levels of sustainable energy production from various types of raw materials mixtures.
In collaboration with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and Bioforsk at Ås, the company has developed a unique steam and pressure-based pre-treatment process, which is a key technological component of the biogas research programme currently being carried out in CenBio, and other research projects.
The researchers greatly appreciate the company’s involvement and support, its role as a team developer, and its ability to think innovatively “out of the box”. The company is committed to innovation throughout the entire scope of the biogas value chain and participates in component initiatives outside its core area of activities in order to ensure that the value chain remains effective.
As a natural extension of its business activities linked to sludge and waste treatment, the company has in recent years invested major efforts in-house towards promoting bioenergy production from cellulose-rich bioenergy sources and waste plant materials derived from agricultural and forestry activities.
Thanks to this research activity, the company has attracted a particular client willing to risk funding the establishment of a full-scale plant for the production of biogas from lignocellulose, based on the steam explosion of raw materials such as fibre sludge, straw, corn residues and wood chippings. It will be the first facility of its kind in the world.'