Decarbonisation options for the Dutch starch industry

07-12-2020 | Rapport

This report on decarbonisation options for the Dutch starch industry is part of the MIDDEN project (Manufacturing Industry Decarbonisation Data Exchange Network) initiated by PBL and TNO. The project aims to support industry, policymakers, analysts and the energy sector in their common efforts to achieve deep decarbonisation. Starch is a product which is used in numerous applications. Examples of use include food additives (e.g. sweeteners, thickeners, and other) and non-food applications (e.g. adhesives in the paper and textile industry).

The Dutch starch industry

In The Netherlands, three companies are representative for the starch production industry: Avebe, Cargill and Tate & Lyle. These three companies are registered by the Dutch Emission Authority (NEa) for a total of about 506 kilotonnes of direct CO2 emissions in 2019.

The three companies manufacture three types of starch. Avebe manufactures potato starch, Cargill manufactures starch from wheat and maize, and Tate & Lyle manufactures maize starch. This report discusses only the production of starch from potatoes and from wheat in detail. In this respect, Avebe operates two locations in the northeast of The Netherlands and Cargill has two locations in the southwest of The Netherlands.

The CO2 emissions are caused by the burning of natural gas in combined heat and power plants (CHPs) or steam boilers to create heat, which is mainly used for dewatering and drying steps in the manufacturing processes. In particular, for potato starch most of the energy is used for evaporation of water to obtain native starch and Protamylasse. For wheat starch most of the energy is used to evaporate water for obtaining starch, sweeteners and pentosanes.

Decarbonisation options

The decarbonisation options for the starch industry include:

  • application of biomass-fired CHPs and boilers
  • hydrogen boilers
  • electric boilers
  • geothermal energy
  • biogas production
  • heat pumps
  • vacuum drum filters
  • electro-osmosis dehydration