Port aims to profit as Europe moves towards less-polluting energy sources
The port of Amsterdam is gearing-up for a boom in biomass traffic as a result of an increasing focus on renewable energy and new Dutch government proposals.
Currently, Dutch ports handle 1.5 million tonnes of biomass a year, but as a result of the growing requirement in North European countries, it is expected this will increase to around 13.5 million tonnes by 2020.
Amsterdam handles biomass from source countries including Canada, the US and Brazil, and expects its volumes to reach six million tonnes by 2020.
To meet the expected growth in this sector, the port will allow existing fossil fuel terminals to expand, but will not allow the building of any new ones, as it increases its focus on bio-energy.
And Port of Amsterdam is redeveloping a biomass transhipment and storage terminal in Duisburg.
The MD of the Commercial Department of Port of Amsterdam, Koen Overtoom, said the growth in European biomass demand was largely due to moves by Germany to phase-out its nuclear power stations by 2022, and an increased focus by other European countries on less-polluting energy sources.
But the port also hopes to benefit from proposals recently unveiled in the Dutch government's Energy Report 2011, which include a requirement to make the use of some biomass mandatory at the country's coal-fired energy plants, and for the nation's use of renewable energy to be increased from 4% last year to 14% by 2020.
In anticipation of the new proposal being passed, some coal fired power stations in the south of the country are already blending-in biomass.
Overtoom says it is estimated that by 2020, the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and the UK will require 15 million tonnes of biomass a year.
"As a result, the port of Amsterdam will acquire a significant market share in the north-west European market for biomass transhipment," said Overtoom.