Wednesday, 5 December 2007


(Biopact) - Belgium based Thenergo, a renewable energy company involved in the biogas, biomass and cogeneration sector announced it has reached an agreement to acquire the minority interests in Polargen, a leading Benelux combined heat and power (CHP) developer for the greenhouse industry.

The utilisation of organic waste in industrial horticulture is a growing sector. Over the past few years, businesses who grow food and flowers in greenhouses have seen their costs for heating and power skyrocket, because the sector is highly energy intensive (energy is the single biggest operational cost). When biomass from the operations is used in CHP, heat and electricity costs can be reduced while at the same time delivering a cheap stream of carbon dioxide, used to stimulate plant growth. In some operations, greenhouses even become net exporters of green electricity, feeding it into the grid and receiving credits for their climate friendly bioenergy.

The recycling of CO2 derived from the very plants grown in the greenhouses, whose waste biomass is simultaneously utilized for energy, is an optimal use of the gas. CO2 is fed to the crops in a closed environment, thus considerably stimulating growth, while no emissions from the production of bioenergy enter the atmosphere.

Both Belgium and the Netherlands are European leaders in the greenhouse industry. Thenergo's expertise in producing heat, power and separated CO2 from biogas and biomass is now coupled to Polargen's established presence in the sector, a combination that is set to capture a considerable market share.

At end December 2007, total gross installed capacity for greenhouse CHP activities will have more than doubled to 49.6MW, up from 23.8MW in June, prior to Thenergo's IPO. Most projects are co-owned with industry partners. Thenergo has, in recent months, been renegotiating its stakes in these projects.

By year end, Thenergo's net capacity in greenhouse CHP operations, in addition to its existing biogas site, will have risen to 32MW, up from 8.2MW three months earlier.Under the acquisition, Polargen's managing partners will receive Thenergo shares for their combined 49 percent stake in Polargen, which will result in Thenergo having sole ownership of the business. The transaction was completed on November 30, 2007. Thenergo CEO Kurt Alen said: "Since Thenergo's acquisition of a 51% stake in Polargen one year ago, Polargen has proved to be a highly strategic and fast growth asset. We will now be bringing inhouse Polargen's strong technical skills and energy trading and sales expertise. At the same time we will be strengthening our management team with two new director appointments."

Established in 2003 and based in Lint, Belgium, Polargen designs, constructs and operates CHP plants primarily for the greenhouse industry in the Benelux region. The integration of the Polargen and Leysen activities into Thenergo's business model will provide all companies and their industry partners with the necessary synergies to fully integrate the different stages of the waste- to-energy business - from fuel acquisition through power generation to the trading of green power and CHP certificates.

Founded in 2002 and based in Antwerp, Belgium, Thenergo is a fast growing, fully integrated and independent developer and operator of sustainable energy projects using biomass, biogas and natural gas. Thenergo brings solutions and added value to clients' CHP energy needs, from financing and concept design to energy sales and trading on Europe's power markets. In addition, Thenergo's recent acquisition of Leysen Group adds long term procurement security to its business model and brings new opportunities to Thenergo's project pipeline. Since 14 June 2007, Thenergo has been listed on Alternext, Paris.

Thenergo recently announced two new projects: the development of a 3MW CHP biogas project in Flanders generating annually 24,000MWh of clean power, enough to supply around-the-clock electricity for up to 6,000 households (earlier post).

In an interesting development, it also announced that it is building a 5MW electricity and biocoal plant in northern Holland Eclair-E, a Dutch CHP sustainable energy supplier. The facility will generate annually up to 42,800MWh of power and 75,000 tons of biocoal pellets. Biocoal pellets are made from thermally processed biomass either from dedicated energy crops or from wood debris, forest residue and chippings. In pellet form it is a multipurpose clean burning fuel, easy to store and handle. This green 'designer coal' can be obtained by carbonizing biomass, with new techniques under development. Compared to wood, coal and biomass pellets, biocoal contains a far lower amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), no water, and is fully carbon neutral.

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