Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands,

Biomass, Coal and Environmental Research

Petten, The Netherlands



ECN is the largest energy research institute in the Netherlands. It has a strong international position in the areas of Solar and Wind Energy, Bio-energy, Energy Efficiency, Environmental research and Policy Studies. With and for the market, we develop knowledge and technology that enable a transition to a sustainable energy system. Our research focuses on sustainable energy generation to develop safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly energy systems. We have offices in Petten, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Wieringermeer, Brussels and China. More information can be found at



Sustainable biomass is the fuel of the future. Biofuels become available for heating, for making electricity and for transportation. ECN has transferred several cutting-edge technologies to the market and continues developing new innovative technologies and knowledge for a fast and smooth transition to a bio-based economy.

Energy Efficiency

A sustainable energy system can only be realized when we use our energy more efficient. This means making our growing wealth possible with less energy as possible. Thus, efficient production processes, efficient transportation and energy efficient living and working. ECN develops innovative technologies and processes to achieve this and focuses primarily on industrial energy use.

Key Persons

Lydia Fryda

Dr Lydia Fryda (MSc & PhD Mechanical Engineering) works as an expert on advanced coal combustion, including oxyfuel combustion of solid fuels and co firing coal with biomass. Since her joining ECN in May 2007 she has worked on EU projects on oxyfuel combustion of coal/biomass, on the national EOS LT Co firing program. Her expertise includes knowledge in the fields of solid fuel conversion, ash (trans)formation and combined biomass & CCS technology (oxyfuel co-firing). Besides coal and biomass combustion she has considerable knowledge on biomass gasification as well as exergy analysis of energy systems that she gained during her PhD thesis.

Jaap Kiel

Prof. Dr. ir. Jacob H.A. Kiel (MSc Mechanical Engineering, PhD Chemical Engineering) joined ECN in 1989 and has extensive experience in the execution, organization and management of (large) experimental projects at ECN in the field of thermal conversion of solid fuels. He has more than 25 years of experience in R&D on various aspects of coal combustion, coal gasification, coal/biomass co-firing and biomass combustion and gasification. This includes biomass pre-treatment and feeding, various direct conversion-related aspects (e.g. fuel reactivity, slagging and fouling, bed agglomeration, tar formation, measurement and removal), emissions, gas cleaning (both flue gas and gasifier product gas) and ash quality and utilization.

Currently, Prof. Kiel is Biomass Programme Development Manager within the unit ECN Biomass and Energy Efficiency and coordinator of the subprogram on Thermochemical Processing within EERA Bioenergy (EERA = European Energy Research Alliance).

Christiaan van der Meijden Christiaan van der Meijden (BSc Mechanical Engineering and PhD Chemical Reactor Engineering) studied at the Polytechnic of Alkmaar, the Netherlands and got his PhD from the Eindhoven University of Technology. After his study he worked for two years as a commissioning and testing engineer for large coal and gas fired power plants. From 1996 to 2004 Christiaan was group leader of the ECN Biomass Operator group and was directly involved in the development of biomass gasification (Circulating Fluidized Bed) and gas cleaning equipment. In 2004 he became a project leader in the group SNG and Syngas and became responsible for the development of the new MILENA biomass gasification technology. This has led to the realization of a lab-scale MILENA gasifier in 2004 and 1 MWth pilot plant in 2008. At present Christiaan is the project leader of the experimental program in the MILENA gasifiers and is responsible for the engineering of the MILENA 12 MWth wood to Bio-Methane demonstration plant.

Luc Rabou

Luc Rabou works as senior researcher in the group Syngas and SNG of ECN Biomass Coal & Environmental Research on biomass gasification, producer gas cleaning and applications. At present, his research focuses on the final stages of producer gas cleaning needed for protection of the catalysts involved in SNG production (i.e. methanation). Previous research involved combustion of low-calorific gas obtained form biomass gasification, tar removal from producer gas and further cleaning for producer gas use in gas engines, (micro- and mini-) gas turbines and fuel cells.

Since 2001, Luc manages the ECN Phyllis database on biomass properties.

In 2005 he co-authored a report on the role of biomass in the Dutch Energy Infrastructure in 2030 on behalf of the Platform for Bio-based Raw Materials.

From 1999 - 2011 he was a member of the Platform on Clean and Efficient Combustion. Since 2010, he is one of the four theme leaders of the EDGaR research program.

Luc was member of the Dutch team at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 1971. He studied (astro)physics and mathematics from 1971 and obtained an MSc degree at the University of Utrecht in 1977. In the course of his studies Luc obtained a degree as radiation protection expert at the Reactor Institute Delft, and spent a year at CERN in Geneva as student-member of an international research team.

From 1977 Luc performed fundamental research at ECN on electronic properties of metals. Results of that work presented in a thesis earned Luc a PhD degree at the University of Amsterdam in 1983. From 1988 Luc performed research on high-temperature superconductors, batteries for electric cars, fuel cell materials, ceramic-foam gas burners and Stirling engines. In 1998 he joined ECN Biomass.

Robin Zwart

As a chemical engineer Robin Zwart started working at the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) in 1999.  He has expert knowledge on a variety of biomass energy conversion systems, for CHP-production and/or the production of second generation biofuels.  Further, he has expertise concerning biomass pre-treatment & conversion systems.

Until December 2010 his position was research scientist and project manager “biosyngas and synthetic natural gas (SNG)” at the “biomass, coal and environmental analysis” unit of ECN, where he was responsible for the ongoing gas cleaning R&D activities at ECN, including the OLGA tar removal technology.

From January 2011 his position is research coordinator “feedstock pre-treatment and conversion” at the “biomass & energy efficiency” unit of ECN. This includes the Torrefaction and Torwash pre-treatment technologies.

Jan Pels

Since 1998, Jan Pels is employed by the Energy Research Centre of the  Nederlands (ECN). At first working on catalytic conversion of fossil fuels to hydrogen for fuel cells, but since 2002 at the business unit Biomass on topics related to combustion and gasification of biomass. Jan is a specialist in fuel and ash quality. His current research topics are upgrading and conditioning of biomass into fuels and ashes into other useful products. Jan Pels is the leading scientist within ECN regarding pelletisation, briquetting, wet torrefaction and biochar production. He is also involved in sustainability issues, utilization of biomass ashes as building materials and fertilizers, pelletisation/briquetting of biomass, and dry torrefaction. Jan Pels has been coordinator of the EU Project PHYDADES that has resulted in BIODAT, an new database on biomass fuels and ashes.

Mariusz Cieplik

Dr. Mariusz K. Cieplik (MSc, PhD Environmental Chemistry) is the leading scientist and program manager Biomass Co-firing for Power Generation at ECN. Over the last 10 years, he has been responsible for formulating and carrying out R&D on various aspects of biomass and coal (co-)utilization for energy production, within a multitude of national and EU projects. Major R&D topics concern (the optimization of) the performance of the fuels throughout the conversion process (e.g., milling, combustion characteristics, ash behavior and quality, toxic metal emissions and mitigation strategies for pulverized-fuel and fluidized-bed combustion, and fluidized-bed and entrained-flow gasification). In addition, Dr. Cieplik worked on the development of on-line diagnostics for boiler fouling and corrosion, under conventional as well as high-steam conditions. He has also been involved in extensive experimental studies to assess the logistics and end-use performance of torrefaction-based solid biofuels.

Furthermore Dr. Cieplik is currently co-ordinating R&D activities in the cluster “Services for Industry” of the Biomass and Energy Efficiency.

36 Augustówka Street
02-981 Warsaw, Poland

All rights reserved | Warsaw 2012