We proudly present our talented students

Anouk Henstra

Graduation internship: Biopulping

Hello, my name is Anouk Henstra (20) and I am from Surhuisterveen. As the final phase of my degree in Microbiology (Secondary vocational education Life Science), I am working as an intern at Bioclear earth. During my internship I participate in a project on biopulping. Within this project the degradation of lignocellulose biomass, using white rot fungi is studied. The purpose of my graduation research is to determine the pH optima of pre-selected white rot fungi in order to create optimal conditions for growth. In addition I am going to investigate the tolerance of these fungi for organic acids. Biomass, such as ensiled grass, often contains organic acids. I think the biopulping project is very interesting, because it is very sustainable and innovative.  Furthermore, I think it is instructive to experience what it is like to work at a company that works on environmental issues and to get a picture of this field. What I particularly like is that everyone is very approachable and that I get a lot of freedom to design and run my experiments.

Klaas Hielke Dijkgraaf

Graduation project: Soil improver from slurry

My name is Klaas Hielke and I am currently working on the final part of my study Agrotechnology at the Waginingen University and Research (WUR): my graduation internship. When I started looking for an internship, I came across Bioclear earth, where a project about creating a solid soil conditioner from slurry was already running. This sounded interesting and on top of that suited my studies.

The underlying objective of the project is to process slurry in such a way that it no longer needs to be injected into the soil, while at the same time the ammonia emission is not increased and nutrients are retained.  The Injection of slurry has been a matter of controversy since its introduction and over time it has become increasingly clear that it can be damaging to the environment.

I have almost finished my internship and have only two months left to work, but I have learned much more than I expected. It is invigorating and instructive to be involved in a project in a different way than I was used to at the WUR.  At Bioclear earth, there is a lot of room for personal input and ideas. For example, I was given the opportunity to experiment on a lab scale, which allowed me to gain a lot of knowledge. Thanks to the open, helpful and pleasant atmosphere, I enjoy my time here very much.

Wiebe Vellenga

Graduation project: Swillpower

I am Wiebe Vellenga, student Biotechnology at van Hall Larenstein University of applied sciences, with a major in Process Engineering. I am currently graduating on the Swillpower project. My research involves the possibility of mono-fermentation of food waste. I am looking at ways to optimally feed the system to get a maximum amount of biogas. In addition, I investigate the application possibilities of digestate: the residual product after fermentation. During this internship I am the operator of my own pilot installation and I have been given the freedom to experiment and make my own decisions.  Thanks to this freedom, I have already gained a number of new insights into how I can ensure that the waste flow can be transformed into energy. In addition, I have gained all kinds of insights in how digestate can be used in a way that it can contribute to a circular economy.

Not only do I think that it is great that I have been given the opportunity by Bioclear Earth to do my graduation internship on this scale, but also the opportunity I have received to develop myself.  Working on the Swillpower project also involves working with other parties. I think it is fantastic to work with all these people and to realize this project together.

Ophélie Sabatou

Graduation project: Identification of market opportunities for the Greenstep by Greenmove technology

I am Ophélie (22). I am a student at the Montpellier University, in the south of France where I complete my Master’s degree in Management of Innovation in Biotechnology.I am here at Bioclear earth to investigate the French biogas market and to discover opportunities for the Greenstep by Greenmove technology.This technology increases biogas production of waste materials and second-generation lignocellulosic biomass up to 10% and in less time, thanks to an innovative mixture of enzymes and bacteria. Lignocellulose is difficult to digest anaerobically. By applying the Greenstep, anaerobic digestion of lignocellulose is enhanced.

I think it’s really important to develop renewable fuel and share this information with everyone. I have spent a lot of time looking for a company like Bioclear earth, where your opinion matters. The company promotes information exchange between everybody that works here. It is the perfect opportunity for me to learn more about different jobs within the company and ongoing projects. I especially like how Bioclear earth envisions tomorrow’s economy.

Thirza van den Berg

Graduation project: Power 2 methane

I'm Thirza (21), a fourth-year biotechnology student at the Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden. My major Process Engineering is a perfect match for my internship at Bioclear earth. My gradation project involves the project Power 2 Methane: the conversion of CO2 and hydrogen to methane (CH4) by anaerobic microorganisms. Methane gas can be used to store large amounts of energy and can be used as biofuel for the transport sector, for example. A goal of the project is to reproduce the natural conversion of methane and to perfect it into a highly efficient process; this is where I come in.

The main focus of my research is the optimization of small-scale anaerobic biogas reactors, with the ultimate goal of producing as much biogas as possible, with the highest possible percentage of methane. That is why I spend a lot of time at the laboratory setting up and maintaining the lab setup. Furthermore, I conduct background research on biomethanation and I analyze data. I enjoy my internship at Bioclear earth very much. I love that I am given the freedom to do my own research and the fact that I can always turn to colleagues for other perspectives and guidance. In addition, I find the Power 2 Methane project very interesting, innovative and relevant for a sustainable future.

Harmen Sikkema

Graduation project: Power 2 Methane

Hello! I am Harmen Sikkema and I am in the final stage of my master  in Chemical Engineering at the Univeristy of Groningen. This includes an internship at Bioclear earth on the Power 2 Methane project, for three months. On behalf of this project a bioreactor has been designed that produces methane from CO2 and sustainably generated hydrogen gas. This sustainable green gas can be used locally or injected into the gas network.

My task is to model the reactor in order to make it even more efficient. Through this modelling proces, it  will also become clear which features are important and which possible bottlenecks we will encouter when we upscale the reactor to a pilot-scale or full-scale plant. What appeals to me above all in this project is its sustainable nature. It is nice to already be able to contribute to a greener future  during an internship.  I also like that I am not working on a small cog in this gigantic operation, but that I am responsible for modeling the entire reactor. Because everyone here is very approachable, there are always people who can help you, if you run into a snag.

Ruben Oost

Graduation project: Concrete production via bio-cementation

Hello, I am Ruben and I am completing an internship at Bioclear earth as a final part of my MSc Water Technology study at the Wetsus Academy. I am working on a project involving bio-cementation, which utilizes bacteria to fulfil a cementing function.  The aim of the project is to develop a process, which uses bio-cementation as a replacement for the conventional cementation process, applied in concrete production. The conventional production has a high CO2 emission and a high-energy consumption. It would be a considerable environmental benefit, if a low-energy biological process with less CO2 emission replaced this process.

It is motivating to do an internship at Bioclear earth. I think it is important to be able to contribute to sustainable developments. Bioclear earth is an excellent environment to do this. Exchanging and developing knowledge has a high priority within the company, which is reflected in an open atmosphere where you can ask colleagues for advice at all times. This allows you to learn a lot from the different skills of your fellow colleagues.

Gabriella Lie Piang

Internship: optimization of bio pulping with white rot fungi

My name is Gabriella Lie Piang and I’m a graduate student at the Hanzehogeschool Groningen, University of applied sciences. I study Biology and Medical Laboratory research, with a major in Research. My internship concerns the research on bio pulping.  This involves the breaking down of lignocellulose biomass using white rot fungi. The goal of my research project is to find substances that reduce the risk of infections and/or stimulate the enzyme production of the white rot fungi. I enjoy working on this project because I think using lignocellulose biomass for different applications is very innovative and at the same time sustainable


Sander de Haan

Graduation project: Upscaling of white rot fungi culturing

I am Sander de Haan. I’m a fourth year HBO Biotechnology student at the Van Hall Larenstein University of applied sciences in Leeuwarden. For my graduation research at Bioclear earth I am working on the upscaling of the culturing of white rot fungi. White rot fungi can break down lignocellulose very effectively. Lignocellulose is resistant to degradation and therefore has a negative influence on, for example, the yield of an anaerobic digester. The principle to use white rot fungi to break down lignin has been proven on a lab scale, but unfortunately there is always a risk of infection by other microorganisms. On lab scale this can be remedied by pre-sterilizing culture media at a high temperature, but on large scale this is undesirable due to the larger volumes and subsequently the amount of energy that would be required. I will work on upscaling and keeping the media sterile on this larger scale without the need of energy consuming methods.