Ductor: Biogas specialist heads for the German market

The Helsinki-based Ductor is a great example of an innovative company that has the guts to go global while its product is still at the pilot stage. A biogas plant equipped with Ductor's nitrogen and phosphorus recovery technology will be set up in Germany, with funding from the Horizon programme.

”Naturally it would be easier to carry out the first customer projects here in Finland,” says  Ductor's Chief Technology Officer Ilkka Virkajärvi.

He is referring to the company's current situation where the company's technology is being upgraded from local, small-scale pilot operations to industrial scale. Technology will be installed in a biogas plant in Germany. One of the key drivers of the project is the funding granted from the Horizon 2020 programme's SME instrument.

Cost savings to biogas plants

The biological method developed and patented by Ductor enables the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus, which are harmful for the environment, from organic matter.   It also improves process stability and makes the process cleaner.

Commercial prospects are promising, as the technology developed in Viikki, Helsinki, will allow biogas plants much more versatile use of raw materials. In the European Union, Germany and the Netherlands lead the way in biogas use. There are currently some 8,000 biogas facilities in Germany, and the UK and France are following suit.

“Our technology enables the use of low-cost raw materials with high nitrogen content, such as manure and poultry litter. For biogas producers, this translates to significant cost savings and efficiency improvement,” Virkajärvi explains.

The Horizon programme increased recognition and fuelled growth

Since its foundation in 2009, Ductor has taken part in the Green Growth programme of Tekes, and is planning to participate in the Young Innovative Companies programme. To further fuel its growth, the company took part in the Vigo accelerator programme, during which it was able to raise investments of approximately EUR 3.7 million.

According to Virkajärvi, applying for funding from the Horizon programme's SME instrument was a natural next step. Furthermore, the timing was right: The technology had been sufficiently tested, and was ready for introduction on an industrial scale. 

“Being a small research-based company we naturally need the money, but we also considered the SME instrument an excellent opportunity for internationalisation. An approved application gives us credibility and visibility, and it opens many doors,” Virkajärvi notes.

Tekes also played a major role in Ductor's first years.

“Tekes' specialists were excellent sparring partners, giving several leads and putting us in touch with suitable development programmes, contact networks and potential customers,” the CTO concludes.


More information

CTO Ilkka Virkajärvi
tel. +358 50 36 55910
ilkka.virkajarvi @ ductor.com

Soile Thalén
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