During King’s Day 2021, His Majesty the King and his family will be guests at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. From a studio they participate in a special online and TV broadcast in wich Brainport Eindhoven presents itself on the basis of the theme Making Knowledge.

DENS X2 Hydrozine generator and GEM

During this day the DENS X2 Hydrozine generator delivers emission-free energy to the GEM Tower. The GEM(Green Energy Mill) is a hybrid, fold-out striking tower that makes festivals more sustainable. The tower generates energy via solar panels and a wind turbine, where the energy is stored in a battery. The Hydrozine generator ensures that on off-grid locations the energy supply can be increased completely emission-free and the GEM-Stage is no longer dependent on weather conditions.


“At a bit of a festival, a large row of generators is soon stamped out, wich runs through thousands of liters of diesel. Diesel is one of the most polluting fuels in existence,”said Max Aerts, CEO of DENS. With the Hydrozine we deliver a clean and easily applicable alternative at the touch of a button. In order to achieve the climate goals, it is really important that we work together with the latest technologies. With GEM-Stage we can ensure that we can give an event the same entourage in a sustainable way, completely emission-free.

The GEM Stage is an initiative of PowerVIBES, a European Interreg NWE project. Project partners: Eindhoven University of Technology, ZAP Concepts, Flexotels, Eurosonic Noorderslag, Pukkelpop, RPS Conservation Services, Off Grid Limited, Double 2 Media Productions

DENS and Heijmans are testing Hydrozine generator at Atlas Living Lab in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology.

Last month, DENS ran a succesful pilot with the Hydrozine generator on the campus of Eindhoven University of Technology. During the pilot, the generator produced 200kWh of energy without emitting harmful emissions.

An unique form of energy generation on the construction site.

As part of the energy transition and emission-free construction, tech company DENS and construction company Heijmans are starting a trial with a new form of energy generation. It is a Hydrozine generator that replaces the traditional diesel generator on the construction site. This generator, called the DENS X2, works without the emission of harmful substances such as fossil carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides and particulate matter. The purpose of this generator? Creating an acceleration in the energy transition and making sustainable energy available at every location.

Hydrozine as a sustainable fuel for the DENS X2 generator

Renewable energy can be generated anywhere by using the liquid fuel Hydrozine in the DENS generator. Hydrozine consists mainly of formic acid and is produced with carbon dioxide, water and renewable electricity. The same elements are released when using the fuel, making Hydrozine a 100% CO2 climate neutral solution. The innovative generator from DENS can generate more than 20kW of energy per hour. This offers the possibiltity to provide the power requirement of a small construction site with CO2 neutrality, in contrast to the often used diesel generator. The ease of use of the X2 is comparable to the diesel generator, due to the fast start-up, the power supplied, refueling and moving.

Why Heijmans believes in the Hydrozine generator

Both the nitrogen crisis and the climate change pose major challenges for the construction sector. Heijmans wants to tackle these challenges and is therefore one of the frontrunners in the field of emission-free construction. The DENS generator provides construction companies with CO2 neutral and nitrogen-free electricity for the construction site. This sustainable power makes it possible to electrify construction equipment on a larger scale and then to charge it in a sustainable manner, so that electrical construction can also take place without a grid connection. “In this way, the generator has become the backbone of the zero-emission construction site and thus a strategic piece of equipment for a sustainable future.”- says Stefan Daamen Sr. Sustainability advisor at Heijmans. This technology is in line with Heijmans’ vision of making construction activities more sustainable. Working together to stimulate sustainable innovations!

Purpose of the pilot

In preparation the construction site, a first trial was carried out at the location where the development started more than five years ago, at Eindhoven University of Technology. The pilot could take place as part of the Atlas Living Lab component, an OPZUID project of the TU/e, wich offers young companies from the South region the opportunity to test new sustainable technologies in a controlled practical situation. These tests serve as an opportunity to gain experience for further use of the technology in society. Atlas, the most sustainable renovated building in the world according to the BREEAM standard, plays a role in this as a Living lab. During the test period, a lot of knowledge was gained about the technology of the X2, the logistics and the storage of Hydrozine in an user environment, in a safe environment outside the workshop of DENS. The pilot also shows how the X2 can function as support for an existing energy network.

Results of the pilot

The electricity generated by DENS was used to charge the electrical machines of De Enk and to supplement the electricity network used by the Atlas building. De Enk provides the green areas around Atlas and the rest of the TU/e campus. If more electricity is required in the future because of an event or larger number of electric vehicles, the DENS generator can function as support for the electricity network. The successful outcome has prepared DENS for the second phase of the collaboration with Heijmans: on-site testing.

DENS-demonstrator has been made possible in part by a contribution from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under OP-Zuid

Formic acid generator as the backbone for the electrified construction site

Edo Beerda 14-01-2021 SOURCE: Cobouw. More and more construction site equipment is electric, but that provides little environmental benefit if charging is done by a smelly diesel generator. The formic acid generator offers a solution. Refueling costs a bit more, but you do have an environmentally friendly energy source.

The construction site of De Groene Boog will soon have the first ‘Hydrozine generator’. Voorbij Funderingstechniek, which is working there on a new section of A16, will charge its electrical equipment with the DENS X2: a midi digger, an anchor drilling machine, a machine for high-speed piles and a 20-tonne shovel. “In this work, our generator forms the backbone of the construction site, it supplies all electrical machines with energy”, says a proud Max Aerts of supplier Dutch Energy Solutions (DENS). “Charging infrastructure is the major challenge of the electrified construction site. And we have a solution for it”.

The generator he developed with his start-up company in Helmond runs on Hydrozine, better known as formic acid. This is a liquid hydrogen carrier, which has an important advantage over gaseous hydrogen: being that no compressor or heavy pressure tanks are required for storage.

Hydrozine contains 53 grams of hydrogen per liter and can be produced by adding CO2 after electrolysis of water. The generator developed by DENS is equipped with a fuel cell. After the generator has removed the hydrogen from the formic acid, this fuel cell turns it into clean electrical energy. “The process is similar to putting a Mentos in a bottle of Coke” says Aerts.“The gas that is released when it starts to bubble is captured and converted into electricity by the fuel cell”.

Refueling is easy. Formic acid is a liquid fuel that simply comes to the construction site in plastic tanks. You just  have to dump it in the 6000 liter tank. The generator from DENS delivers a nominal power of 20kW and has a 60 kWh battery. “If it runs 24 hours a day, it can produce about 480 kWh of clean energy per day.” says Aerts. “That’s enough to run all Voorbij’s equipment.” Urban Mobility Systems (UMS) is involved in the project as a supplier of the battery systems and is responsible for the electrification of the equipment.

Closed carbon circuit

The innovative generator is quite thirsty. Almost a liter of formic acid passes through every minute. This is because a liter of formic acid contains only one fifth of the amount of energy contained in a liter of diesel (10kWh). The waste products released during the process are water vapor and CO2. Nevertheless, the formic acid generator is CO2 neutral, Aerts explains. “You first add CO2 to make hydrozine and then emit it again when you use it. So it is a closed carbon cycle, in which carbon dioxide functions as packaging”.

Further emissions are not involved in the formic acid generator. No nitrogen, sulfur oxide, particulate matter is released and the device runs “whisper quiet”. This is because energy production is not a combustion process, but the result of a chemical reaction.

DENS has big plans for its innovation. The first four generators will be piloted by various construction companies. “But we expect to deliver dozens more this year,”says Aerts.

The ambitions go even further. The company is investigating together with UMS whether it is possible to equip construction equipment with a Hydrozine system. Because then they no longer need to charge the generator, the can simply refuel. This can be an interesting option, especially for heavier equipment. “The reason is, that you would need so many batteries that a mobile Hydrozine drive is more practical, efficient and cheaper, “says Aerts. “so instead of exchangeable battery packs, you get exchangeable Hydrozine packs.” A heavy excavator would be able to work continuously  with such a modular system. The founders of DENS already proved this is possible when they were students at Eindhoven University of Technology. Then they built a formic acid system for a bus for VDL Groep.

Using a Hydrozine generator is more expensive than a diesel generator, the costs per kWh are about twice as high, Aerts estimates. ”However if you include the social costs of particulate matter, CO2 and nitrogen that are being released during diesel consumption, it is cheaper. ”He expects costs to fall sharply as the scale of the market for electrical construction equipment grows and CO2 capture becomes more common. “This can become significant, especially with heavy equipment, because Hydrozine is a much more efficient energy carrier than hydrogen.

Dutch Energy Solutions (DENS) was founded five years ago at Eindhoven university of Technology as Team FAST. This student team, in collaboration with VDL, built a concept system for a bus in which an electric motor was fueled with energy by means of formic acid. At the end of this project, the team further developed the system into a stationary generator for construction sites. This was tested as a generator at a BAM infrastructural construction site during the construction of the N211 near Poeldijk, the first CO2 negative road in the Netherlands. In 2018, the student team continued as an independent start-up at the Automotive campus in Helmond.

Secretary of State van Veldhoven pays a digital visit to DENS and the Brainport Smart District

Secretary of State Stientje van Veldhoven visited DENS and the Brainport Smart District (BSD) on the 30th of November, to understand how circular construction occurs in practise. Due to the active coronavirus measures this visit was online. Secretary of State van Veldhoven was impressed by all the different innovations that have emerged in Helmond. “We cannot miss any opportunity in supporting the transition to a circular energy in the construction industry. The developed innovations by BSD and DENS contribute to an enormous scale jump that we support. I like to pick up the gauntlet in order to work together on ripening the smart innovations of our partners, so that eventually this can be implemented within a bigger scale”, thus the Secretary of State.

At an online meeting van Veldhoven started a discussion with of among others councilor Cathalijne Dortmans, mayor Blanksma and Maxime Verhagen, chairman of “Bouwend Nederland”, and entrepreneurs Max Aerts and Tijn Swinkels of DENS. She was showed how DENS contributes to the Construction Site of the Future with the implementation of Hydrozine.. “Hydrozine, also known as formic acid, supplies sustainable electricity for electricity generators., completely free from harmful emissions and noise. With this we contribute to a cleaner construction site and the reduction of harmful emissions. To accelerate the energy transition in the construction industry, we decided to put our technique on the agenda of the Secretary of State”, tells Max Aerts, founder of DENS.

Trial Garden
After the conversation with DENS, the Secretary of State was updated about the developments in the Brainport Smart District. This developing area in Helmond is a place where sustainable innovations from the Brainport Area can settle and partners jointly dare to experiment. The Hydrozine generator developed by DENS will also be utilized for construction projects within the Brainport Smart District and this is one of the many components that contribute to the innovative and circular character of the area. “Trial gardens like BSD are of great importance for the many transitions within different regions that our country and region have to go through, for example sustainability and circularity. Innovation funds and investments, national and international, are of the most importance to test, try out and improve our innovative concepts.” Said councilor Cathalijne Dortmans and also the chairman of ‘the Stichting Brainport Smart District’.

Collaboration between the companies DENS, Voorbij Funderingstechniek and UMS

DENS joins hands with Voorbij Funderingstechniek (a foundation engineering company) and Urban Mobility Systems (UMS), and works together on the sustainability process of foundation engineering, construction and the infrastructure industries by means of the electrification of machines and a generator that runs on Hydrozine.

We are truly proud that Voorbij Funderingstechniek takes, combined with DENS and UMS, on this big and important step towards the electrification and a more sustainable foundation engineering, construction and infrastructure industry.

Voorbij Funderingstechniek is one of the leaders within the foundation engineering industry regarding sustainability.  In June, they already announced the shift towards HVO B100 fuel. Now they go to the next step in collaboration with DENS and UMS. DENS is a fast growing company that wants to accelerate the energy transition with their Hydrozine generator. UMS is an expert of electrification solutions among others in the area of industrial vehicles. They develop the battery systems for DENS, which is an important part of the generator. The collaboration between DENs, UMS and Voorbij Funderingstechniek is a huge step in connecting the supply chain. UMS concerns itself with the development and the electrification of a midi excavator, a shovel and a pile driver. DENS provides the required energy to charge the electric foundation equipment with their Hydrozine generator. Coming closer toward 2030, there will be more developments. This is a huge step towards the end goal of a fully electric and emission free construction process.

How does the Hydrozine generator work ?

The Hydrozine generator is an unique and versatile technic which is capable of delivering emission free energy by using the liquid substance Hydrozine. The generator operates on the liquid hydrogen carrier Hydrozine, which does not need pressure tanks in its liquid form, in contrary to hydrogen itself. Hydrozine consists of 53 gram of hydrogen per liter, and can therefore store huge amounts of hydrogen in a save way. Within the generator, the hydrogen is immediately regenerated from the Hydrozine and converted in a fuel cell into clean electrical energy.  This keeps the generator as user-friendly as the “old” diesel generator. With this generator we can work with batteries that are charged by using Hydrozine. This makes us the first in the world to charge a midi excavator and a shovel within a 24-hour cycle.

Dot on the horizon

UMS will soon start with the first electrification of the midi excavator, shovel and pile driver. After that, Voorbij Funderingstechniek will also start using the Hydrozine aggregate. However, they are taking steps to implement this more widely within Voorbij Funderingstechniek. The technology and electrification can easily be scaled up, so that in the future we can also generate sustainable energy for more and larger electrified construction materials.

In contrast to the “old” diesel generator and the old pile driver, the Hydrozine aggregate and electrified foundation equipment is CO2 neutral, whisper quiet and there are no emissions of nitrogen, sulfur oxide and particulate matter. We are extremely proud that this collaboration is a major and important step towards the electrification and a more sustainable foundation technology, construction and infrastructure industry.


Hydrogen-like fuel is a solution to environmental problems in the construction industry

10-08-2020 17:18 | BY: MARC SEIJLHOUWER

DENS is working together with Urban Mobility Systems (UMS), a company that makes electric vehicles. For the construction industry they  already made an electric excavator and a “Knikmops”. DENS is the company that emerged from the student team Team FAST, which developed a technology to use formic acid as a sustainable fuel.

Hydrozine is a good alternative to diesel, according to DENS CEO Max Aerts. Unlike hydrogen, you can put this fuel in a simple plastic storage tank. “You have to keep hydrogen under pressure. This requires a compressor and special, more expensive storage tanks. Hydrozine is an attractive alternative”.

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The easiest  application are generators which DENS thinks can be succesfull.. The generator consists of a battery that supplies power to all kind of electrical building materials. When the battery is empty, the Hydrozine system switches on: formic acid is converted into hydrogen, which enters a fuel cell and generates electricity.

Just as expensive as diesel

A Hydrozine generator costs about the same as a diesel generator. “A grid connection is the cheapest option. But you often don’t have that possibility on a construction site, then this is an attractive, environmentally friendly option”, thinks Aerts. Exactly how environmentally friendly the formic acid is depends on how you make it. DENS now uses green gas, made from biomass. “We also want to ensure that it is environmentally friendly biomass, for example from sewage sludge”.

Other companies are working on a Hydrozine electrolyzer plant.”For that technique, the company OCO is working on a pilot factory”. The production of Hydrozine is less efficient than the production of hydrogen. “But it is cheaper and better in every step after production, because you can easily transport and store it”.

The studentteam Team FAST made a formic acid system for a bus. At first, the fuel was intended for sustainable mobility. Aerts:”But that was more of a demonstration of the technology. In the automotive industry we see that electric cars are on the rise. Perhaps formic acid can help in the long term for heavy transport: “DENS may also want to develop such a hydrozine system for construction machines, so that they no longer have to charge at the generator but can simply refuel.

A climate neutral airport

DENS can make the most impact in the short term during construction, Aerts thinks. But his company is also looking at other applications. “Although they are now stationary, festivals can make good use of the Hydrozine generator and it can also be a good solution at airports to meet the climate objectives”. DENS will start field tests of the generating set before the end of this year. The company wants to start serial production from next year.

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