Interested? Ask us a question.
Back to overview

Biorefinery Verborg Group in Delfzijl operational in record time

Thirteen months after the idea emerged to convert the vacant building of the old alcohol distillery factory from 1967 in Delfzijl into a biorefinery, production has now commenced. "A record," said Goedhart Borgesius, Managing Director of the Verborg Group.

Source: SBE

“The building had been deteriorating for years and was previously referred to as the ‘blotch of Delfzijl’ by former councilor Rijzebol of Delfzijl. We have now turned it into a functioning factory. Integrating and engineering that was a challenge, but we succeeded, and in a very short time,” he continues.

The Verborg Group is a joint venture of brothers John and Goedhart Borgesius and Hedde Verhagen. The company recently started refining plant-based raw materials into high-quality oils and fats for the oil and chemical industry. Borgesius: “We use tropical oils and fats as raw materials. The supply of these mainly comes by ship. In the factory, the oils are then purified without chemicals and with the help of steam to obtain pure oil. The remaining fractions after purification can be reused for technical purposes such as biodiesel.”

He continues: “We started with the first manual batch on Saturday, January 20. This week, the first tank has been filled with the final product, and the software has been adjusted so that we can operate fully automatically. We are already working towards a potential expansion. Different processes are required for this. To test that, we have recently been allowed to use the laboratory of the RUG. We are very grateful to Erik and André Heeres for this.”

The high-quality products are supplied to the oil and chemical industry. “For example, we produce a semi-finished product for the candle industry as an alternative to fossil paraffin. There is demand for this from large retail chains, which only want to sell candles made from plant-based raw materials. Also, think of lubricants that may come into contact with food during production processes. Current lubricants for this purpose have a certification, but that does not guarantee that they are fossil-free. The products we supply are guaranteed to be,” says Borgesius.

After purification, these products are first stored in the tanks of Contitank. Therefore, additional tanks are being built at Contitank with a total capacity of 15,000 m3. The final touches are also being made to the indoor loading station, where trucks are loaded with the final product from the factory. Borgesius: “With weighbridges and a loading arm system, the loading station is also ‘state of the art’ from a safety perspective! We mainly sell our product locally, especially in the Benelux, hence it is transported by road.”

I find it beautiful that we are also contributing to the economic activity in our own region

The Borgesius brothers have been active in the market of plant-based oils and fats for ten years. Their father worked for an animal fats producer as a commercial director. Through a graduation assignment, they entered the plant-based sector, which they saw potential in. Borgesius: “Despite our father’s reservations, we moved back in with our parents, used all our savings, and started a brokerage firm in plant-based oils and fats. Initially, from the bedroom with a laptop and a phone. A year later, we rented an office in Stadskanaal, and that’s how we continued to grow.”

“A few years later, my brother John came to the office with black chain grease on his shin. We wondered if there couldn’t be a better way. We started working on it and created a plant-based alternative that doesn’t make your chain as dirty and provides better lubrication with less resistance. That’s how our second company ‘Airogroup’ originated five years ago. We supply plant-based cleaners and lubricants for bicycles, cars, the agricultural sector, and industrial customers, to specialty stores and directly to consumers,” he adds.

The brothers quickly spot market gaps. When the old factory on the Contitank site came into view, everything fell into place. Borgesius: “We also immediately clicked with Hedde Verhagen from Contitank. Verhagen has worked, among other things, as an investment banker for JP Morgan before joining the family business and continuing with his own investment company HCV Investments. His knowledge and experience in the insurance and banking world complemented our knowledge of oils and fats perfectly.”

He concludes: “We enjoy what we do, which I think is important. And as true Groningers, I find it beautiful that we are also contributing to the economic activity in our own region. This is a completely new industrial branch for the Northern Netherlands. We are convinced that this will also attract new businesses and provide opportunities at the adjacent Chemie Park and in the Eemshaven. Think of customers of ours who will seek a nearby location and whom we can supply with our semi-finished product.”

Share this page

Related news items

See all News items