Bilfinger Tebodin in the media: “We are the ‘technology’ within the energy transition”.


Not the best known by name to a large audience, but no less fundamental to the industry. The multidisciplinary consultants and engineers of Bilfinger Tebodin are the technical link that transforms client’s wishes into concrete plants. With 200 people in the North East region, they give the ‘energy transition’ concrete form and content. John Bouma about this Valhalla for technicians.

As Manager of Engineering Architecture, Construction and Installations, he is responsible for a team of 25 multidisciplinary engineers and technicians at the consulting and engineering firm that employs about 800 people in the Netherlands and about 1,600 internationally. The firm began in 1945 in The Hague as Tebodin, ‘Technisch Bureau voor de Ontwikkeling der Industrie’. Even after that reconstruction phase, it continued as a technical service company for industry. In 1968 it became part of Hollandse Beton Groep HBM and in 2001 it became part of BAM, which sold it to the German listed company Bilfinger in 2012. The dna from back then has remained. Now strongly internationally oriented, but still a leading industrial service provider, from consulting and engineering to production and assembly. As John Bouma puts it: “With what we do, a plant can be built from A to Z.”

“Bilfinger Tebodin has two offices in the northeastern part of the Netherlands, Groningen and Hengelo. In the past we did a lot of work for NAM, Gasunie and the chemical industry. Over the past few years, we have done less in oil and gas and more in the energy, food and chemical markets. The latter market includes everything to do not only with gas and oil, but increasingly with biogas, hydrogen, electrification and network reinforcement. It is our mission to help industry reduce its impact on nature, the environment and its surroundings. This means that we do a lot of ‘off-the-gas’ projects and electrification projects. We also assist industry in the region with seismic research for earthquake proofing their buildings and installations. We have all disciplines in-house: process, electrical, instrumentation, mechanical, construction and installation engineering. We work regionally, but also internationally, such as on a plant for 2nd generation bioethanol from straw in Romania.”

Essential step towards energy transition

“We make things that matter; we shape the energy transition with our work. We are proud of technology and of the role that people play in it,” is how Bouma describes their work. A few eye-catching projects demonstrate the impact he is so proud of. Bilfinger Tebodin in Groningen, for example, did the engineering for the 12 hectare expansion of the Gasunie nitrogen plant in Zuidbroek, which will enable high calorific gas from Northern Europe to be converted at 180,000 cubic meters per hours into ‘Gronings’ low calorific gas, making it suitable for use in Dutch households. “That installation is an essential step in the energy supply of the Netherlands.”

Bouma’s colleagues will soon also get to work designing the earthquake-resistant heat plant for the new Loppersum Heat Grid in the heart of the earthquake area. Just as they did earlier for the innovative heat network for Paddepoel-Noord in Groningen. And consultancy colleagues at Bilfinger Tebodin prepared the feasibility study for the North Sea Energy program for new artificial islands to be constructed in the North Sea measuring approximately 1,000 by 600 meters. On these envisaged islands, large-scale transmission of electricity and green hydrogen can take place, which is needed on land for the (process) industry and refineries. Bilfinger Tebodin is also the structural advisor for various local industrial companies, leading the way in everything that has to be structurally adapted in the factories. In addition, other colleagues calculate about 300 projects each year to see whether solar panels envisaged can actually be installed on the roof of a building.

Valhalla for technicians

“Energy is becoming an increasingly large market, especially in the north, where the expertise of gas and gas pipeline networks is huge. We think we have great potential with green hydrogen to provide energy supplies to industry. As mentioned, Bilfinger Tebodin is part of the North Sea Energy research program. That consortium, led by TNO, is now making preparations for the possibilities of system integration. Bilfinger Tebodin has designed the first green hydrogen offshore electrolyser on the artificial islands. Participation by us in this program makes the energy transition concrete and gives meaning to ‘designing, calculating and making things that matter’.”

Bilfinger Tebodin, says John Bouma, is also a growing employer in Groningen. The centrally located office on the Leonard Springerlaan employs about 100 people, a sum of expertise and disciplines. “Greener and more sustainable is increasingly becoming part of what we do. We are therefore proud that we can contribute so fundamentally to the energy transition, to new opportunities and to sustainable business models. We need a lot of knowledge to do that so we are increasingly focusing on collaboration with education and students looking for internships. So whether you are studying or have studied chemical engineering, architecture or electrical engineering, this is the Valhalla for technicians.”