Moving forward by joining forces
A year after the launch in corona time, members of the Network Chemical Recycling of Circular Biobased Delta met each other in person for the first time in early April, during a well-attended meeting at the Moerdijk Port Authority.
The Chemical Recycling Network supports entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities that are still sparsely used within the circular economy: the processing of biomass and waste plastics into new raw materials by means of innovative technologies such as pyrolysis, solvolysis, depolymerisation, gasification, etc. The challenges in this broad field are manifold and are not only technological. They include the formation of new value chains, the logistical challenge of closing cycles, waste and environmental legislation, finance, insurance, consortium formation and standardisation.
This became clear during the networking event in Moerdijk, where the now almost 20 members introduced themselves in a relaxed atmosphere. Not as competitors, but as entrepreneurs who want to move forward in this new, multifaceted industry, who want to share their experiences and who are looking for information and inspiration, expertise and practical tips to, for example, go through a permit process more smoothly.
One is searching for consortium partners for a European project. Another is looking for expertise on LCAs. Yet someone else offers knowledge of separation techniques. Or in the field of certification. Or waste streams. The next one offers human capital: young people who want to get started. Or space to accommodate new industrial activities. An investment fund specifically for pyrolysis. Business planning, research into economic feasibility, or even more tangible: the construction of installations. The questions of the network members and the expertise they offer are as diverse as the world of chemical recycling itself. In the end, they all have the same goal: realising economic growth, circularity and reduction of CO2 emissions.
But how can one see the forest for the trees? Which technologies are promising, even in the long run? Circular Biobased Delta made an economic/technological analysis of it. In this study, a ‘probability of success’ score is established for various companies. Business developer Marcel van Berkel presented the results, which are confidential, during the network meeting. He emphasised: “It is a snapshot of today and we certainly expect to see movement.”
The market analysis is one of the reports available in a restricted area on the Circular Biobased Delta website, exclusively for members of the Network Chemical Recycling. They can go there for questions, comments, tips and sharing knowledge. There is also a library with useful information, presentations, market reports and profiles of all members, which shows at a glance which expertise and which facilities can be found where.
One thing is clear: cooperation is necessary. “To be able to solve all the challenges in this field by ourselves, we would need a few thousand employees,” says one of the participants at the networking event. “We can’t possibly do it alone.” Programme manager Joop Groen agrees: “We are dealing with an enormous circular transition. We must and we want to get very far in this endeavour. That is why we are joining forces, bringing and taking knowledge, experience and cooperation. And where necessary, we speak with one combined voice, for example in lobbying and subsidy processes. The reception is very different when you speak on behalf of 17 parties than when you speak on behalf of one company.
Become a member
Besides access to exclusive information and closed network and matchmaking meetings, membership of Network Chemical Recycling offers many other benefits. For an overview or to register directly, visit the website of Circular Biobased Delta (https://circularbiobaseddelta.nl/focus-themas/projecten/netwerk-chemisch-recyclen/).
This article was written in cooperation between Circular Biobased Delta and Agro & Chemistry.
Province seeks projects for € 58 million
The network meeting in Moerdijk was attended by Waldo Maaskant, biobased and circular economy strategist for the province of Noord-Brabant. He gave a brief explanation of the Joint transition Fund (JTF). This European fund has the ambition to enable specific regions and people to deal with the socio-economic and environmental effects of the transition to a climate-neutral Europe. “For the West Brabant region, this means that € 58.5 million has been made available to be deployed on the topics of labour market, innovation and investments in technology and systems, and in infrastructure. With regard to innovation, the focus is on SME scaling-up projects in the field of green chemistry. Therefore, within the Network Chemical Recycling, we are exploring which innovative projects can be started up quickly. Time is pressing, however, because the projects have to be launched by the end of next year, so project proposals will have to be worked on this year.” The latest information regarding European subsidies can be found on the Stimulus website (www.stimulus.nl).