Dutch aim for bioplastics domination

Charlotte Eyre

Published: December 3, 2012 6:00 am ET
Updated: January 3, 2013 6:26 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Materials, Suppliers

WAGENINGEN, NETHERLANDS (Dec. 3, 10:35 a.m. ET) — The Dutch government is investing in creating a bio-based economy and hopes to be known as ‘the land of green chemistry’ by 2050. A variety of industry leaders met in the Dutch town of Wageningen earlier this year to discuss innovations in bioplastics.

Bioplastics leaders from across Europe gathered in Wageningen for a symposium organized by the Biobased Performance Materials (BPM) program, where government and industry outlined plans to make the Netherlands one of the largest bio-based economies in the world.

In the opening speech, Chairman Jan Noordegraaf from Synbra outlined the Dutch government’s plans for sustainable development, which involve biomass production, the implementation of biomass import chains, and production of green chemicals and materials.

By 2050, the Netherlands wants to be one of the top three producers of smart materials in the world, he said.

“The Netherlands are on the threshold of a new golden age,” said Noordegraaf, adding that the country has the ideal conditions to build a bio-based economy. The Netherlands has excellent knowledge bases in its universities and chemical companies, as well as various R&D programs, including BPM itself and BE-Basic, he said. BE-Basic is an international public-private partnership, funded by the Dutch Government.

The Netherlands has ample farming land and is a major grower of sugar beat which, according to Noordegraaf, is “almost unbeatable” in terms of bioplastic feedstock.

The industry will also benefit from a variety of funding he added.

By 2015, 445 million euros will be available for joint research. Industry has already pledged to contribute more than 100 million euros, with 30 percent coming from SMEs.

The BPM itself, which kicked off in March 2010, will also contribute a large amount of funding to help the Netherlands become a top producer of bio materials. BPM has 4 million euros from industry in its investment fund, as well as another 4 million euros from the ministry of economic affairs.

Karin Weustink from the ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, said during her speech at the conference that the Dutch government also wants to push this initiative forward by reducing bureaucracy.

“We will make finance easier, for example by replacing subsidies with credit agreements and getting direct foreign investments,” she said. “It is also important to support SMEs so there will be loan guarantees, for example.”

At the symposium several industry leaders highlighted different bio material projects that are taking place in the country.

For example, Royal Cosun, a consortium of Dutch sugar beet growers, announced plans to commercialize a composite based on carrot waste.

Curran, a cellulose material extracted from carrot waste and developed by Scottish science company Cellucomp, can be combined with a variety of resins to create biocomposite materials.

“Although we are still doing research into the material’s properties, advantages we have seen so far include stiffness, strength, toughness and light weight,” said Royal Cosun spokesperson Bart van Ingen. At the conference Van Ingen showed two successful applications; a fishing rod and a longboard.

Another speaker, Ed de Jong, spoke about Avantium’s work in PEF materials, which it makes using YXY technology, a catalytic chemical process that converts carbohydrates into bio-based polymers, including an alternative to terephthalic acid.

According to de Jong, the YXY technology creates a material that delivers superior functional properties to conventional PET in terms of lightweighting potential and barrier and thermal properties. Avantium quotes a study done by the Copernicus Institute at Utrecht University, which shows that PEF has a 50-60 percent lower carbon footprint than oil-based PET.

Just prior to the conference Avantium signed an agreement to use its technology to produce its PEF bottles for Danone.

Other innovations discussed at the event included Forbo Flooring, which is looking at expanding the use of biobased materials in its linoleum product range, and Audi, which talked about the Scirocco Bioconcept. The car uses as many sustainable processes and materials as possible, including flax-fiber composites in the doors.


Comments

Dutch aim for bioplastics domination

Charlotte Eyre

Published: December 3, 2012 6:00 am ET
Updated: January 3, 2013 6:26 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Sabic, Chinese Academy of Sciences sign five-year development agreement

September 15, 2014 11:54 am ET

Ties between one of the world's biggest oil producers and one of its biggest consumers grew tighter Sept. 12 with the announcement of a five-year...    More

Image

BASF analyzes products based on sustainability potential

September 15, 2014 11:48 am ET

Chemicals giant BASF SE has created a new process for managing its product portfolio based on sustainability criteria.    More

Hungarian recycler launches new unit

September 15, 2014 10:59 am ET

Hungarian plastics recycler Polyter-Mix kft has launched a new 1,400-square-meter production hall at a site in Körösladány in southeastern Hungary.    More

Image

China's Zhongtai Chemical calls off large-scale PVC project

September 12, 2014 2:16 pm ET

Accepting the gloomy reality of the PVC market, Xinjiang Zhongtai Chemical Co. Ltd. has officially canceled a 800,000-ton PVC resin project and...    More

Image

Bud Frye may be retiring, but his molds and products continue

September 12, 2014 1:11 pm ET

After 35 years in the plastics industry, Bud Frye thinks it is time for someone else to sell his food storage and housewares products. That's why he's...    More

Market Reports

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events