Our world is founded on growth. As soon as economic growth slows down, alarm bells start to ring: pensions are in danger, or employment rates. Even the richest economies in the world, like ours, stay on the course of growth, … Read more

Europe hesitates and lags behind

‘You always want to employ the perfect technology right away’, the Americans mirrored us, Europeans, at the occasion of last week’s EFIB final debate, in Düsseldorf. Where EFIB is the acronym for: European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Biobased … Read more

The entire potato

‘We should again valorise the entire potato.’ In one sentence, AVEBE’s ambition in the biobased economy. In order to realize this goal, the corporation has many ideas for opportunities in research. ‘More than we can finance. We will have to … Read more

Gunter Pauli and the ‘Blue Economy’

The interesting thing about festivals like Springtij at Terschelling is, that out of the blue you run into people with a completely new line of thinking. Someone like Gunter Pauli, who invented the ‘Blue Economy’ concept, because the ‘Green Economy’ … Read more

The European Commission’s alcohol problem

The European Commission may renounce its former renewable fuel directive, and plans to lower the required renewable fuel percentage from 10 to 5%. The ethanol industry is furious, and accuses the Commission of an ‘irresponsible U-turn on biofuels policy’. Could … Read more


Seaweed for human consumption. In the Far East, it has been on the menu for ages. In our bioshops it is quite expensive nowadays – but in the Western world, seaweed harvested in the wild, was poor people’s food, and … Read more

Long live Europe, trend 5: decentralisation of industry in a biobased society

The environmental movement of the seventies, precursor to the present movement for sustainability, was largely anti-technological. Technology seemed to be inherently large-scale; it produced nuclear power stations and polluting chemical complexes. But technology has taken a turn into the opposite … Read more

Shale gas in Europe

Item in the discussion series on shale gas on this site. The European Parliament Environmental Committee is of the opinion that member states should be prudent in drilling for shale gas, until better data are available about risks. According to … Read more

No chemistry

Sorry, this column about a discussion in The Hague, 17 September, on biobased business opportunities, is only available in Dutch.

Carbon dioxide economy

German Nova-institute released an interesting press release, August 15: ‘The next revolution: CO2 plus renewable energy can serve as a feedstock for fuels, chemicals and plastics’. According to Nova’s CO2 expert Dr. Fabrizio Sibilla, CO2 will produce many environmental gains, … Read more


Just for a second, one forgets Europe and feels a one hundred percent Dutchman on a hot Sunday afternoon. Where? In ‘Futureland’. Again please? Right, nowadays that is the name of the second Maasvlakte, the artificial harbour area in the … Read more

Selective usage

A recent report by the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (discussed here on the 10th of august by Diederik van der Hoeven) argues in favour of selective energetic usage of biomass. That is good advice. Photosynthesis is beautiful but its … Read more

How the West was lost

‘Everyone should read this book’ is a thought which does not come up often. But it did come up with me as I read ‘How the West was lost’ by Dambisa Moyo, a Zambian economist who worked for Goldman Sachs … Read more

PLA to become a major biobased plastic

An estimated production capacity of almost 800.000 tons per year of polylactic acid (PLA) polymer in 2020. That is the outcome of a study by nova-Institute, based in Hurth, Germany. At present the total capacity of 25 companies amounts to … Read more