Debrief Rio+20

Disappointment and resolve. Those were the general feelings in the Rio+20 debrief meeting, July 19 in The Hague. Disappointment because results had been meagre: merely the affirmation of previous agreements, without emphasis on their importance. As Kitty van der Heijden, … Read more

An avalanche on wheels

Having been the owner of a little house in the French campagne, visited each year, I had not been in the mountains for some twenty years. But finally we went there. Somewhere in the French Alps, near Morzine, we were … Read more

Why PEF is better than PET

Biobased PEF (polyethylene furanoate), the new feedstock for soft drink bottles (Coca Cola and Danone) is not only green, but also cheaper to produce than both fossil and drop-in green PET (polyethylene terephthalate). It also has better properties. Tom van … Read more

Lignin, new opportunities

As researchers have discovered commercial pathways to separate cellulose and hemicellulose on a commercial scale, lignin treatment is the next step. And quite more complex. Utrecht University seems well underway to tackle this problem. Chemistry is on its way to … Read more

Top sector policy, a mission impossible?

Government should invest more in innovation in businesses, and less in fundamental scientific research. That is the shorthand notation for the new Dutch innovation policy, ‘top sector policy’. But this policy meets with difficulties, while financing research is increasingly unclear. … Read more

Europe’s bioeconomy: this year is decisive

That is Nathalie Moll’s opinion, secretary-general to Europabio, the Brussels lobby branch of Europe’s biotechnological industry. Industrial biotechnology is growing fast, and is selected as one of six Key Enabling Technologies for a greener and more sustainable Europe. The European … Read more

Logistics in the biobased society

It goes without saying that the biobased economy will produce major changes in society. Yet, many people do not realise to what an extent – eventually, the biobased economy will produce another society, a biobased society. Logistics is a fine … Read more

Cosun and the unbeatable beet

For Cosun, the beet is exceptionally suited as a starting point in the bio-based economy. ‘The sugar beet has by far the highest yield in the Netherlands (and elsewhere), and carries the highest income to the farmer. Even algae do … Read more

Carbohydrate Competence Centre (CCC) takes 70% of all living matter as its research object

The Carbohydrate Competence Centre performs in-depth scientific research on carbohydrate synthesis, modification and degradation. CCC thus aims to generate and develop high-quality knowledge in the field of carbohydrates, to stimulate innovation and contribute to a healthier and more sustainable society. … Read more

Avans

Avans University of Applied Sciences is one of several dozens of its kind in the Netherlands. These are meant to give hands-on education for students with practical rather than theoretical careers in mind. Local companies cooperate closely in their science, … Read more

Biogas is big in Niedersachsen

In the landscape, differences between Niedersachsen and the Northern Netherlands are almost unnoticeable. On both sides of the border, biobased economy is in full development. A lot of research and talks take place in the Eems-Dollard regional association. Some important … Read more

Enzymatic polymerisation. New!

‘Enzymatic polymerisation is a totally new branch of science and technology’, says associate professor Dr. Katja Loos of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials (ZIAM), the top research school of Groningen University. ‘Most of the enzymes we need for this, … Read more

Biomethanol in the Netherlands

Methanol, commonly produced from natural gas, is an interesting transport fuel, and a feedstock for products like plastics and paints. Natural gas feedstock contributes to almost three quarters of methanol’s production costs. This implies a major advantage for countries which … Read more

R&D in chemistry and process technology

In the biobased economy, green chemistry will play an important role. But many aspects of it need further research and development. Almost all petrochemical technology will have to be adapted of even reinvented: separation and process technologies, catalysis, and analytical … Read more

Regulation as a bottleneck

Ancient regulation might stand in the way of biobased economy development in many forms. These bottlenecks differ among countries; here we offer an overview with some examples. Waste regulation Waste regulation is intended to serve public health. Manure and offal … Read more

Phosphate and soil carbon

High yields generally require sufficient fertilizer, e.g. phosphate. Phosphorus is an element essential to plant growth. But whereas nitrogen fertilizer is synthesized, the only way to produce fertilizer containing phosphorus, is to mine it as phosphate. World phosphate resources are … Read more

Much biobased economic activity in France

Northern France’s agricultural areas host many biobased initiatives. Both in Picardy and in Champagne-Ardennes, French government invests in joint chemistry/agriculture projects. There are pilot and demo plants for ethanol production, and the French produce second generation biofuels, and biochemicals like … Read more

Three development phases in green chemistry

Green chemistry development will take place in three overlapping phases, up to 2050. The first has been developing for some time now, the second started recently, and the third is in the research phase. 1.    Biofuels in the petrochemical infrastructure … Read more

First versus second generation

In the biofuel debate, it important to distinguish first and second generation technologies. First generation technologies produce biofuel from edible feedstock like starch (from maize), sugar (from sugar cane) or rape seed oil. Second generation technologies produce biofuel from wood … Read more