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

DSM, a smart player in the biobased economy

There is a big opportunity for the Dutch chemical industry beyond bulk products. A small country, with a strong agro-food sector and specialized technology, should aim to develop knowledge and higher-value products in the biobased economy. One of the first … Read more

Why it is so hard to sell sustainability

Sustainability is a difficult subject. Many conversation partners are willing to accept that mankind pursues activities which endanger the planet, ecosystems, future generations, plants, animals. But they have a hard time accepting that human activities, worse: human thought, will have … Read more

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 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