Bioplastics: end the confusion

The term bioplastics causes much confusion and will continue to do so, according to my conviction. The public does not seem to grasp the difference between bio as in biobased and bio as in biodegradable. As the plastic soup problem … Read more

Brexit was not about the EU

Imprisonment is the worst criminal punishment available to a European citizen. The long-term loss of freedom is loathsome for human beings, and the incarcerated almost always long for freedom. That is why stories involving prisons so often involve prison breaks, … Read more

More guts needed for the bioeconomy

North-western Europe has the best feedstock in the world for biobased industries, says Marc Verbruggen, NatureWorks’ CEO and largest PLA producer in the world. He could have added: also the largest sugar factories, the highest yields per hectare, outstanding research … Read more

Green Deal, lubricant in the system

Charging point in Amsterdam

‘Let a thousand flowers blossom,’ chairman Mao said long ago. This concept could be appropriate to the number and diversity of the unusual phenomenon of the Green Deal, a mechanism devised by the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs to ease … Read more

Naomi Klein: everyone will be affected

Would there still be safe havens if the sea level starts rising as a result of the greenhouse effect? For the time being, people will be relatively safe in industrialised countries. Even in low-lying countries like the Netherlands, that will … Read more

Peak gas

Activists occupy NAM location in 't Zandt, Groningen province

Worldwide, peak gas is not yet an issue; but the Netherlands have now crossed The Hill. Europe’s largest gas field, discovered some 50 years ago, has been depleted for two thirds. The Dutch will not be able to deplete the … Read more

Why Europe undermines its own policies on second-generation biofuels, whereas the US moves fast forward

Europe’s biofuel policy has been reformulated earlier this year, in order to promote the development of second-generation biofuels. But this seems to have little effect: whereas second-generation biofuels from food wastes are indeed being produced in Europe, there is just … Read more

EFIB, now is the time!

Whereas last year, EFIB was still under the aegis of high hopes on this new phenomenon, the biobased economy, this year in Brussels the main sentiment was ‘this is the time for Europe, otherwise others will take the lead’. There … Read more

Correct decision, wrong arguments

The European Parliament has decided. The share of biofuels in the fuel mix will be reduced from 10 to 6% in 2020. Is that disastrous or beneficial, on the contrary? And why? According to European figures, biofuels would contribute a … Read more

A perverse effect of subsidies

Subsidies play a difficult but unavoidable part in the stimulation of new technologies. With subsidies, new and superior technologies can compete with incumbent technologies. Subsidies protect them temporarily from the chilly force of the market. But subsidies, so it appears, … Read more

Marc Verbruggen (Natureworks): ‘Europe has the sugar beet, the best crop for biopolymers, but does not use it.’

Europe has the best feedstock for producing biopolymers, beet sugar, but instead aims at developing cellulosic crops. An example of Europe’s ineffectiveness. ‘A Southeast Asian delegation recently remarked to me: While Europe talks, we build,’ says Marc Verbruggen, CEO and … Read more