Chemical Cluster Emmen ‘innovation in green fibre chemicals’
The Chemical Cluster Emmen, part of Chemport Europe, has been working on the high-tech development and production of synthetic materials for many years. The focus is on fibre chemicals, chemicals, recycling & upcycling. This strong focus inspires the entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and the government in this cluster to excel in green materials, with an emphasis on polymers, fibres and composites for manufacturing, construction and infrastructure. Councillor Bouke Arends, responsible for Economic Development, of the Municipality of Emmen said “There have been considerable investments in research and development over the past years. I am proud that Emmen businesses are now achieving such wonderful successes with sustainable innovations.”
In 2018 this focus produced a number of unique firsts. For example, on 5 October 2018 Cumapol will be opening a new production line for developing sustainable polyesters during the Behind the scenes event of the Royal Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI), whilst the company Senbis developed biodegradable rope for fishery.
Recycling and upcycling of polyesters in Cumapol Emmen
Cumapol is an important player in the market for recycling and upcycling polyesters, such as plastic bottles for example. In view of the increasing need for recycling, Cumapol has worked hard on developing a production line that will recycle those polyesters in a unique manner. Marco Brons, Technical Director of Cumapol commented “In view of the changes in the market in the area of biobased and circular plastics, it is important to continue investing in new technologies and production equipment. With the new production line, where we work with a so-called tumble dryer, we can perform small-scale tests to determine the best way of producing more complex products of recycled polyester without compromising the quality of the new products. It means we remain flexible and innovative and we are in the vanguard of developing new specialised products. We are also working on a special chemical recycling project for which we will open a pilot factory early next year.”
Biodegradable rope for fishery from Senbis Polymer Innovations
Senbis Polymer Innovations is an R&D service provider that, like Cumapol, is based at the Emmtec lndustry & Business park. The company specialises in developing and manufacturing yarns and monofilaments, such as 3D printing wire, from bioplastics and other plastics. The company recently developed a 100% aquatically biodegradable rope for demersal fishery. In demersal fishery, this rope is known as dolly rope and it is used to protect fishing nets against wear. Senbis Director Gerard Nijhoving explained “Traditionally, dolly rope is made of a plastic based on oil. This plastic requires centuries before it is degraded and contributes to contaminating our oceans with microplastics. The fibres of our biorope are biodegraded to CO2 and water by bacteria in the sea within a few months.”
The production of the biorope is still a little more expensive at the moment. However, Senbis expects that the rope will conquer the market in the near future, as consumers, supermarkets and policy-makers are becoming more focused on sustainability.