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Northern Netherlands Takes Center Stage in Sustainable Innovation: 7 Victors

The Northern Netherlands region welcomed international guests showcasing groundbreaking sustainability solutions during the Sustainable Industry Challenge. Startups worldwide tackled challenges set by five local companies. The event concluded in a lively finale on November 16th at NHL Stenden in Emmen. Businesses and enthusiasts from the region were in attendance. A total of 7 winners emerged, presenting sustainable opportunities for our region.

Exploring the region

The three-day event, organized by Chemport Europe, started on November 14th at Thialf in Heerenveen, where participants tested their ice skating and curling skills. On the second day, the participants visited the companies that had issued the challenges. There they engaged in substantive conversations about the challenges and the feasibility of innovative solutions. The potential winners were to be announced on the third day.

Forging new collaborations

The challenge owners – BASF, Cosun Beet Company, Teijin Aramid, Nobian, and RWE – all sought sustainable solutions for certain processes. They hoped to form meaningful collaborations through the event.

  • BASF aimed to find ways to use from and valorize latex sludge made during flushing processes. Two startups, TreaTech and Aquacycl, presented innovative solutions. TreaTech transforms waste into valuable resources and Aquacycl has a sustainable wastewater treatment system.
  • Cosun Beet Company sought to make biobased, gentle and eco-friendly ingredients for personal care products using sugar beet materials. The winning solution from startup Wild Microbes involved developing new microbes for producing biobased ingredients and products.
  • Teijin Aramid’s challenge focused on recovering aramid plastic fibers from rubber materials for reuse. Winner Uplift360 developed a method to recycle aramid fibers from defense waste, a technique applicable in this context. The second winner, New Born Rubber, devised a process to produce a new homogeneous rubber from vulcanized rubber.
  • Nobian sought a way to reuse process and wastewater through salt extraction. Adionics clinched victory with their environmentally friendly method, achieving impressive purity with minimal water usage.
  • RWE’s challenge centered on accelerating the deployment of renewable energy sources. Power to Hydrogen emerged victorious with their technology enabling cost-effective hydrogen production seamlessly integrated with renewable energy sources.

New opportunities in sustainability

The finale of the Sustainable Industry Challenge marked the end of the thought-provoking competition. Yet, it also marks the start of successful collaborations between companies and startups working on sustainable solutions. This has highlighted the region’s innovative spirit, encouraging real partnerships that help the industry in the Northern Netherlands become greener and more sustainable. We eagerly anticipate more fruitful collaborations with a positive impact.

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