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Top sector Chemistry delegation in rapture about the Northern Netherlands

The Chemport Europe ecosystem is undergoing rapid development with ample scope for biomaterials and raw materials and reuse. The idea that green chemistry represents the future of the Northern Netherlands is warmly welcomed by public authorities, industries and knowledge centres. That is one of the reasons why a top delegation travelled to the Northern Netherlands. The delegation consisted of the TopTeam Chemistry: Emmo Meijer, Tom van Aken, Bert Weckhuysen, Robert Thijssen, Mark Schmets and Oscar van den Brink.

The cluster in Delfzijl focuses on intermediate chemicals and the cluster in Emmen on polymers. They are leading the way together with the knowledge cluster at Campus Groningen. Add the National Test Centre for Circular Plastics in Heerenveen and the circle is complete. To gain a clear image, the top team Chemistry visited several companies and facilities in the Northern Netherlands.


The programme covered all elements of the ecosystem. A visit was paid to Campus Groningen, the companies Synom and BioBTX, the InnoLab Chemie and the MW Test Centre “HydroHub”. Pieter Imhof, CEO of BioBTX: “To us, Campus Groningen is the springboard for the smart start. This is where we have grown and are working to develop efficient and effective technologies for the production of sustainable BTX. The pilot plant on the Campus has yielded valuable knowledge and information. The time has now come to work on the next step: building a sustainable factory in the region.”

The delegation then went to the chemical park in Delfzijl where they visited Avantium and Groningen Seaports. Cas König of Groningen Seaports: “Avantium and Groningen Seaports share the ambition to support the transition to a green economy. The Avantium factory brings innovation and employment to this region. Avantium is a perfect fit for our ecosystem: our goal is to make the chemical industry cluster completely climate neutral by 2050. In 2030 we plan to develop Chemie Park Delfzijl into one of the most sustainable clusters in Europe. That is just ten years from now, which is why this cooperation is crucial. To make the sector future-proof, all parties involved will have to work on greening. We’re all fully committed to these green ambitions.”

To complete the picture, the delegation also visited Emmtec in Emmen. There they spoke to Marco Brons of Cumapol about the new CuRe Technology. This is a polyester recycling technology, which recycles used polyester waste streams for very demanding applications such as carpets, textiles and food packaging. A well-kept secret that is globally revolutionary. Marco Brons: “This is a great opportunity for an SME company to talk to the delegation. We discussed the future of recycling, the challenges and the need for clear European laws and regulations to achieve a truly circular polyester economy.”

“During our visit we experienced how intensively parties are working together on the necessary transitions in chemistry. I’m impressed by the great integration in how sustainable energy is used, such as hydrogen production linked to application in the chemical and manufacturing industry”, says Emmo Meijer.

Complementary clusters

Chemport Europe welcomes their arrival. “Cooperation, proximity and trust have helped us to get all these developments off the ground,” says Reinder Jacobi of Chemport Europe. “We have really built up a lead in the Northern Netherlands in this respect. We’re seeing the same thing during the corona crisis. In recent years, partieshave entered into joint ventures with other parties in the region. One party’s end product is a raw material for the other. There is a movement among companies to keep the raw materials in the system. The fact that we have complementary clusters makes it possible for us to speed things up. In the coming years, we will be investing heavily together to realise this circular economy. And that mutual cooperation is fundamental to us.”

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