In Source B we have created an unprecedented organisational capacity in Limburg for working on the bio-based economy. It’s what is needed to surmount the many barriers. For example, we continue to compete with a fossil economy on a number of fronts, where the ecological footprint is not taken into account in pricing. There’s no question of a level playing field from the start. This is only changing slowly in line with the rise in CO2 emission prices.
The creation of entirely new value chains is also a factor that takes time. We‘ve had a significant supply of biomass in Limburg for some time, but agricultural entrepreneurs have never been in a value chain for chemical applications before. This link has also been created through Source B. We also have to cope with the development of new technology and scaling it up, market acceptance and regulatory restrictions, because residual streams are regarded as waste and as such cannot easily be used for product development.
So we need to work on several fronts simultaneously. This can only be achieved if we join forces. Here we have a Chemelot, a Greenport Venlo, a Maastricht University and a province of Limburg who are all good at putting heads together, cooperating and co-investing, and we have a link with national and international programmes. The entire spectrum of activities is discussed at one table within Source B, every six weeks. This lets us talk about the developments with concentration and focus: what’s feasible and what isn’t? Where do we apply our efforts and where not? That’s the strength of Source B. No region in the Netherlands has succeeded so well in this. We have already reached a project volume of some € 30 million in the first five years of our existence.
But we still face a gigantic task, with a turnaround time that transcends any political timeframe: to be climate-neutral by 2050. To achieve this, we really need new, creative thinking, perseverance and the right ways of working together and getting parties moving. I’m very positive in that respect when I look back at Limburg’s developments in recent years: the bio-based spirit that exists here is unprecedented. So Source B is nowhere near its end; it will be with us for decades to come.”
This article was written in cooperation with Source B.