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At the New Year’s reception of Groningen Seaports in Delfzijl last week, CFK Recycling from Germany was proclaimed as the overall winner of the Sustainable Industry Challenge – Chemport Europe edition. This scale-up devised a method for recycling carbon fibres for the challenged posed by Teijin Aramid.
Editorial office / Groningen

During a two-day event, 40 scale-ups participated in the competition and met regional players with a view to possible future cooperation. There were contestants from the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Spain, Latvia, Hong Kong, Belgium and Canada.

Five industrial companies, the challenge setters in the Sustainable Industry Challenge, each selected their finalist. For the Hydrogen theme, they were Immaterial Labs from Great Britain and ScandiNAOS from Sweden. For the Green Chemistry theme, they were Susteen Technologies from Germany and Bioextrax from Sweden. CFK Recycling was the finalist for the Recycling theme.

Greatest impact

Having assessed the pitches from the five finalists, the independent jury selected the two finalists that would battle it out on stage just before the final showdown in the boxing ring. Tjeerd Jongsma, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology and Chairperson of the jury said “We selected CFK Recycling as winner, because the innovation of this company has the greatest impact on our region. Recycling wind turbines, nobody else is able to do that!“

Edward Groen, Energy Transition & Sustainable Development Director of Teijin Aramid, said “This scale-up is far ahead when it comes to recycling carbon fibre. We will set up a small-scale pilot with them to recycle aramid.” CFK Recycling won €100,000 to spend on elaborating their innovation for this sustainability issue.

Worth repeating

Emme Groot, Chairperson of Economic Board Groningen, was pleased with the success of the competition. “CFK Recycling is a worthy winner. It is also fantastic that we put the north of the Netherlands on the map together with our partners. Apart from the winner, there are various scale-ups that will be meeting northern companies. As far as we and our partners are concerned, this competition is definitely worth repeating.”

The independent professional jury consisted of jury chairperson Tjeerd Jongsma PhD (Director of the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT)), Aaldrik Haijer (Director of Water & Energy Solutions), Dr Katja Loos (Professor Faculty of Science and Engineering and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, Groningen University), Nienke Homan (Member of the Groningen Provincial Executive) and Veronique de Bruijn PhD (CEO Photanol).

Links to be forged

The Sustainable Industry Challenge, Chemport Europe edition, was initiated by Economic Board Groningen. Partners are the Campus Groningen, NOM, Groningen Seaports, and the provincial executives of Groningen and Drenthe. All the organisations are part of Chemport Europe, the ecosystem for a green chemical sector in the northern Netherlands.

This major competition used challenges formulated by industrial companies to call on innovative companies to come up with specific innovations in the area of making recycling, hydrogen or green chemistry more sustainable. The organisation hopes that links will be forged between businesses in the region and more than 200 companies from all over the world who entered the competition; the first connections have been established with the 40 participants in this two-day event. The aim of the competition is to interest companies in the region, and have a positive impact on business in the Chemport Europe region.

Photo: Martijn Scholten