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Six circular projects in Rotterdam that contribute to a low-carbon and resource-neutral industry are eligible for a subsidy from the European recovery fund REACT-EU. In total, €7 million is involved.
Editorial office / Rotterdam

Innovations include a method to make bricks from harbour sludge, a new supply chain that prevents wind turbine blades from ending up in the waste stream, a technology to neutralise waste acids and asbestos slabs in one go, and a technology to make a sustainable alternative to petroleum from sawdust:

  • Asbetter Acids tackles two environmental problems at once: it will use a chemical process to process 60,000 tonnes of asbestos cement roofing sheets that would otherwise go to landfill and neutralise 170,000 tonnes of industrial residual acids that would otherwise be discharged. From the residual flows, materials will be recovered for the cement and concrete industry, among others. In total, more than 120,000 tonnes of CO2 will be saved each year. Asbetter Acids is going to build a demonstration plant in Rotterdam. The industrial design should be ready in September 2022. The plant will create at least 20 permanent jobs. The total investment amounts to € 60-70 million.
  • Circular Recycling Company (CRC) takes on the waste problem of fibre-reinforced thermoset composites. This composite material can be found in wind turbine blades, boats and bus and train interiors. It is difficult to recycle due to its mixed composition. CRC took the initiative to set up an entirely new supply chain that uses end-of-life products made from fibre-reinforced thermoset composite as the raw material for new products. To this end, a combined mechanical and chemical recycling plant is being built at the Maasvlakte II industrial zone.
  • Xirqulate will process contaminated river sludge from the Rotterdam harbour and household waste into a raw material for the ceramic industry. This can be used to make bricks. By using a so-called Dynamic Thermal Oxidation process, a lot of CO2 emissions are saved. The process also releases a great deal of heat, which can be used for other purposes, such as electricity generation. Xirqulate is developing a proof of concept on a practical scale.
  • Vertoro has developed a breakthrough technology to convert lignin-containing biomass from sawdust and residual flows from agriculture and forestry into cellulose, sugars and a crude lignin oil. This oil, called Goldilocks, is a sustainable alternative to petroleum. A first market application is to replace the very polluting fossil shipping fuel with biofuel. Goldilocks can also serve as a biofuel for the chemical and materials sectors. Vertoro is going to build a 10 kiloton demo plant in the port of Rotterdam, as a run-up to a commercial plant of 250 kiloton.
  • With Selective Plastic Extraction (SPE), an advanced chemical recycling technology, OBBOTEC will convert mixed waste plastics into ‘near virgin’ materials. OBBOTEC’s SPE process is somewhere between mechanical and chemical recycling to monomers. The polymers remain intact. According to TNO’s estimate, by 2050 approximately 300 tons of plastics per year in the Netherlands can be converted into directly usable, high-quality recyclate. One of the things OBBOTEC will do with the subsidy is to build an installation that will process 1 kiloton of polluted HDPE waste streams into clean, colourless recycled HDPE granules.
  • Xycle/Harbour Oil will use pyrolysis to process plastics that are difficult or impossible to recycle mechanically. This concerns maritime plastics, mixed and contaminated plastics and multilayer food plastics. In this project, Xycle/Harbour Oil wants to scale up its promising technology to the European market. The grant will be used to work on a detailed process design to create a solid foundation for the intended practical-scale process installation at the Port Industrial Complex in Rotterdam.

The 6 winning flagship projects have all been supervised by the Industry Transformers Platform, a collaboration between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, InnovationQuarter, Province of South-Holland, Municipality of Rotterdam, Circular Biobased Delta Foundation and CleanTech Delta.

More information can be found on the Innovation Quarter website.

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