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Economic Board Groningen organizes in collaboration with partners in the Northern Netherlands an internationally oriented pitch event for innovative scale-ups from the green chemistry, recycling and green energy sector: the Sustainable Industry Challenge - Chemport Europe edition.
Editorial office / Groningen

Five industrial companies from the region – Teijin Aramid, Suiker Unie, ENGIE, ESD-SIC and BioMCN – are looking for innovative scale-ups. They have committed themselves to the Sustainable Industry Challenge as so-called challenge owners. These companies are actively engaged in the energy transition, where scale-ups from home and abroad are challenged to come up with innovative solutions to the opportunities and challenges that greening offers.

Three themes

The challenge distinguishes three themes:

  • Hydrogen, two challenges: BIOMCN is looking for ideas to adapt the existing methanol plants of the company in Delfzijl and ENGIE is looking for applications for bio-methanol and hydrogen in shipping.
  • Green Chemistry, two challenges: ESD is working on a more sustainable alternative to petroleum coke (silicon carbide): a ‘biocoke’, made from biobased raw materials. Suiker Unie is looking for processes to make bioplastics from sugar beet from sucrose.
  • Recycling, 1 challenge: Teijin Aramid in Emmen is looking for advanced separation techniques to make aramid yarns more recyclable.

Valuable strategy

“To achieve innovation, sustainability and more employment in the Northern Netherlands, actively attracting scale-ups is a valuable strategy,” says Akke Groenewoud, director of Economic Board Groningen. “These scale-ups are located in this region, but much more often elsewhere in the Netherlands, Europe, the United States or Asia, hence the idea of EBG to hold a large international pitch together with partners in the Northern Netherlands.”

The goal is to come up with concrete solutions for the greening of the chemical and energy sectors. The grand finale will take place on January 8, 2020, during the Groningen Seaports New Year’s reception in Delfzijl. National and international scale-ups will compete against each other in the exciting final on this evening. The winner receives 100,000 euros to spend on the pilot for the solution they propose for the region.

Attractive location

With the Sustainable Industry Challenge, the region is in the spotlight in scale-ups as an attractive location. The challenge therefore also serves as a lead generator, because all participants are potential new establishments.

The coming months will be dominated by the recruitment of the scale-ups by the international scouting agency Unknown Group in collaboration with partners in the region. Candidates can apply until 11 November. On 7 January the scale-ups will come to Groningen for a personal meeting with the companies and on 8 January the scale-ups will compete against each other in the exciting final during the New Year’s reception of Groningen Seaports in Delfzijl.

Chemport Europe

Economic Board Groningen is the initiator of the Sustainable Industry Challenge, Chemport Europe edition. Partners are Campus Groningen, NOM, Groningen Seaports, the province of Groningen and the province of Drenthe. All organizations are part of Chemport Europe, the ecosystem for green chemistry in the Northern Netherlands.

The joint goal of parties in this ecosystem is to accelerate the green economy and to put the chemistry in the region on the map worldwide. It also fits in with the objective of the Eemsdelta industrial agenda to be CO2 neutral by 2050. What is central to Chemport Europe is cooperation, because it is not possible to achieve the objectives alone. There is a production cluster in Delfzijl focusing on intermediate chemicals, a cluster in Emmen for polymers and materials, a knowledge and innovation cluster in Groningen and an important cluster for the agricultural side in the hinterland that focuses on green raw materials and with knowledge of agro-logistics and bio refining.