Dutch growers are facing an acute problem due to the Corona crisis. More and more national borders are locked; warehouses and containers are suddenly full of unsaleable loads of flowers, plants, but also fruit and vegetables, originally intended for worldwide exports. High-quality plant material is currently being destroyed in large quantities.
Soap and alcohol
Horticultural products, however, contain valuable ingredients and natural fibers. “They can be put to good use to solve, for example, the shortages of cleaning agents (soap, alcohol and other disinfectants) in the (health)care sector, at companies and in people’s homes,” says Marcel Ribbens of Horizon 11.
That is why Horizon 11 and the Green Chemistry Campus are calling on entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to pick up this challenge. The idea is that they will be linked to large companies to jointly realize a rapid solution for the processing of plant-based waste streams into bio-based chemicals and materials, possibly by deploying or adjusting existing supply chains. It can also be a kickstart for the formation of new bio-based supply chains, which will continue even after the Corona crisis.
Offers and applications
The horticultural sector is offering a wide range of material, which is immediately available in large quantities:
- Sweet fruits / vegetables, especially exotic fruits, such as mangoes, oranges, carambola, etc.
- Fatty fruits, such as avocados
- Flowers, mainly roses, tulips, gerberas and chrysanthemums
The challenge is to come up with useful applications for these products:
- Who is able to convert sugary fruit, vegetables (and plants) into alcohol for hospitals?
- Who is able to make soap for households and institutions out of greasy vegetables, such as avocados?
- Who is able to make textile from plant-based materials that can be used in institutions or for the production of face masks?
Entrepreneurs who see other opportunities or challenges, in which horticultural products or services can be used, can also apply immediately. “The Dutch horticultural industry wants to proactively collaborate with other companies, institutions and residents and seize this moment to come up with new things that will make society and economy more resilient and better prepared for the future,” says Ribbens. “We prefer to see solutions that have multiple effects and that can still be used in better times.”
The Green Chemistry Campus plays a coordinating role in this call and has in-depth expertise as well as facilities and a large network, enabling companies to connect to each other.
Do you want to participate? Do not wait, send your idea directly by email or call Corné van Loenhout of the Green Chemistry Campus: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone +31 6 5138 6271.