Since Biobased Delta was established in 2012, a select group of businesses have come together with one ambition: to develop products and processes that strengthen the circular economy. They are doing so through three programmes: Biorizon, Redefinery and Sugar Delta. Most of the businesses are engaged in agriculture or the chemical industry, some are multinationals, others are local. They share a common interest in innovation. Building on the success of the three flagship programmes, Biobased Delta is now launching Ligninnovation: an overarching group of businesses that will explore the potential of lignin as an adhesive. Lignin is the most abundant natural material in wood after cellulose: it lends rigidity to wood and grass and can also be used as an adhesive in building materials.
Biobased Delta has the advantage of connecting the businesses under its umbrella with each other in order to promote research and development. A secondary advantage is that it creates jobs and allows students to gain experience in natural raw materials.
What have the programmes achieved so far?
- The businesses working in Biorizon have produced a successful petroleum-based application for use in aromas and detergents. We sometimes forget that cleaning agents seriously harm the environment, especially surface waters. Steps have also been taken to improve coatings. Until recently they were made from benzene, toluene, xylene and phenol but they can now be produced using biomass and other natural sources.
- In the Redefinery programme, businesses are looking for alternatives to fossil fuels, such as wood pellets and wood chips imported from America and the Baltic states.
- Sugar Delta is a cluster of businesses that give agricultural residual flows a second life. An Innovation Campus has been set up at Dinteloord to research the potential of sugar beet and potatoes in non-food applications.
Businesses in any event reap the benefits of the crops grown on a large scale in the delta.