Plastics are an important part of society today. The European plastics market has an annual turnover of € 350 billion, an annual production of 8.4 million tonnes and, with 60,000 companies, offers direct employment to 1.5 million employees. Experts expect that the use of plastic will double in the next twenty years. This is due to the four important trends:
- Replacement of (heavy) metal parts with light polymers in the Energy & Mobility sector;
- Improved plastic film technologies and increasing sustainability in Communication and Safety;
- Bio-based, biodegradable and recyclable polymers to improve Climate & Environment;
- New high-quality plastic materials for medical technology applications, especially for the replacement of elderly joints.in the Health segment.
Although plastic materials have many advantages, they also cause major societal problems. According to a study by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, today, 95% of plastic packaging material value (USD 80-120 billion annually) is lost to the economy after a short first use (think of the plastic soup in the ocean). The associated environmental costs amount to more than US $ 40 billion annually, more than the consolidated profit of the industry. Only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling and the plastics that do get recycled are mostly recycled into lower-value applications that cannot usually be recycled again after use. The social pressure to tackle the plastic problem is increasing. That is why a ‘new plastic economy’ is being considered worldwide in which biopolymers, biodegradability and circularity are part of the solution.
Broken innovation chain
The development of new (bio) polymers is a costly and time-consuming process that requires a lot of capital-intensive, temporarily, hardware in the form of Pilot- and Demo plants. These investments form the ‘value of death’ in polymer innovation and especially for start-ups. The lack of a research & development infrastructure that can be used to scale-up production from lab-scale to industrial-scale prevents many of the potential biobased solutions.
The solution: Polymerization Shared Facility pilot plant
With the Polymerization Shared Facility, the consortium of initiators (Green Chemistry Campus, REWIN, University of Wageningen) aims to introduce the missing link in the innovation chain. With the development of the first multipurpose Polymerization Shared Facility Pilot Plant on the site of the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom, a unique proposition is created embracing ring opening and polycondensation polymerization as well as de-polymerization.
With the possibility of continuous production of larger volumes of new and re-designed polymers, both the behavior of the polymer in production (upstream) and the processing (downstream) can be investigated at sub-commercial volumes (tons-scale). The facility reinforces the Biobased Delta ecosystem and is additional to existing research infrastructure such as the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, Bioprocess Pilot Facility in Delft and the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant in Ghent. It increases the attractiveness of the region for companies in the world to establish R&D centers here. The Wageningen Food & Biobased Research will give specifically scientific and engineering support to this polymerization pilot-plant.Cooperation Industrial partner(s) and Polymerization Shared Facility.
We are looking for companies who are active in the research and development of biobased polymers, which can be new polymers and/or drop-ins. If you are a polymer developer or an end-user in materials, this facility will help you making the innovation process of new polymers and materials more efficient and sustainable.
We’re searching for business partner(s) who want to use this facility in coming years or who even want to be a shareholder of this facility. For any type of business partner, we have formulated very attractive offerings, which include: a pilot plant designed to your requirements (with broad process-operating window), opportunity to co-invest, guaranteed use of the facility, attractive cost and located in the bio-economy ecosystem of the BioBased Delta.
The plant will be financed by grants and local subsidies for 60-70%.
We invite you to talk with us and explore possibilities for both long term partnership as well as short term participation.
Marcel van Berkel
CEO Polymerization Shared Facility
M +31 6222 03144