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Biorizon co-initiator VITO and Avans University of Applied Sciences have been working together at the Green Chemistry Campus since the end of 2018. There, they jointly offer internships around research on valorising lignin - the substance that gives sturdiness to plants - in biopolymers for innovative applications. The thirteenth student is now doing an internship at the Campus, and since 1 June Sandra Corderí Gándara of VITO has been working at the Campus to run the VITO lab and supervise students.

VITO, together with TNO, is the initiator of Shared Research Centre Biorizon, which has been developing bio-aromatics at the Green Chemistry Campus since 2013 for use in paints, plastics and glues, among other applications. Avans University of Applied Sciences holds the Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy and offers various courses in the field of biobased chemistry and technology. Bring that together and you get a fruitful collaboration around students who do internships at VITO on the Campus under the guidance of Avans. In addition, VITO regularly gives guest lectures at Avans.

Alwin Hoogendoorn, portfolio manager for research at the Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy of Avans University of Applied Sciences, is enthusiastic: “We received positive feedback from VITO and our students about the collaboration. Unfortunately, due to the corona situation, VITO was unable to continuously station staff at the Campus from Flanders. Because both VITO and we would like to continue and intensify the cooperation on the Campus, we have arranged for an Avans internship supervisor to supervise students in the lab facilities that VITO rents from the Campus.”

Richard Vendamme, senior researcher biopolymers at VITO, is also satisfied with the collaboration: “Thanks to the Campus, we were able to start our research on bio-based additives and polymers right away in 2018. We found the lab facilities we needed here; first at SABIC and now in the Campus’ new demo facility. What I especially appreciate is the network of the Campus and the dynamic environment with people who want to help each other further. Our collaboration with Avans is a good example of that.”

VITO and Avans are so enthusiastic about the collaboration that they are looking at how they can integrate their joint research to make the collaboration more permanent. Before the end of the year, they will evaluate and decide on follow-up steps.

Biorizon Application Centre

The cooperation between Biorizon co-initiator VITO and Avans fits in the development of the Biorizon Application Centre at the Campus. Biorizon founders TNO and VITO are currently investigating with the Green Chemistry Campus how such an application centre – where bio-aromatics are tested in products such as coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers and plastics – can best meet the needs of the industry. Biorizon is also looking at how it can optimally unlock and further develop the knowledge, experience and equipment already present in the field of bio-aromatics. This year, Biorizon is developing a business plan with input from companies, governments, knowledge and educational institutions and partners from the ecosystem. The positive experiences of VITO and Avans will certainly be taken into account.

More information

  • For more information on the work of VITO, please contact Biorizon’s lignin to bio-aromatics horizon manager Karolien Vanbroekhoven at karolien.vanbroekhoven@vito.be or +32 (0)4 93 51 42 70.
  • For more information on Avans University of Applied Sciences’ Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy, please contact portfolio manager for research Alwin Hoogendoorn at a.hoogendoorn@avans.nl or +31 (0)88 525 81 54.
  • For more information about the Green Chemistry Campus, please contact technical account manager Luuk van Schijndel at l.vanschijndel@greenchemistrycampus.com or +31 (0)6 15 02 01 82.