Brightsite & Europe: rubbing our shoulders to change policy rules


Chemelot has the ambition to be the first fully circular chemistry site by 2050. Not only in terms of energy (no more net greenhouse gas emissions), but also in terms of raw materials (no more net waste production). There are four solid pillars under this ambition: innovation, people, infrastructure and society. Innovation, in which Brightsite is leading the way, is going to provide design and scale-up of the necessary process technologies. For this we need the right people, skilled and well trained. Plus an adequate infrastructure for green electricity, hydrogen and CO₂ storage. And a society that self-reports how this ambition can find support on all levels.

How does Europe view the transition of the chemical industry?

When I worked as a young engineer near Marseille, I often talked to people about Europe. My French colleagues at the time felt firstly Provençal, then French and only in the third place European. For me it was the other way around; citizen of Europe, Dutchman and finally proud Limburger. That was before Schengen, the Maastricht Treaty and the euro. We are now 30 years down the line and it is the European rules that create the preconditions we have to meet, if we want to realize our ambitions.

Yet we still often feel distanced from Europe, not only geographically, but also mentally. Out of fear of losing control? A lack of trust? Cooperation requires us to let go of what we control. Linking our strategy to the bigger picture is an essential factor in achieving our circular ambition. And it requires trust and patience, policy usually lags behind the frontrunners.

In my first year as ambassador of the Chemelot Circular Hub (the umbrella under which parties work together to realize a future-proof chemical industry), it is great to see how Brightsite seeks the connection, within the Chemelot Circular Hub, with Brightlands Circular Space and with the Green Chemistry New Economy platform. How we rub shoulders together to change policy rules. Read more about this in the interview with our program manager Björn Koopmans.