With a €336 million subsidy from the National Growth Fund and 550 million in private investment, the chemical industry in the Netherlands can start building green, circular chemistry. Dozens of new start-ups can thus be helped to build plants for bio-based plastics. Yet the sector still has a long way to go.
That was the conclusion of the annual event that the Green Chemistry New Economy (GCNE) platform held in Utrecht. Over 250 people from the chemical sector, policymakers, politicians and scientists were presented with the latest developments from the green chemistry front at the Spoorwegmuseum. According to GCNE chairman Arnold Stokking, the Netherlands has a wonderful chemical industry. “But it is no longer enough. We need to innovate,” he says. “That will happen, we don’t have to doubt that. All we need to talk about is that it happens in the Netherlands. For our economy and for our children.”
The platform aims for a circular chemistry with innovative technologies, without fossil fuels and without CO2 emissions by 2050. This means electrification of processes and the elimination of fossil fuels and raw materials. Together with the Top Sector Agri & Food, GCNE applied for and received €338 million from the Growth Fund for its BioBased Circular programme. Participating companies are investing another 550 million euros. Already, 125 companies, knowledge institutes and other partners are participating in the programme. Its aim is to replace oil and other fossil raw materials for plastics with bio-based raw materials, recycled plastics and – in the future – carbon from captured CO2 (CCU). If successful, the Dutch chemical industry could reduce its CO2 emissions by 3.5 to 5.8 million tonnes, the economy would grow by €1.5 to 3.5 billion and 2,500 to 8,300 new jobs would be created.