A step closer to sustainably transforming the chemical industry. The Province of Limburg has granted the Brightsite knowledge center, located on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, a 9 million euro subsidy for the next five years. With this support, Brightsite will promote the development and commercial application of the technologies and corresponding education courses that will allow the chemical industry to meet the climate targets and bring about the energy transition.
Brightsite is committed to creating a sustainable and competitive chemical industry. This is not just about a transition to sustainable energy and raw materials, but also the complete ‘greening’ of the business processes. “We are making an important contribution to the chemical industry’s transition to renewable energy and raw materials, with the aim of making this sector climate neutral and providing solutions for other sectors,” says Arnold Stokking, Managing Director at Brightsite. “As well as sustainability, safety and human capital are also high on the list of priorities. We are grateful for and proud of the support we have received from the Province. This will make us even more effective over the next five years. That’s not just important for the region, as it develops into a European Circular Hub, but will also have an impact far beyond. With our system integration approach and the use of sustainable processes on a commercial scale, we are convinced that Chemelot can become the safest, most competitive and sustainable site in Europe.”
Building a circular future
The subsidy from the Province is important for the next step in the development of a sustainable knowledge economy in Limburg. In this economy, the Brightlands campuses will occupy a central position and offer an open environment where entrepreneurs, researchers and students can innovate together. At the Brightlands Chemelot Campus – which focuses on new materials and new chemical processes – the relevant parties have joined forces to work toward a circular economy.
As Ruud Burlet, deputy of the Province of Limburg whose portfolio includes Sustainability, explains: “We in the local government strongly endorse Chemelot’s ambition to become the foremost circular hub in Europe. But this will take a lot of brainpower, creativity and faith in the development potential. This is why I believe Brightsite is a vital ‘hub within the hub’. It is due to this unique position that the Province decided to make this substantial financial contribution. I call on the Dutch government to take a close look at Chemelot for inspiration when it comes to allocating resources from the National Growth Fund to the national sustainability transition.”
“Government authorities, knowledge institutions and the business community need to combine their efforts to bring together researchers, thinkers and engineers and speed up innovation,” agrees Bert Kip, CEO of Brightlands Chemelot Campus. “Brightsite is the ultimate knowledge center, bringing together all the relevant parties for the technological innovation that this region needs. This unique partnership provides an academic foundation for focusing on applications and commercial upscaling for the chemical industry at Chemelot. This approach to accelerating innovation is an excellent fit with the campus ecosystem and the region’s ambitions of becoming a fully fledged European Circular Hub.”
The birthplace of green chemistry
By granting this subsidy, the Province is supporting Brightsite’s approach: the development and commercial application of the innovative technologies and corresponding education courses that will make it possible to achieve the climate objectives. “From a national and European perspective, the ecosystem of the Brightlands Chemelot Campus and the Chemelot site is particularly promising, due to the knowledge and expertise in terms of both design and system integration in process engineering. The unique combination of the chemical industry and the innovative campus community makes this an ideal location for the transition to sustainable energy and raw materials. We are taking the step from great ideas on paper and in laboratories to actually realizing products and processes. This is the birthplace of the new circular economy, more so than anywhere else in the Netherlands or Europe. I am glad that the Province has recognized this opportunity and given its support”, Arnold Stokking emphasizes.
Brightsite is a partnership between Sitech Services, TNO, Maastricht University and Brightlands Chemelot Campus, and focuses on making the chemical industry more sustainable at the Chemelot site and other locations. The climate goals pose hugely significant challenges for the chemical industry, but they also provide opportunities. Sound transition management will result in economic growth and will draw in talent and business. As the development and application of new technology involves much more than just the technical aspects, the work also includes safety aspects, social acceptance, legal and economic feasibility, job opportunities and education.