Vemobin: chemical industry prepares for sustainable future with purely circular carbon by research


How can the chemical and fuel sectors act together towards a sustainable future, where synergies are optimised and they jointly access scarce resources for circular carbon? And how can the Port of Rotterdam Authority, the municipality of Rotterdam and national elaboration of EU policies facilitate this transition? These are the main questions the research project ‘Circular carbon in system perspective’ aims to answer.

The research is being implemented by TNO, which entered into a cooperation agreement to this end last summer with VEMOBIN, the Royal Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry (VNCI), the municipality of Rotterdam, the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Deltalinqs and SmartPort, a joint venture in which Erasmus University Rotterdam and Delft University of Technology, among others, participate. “In the form of oil and gas, the Dutch chemical and fuel sector imports around 200 Mtonnes of fossil carbon annually,” Principal Consultant Industry Transformation Reinier Grimbergen of TNO explains the project. “Circular carbon in the form of biomass, (plastic) waste and captured CO₂, will eventually have to replace most fossil carbon. Some of this can be produced in the Netherlands, but much of it will have to be imported.”

New value chains
New value chains for circular carbon are therefore emerging around collection, transport and conversion, according to Grimbergen. “A future-proof Dutch (petro)chemical industry requires an understanding of the current and future carbon needs of the various sectors. Using the existing, separate sector visions of VEMOBIN and the VNCI as a starting point, the research in the first phase should lead to a more integral system vision showing the quantified need of the entire chain. This will explicitly include the future electricity needs of the carbon processing industry.”