The Dutch hub focusses on production of chemicals and plastics. The strategy is to connect the agro production with the chemical industry within the region, in order to optimally use and valorise the local biomass for biobased materials and products. Within the Noord4Bio study 9 promising routes for valorisation of biomass have been distinguished.
The agro production is focussing on potatoes and sugar beets. For both a large co-operation is located in the North of the Netherlands. Chemical production is concentrated aroud Emmen (Emmtech) and Delfzijn (Chemport). The “klankbordgroep N4Bio” is the steering committee for implementing this regional development strategy and in charge for putting this strategy into practice, by mobilizing the players in the value chain and promote ideation, scoping and piloting activities.
Even though the feedstock and (partly) the infrastructure is available in the hub region there are no larger scale working production chains, using local biomass feedstock for the production of chemicals and materials. For much of the material development at Stenden and the Emmtech region, the bio polymers are sourced at the world market, f.i. BioPET, which is partly based on sugar cane from Brazil, PLA, which can be produced by NatureWorks from corn in the USA, or by Corbion from tapioca in Thailand. As the activities in Emmen are still in the early phases of their developments, not much biomass is needed yet. In the Chemport region, much biomass is imported by the port of Delfzijl, mainly wood pellets for the production of electricity. Furthermore a pilot factory for the production of sugars from wood pellets from Dutch forests is active.
The two large agricultural cooperations have their biobased research and innovation activities in the Southern part of the Netherlands (Cosun) or are focussed more on food production (Avebe).
There are only few regional biobased products and the network of participants is mostsly limited to some professionals from provinces, regional development agencies and from research and educational institutes. These people are all quite familiar with the biobased opportunities and the potential valorization routes. Much focus is on knowledge development and on pilot activities.
In Emmen the Emmtec site is a chemical production site. Because much of the original production was stopped part of the infrastructure has become available for innovative companies, some of which are closely linked to the activities which are the focus of the Dutch Bloom hub. Furthermore Emmen is a relatively small town where it should be relatively easy to connect to various societal organisations.
Emmen is also active in creating startups as a result of the interactions between Stenden Hogeschool and the companies in the Emmtech cluster. There is not much focus on the agricultural and biomass production. Also the relation with environmental aspects, the climate problem is nearly not made in the regional approach. There is little attention yet to connect with society of citizens. This is the starting point for our BLOOM activities.
Bloom has to deal with this situation and will start to search for counterparts and partners to discuss the BLOOM project, the perspectives and characteristics of Bio-economy in general terms, but also applied to the regional context. The recently launched new EU bio-economy strategy will support BLOOM in their activities:
The European Commision is aware of the limited uptake of the biobased economy. Recently the climate problem became much more manifest. Next step in the development would be focussed on an integrated approach for bio-economy, climate and biobased economy. This should be (re) done at regional level, in order to specify the perspectives, needs and transition pathways. BLOOM conceptual framework and interactive tool can help regions with this development. BLOOM concepts can indicate opportunities for strategic choices and for the interaction with target groups, with a specific attention to civil society actors.