Project: Chemport Industry Campus Emmen (CICE)
It has become very clear in recent years that the need for a more sustainable & circular industry has increased more and more. The industry in the North of the Netherlands has been building a green economy for years and strives to become an example for the rest of the world. Together with regional educational institutions and with government support, a large-scale research and development program called Chemport Industry Campus Emmen (CICE) is now underway in which colleges, universities and companies are in the lead to achieve green product & process innovations.
Objectives of CICE
The ultimate finalization of the CICE program is the development of a full-fledged knowledge campus to foster innovation in biobased and green chemistry. These innovations provide a platform for expanding the green industry in the North of the Netherlands in the context of circularity, and will attract talent, staff, students and business-activity to the region.
Businesses, knowledge institutions and education are three pillars that contribute to innovative activities. Bringing these together creates visibility and direction through joint positioning. Together, these pillars can leverage the strengths offered by each link in exploring groundbreaking ideas. In this context, the campus serves as a linking and communicating resource, which can provide additional research facilities. In this way it can meet the need for project partners to work together to create a direction and generate regional attraction for students, staff, startups and businesses.
In the current phase, the first steps are being taken by developing and implementing innovative studies on various topics. In doing so, concrete research questions from industry and research institutions are explored, with participation from both groups throughout each track. With the developments that take place during these project activities, initiative is created that can be further leveraged to build the knowledge campus.
During the research phase, there are a number of roadmaps that characterize innovation pathways. Some of these align with topics already considered unique selling points for the industrial region in the North of the Netherlands. For example, the program aspires to strengthen and expand Emmen’s strong position in the field of yarns and composites. Furthermore, there is a significant societal need to promote sustainability. The roadmaps concerning chemical recycling, quality analysis of recycled plastics and biopolymers are in line with this. Together with additive manufacturing, also called 3D printing, these topics offer opportunities to push the boundaries of what is possible so far.
Chemical Recycling of Plastics
Mechanical recycling is a direction of technology that has already been devloped to a certain maturity. A major disadvantage of mechanical recycling is the inherent loss of quality of the recycled plastic after processing. Chemical recycling circumvents this problem by completely breaking down the plastics and rebuilding them into a plastic that looks and functions like new. With chemical recycling, the reuse of plastics without loss of properties is within reach.
Quality Analysis of Recycled Plastics
Within the Dutch government’s transition agenda, the reuse of plastics is an important goal. To meet this societal ambition the quality of processed plastic waste will have to be increased. This is already being achieved by improving washing and separation techniques. This program will strive to improve quality by improving analysis techniques in the field of waste plastics.
To further develop 3D printing into a competitive manufacturing technique by taking advantage of its excellent product flexibility and resource efficiency. The campus will focus on both the development of printable materials from recycled plastics, and the recyclability of the end products themselves. This is with the goal of exceeding standards in this field.
Sustainable use of resources also suffices when using biologically derived raw materials over raw materials from fossil sources. Here biopolymers can be produced by polycondensation into a product that is, if necessary, also biodegradable. Polycondensates offer a good solution to permanent plastic waste due to the increased chance of biodegradability compared to other types of plastics. This type of polymer is a strength of the industry in the North of the Netherlands and this expertise can be leveraged and expanded on in this track.
The composites industry in the Northern Netherlands is the largest developed cluster in the Netherlands in the field of composites. These materials are not only essential for high-tech industries, such as the aircraft and energy industries, but also for other construction purposes, such as the construction of buildings. Many of the composites available to date have been manufactured from non-environmentally friendly sources. The goal, therefore, is to manufacture composites from biological fibers and/or biological resins.
Sub-themes are: process optimization, optimization of properties, applicability in housing and infrastructure. Examples for research directions are: extrusion technology, granulation and large-scale availability of very diverse bio-based raw materials and the ability to process them.
The yarn industry has traditionally been a strength of the Northern Netherlands. Currently there is a lot of attention for increasing the supply of sustainable synthetic fibers. The industry in Emmen currently already produces sustainable yarns from the bio-based PLA and the recycled rPET. In increasing the range of products, synthetic fibers that are compostable or biodegradable or can be made from plastics waste sources are being investigated.
Knowledge Institutes and Education Centres
NHL Stenden, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Hanzehogeschool Groningen
Senbis, CuRe Technology, Nedcam, BMI, Essity, CiorC, H&P Moulding
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