Waste-to-chemicals value network boosted by new partners

A circular economy project investigating how waste can be used as a feedstock for the chemical industry has more than doubled in size since being launched late last year.

Initially formed by Dutch paint manufacturer AkzoNobel, Canadian cleantech company Enerkem and four regional partners, the waste-to-chemicals consortium has since attracted eight more commercial parties.

The companies hope to create Europe’s first conversion plant – in either of the Dutch cities, Rotterdam or Delfzijl – which will turn domestic and other waste into chemicals. 

“We welcome all the new partners in our quest to use waste as a raw material for chemicals,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, research director of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals.

“Both the size and diversity of this partnership are unique in the Netherlands. Together, we form a strong group of companies whose capabilities combine to provide all we’ll need to convert this promising technology into practical reality.”

Proven method

The latest commercial organizations to join the partnership are Van Gansewinkel (founder of the Circularity Center), EEW Energy from Waste, BioMCN, Air Liquide, Veolia, Visser & Smit Hanab, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and DNV GL. They join founding partners AkzoNobel, Enerkem, the Investment and Development Company for the Northern Netherlands (NOM), Groningen Seaports, Clean Tech Delta and the South Holland development company InnovationQuarter.

Together, the 14 partners have the expertise needed to make the initiative a success, from waste collection to conversion to industrial plants and sales. The primary aim is to use Enerkem’s proven conversion process of making syngas and methanol from waste, which can deliver a sustainable, cost-effective source of raw material for the chemical industry.

Enerkem chief executive Vincent Chornet said: “Waste is an abundant resource and is a problem in many regions throughout the world. Waste is also a low-cost unconventional feedstock that can be used to produce chemicals. The advantage of Enerkem’s process is that it is fully compatible with the existing waste infrastructure.”

Luke Nicholls

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