11 inspiring circular innovations

11 inspiring circular innovations

From the 1st to 6th of February 2021 it is the Week of the Circular Economy. Circular entrepreneurs, organizations and government agencies share their experiences and tips on the circular economy that week.

This shows how circular entrepreneurship works in practice, so that others can learn from it. Be inspired by 11 circular innovations developed with the support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

Bridges made of plastic

FiberCore Europe makes composite: plastic reinforced with fibres. The composite is lighter than concrete and stronger than steel. Ideal for applications in infrastructure such as strengthening bridges and lock doors. By installing a new composite deck, FiberCore has extended the life of about 1,000 bridges. The company is also taking steps towards shipbuilding and designing a full composite ship.

For this demonstration project, the company receives support from the European Horizon 2020 programme (followed by Horizon Europe from 2021 onwards). For research into automating the production and application of recycled or biobased materials in bridges, the company uses the tax innovation scheme Law Promotion research and development work (WBSO).

High-quality raw material from gft

Waste processor Attero, market leader for the processing of waste from the green container, strives to convert waste as much as possible into high-quality raw materials. With the support of the MIA\Vamil and the WBSO, Attero succeeded in creating a new raw material for potting soil from vegetable, fruit and garden waste (gft).

This so-called substrate compost can replace part of the peat in potting soil. This results in a substantial environmental gain because producers mainly import the peat from abroad. According to industry calculations, the processing of gft waste into substrate compost reduces the CO2emissions of over 250 kilos of CO2 per tonne of gft waste.

Read more about FiberCore, Attero and other entrepreneurs who used the WBSO in 2019.

Podcast: patent mushrooms and other products

Aniela Hoitink develops personalized clothing that she makes from the roots of mushrooms (mycelium). Jan Berbee makes packaging material from mycelium. Both entrepreneurs feel responsible for reducing CO2emissions. They are passionately working every day to develop 100% sustainable products for a fully circular economy.

How do these inventors deal with their intellectual property? Programme maker Gerard Oonk looked them up and asked about their working methods and motivations. Patent consultant Karen Sam gives useful tips (episode 1). In the 3And episode 3 young entrepreneurs tell about their motivations to produce responsible snacks and drinks: cricket burgers, cashew cheese and delicious cider. Their efforts to capture their intellectual property are also discussed.

Do you want to hear their stories or know what you can do to capture innovative ideas and designs so that no one can get away with them? The podcast of Patent Center Netherlands can be found via the podcast apps: Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, iTunes and Google podcasts.

Clean sample steel cleaning

In 2011, Jan Henk Wijma, Bert Bult and Nathalie van de Poel came up with the idea to clean contaminated steel scrap thermally and chemically, so that contaminated steel can also be used as a raw material again. At that time, all 3 worked at Nedstaal, a steel production company that made new products from steel scrap.

After initially working on their idea in the evenings and weekends, they quit their jobs at the end of 2014 to work full-time on their new company Purified Metal Company (PMC).

RVO supports PMC from the Environmental Investment Deduction (MIA) and the Random Depreciation of Environmental Investments (Vamil). These schemes offer tax advantages to entrepreneurs who invest in environmentally friendly techniques, such as the PMC process.

PMC’s story

Circular European wood with quality of tropical hardwood

For more than 35 years, the family business Foreco has been looking for smart solutions to make the wood sector more sustainable. But how do you innovate with wood? With the help of the MIA\Vamil schemes, Foreco invested in the development of a special scanner, which tells more about the properties of wood. Adam Turi, engineer at Foreco: “With a new technique we produce bio-based and circular wood from Europe and with the quality of tropical hardwood.” Wood that lasts just as long, but with less impact on the environment.

Foreco’s story

Large-scale production of micro-algae

More and more people are coming, all of whom have to eat. But the earth is at the limit of its ability and will not be able to feed all those mouths anymore. Phycom in Veenendaal was looking for a solution to this problem. And found it in micro-algae: very small, protein-rich organisms with a high nutritional value, suitable for consumption by humans and animals.

The company developed a unique closed system to grow high-quality and very pure algae and is now producing them on a large

scale. The production facility was set up with the help of the MIA\Vamil and work is being done on a 2And factory, again with support.

Phycom’s story

Sustainable meeting room

“What would a separate meeting room be ideal”. This wish of Marjo Prigge, owner of bed-and-breakfast hotel De Slaapfabriek, resulted in the first commercially on-site 3D-printed building in Europe: The Meeting Factory. 25 companies worked together to get the meeting room off the ground. They used sustainable materials and new techniques. For example, the walls are plastered with lime hemp and the insulation grains in the wall are of lactic acid.

Marjo and her husband Arvid tell us about it in smells and colours: “If we had not been eligible for the MIA\Vamil schemes, this would have been financially unfeasible for a small company like ours.”

Read the story about the Meeting Factory

PET grains from chemically recycled raw materials

For Indorama, manufacturer of polyester plastics for the packaging industry, recycling is nothing new. But this company also has to move with the times, so Indorama, with the support of the Environmental Investment Deduction (MIA), invested in a pilot set-up for the production of PET grains from chemically recycled raw materials. With this, Indorama hopes to take a step towards a fully circular production chain.

To achieve this goal, Indorama joined forces with Ioniqa.

That company developed an innovative technology that enables all PET waste to be converted into raw materials that form the basis for new PET material. With this invention Ioniqa won the National Icon Award 2019.

Read The Story of Indorama

The coconut bark: from waste product to sustainable end product

Coconut is very suitable as a raw material for substrate. It has many advantages: it is more sustainable, more efficient and cleaner. In Mexico there are many coconuts to get and the market is promising. The Van der Knaap Group had a sales organization in Mexico for years. But it was even more efficient to start your own production site locally.

Now the Westland family business has its own raw materials and they are closer to the customer. This was possible through RVO International Finance with support from the Dutch Trade and Investment Fund (DTIF).

Read the story of the Van der Knaap Group

3D printing technology reduces residual waste

Technology company Blackbelt 3D has developed a new 3D printing technique where you print at an angle, on a conveyor belt. This technique makes it possible to print (almost) endlessly. In addition, you can print all kinds of new 3D shapes. One such application is the SOLE podo printer: a printer with special software for making orthotics. The result? Custom support soles and little residual waste in their production.

Patent Centre Netherlands provided tailor-made support for the patent issues the company had to deal with.

Read the story of Blackbelt 3D

Advising students on circular laptops

Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship are important skills that young people should like to learn at a young age. The Match2Work project of her company ProDiCo links companies that want to involve students in a case study, with schools and teachers who want to give entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship a place in the curriculum.

Participant AndrĂ© Hundman of Vitasys: “I think it is socially important to do something for education. And it provides great input: we’ve brought in a case about circular laptops that students thought about.”

Match2Work’s story