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05.12.2013TNO, VITO & Green Chemistry Campus launch Biorizon
Today, TNO, VITO and the Green Chemistry Campus launch Biorizon >> The Way to Aromatics. This Shared Research Center is anticipating the expected growing shortage of aromatics from the petrochemical industry and the widely shared ambition to green the chemical industry. Biorizon has received €2,5 million start up funding that enables them to start working on innovative technologies to develop aromatics out of agro-residuals.

Biorizon's ambition is to become one of the world's top centers within five years. Currently Biorizon is attracting global leaders as well as SME's in the fields of feedstock, conversion, equipment and end products to join their Shared Research Center.

"Biorizon's initial focus will be on the technology development for the production of biobased aromatics for performance materials, chemicals and coatings. In time, laboratory experiments, demo-scale piloting for selected technologies and an extensive knowledge and patent portfolio of innovative process routes and novel products will be delivered as results for the participating companies",says Florian Graichen from VITO.

The industry's need for biobased aromatics
Aromatics represent a significant share of our today’s chemical building blocks, not only in order to create fuel components, base chemicals or polymers, but also to create polymer additives, colorants, flavors and fragrances. The market for aromatics is growing 5 to 10% annually. Currently virtually all aromatic building blocks are made from fossil oil that will become scarce. Hence, it is important to develop technology to replace the current aromatic petrochemical based building blocks by alternative feedstock. Shale gas and shale oil are rapidly emerging as a new feedstock, and they produce no aromatic compounds contrary to fossil oil and naphta.

Given the global challenges that society is facing with respect to CO2 emissions, pollution, global warming and shortage of suitable fossil oil reserves, new biobased production routes need to be realized urgently to address the ecological and economic challenges that humanity and industry are facing. Biorizon supports the industry by developing new technologies for aromatics from bio-based feedstock.

Initiators: TNO, VITO & Green Chemistry Campus
For the initiators −TNO, VITO and the Green Chemistry Campus − Biorizon is a unique opportunity to accelerate the innovation required and, in doing so, contribute to the realization of the biobased economy as well as to the success of the industry. It also fits in perfectly with the COCI status that VNCI has awarded the Green Chemistry Campus: Center for Open Chemical Innovation. TNO and VITO, both of whom have years of experience with this form of collaboration, are executing the research in close cooperation with the participating companies. TNO and VITO will deploy their knowledge and experience in the field of feedstock, biotech, chemistry, process technology and applications.

Cross-border: from Biobased Delta via Biobase-Europe to ARRR
Biorizon is not confined within the borders of Belgium or the Netherlands. Willem Sederel, Director of Biobased Delta in which Biorizon is established: "Biobased Delta is currently the focus point: the collaboration of businesses, authorities and knowledge institutes in the Southwest-Netherlands. Under the slogan 'Agro meets Chemistry' we are working on upgrading agro-residuals in bio-based innovations. Biobase-Europe (Ghent-Terneuzen) is also involved and, over time, we want to bundle and cluster activities within the largest chemical cluster in the world, ARRR (Antwerp-Rotterdam-Rhein-Ruhr). This fits in perfectly with European policy that aims to strengthen these regions according to the principal of smart specialization".

€2,5 million start up funding
Biorizon is co-financed by TNO, VITO, NV REWIN West-Brabant, the province of Noord-Brabant and the Green Chemistry Campus. Additionally, last month Biorizon has received a subsidy from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Dutch government under the Operational Program South Netherlands (OP-Zuid). The regional development agency NV REWIN West-Brabant has enabled Biorizon to apply for the OP Zuid subsidy. NV REWIN West-Brabant is one of the partners of the Green Chemistry Campus, where Biorizon is located.

To assure the achievement of Biorizon's goal - commercialization of bio-aromatics business on the short, medium and long-term - Biorizon developed a roadmap, which will be further developed by the participating industrial organizations. The initial roadmap was established with a contribution from REAP (Regional Economic Action Program) and from the Province of North-Brabant.

For more information on Biorizon please contact Wiebe Logghe via +31 (0)6 30 96 36 95 or w.logghe@greenchemistrycampus.com