Finnish Business Delegation Finds Fruitful Contacts at Green Chemistry Campus

Last Wednesday the Green Chemistry Campus and Biorizon welcomed a Finnish business delegation to discuss how to accelerate biobased business together. The visit was highly appreciated by both the Finnish, Dutch and Flemish participants.

Biobased Delta & Green Chemistry Campus

Dennis van der Pas, Manager Green Chemistry Campus, welcomed the Finnish guests in the Campus Innovation Center of the Green Chemistry Campus on the premises of SABIC Innovative Plastics in Bergen of Zoom. He elaborated on the Biobased Delta and the Green Chemistry Campus:

  1. Biobased Delta
    An open innovation cluster based on a successful crossover between the agro, horticulture and chemical sector. Entrepreneurs, knowledge institutions and government agencies strengthen the front runner position of the South-western Netherlands in the biobased economy. Biobased Delta focuses on green raw materials, green building blocks and a sustainable process technology.
  2. Green Chemistry Campus
    A business accelerator for biobased innovations. B2B entrepreneurs − both large companies and SMEs, knowledge institutions, and the government work closely together in an open innovation environment to develop new biobased technologies and products with a focus on performance materials, chemicals and coatings.

Some feedback from the Finnish guests:

  1. It struck some guests in a positive way that SABIC Innovative Plastics was involved right from the start of the Campus, back in 2011. It would be nice if a Finnish chemical company would follow this example and open its premises for a biobased business incubator.
  2. Both in Finland and in The Netherlands there is consensus that informing the public about biobased is much needed. For starters, there seems to be confusion between biobased, biodegradable, bio-inspired, organic and biological.
  3. For biobased products to get broadly adopted and accepted by the public, they have to contain more USP's than 'just' biobased. For example: less expensive than fossil based products, superior quality, lighter weight, more beautifully designed. 
  4. In Finland there seems to be a tendency that food brands generally don't want to be associated with the chemical industry to avoid any negative references with regard to the food/fuel discussion. Biobased Delta explains that food brands such as Lamb Weston, Suikerunie and Cargill valorize their agricultural waste streams (e.g. starch from potato cutting, stalks from sugar beets) in biobased chemicals and materials and thus don't compete with food.

You can download the Green Chemistry Campus / Biobased Delta presentation here.

Shared Research Center Biorizon: The Way to Biobased Aromatics

Florian Graichen, Business Development Manager at Shared Research Center Biorizon gained the interest of the audience by stating that 40% of the meeting room would be empty if all aromatics were to be removed. Aromatics can be found in numerous applications such as clothing, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, computers, paints, vehicle components, cooking utensils, household fabrics, carpets and sports equipment. Since 40% of all materials contain aromatics, the potential of replacing them by biobased aromatics is enormous. 

Biorizon is a Shared Research Center with a focus on technology development for the production of functionalized biobased aromatics for performance materials, chemicals & coatings. Biorizon is anticipating the expected growing shortage of aromatics from the petrochemical industry and the widely shared ambition to green the chemical industry.

Graichen emphasized that open innovation and thus collaboration is crucial for getting results. He illustrated his point with the picture below.

Biorizon chose to focus on specialty aromatics above bulk aromatics, since (biobased) bulk chemicals can only compete on prize and have no other USP than that they're biobased. In this context Graichen mentions a statement by automotive manufacturer Henry Ford: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” A bulk aromatic is -in the words of Graichen- not much more than a faster horse, while specialty aromatics provide distinguishable features and opportunities. Biobased bulk aromatics should be developed too, but Biorizon decided to focus on specialties and has the ambition to become the functionalized biobased aromatics center of Europe and in time, the world.

Biorizon Roadmap (click to enlarge)

You can download Biorizon's presentation here. If you're interested in biobased aromatics, you can join the Biorizon Community here:

After the plenary presentations the group went to the laboratories of SABIC Innovative Plastics where Jan de Boer showed them around.

When the group returned the matchmaking sessions took place between Campus tenants and Finnish companies and institutions. These may lead to various fruitful collaborations in the future. Some representative examples:

  1. Ludo Diels from Biorizon & Thomas Holmbom from Separation Research Ltd had an interesting conversation and are planning to investigate future collaboration.
  2. Rob Vasbinder from Nettenergy & VG Shipping met each other at Schiphol and had a fruitful conversation.
  3. Henri Grünbauer from Nimaro Ageno Consult & Maija Pohjakallio from the Chemical Industry Federation shared insights.
  4. Han van Osch from Avans University of Applied Sciences & Tapani Pöykkö from HAMK University of Applied Sciences talked about developing a European network around biobased education.
  5. Dennis van der Pas from the Green Chemistry Campus & Harri Välimäki from Joensuu Science Park Ltd & Linda Fröberg-Niemi from Turku Science Park shared their experiences and are looking forward to explore future opportunities of strengthening each other. 


About the Finnish Business Delegation

On October 27-29 the Enterprise Europe Network in cooperation with TEKES Finland brought enterprises, R&D organizations and others active in the Biobased Economy together to stimulate innovation, technology transfer and trade between Finland and the Netherlands.

Companies could request pre-arranged one-on-one meetings to share innovative technologies, initiate cross border co-operations and to find new business partners. On Monday 27 October the Finnish delegation visited The Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Bioprocess Pilot Facility and the Delft University of Technology. On the 28th of October Dutch companies could meet the visiting Finish companies and organizations in Wageningen. On Wednesday 29 October the Finnish companies and researchers paid a visit to the Green Chemistry Campus in Bergen op Zoom.

For more information on this mission and on help with regard to finding fruitful European business partners, please contact Michelle Lemmers from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency / Enterprise Europe Network via +31 (0)88 602 1647 or

For more information on Biorizon, please contact Florian Graichen via or +32 496 27 33 58

For more information on the Green Chemistry Campus or Biobased Delta, please contact Dennis van der Pas via or +31 (0)6 51 35 99 94