Substitute non-renewable raw materials with sugar

by | Mar 18, 2015

The Dutch company AkzoNobel and partners are looking to turn sugar beet into raw materials.

AkzoNobel has joined forces with SuikerUnie, Rabobank, Deloitte, Investment and Development Agency for the Northern Netherlands (NOM), Groningen Seaports, and the Province of Groningen, to investigate the possibility of producing chemicals from beet-derived sugar feedstock.

Suiker Unie 10 2010 0247The parties have asked Deloitte to perform a feasibility study to provide an independent critical review and economic assessment on the viability of several business cases for commercial production in the chemical cluster of Delfzijl. The municipality and city Delfzijl is located in the northeast of the Netherlands.

Part of ongoing industry efforts to replace increasingly scarce non-renewable raw materials, the partnership could potentially lead to the synthesis of a range of chemicals in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.

It follows the recent publication of a report by Deloitte, which singles out the Netherlands as a cost leader in the production of sugar. The production of sugar beet is also expected to grow significantly due to impending de-regulation.

“We know that the Netherlands can produce ample volumes of sugar beet,” explained Knut Schwalenberg, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals, who is also responsible for the company’s Delfzijl activities. “We will now study how this can be used to create additional production and jobs in the Delfzijl area.”

Added Marco Waas, Director of RD&I and Technology at AkzoNobel Industrial Chemicals: “We are always looking to use innovation to drive sustainable growth. The beauty of this project is that it’s also a perfect fit with our own Planet Possible approach to developing new technologies that are less fossil-based and reduce our environmental footprint across the value chain.”

Commenting on the partnership, Albert Markusse, CEO of SuikerUnie, said: “The really interesting aspect of this approach is the collaboration that will take place between different sectors – agriculture, chemicals and logistics. The results will be interesting for us all.”

The study will take around three months to complete and the partners expect to identify one or more successful business cases for commercial production in Delfzijl.

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