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green factory and sustainable environment

A new venture fund building a sustainable society through early-stage investments in the Industrial Biotech industry.

Today, Capricorn Partners announces the establishment of Capricorn Industrial Biotech Fund, a new fund as part of its Cleantech portfolio of funds. The Capricorn Industrial Biotech Fund invests in early-stage ventures that are using biotechnology solutions to meet the growing demand for products made in a sustainable way.

green factory and sustainable environment

Industrial Biotechnology is a key technology for the transformation of society towards Net Zero Carbon and Circularity. This industry will accelerate rapidly in the next decades, driven by recent advancements in bio-engineering, Artificial Intelligence, process technology, and a growing regulatory push for low carbon industry. Industrial Biotechnology will provide sustainable alternatives for food & feed ingredients, chemicals and intermediates, advanced materials and energy.

Industrial Biotechnology is in a technology lifecycle phase that is favorable for early-stage venture investing. Many promising technologies are being developed at universities and technology institutes, with a particularly strong presence in the Benelux and other countries in North-West Europe. Capricorn Industrial Biotech Fund invests in early-stage ventures in this industry, and assists them with their growth.

Rob van der Meij, Partner at Capricorn Partners:  “CIBF is an excellent addition to our portfolio of Cleantech funds. It targets an industry where we expect strong growth, and where ventures can create significant value. CIBF complements our other funds such as the Capricorn Sustainable Chemistry Fund which invests in later stage sustainable technologies”.

CIBF is an initiative of DSM (AMS: DSM), InnovationQuarter (the regional development agency of the greater Rotterdam-The Hague area in The Netherlands) and Capricorn Partners. The founding partners aim to establish a fund that will further strengthen the ecosystem around the Biotech Campus Delft and connect it to other centres of excellence in Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark and the United Kingdom.

Pieter Wolters, Managing Director DSM Venturing: “The new fund is a perfect vehicle to further boost the unique knowledge ecosystem on and near the Biotech Campus Delft where solutions to tackle the most pressing challenges in for example the way we produce and consume food are being developed. DSM is happy to be a co-founding investor in the Capricorn Industrial Biotech Fund, and we will continue to actively support and foster the scaling up of brilliant biotech inventions, companies and ventures that will sustainably transform health, nutrition and bioscience”.

Liduina Hammer, Head of Investments at InnovationQuarter, stresses the importance of creating a sustainable production industry for the future economy of South Holland: “We support the transition from fossil to green factories in Zuid-Holland. Initiatives like PlanetB.io at the Biotech Campus in Delft support innovative companies to scale their biotech solutions and realise their impact for society. Through this fund we put extra effort in the most urgent climate and energy transition.”

CIBF is launched following a first close, and will start sourcing deals as of now. Interested investors are invited to join for a final close at a maximum of €25 million.

sustainable biotech

Image by: Capricorn

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Dutch climate scale-up Gradyent raises €10 million to make heat networks more efficient and sustainable. Heat networks currently lose a quarter of their heat on an annual basis. This problem is becoming even more urgent with rising fuel prices and the strong need for CO2 reduction. Gradyent has developed software that helps heat companies to optimize their heat networks and reduce CO2, so that they can continue to provide affordable and reliable heat. Gradyent is now raising €10m in a Series A investment from existing investors Capricorn Partners, ENERGIIQ and Helen Ventures and new investor Eneco Ventures.

Two major heat companies in Northern Europe (and also customers of Gradyent) are showing through this investment that there is a great need for the Gradyent software: Helen, the Helsinki energy company with 600,000 users, and Eneco, the largest heat supplier in the Netherlands with over 140,000 users and a Gradyent customer for 3 years. About 90% of Helsinki’s heat demand is provided by the heat network and about 600,000 inhabitants of this city live in an apartment heated by it.

Heat grids now lose 25% of their heat annually

More than 25% of global energy consumption comes from heating and cooling buildings. On an annual basis, heat grids lose about a quarter of their heat, while fuel prices rise and calls for CO2 reduction grow stronger. Heat networks often run on outdated software and the transformation to integrated energy systems with local sustainable sources makes it even more important to have the right software systems.

Gradyent solution helps companies save 20% heat loss

Gradyent enables heat companies to optimize their systems and reduce CO2 so they can deliver affordable and reliable heat. Gradyent, founded in 2019 and based in Rotterdam, has developed software based on Digital-Twin technology. This involves creating a digital copy of the physical heat system by combining geographical, weather and sensor data with physical models and AI. The Digital Twin makes it possible to optimize the heat system in real time and to run simulations of future situations. As a result, Gradyent is helping heat companies save, on average, 20% in heat loss, reduce CO2 emissions by 10% and reduce heating costs by 5-10%.

“Eneco is delighted with the investment in Gradyent. The acceleration of renewable heat is one of the important pillars of our One Planet ambition to be climate neutral by 2035, together with our customers. Eneco has been a long-time customer of Gradyent and with this investment wants to further deepen the relationship and continue to share knowledge with a unique and leading technology company in the field of heat networks,” said Robert Blom, Investment Director Eneco Ventures.

“It is our mission to make heat grids future-proof. On the one hand, with the Gradyent Digital Twin we increase the efficiency of existing systems, on the other hand we accelerate the transition to more sustainable systems,” said Herve Huisman, CEO Gradyent.”

InnovationQuarter Mathijs van Rijk

Mathijs van Rijk

Investment Manager ENERGIIQ
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Until today, cooling systems have always used gas compressors. Although the gases are nowadays less harmful than in the past, they are still toxic and dangerous, resulting in an enormous footprint. The Delft-based company Magneto, a spin-off from Delft University of Technology, is developing 3D-printed magneto-calorific material for heat pumps. With this material, heat pumps for cooling systems can be made that no longer run on gas, but on harmless liquids, such as water. In addition, the system is up to 30% more efficient. For their unique innovation, Magneto will receive € 1 million from UNIIQ (Delft Enterprises), SHIFT Invest, Graduate Entrepreneur Fund and Rabobank.

Cooling systems, of refrigerators for example, currently still work on gas compressors. These used to use Chlorofluorocarbons, known from the hole in the ozone layer and now phased out almost everywhere. Today, the gases are still very polluting. Magneto has developed a reliable solution to this growing problem in the refrigeration system market.

Unique recipe of magneto-caloric material

Magneto develops a special composite for heat pumps. This material changes temperature after exposure to a magnetic field, also called the magneto-caloric effect. Despite the fact that some natural substances also exhibit this property, Magneto’s composite does not use rare elements. This allows the material to be produced and applied on a large scale. Magneto is the first company in the world able to 3D print magneto-caloric material, an important step for its application.

Magneto system 30% more efficient

This special material can be used to create a heat pump, which no longer uses gases but liquids, such as water. These can replace gas compressors in cooling systems and in the future all kinds of devices that heat and cool. Besides the fact that these new systems no longer use polluting gases, the system is also up to 30% more efficient. This also leads to considerable savings in energy consumption.

Refrigeration market expected to triple

200 million gas compressors are produced annually for the refrigeration market. In addition, there is an increasing global need for refrigeration and the market is expected to triple by 2050. Magneto will enable some of this growth in a sustainable way.

Investment enables development of first functional refrigeration systems

With the € 1 million investment round, made possible by UNIIQ (Delft Enterprises)SHIFT Invest, Graduate Entrepreneur Fund and Rabobank, Magneto will build a portfolio of magneto-caloric materials, enabling the production of the first functional cooling systems. The company now has 4 FTEs and is growing to 7.5 FTEs. To realize this growth, the company recently opened its office doors at YES!Delft.

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Invest-NL and Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund are jointly investing €15 million in Umincorp (Urban Mining Corporation) to finance the construction of a new rPET plant in Rotterdam. The factory marks Umincorp’s next step in recycling plastic from household waste. InnovationQuarter acts as the fund manager of Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund.

Umincorp reprocesses post-consumer plastic waste into high-grade resources for producers of plastic products such as packaging. This reduces their use of fossil fuel plastics, enabling them to reach their recycling goals. The biggest bottleneck when recycling household waste plastic involves sorting the different plastic materials. To overcome this, Umincorp is using both existing methods and its own proprietary scientific processes, with magnetic density separation (MDS) being the most important.

By applying a specially engineered magnetic liquid to separate materials, MDS allows for a significantly higher volume of reprocessed plastic than conventional sorting and recycling techniques. This increase in recovery rate is key for meeting European recycling goals. The precise MDS process also ensures reprocessed plastic has a higher end-quality, making it more suitable as a resource for high-quality plastic products.

Umincorp’s process reduces the harmful incineration of plastics and increases the functional reprocessing of household waste plastic. The process can even deal with  difficult to recycle multi-layer PET trays, which comprise several thin layers of different materials. The new rPET plant will allow for a closed-loop resource cycle, from plastic product to refuse to resource. Plastic producers increasingly demand recycled plastic to reduce the unnecessary use of fossil fuels. Umincorp will be able to respond effectively thanks to its new factory, resulting in an annual decrease in CO2-equivalent emissions of a staggering 30,000 tonnes.

Jaap Vandehoek, CEO and co-founder of Umincorp: “Our technology has proved to be a disruptive force, creating new opportunities in the recycling market. We show that things can be done differently. Upscaling our business means we will be able to increase our impact and make crucial contributions to the way we recycle. This investment shows confidence in our approach to recycling plastic and will help us grow as we expand our business in both the Netherlands and abroad.”


Rotterdam boosts circularity

Rotterdam wants to accelerate its transition to a circular economy by transforming waste into new resources and Umincorp aims to be a frontrunner in the field of circular plastics. With its factory, Umincorp is taking the next step in recycling household waste plastic, making the company an excellent fit with Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund’s strategy and circular goals. There will also be considerable economic gain as the factory will help to boost business and create new jobs.

Arno Bonte, Rotterdam city councillor for sustainability: “Every year, millions of tonnes of plastic disappear into incinerators, which is a terrible shame. That is why as a municipality we are proud to invest in this recycling plant. With high-grade recycling, we reduce plastic waste and save thousands of tonnes of CO2. This helps us achieve our climate targets and build a circular economy in Rotterdam.”


Wouter Bos, Invest-NL CEO: “Contributing to a circular economy and minimising resource usage is one of our most important goals. By investing in Umincorp, we are expressing confidence in the role of innovative technology in helping to improve the recycling process while realising additional environmental gains by considerably decreasing carbon emissions.”

Invest-NL is investing €9 million provided under the EIB InnovFin SME Guarantee.

In addition to the financial investment, InnovationQuarter – acting as fund manager of Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund – will offer broad support to Umincorp’s management team.

Rafael Koene, fund manager of Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund: “Umincorp’s innovations and the construction of its new rPET plant constitute important contributions to the circular economy in the Rotterdam region. These developments will reduce the incineration of plastics and create a closed-loop resource cycle, resulting in a significant reduction of CO2 emissions. Umincorp therefore fits perfectly with the strategy and goals of the Energy Transition Fund: reducing carbon emissions and minimising resource usage.”

Get in touch with Energy Transition Fund Rotterdam


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Energietransitiefonds Rotterdam

Climate journalist Bernice Notenboom, investor and founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance Michael Liebreich and city councillor for sustainability Arno Bonte were always going to draw a crowd, even online. Their passionate contribution to the launch of the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund, a collaboration between InnovationQuarter and the City of Rotterdam, helped make the launch event of the fund a big success.

The online kick-off on Thursday, 3 June was hosted by BlueCity at the former Tropicana swimming pool building – the beating heart of circularity in Rotterdam since 2015. Along with the keynote speakers who all have proven track records as innovators in energy transition and the circular economy, an entrepreneurs’ panel was also in attendance. The members’ backgrounds in the field of recycling, new technologies for offshore solar energy and biochemistry made for an interesting and diverse programme. 

Watch the webinar launch

Cornerstone but obstacle

Rotterdam and its port are a cornerstone of the Dutch economy. However, as the region is responsible for 20 percent of national CO2 emissions, it presents a significant obstacle for the Netherlands on the road to becoming climate neutral by 2050. During the online launch of the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund, speakers and panel members presented their views on the challenges facing the region and the opportunities for lowering CO2 emissions, improving air quality and reducing the use of primary raw materials.

Dual purpose

Fund manager InnovationQuarter and the City of Rotterdam envisage a two-pronged approach: the €100 million Energy Transition Fund will accelerate the energy transition by investing in innovative businesses that drive change; it will also help the city recover faster from the coronavirus crisis. Scale-ups, in particular, can request co-financing of between €1 million and €10 million for projects that strengthen the circular economy and make energy generation, infrastructure and usage in Rotterdam more sustainable.

Arno Bonte, Alderman Sustainability, city of Rotterdam, says: “In Rotterdam, we see abundant innovative strength. But we also see that companies often face a lack of appropriate funding to realise their business cases. The city council has therefore decided to establish the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund. With investments from this fund, we can help innovative companies boost technologies that contribute to CO2 reduction and the circular economy in Rotterdam.”

Most important conditions for financing

Examples of promising projects include large-scale energy storage, electrification of industrial processes and transport, new technologies for recycling plastic and creating an infrastructure for hydrogen. An important condition is that these innovative initiatives do not readily qualify for market funding. This could be due to risk profile, higher capital requirements or longer payback periods, for example. The expected impact on the business climate and employment also plays a role in a successful investment application. 

Rafael Koene, Fund manager Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund at InnovationQuarter, adds: “As fund managers, we place a strong emphasis on whether a business can develop a technology that will make a substantial improvement to the world of tomorrow. In this respect, as an investor, InnovationQuarter has a long-term focus and an ongoing commitment. The Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund will particularly invest in innovative, capital-intensive companies that struggle to receive funding due to higher risks because of the technology, capital intensity or return on investment timescale.”

The Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund is a revolving fund: profits from investments flow back into the fund and can then be used for new investments.

An additional €30 million

The Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund is part of the ‘Rotterdam, Onwards Stronger’ investment programme and is partially financed from the sales revenue of energy company Eneco. In addition to €100 million for scale-ups, the fund contains €30 million for owners’ associations, private individuals and SMEs. In the form of low-threshold loans, the fund stimulates various sustainability measures, such as home insulation and the installation of solar panels. This part of the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund is managed by SVn (Stimuleringsfonds Volkshuisvesting Nederlandse gemeenten). Like InnovationQuarter, SVn has extensive experience in the management of public investment resources to achieve social objectives.

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The Nordic markets are generally attractive for a (first) international step for Dutch scale-ups in the sustainable energy and circularity sectors. As this market is generally receptive to sustainable innovations and there is a willingness to invest in these. The other way around, for Nordic cleantech companies the Netherlands, with its innovative mindset and open business culture, is a great place to scale and expand to the rest of Europe. To capitalize on this,  InnovationQuarter joined forces with Cleantech Scandinavia to set up the first Dutch-Nordic Market Access Program. With this program Dutch and Nordic cleantech companies will be supported intensively in their first steps into each other’s markets.

On the 29th of April the Dutch-Nordic Market Access Program was kicked off with an informal and interactive session in which we explored the participating companies’ individual goals for the program and everyone was asked to share relevant experiences. These goals vary from setting up a first pilot project abroad, finding a commercial client, or preparing for future establishment in the foreign market. What participants showed to have in common was a great drive to learn and help each other explore the respective markets. In fact, the kick-off also enabled companies to get to to know each other, and the first opportunities for synergy and collaboration between participants, be it in their home or target market, were explored.

The Dutch-Nordic Market Access Program runs until September 2021. In May two more plenary sessions are scheduled in which we will focus on providing Dutch and Nordic market information respectively, and give the participating companies the possibility to check their propositions and USPs with stakeholders in the target market. In the period from June until September the program will continue. Each company will be assisted on an individual basis: they will be supported in obtaining the specific information and contacts needed for market entry. Because of this individual approach, the number of participating companies has been limited and in this first edition of the program a total of 11 companies have been selected for participation.

About the partnership between InnovationQuarter and Cleantech Scandinavia

The Dutch-Nordic Market Access Program follows from the Memorandum of Understanding Cleantech Scandinavia and InnovationQuarter signed in 2019, thereby committing to intensifying collaboration between their respective ecosystems. The focus of this partnership is supporting companies in entering and accelerating their activities in each other’s markets, either for international collaboration, trade or establishment.

Other currently running activities that follow from the MoU are a series of round tables to connect Dutch and Nordic actors in the fields of sustainable building and urban energy systems, as well as a joint Dutch-Nordic digital mission on Deep Energy Retrofits to Boston, in which 16 companies introduce their innovations to stakeholders in the Boston region.


Anne de Vries

Project Manager Internationalisering Energy & Circulair



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It was in 2019 that The Netherlands began writing a proposition and today Neste’s made the Final Investment Decision: Rotterdam will be the location in Europe where Neste is producing Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF). The company invests € 190 million in order to modify its existing Rotterdam refinery for the production of Sustainable Aviation Fuels. The investment not only means a boost for the economy and employment, but also puts the biobased ecosystem in the Greater Rotterdam-The Hague Area firmly on the map. Neste wants the Netherlands to become the Renewable Aviation Headquarter that will drive commercial business activities for sustainable biokerosene worldwide. By 2023, the Rotterdam refinery is expected to supply 500,000 tons/year of sustainable biokerosene.

NExBTL plant Neste Oil, Maasvlakte, Netherlands in commission for Technip

Currently, the Rotterdam refinery produces renewable diesel. Neste expects the expansion to be completed by 2023. By then, the site should be supplying 500,000 tons of SAF per year. The expansion increases Neste’s footprint in the Netherlands and marks the joint ambitions of the Port of Rotterdam, the Dutch government and Neste to become more sustainable. InnovationQuarter was involved in drafting the Dutch proposition.

Netherlands to be Neste’s Renewable Aviation Headquarter

Neste has now invested more than €700 million in its production facility in Rotterdam. Neste’s presence means 250 direct jobs, mainly in the Rotterdam area. Neste wants the Netherlands to become the Renewable Aviation Headquarter that will manage the commercial business activities for sustainable biokerosene worldwide. This will further increase direct and indirect employment.

Investment puts bio-based ecosystem of South Holland firmly on the map

The production of sustainable biokerosene also contributes to the development of supply chains for the sustainable raw materials and the production of new sustainable circular solutions. In addition to the direct economic impulse and job growth, the investment also contributes to the development of the biobased cluster in South Holland.

Investment in Rotterdam is step towards market leadership in circular solutions

“This SAF investment in Rotterdam is another important step for Neste in the execution of our growth strategy: to become a global leader in renewable and circular solutions. We have made a commitment to support our customers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least up to 20 million tons by 2030. And as the aviation industry is likely to resume on a growth trajectory after its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing need and urgency to act on aviation-related emissions. Here sustainable aviation fuels offer considerable potential”, says Peter Vanacker, President and CEO at Neste.

About Neste

Neste is committed to actively contribute to a healthier planet for future generations through renewable and circular solutions. Neste’s strategy is focused on the development and production of renewable solutions for road transport, renewable solutions for aviation and renewable polymers and chemicals. Currently, Neste is one of the world’s largest producers of renewable fuels. Globally, 80% of Neste’s raw materials are made up of waste and residues, which results in a large CO2 reduction.

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The building sector plays a major role in the Swedish and Danish society reaching their ambitious climate targets. The investments that come with this push towards climate neutral buildings, in combination with the innovation and sustainability-minded approach in the region, make these markets attractive to Dutch companies that offer sustainable and energy-efficient solutions for buildings. But how do you act on those opportunities when you cannot travel physically?  Our colleagues Anne de Vries and Tiffany Meijer took a group of 16 Dutch innovative companies on a digital trade mission to test the waters. Their conclusion? With about 110 new business connections established, and 65% of the Dutch companies expecting to sign a contract as a result, digital missions might not just be the next best thing in doing business abroad, but could become a key component of any (sustainable) international business trajectory.

The digital trade mission, which InnovationQuarter organized in collaboration with the FME and the Dutch Embassy Network in the Nordics, took place between October 26th and November 6th. The program was aimed at providing a targeted group of companies with in-depth knowledge and high-quality business contacts. The delegation familiarized with the Swedish and Danish key stakeholders and market trends, through a mix of small-scale round table discussions, keynotes from industry leaders and one-on-one matchmaking. The interest from Danish and Swedish stakeholders to participate in these sessions was significant: over 90 developers, architects, building companies, city planners and others attended the respective Dutch-Danish and Dutch-Swedish days on sustainable building and energy systems to connect to the Dutch delegation and share their knowledge and expertise.

Some of our key takeaways

  1. There is no ‘Nordic’ market
    Contrarily to what some entrepreneurs who start expanding to Northern Europe believe, there is no such thing as the ‘Nordic’ market. Although the energy and climate goals of Sweden and Denmark are similar, the context in which they work towards these goals varies. For example, in Denmark, the architect has a large role in promoting sustainability, not only at the design stage but increasingly also throughout the entire construction cycle. In Sweden, on the other hand, large construction companies like Skanska and NCC hold much of the influence in sustainable innovation. For a foreign entrepreneur, this means that the best ambassador for your product may differ between the markets. Also, the construction market is in many ways more locally organized than nationally, especially outside the larger cities.
  2. A trend towards long-term thinking
    A tendency that is similar in the Danish and Swedish market is the increasingly long-term approach to real estate investment. This opens up the market for sustainable solutions that are not necessarily a quick win but do lead to a return on investment in the longer run. This trend is most strongly observed in the public sector (including public housing), which is to lead by example. However, industry insiders increasingly observe the private sector moving in the same direction as sustainable and climate-smart premises have a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining tenants and buyers. As one of the speakers concluded ‘the market is in favour of sustainability now’.
  3. Data, data, data
    The mission contained 45 different (break-out) sessions on a variety of topics. One theme that came back in almost all of them though was the importance of gathering and standardizing data. In order to obtain zero-energy buildings and circular construction, there is a great need to gather and standardize data on construction materials, processes and the actual behaviour of buildings in use, so that sustainability can be better quantified and managed. Both in the Danish and Swedish context, digitalization is considered a key driver in the sustainable building sector and considerable investments are anticipated.
  4. The value of a digital trade mission
    This digital mission proved just as effective as a physical mission in gathering market information and getting new business contacts and had the additional advantage of being time and resource-efficient. Although meeting face-to-face remains a vital part of doing business, and will be needed to turn new contacts into actual partnerships, this digital trade mission allowed to identify those areas and stakeholders that provide the best opportunities for Dutch companies, thus making follow-up sessions and visits much more targeted. Hence digital trade missions could well be used as a first step in any future international business development trajectory. In that manner, we do not only work on selling our sustainable technologies abroad but also making that process more sustainable in itself.

What’s next?

As our mission participants are following up on their individual leads, we are planning for future joint activities to help them further expand their network and business. In the first quarter of 2021, a series of digital round tables will take place to continue conversations with the Danes and Swedes. These will be targeted towards the three key pillars that offer market opportunities for Dutch companies: Energy, Circularity and Digitalization, and hopefully followed with small scale working visits in the second half of 2021. Do you want to be part of this follow-up or would you like to hear more about the opportunities the Danish and/or Swedish market might offer for your company? Please get in touch!

Get in touch!

Anne de Vries

Project Manager Internationalisering Energy & Circulair
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African bamboo develops circular materials from bamboo in Delft

African bamboo develops circular materials from bamboo in Delft

African Bamboo produces pioneer materials utilizing Tropical Bamboo. A Dutch-Ethiopian company, African Bamboo has been working with the leading European research institutes for many years. CEO Khalid Duri shares: “We decided to select Delft for our R&D location to build on our relations with TU Delft & TNO and the proximity of the port of Rotterdam.”

Started in 2013, African Bamboo works on bamboo-based alternatives to building materials using proprietary, smart and energy-efficient production technology. Khalid Duri shares: “We are driven by a vision of a world in which bamboo is part of everyday life, providing sustainable materials while contributing to the abatement of climate change and poverty.”

By locating their second R&D facility in Delft, African Bamboo aims at creating an innovation cluster for natural fibres in the heart of Europe. The company plans to establish high-tech laboratories and piloting facilities at a Center of Bamboo Research & Application (COBRA) and boost commercialization of products and applications, benefiting from the central location of the R&D centre at YES!Delft and the proximity to the port of Rotterdam.

InnovationQuarter assists African Bamboo, together with TU Delft, in finding the right location, introducing the company to the TU Delft campus and the region, and supporting the African Bamboo team with relocation.

Chris van Voorden, head of internationalization at InnovationQuarter: “African Bamboo is a great addition to Delft and the region. African Bamboo’s focus on building materials of natural fibres fits well in our strategy combining smart manufacturing and the impact potential on the environment. Our region’s R&D and logistic opportunities offer ideal conditions for African Bamboo research & development and connecting to the European market.”

Maarten Hermus

Maarten Hermus

Senior Account Manager Horticulture & Food
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On 4 February 2020 InnovationQuarter and Cleantech Scandinavia signed a Memorandum of Understanding committing to intensifying the collaboration between the Nordic and Dutch cleantech ecosystems in the coming years. The collaboration is focused on supporting Dutch and Nordic companies in entering and accelerating their activities in each other’s markets, either for international collaboration, trade or establishment.

Cleantech Scandinavia and InnovationQuarter, together with their respective partners, have regularly partnered up to boost collaboration between the Dutch and Nordic cleantech ecosystems over the past year. In 2019 the organisations co-organised the Sustainable Building and Energy Systems Mission to Boston, and were involved the Dutch-Nordic Business Event connected to the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. During these events it became clear that a joint Dutch-Nordic presence helps businesses make more impact when entering a foreign market, but also that there is a lot of interest among entrepreneurs and clusters to increase innovation and business collaboration between Dutch and Nordic cleantech players.

To boost such collaboration, InnovationQuarter and Cleantech Scandinavia organised the Nordic Business Day on February 4 2020, where Dutch and Nordic entrepreneurs, clusters and governmental organisations exchanged market information and business experiences in the fields of smart & sustainable building, mobility and life sciences and health.  Moreover, they took this event as an opportunity to formalise and commit to a multiyear collaboration to connect the Nordic and Dutch cleantech ecosystems by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The goals of this MoU is to set up a multiyear collaboration (2020 – 2022) to connect the Nordic and Dutch cleantech ecosystems in order to

1.       Promote collaboration between The Nordic and Dutch cleantech ecosystems, as well as the various players within them.

2.       Support Dutch and Nordic companies in entering and accelerating their activities in each other’s markets, either for innovation, trade goals or establishment in respective markets.

3.       Investigate possible future collaboration to target other foreign markets.

Cleantech Scandinavia and InnovationQuarter intend to realise the above in various manners:

1.       Sharing of relevant market information;

2.       Support each other’s network in entering their respective markets. For example by providing introducing companies to potential partners (matchmaking), guiding small groups of entrepreneurs in their respective regions, providing soft-landing services, etc.;

3.       The organisation of various events in the Netherlands and the Nordics each year. These events will either involve bringing over a delegation to each other’s region, or be focussed on informing the ‘home market’ on the opportunities that exist in the other region.

4.       Supporting Dutch and Nordic entrepreneurs in jointly entering foreign markets.

What’s coming up in 2020?

As part of their collaboration Cleantech Scandinavia and InnovationQuarter have the intention to contribute to the  following events:

1.       Dutch Sustainable Building Mission to Stockholm from 20 to 24 April (sign up before February 27, click here for more information and registration)

2.       InnovationQuarter visits Energy Capital Day in Lund 12 – 13 May.

3.       Dutch-Nordic Cleantech mission to Boston – to be held in Boston in the autumn of 2020

4.       Dutch/Nordic event at the Smart City expo in Barcelona in November 2020

5.       Participation of Nordic Cleantech delegation at Cleantech Summit in Rotterdam in November 2020

Interested in participating in any of the above events?

Or curious to learn more about the collaboration between InnovationQuarter and Cleantech Scandinavia? Get in touch!

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On Monday 13 January 2020 Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb will open the new Head Office of the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) in the CIC Rotterdam (Cambridge Innovation Center in the ‘Groothandelsgebouw’, next to Rotterdam Central Station). As of this year, Rotterdam will be the location for the world’s largest international network of waste professionals (formerly housed in Vienna). Simultaneously, registration for ISWA’s World Congress will officially be opened, ISWA2020 will be held from 28-30 September 2020 in Rotterdam’s stunning World Trade Centre.

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb: “The arrival of ISWA in Rotterdam underlines that the city is a hotspot for innovative and sustainable organizations. Rotterdam has high ambitions and we are very pleased that, working together with ISWA, we are going to achieve those ambitions.”

Circular and Low Carbon Initiative

In January, ISWA, NVRD and Rotterdam will start a joint project, the Circular and Low Carbon Initiative. In this joint project, the current state of the circular economy in Rotterdam is qualitatively examined and mapped. Ranging from small corner shops to the headquarters of multinational corporates in Rotterdam and the port, the first interim results will be presented during the ISWA World Congress.

ISWA & The Circular Economy

Antonis Mavroupoulis (ISWA President): “This is an exciting time for ISWA as we enter our 50th year with new management, new employees and a new home. The City of Rotterdam shares our global vision with a focus on international cooperation to achieve a circular economy. We are proud to “Make It Happen!” As far as I’m concerned, there is no better place to accommodate the ISWA General Secretariat”.

Start ticket sales ISWA2020

Ticket sales for the ISWA2020 congress will be opened on 13th January. The ISWA World Congress is the most prestigious international congress for the waste sector and is organised by the City of Rotterdam and the NVRD. This year’s main themes of the congress are:

  • waste processing and recycling,
  • waste in waters and oceans,
  • circular and low carbon economy,
  • innovation in cities and construction and demolition waste.

These themes are in line with Rotterdam’s ambition to be at the forefront of the circular economy. From 13th January, ISWA2020 is open for proposals to organize a workshop, session or presentation during the congress. Proposals will be evaluated by a special committee. We welcome everyone that wants to make an interesting contribution to the congress and the ISWA2020 themes.

More information, ticket sales and submitting proposal: www.iswa2020.org

Loek Becker Hoff

Loek Becker Hoff

Senior Account Manager Energy & Circular / Team Lead Sustainable & Clean + Green & Healthy
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Presentatie Rotterdams Klimaatakkoord

Rotterdam delivers own climate agreement following the COP21 Paris agreement objectives. Within 10 years, Rotterdam will reduce the emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases with 50 percent. This will be the result from the measures in the Rotterdam Climate Agreement that the municipality has concluded with more than 100 companies and social organizations. The agreement that is being presented today contains nearly 50 measures that will make Rotterdam’s port and economy more sustainable.

Presentatie Rotterdams Klimaatakkoord

Rotterdam is currently contributing more than average on greenhouse gas emissions. More than 20% of the national CO2 emissions of the Netherlands come from Rotterdam, especially from the port area. In addition, Rotterdam is situated in one of the lowest-lying river deltas of the world and is therefore very vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Research, conducted yearly by the municipality, shows that three out of four citizens in Rotterdam are worried about the effects of climate change.

That is why the city took the initiative to make a climate agreement together with over 100 private companies and social organizations.

For six months, and under the leadership of independent chairs, these private companies and organizations took part in five climate round tables divided in the following themes: Port & Industry, Built Environment, Mobility, Clean Energy and Consumption.

The outcome of these gatherings is 49 so-called ‘climate deals’ that will boost the reduction of greenhouse gases and will stimulate a CO2-free economy. The agreement contains plans for large-scale solutions such as windmill areas off shore, the construction of a hydrogen network to make industry in the port greener and the insulation of Rotterdam social homes, but also small-scale solutions such as car-sharing and cycling class for children.

Companies such as petrochemical companies, energy infra providers, private banks but also social housing-corporations, the Erasmus University and innovative mobility start-ups, were part of the process that led to this agreement. The participants of the Rotterdam Climate Agreement want to use the transition of the Rotterdam economy not only to reduce CO2 emissions, but also to create new opportunities.

Arno Bonte (Alderman Sustainability/vice Mayor);

“The Rotterdam climate agreement marks a turning point for the port city. Our ambition is to become the most sustainability port city in the world within ten years with a clean and circular economy.”

 Alice Krekt (Director of Deltalinqs Climate Program and Chair of round table Port and  Industry): “We have a roadmap in place and agreed upon supporting climate measures that pave the way to a carbon neutral port and industry area, whilst protecting the economic value for Rotterdam and the country. Our agenda shows that private and public partners need to work closely together to make progress. I am very pleased with the constructive discussion that have led to this result. Now is the time to act.”

InnovationQuarter was closely involved with the Port and Industry climate table. Hanna Lucas, Senior Business Developer Energy at InnovationQuarter:

“Together with the other partners, we worked on a concrete plan for the development of a sustainable industry in the port of Rotterdam. The port and industrial plan makes it possible to coordinate efforts in order to speed up important projects and strengthen the innovation ecosystem.”

Want to know more?

Please contact us.

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DAB has developed a unique bioreactor technology that increases the productivity of the fermentation process. At the same time, it reduces the operational costs with 50%. Using this technique, products made with fermentation become more affordable and competitive with fossil processes. Application of this technology on a large scale is expected to accelerate the transition to a bio-based economy. DAB licenses its technology to large industrial parties that integrate it into their existing production processes.

Kirsten Steinbusch, CEO of DAB: ‘We recently received an investment of € 2 million, making the move to the Biotech Campus Delft a logical next step. We want to further develop our technology and to accelerate our commercial growth. To scale up our technology, we work closely with the TU Delft and with an established partner on the Biotech Campus, the Bioprocess Pilot Facility (BPF). Thanks to the good facilities available at the Biotech Campus Delft, we now can explore new market applications and further optimize our techniques.’ ‘We are delighted to welcome DAB at the Biotech Campus,’ says Raimo van der Linden, Business Development Manager at Bioprocess Pilot Facility (BPF). ‘It offers great benefits for both DAB and BPF. The BPF has extensive expertise in scaling up production, even on an industrial scale. We are happy to support DAB with our knowledge, infrastructure, permits and the use of our test factory.’

Cindy Gerhardt, Business Development Director of the Biotech Campus Delft, is also pleased to welcome DAB at the campus. ‘DAB is the third innovative Biotech company that settles at the campus, and we are not even officially open! DAB is a wonderful example of the unique strength of Delft in biotechnology; an idea originating from research at the TU in Delft, was incubated as a start-up at YES!Delft, and now moves to our campus to get access to all the facilities needed for upscaling and commercial growth. Together, we can realize the transition to a sustainable bio-based economy!’

Loek Becker Hoff

Loek Becker Hoff

Senior Account Manager Energy & Circular / Team Lead Sustainable & Clean + Green & Healthy
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Last week Toronto based MaRS and InnovationQuarter signed an MoU, signifying the start of a collaboration. The two organisations will explore options for setting up a market expansion programme in support of cleantech businesses looking to set foot on the ground in the market accross the ocean.

The common goal of MaRS and InnovationQuarter is to set up a reciprocal program that enables entrepreneurs and innovators in the cleantech space to gain access to the Dutch or Canadian market for companies looking to accelerate their growth in the region across the ocean. This  program will assist growth-stage cleantech ventures with market expansion through partnerships and funding opportunities in either the Toronto or the West Holland region.

MaRS works with startups and scale-ups and offers a range of services that help founders increase revenue and fuel their competitive advantage. With an extensive network that spans over 1,200 companies across the country, MaRS can help turn breakthrough ideas into products and services with global impact. MaRS is North America’s largest urban innovation hub occupying 1.5 million square feet in downtown Toronto. It is a diverse community of more than 120 tenants, including research labs and global tech companies, each selected to create a community that is collaborating on real solutions to important problems.

The collaboration will give Dutch companies access to the services of MaRs, such as advisory support and connections to talent, access to investors as well as connections to partners.

InnovationQuarter will assist Canadian cleantech companies in their business expansion into Europe and accelerate their growth. This collaboration should result in a market expansion program similar to previously set up programmes, such as the BOSteRDAM program, which is set up in collaboration  with Greentown Labs in Boston. Here foreign companies are offered the opportunity to spend two weeks working in our region, engaging with locals as a local.

The specifics of the collaboration will be determined by both MaRS and InnovationQuarter over the coming months. If your company is considering expansion to the Canadian market, please get in touch, we would be glad to discuss the possibilities the collaboration can offer.

Interested in joining this program?

Please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Loek Becker Hoff

Loek Becker Hoff

Senior Account Manager Energy & Circular / Team Lead Sustainable & Clean + Green & Healthy