Biorizon co-initiator VITO and Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy have been working together at the Green Chemistry Campus since the end of 2018. There they jointly offer internships around research on valorizing lignin – the substance that gives strength to plants – into biopolymers for innovative applications. The thirteenth student is now doing an internship at the Campus, and since June 1 Sandra Corderí Gándara of VITO has been based at the Campus to run the VITO lab and supervise students. 

VITO, together with TNO, is the initiator of Shared Research Center Biorizon, which has been developing bio-aromatics at the Campus since 2013 that are used in paints, plastics and adhesives, among others. Avans University of Applied Sciences and HZ University of Applied Sciences have the Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy (CoE BBE) and offer various courses in the field of biobased chemistry and technology.

Bring that together and you get a fruitful collaboration around students doing internships at VITO on campus under the guidance of CoE BBE. In addition, VITO regularly gives guest lectures at Avans.  Alwin Hoogendoorn, portfolio manager for research at the Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy, is enthusiastic: “We received positive feedback from VITO and our students about the collaboration. Unfortunately, due to the corona situation, VITO was unable to continuously station staff at the Campus from Flanders. Because both VITO and we would like to continue and intensify the cooperation on the Campus, we have arranged for an internship supervisor from Avans to supervise students in the lab facilities that VITO rents from the Campus.”

Richard Vendamme, senior researcher in biopolymers at VITO, is also satisfied with the collaboration: “Thanks to the Campus, we were able to get straight to work on our research into bio-based additives and polymers in 2018. Here we found the lab facilities we needed; first at SABIC and now in the Campus’ new demo facility. What I especially appreciate is the Campus network and the dynamic environment with people who want to help each other further. Our cooperation with CoE BBE is a good example of this. VITO and CoE BBE are so enthusiastic about the collaboration that they are looking together at how they can integrate their joint research and thus give the collaboration a more permanent character. Before the end of the year, they will evaluate and decide on follow-up steps.

The collaboration on Campus between Biorizon co-initiator VITO and Avans fits in with the development of the Biorizon Application Center on Campus. Biorizon founders TNO and VITO are currently investigating together with the Green Chemistry Campus how such an application center – where bio-aromatics are tested in products such as coatings, adhesives, sealants, elastomers and plastics – can best meet the needs of the industry. In doing so, Biorizon is looking at how it can optimally unlock and further develop the knowledge, experience and equipment already present in the field of bio-aromatics. This year, Biorizon is developing a business plan with input from companies, governments, knowledge and educational institutions and partners from the ecosystem. The positive experiences of VITO and CoE BBE will certainly be taken into account.

Want to know more? Then get in touch with Alwin Hoogendoorn.

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