What we’re doing here matters - blog by Eric Appelman

october 7, 2019

What we’re doing here matters
Blog by Eric Appelman, Director Business Development at Brightlands Chemelot Campus


Do you remember the hole in the ozone layer? It was one of the major social problems during the 1980s. Harmful CFCs used in refrigerators and aerosols were the culprits. Entering into force in 1989, the Montreal Protocol prohibited the use of these substances. At the time, I was working for a company that made it possible to use alternative coolants. My work contributed to solving a global problem, and it was a fantastic feeling.

Now, almost thirty years later, we are facing another challenge. This time, the need to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions is dominating the social agenda. Once again, I find myself in a position to tackle the problem. CO2 emissions have long been the focus at our campus, which is only logical since the chemical industry accounts for a large proportion of the total emissions. In other words, we can make a difference and want to do so.

The essence of shared innovation is interaction

The chemical industry is working hard to reinvent itself. While in the past it was all about optimization, now the focus is on innovation. Brightlands Chemelot Campus is the ultimate physical environment for this. Our campus is the hotspot for sustainable chemistry, a testing ground where people can play with their chemistry sets, unhindered. This is where you will find the greatest concentration of people who know everything about materials and plastics. Not only can you develop new things here, you can also scale up; after all, we have the unique knowledge and facilities to help people do this.

In addition to these advantages, the Euregional location of our campus is a special asset. This site provides access to talent from a huge cultural area. These Walloon, Flemish, German and Dutch scientists, students and staff all ensure that we can really understand these various local cultures. After all, the essence of shared innovation is interaction, bringing together people and products that used to exist separately, sharing knowledge and looking for synthesis. Together with the Chemelot Industrial Park, our campus offers plenty of opportunities to achieve this. I am therefore hopeful that by 2030, we will be able to conclude that greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 40% and that we are well on our way to becoming climate-neutral. It may seem ambitious, but this campus offers a large part of the answer. What we’re doing here matters.

Eric Appelman is Director Business Development at Brightlands Chemelot Campus. Together with his team, he makes sure that more and more international start-ups and scale-ups are able to discover that the campus is the ideal place to develop their innovative and sustainable products for materials and biomedical applications. Eric will speak at Inchem Tokyo this fall about the role Brightlands Chemelot Campus plays in the energy transition.

Want to be part of this place to be for chemistry and materials where residents are working every day to solve the global challenges? Please contact Annemiek Mooij, Business Development Support:  Annemiek.mooij@brightlands.com.

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