Jacqueline Vaessen
figurehead Top Sector Chemicals

"I am extremely proud of the FutureCarbonNL project. Right from the start, I saw a lot of interest, a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of will from companies to work on this. That remained true throughout the project, and I think that's why we now have such a fantastic project proposal. I am very much looking forward to implementing it. But above all, what is also very important is that this will show us that chemistry is not a problem, but part of the solution."

FAQ

FutureCarbonNL aims to establish a leading global carbon technology (CCU) sector in the Netherlands. To this end, FutureCarbonNL focuses on research, development and demonstration of technologies that reduce CO2 can convert into new materials and (animal) food. Also called Carbon Capture and Utilisation, CCU. Besides recycling and biobased production, the world needs these technologies to make products without fossil resources. Our ambition is to make the Netherlands a leader in CCU technologies so that we can export this new technology globally. The application of the developed technologies and processes in the Netherlands can help build a new green basic industry in the Netherlands. By doing so, we can maintain a strategic independence when it comes to key raw materials.

The term CCU technology covers everything from catalysts, reactors and processes to entirely new value chains for the conversion of CO2 into larger molecules and products.

Both CCS and CCU use capture of CO2. The difference is in what happens to the CO2 happens. With CCS, the CO2 permanently stored (e.g. underground). CCU is a technique in which the captured CO2 is converted into valuable products. As a large number of studies have shown, in addition to recycling and bio-based production, CCU is needed to make the carbon cycle of products circular. The development of CCU technologies and value chains still requires a lot of knowledge, development and time. We think it is important to focus fully on CCU.

We do this for the current and future generation, worldwide. With new CCU technologies, we can make products that everyone uses every day. We then make these products without using fossil raw materials.

With industrial and atmospheric carbon, we can start making chemicals, plastics, fuels, animal feed ingredients and other industrial products.

Recycling is important, but we won't save it with that alone. As many studies have shown, in addition to recycling and biobased production, we will need new carbon sources such as CO2 needed. For instance, global demand for plastics is expected to grow by 3-4% annually. So more carbon will be needed, which must be made available in a sustainable way. Biobased production requires agricultural land, and there are limits to this - especially in the Netherlands.

We have sufficient green energy for the development of CCU technologies and initial demonstration plants. Depending on the further scale-up of green energy generation in the Netherlands and possible imports of green hydrogen, large-scale production with CCU is also possible in the Netherlands. Independently, the Netherlands could well be a frontrunner in developing knowledge and CCU technologies, selling them for export, and co-implementing them in other countries.

It offers the Netherlands opportunities and contributes to its earning potential. We can develop the knowledge, technologies and applications here, and then export (sell, licence) them abroad. Application in our own home market provides industry with the necessary experience with the new technology and production processes. And that provides the opportunity to scale them up, and export them internationally. Production in the home market can also increase geostrategic independence for key commodities.

We have everything in the Netherlands to become a global leader in CCU technology. We have good knowledge institutions, universities and chemists who are already working on this, a chemical industry willing to transform and invest, green energy to demonstrate the technology, and finally: we are extremely good at cooperation, which you need for developing CCU technology and value chains.

To reduce CO2 into materials, fuels and (animal) food, several technology routes are possible. FutureCarbonNL focuses on biological, electro-photochemical and thermo-catalytic conversion technologies as well as integrated capture and conversion. These are technologies on which knowledge already exists in the Netherlands and for which companies and institutions want to carry out research, development and demonstration projects under FutureCarbonNL.

CO2 for CCU can come from industries in which CO2 -emissions remain (partly) unavoidable (e.g. cement and steel, bioenergy and biogas plants, bio-based production),and from combustion or gasification of non-recyclable products or directly from the atmosphere (Direct Air Capture).

FutureCarbonNL increases sustainable earning capacity along two lines:

  1. The development of a carbon tech sector that develops and exports technology. By including: knowledge and technology development, pre-commercial demonstration of first-generation technologies in large-scale regional value chains, development (and acceleration) of value chains through bringing together projects and stakeholders in the CCU area, international promotion (for export), attracting (foreign) investment in SMEs and start-ups/scale-ups.
  2. Domestic renewable production, as far as is possible with the amount of renewable energy available, and if it is desirable due to geostrategic independence.

FutureCarbonNL covers everything from TRL1 (basic research) to TRL8 (large-scale demonstration of new value chains).

We want to build a leading carbontech sector in the Netherlands with a powerful innovation impulse and intensive cooperation between knowledge institutions, startups, small, medium and large companies from different sectors. After approval of our renewed Growth Fund proposal (summer 2025), open calls-for-proposals will be published from NWO and RVO. Until then, companies and startups can already submit ideas and project proposals to us. This helps us to better pitch the proposal, and to connect parties. If you want more information about this, please send an e-mail to: info@futurecarbon.nl