"Our ultimate goal is a fossil-free society. With FutureCarbonNL, we are betting on a 10-year programme for concepts and technologies that allow us to make new materials, food and fuels from CO₂ and CO," says Matthias Heinemann, professor at the University of Groningen. These technologies fall under the heading 'carbontech' or Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU).
Carbon Capture and Utilization
Carbon is in almost all our everyday products. It usually comes from fossil sources, such as oil and gas. To move away from these, products need to be made differently. Recycling and use of bio-based raw materials are possible, but more is needed to meet our future carbon needs.
With a contribution from the National Growth Fund, the Netherlands can capitalise on opportunities and accelerate the development and demonstration of carbontech. Erik Verbrugge, Innovation Manager Royal Dutch Chemical Industry Association (VNCI): "The Netherlands has everything it needs to become a frontrunner. We have excellent scientists, a strong technological and chemical industry willing to innovate and invest, and we have green energy. Moreover, the Netherlands has a unique culture of collaboration between science and industry."
Not a closed shop
FutureCarbonNL is focused on the most innovative, novel ideas and concepts to reduce CO2 and CO back into the carbon cycle. "Our innovation programme is open to all parties from the private and public sectors," says Verbrugge. "It's not a closed shop of the proposers of this proposal. It provides open and fair platform for competition among the best ideas, concepts and approaches to solve the grand challenges together." More than 50 parties have now joined with initial proposals. And still companies can apply.
Technology that contributes to climate improvement is an important part of the next wave of innovation. "By exporting technology, building factories and equipment, and manufacturing with CCU at home, this contributes to Dutch earning power," says Martijn de Graaff, manager Industrial Transformation at TNO. "In our estimates, this could reach €2.6 billion a year by 2050."
FutureCarbonNL's total innovation programme amounts to €1.43 billion. A contribution of €663 million is requested from the Growth Fund. Private parties invest €767 million, and public parties contribute €4 million.
With the National Growth Fund, the government is investing 20 billion euros between 2021 and 2025 in projects that will ensure long-term economic growth. The Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland and the Growth Fund Committee will consider the proposals in the coming months. After the summer, the cabinet will decide whether to honour the applications.