'Behind the scenes' at Amsterdam Chemistry Innovation Day

On October 19th, Innnovation Chemistry Lab Amsterdam (ILCA), the University of Amsterdam's Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) and the Port of Amsterdam hosted the annual Amsterdam Chemistry Innovation Day (ACID). The Royal Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry VNCI joined in with the Amsterdam edition of its series of 'Behind the scenes' events celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Visit of the laboratories at Science Park 904 during ACID/Behind the scenes. In total over 150 participants joined the event of VNCI, Port of Amsterdam, Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Science (HIMS), Amsterdam Green Campus and Innovation Lab Chemistry Amsterdam (ILCA). Photo: HIMS

Central venue of the day was UvA's faculty of Science at Amsterdam Science Park, home of HIMS. Around nine o'clock the first visitors assembled to visit chemistry locations in the Amsterdam area: the HIMS laboratories, fertilizer producer ICL, paint and coatings supplier PPG, catalyst company Albemarle, biobased chemicals producers Avantium and ChainCraft, and the innovation hubs Prodock and Science Park Startup Village.

Visit of a chemical plant during the morning. Photo: VNCI.

At noon everybody returned for lunch after which the plenary programme at Science Park 904 started with a welcome by Prof. Peter Schoenmakers, scientific director of HIMS. He was happy to have the VNCI celebrate its centenary at UvA grounds, emphasizing today's good relations between university and industry.

Next Roon van Maanen, director of Circular & Renewable Industry at the Port of Amsterdam outlined the perfect opportunities of the Amsterdam region to contribute to the establishment of a circular economy. According to Van Maanen, a lot is to be expected from the strong links between the local knowledge institutions and chemistry companies, combined with the good infrastructure for knowledge transfer and the start-up and scale-up of chemistry-oriented businesses.

Chemistry towards 2050

Prof. Jan van Maarseveen (HIMS). Photo: VNCI.

Then VNCI director Colette Alma took the stage presenting a national perspective for chemistry towards 2050. The Netherlands can become a 'climate champion', she argued, and in this the Dutch chemical sector can play an important part. By realizing a huge reduction in its CO2 emissions but also by contributing to the sustainability of other industry sectors. This dramatic change would, however, require speeding up innovation, governmental regulation and legislation.

Then VNCI director Colette Alma took the stage presenting a national perspective for chemistry towards 2050. The Netherlands can become a 'climate champion', she argued, and in this the Dutch chemical sector can play an important part. By realizing a huge reduction in its CO2 emissions but also by contributing to the sustainability of other industry sectors. This dramatic change would, however, require speeding up innovation, governmental regulation and legislation.

Succesful day

After a short break the afternoon continued with a variety of breakout sessions on subjects ranging from Circular Chemistry to the Chemistry Employee of the Future, and from Art Conservation to Scientific Storytelling. The day ended with drinks and the wrap-up by VNCI chairman Bernard Wientjes who emphasized the importance of chemistry for the sustainability of our society and the transition to a circular economy. Looking back on a successful day, Wientjes thanked the organisation and looked forward to the next 'Behind the scenes' session to be held in Terneuzen, heart of the chemistry cluster at the Southwest of the Netherlands.

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