Energy transition

Waste to Chemicals Seminar: on the road to a sustainable chemical industry cluster in Rotterdam

20 November 2018
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The Waste to Chemicals (W2C) consortium is organising a seminar with workshops on 6 December. Partners Air Liquide, Nouryon, Enerkem and the Port of Rotterdam Authority have been working together since 2016 on the development of an advanced ‘waste-to-chemicals’ plant. This plant converts non-recyclable waste into chemicals and biofuels and in doing so offers a sustainable alternative to waste incineration.

<strong>Waste to Chemicals (W2C)</strong>

The W2C consortium is organising a seminar with workshops in Hotel Bruno (Wilhelminapier, Rotterdam) on Thursday afternoon, 6 December. This seminar will examine the current status of the plant to be realised and the consortium will share its knowledge and experience with other interested parties.

‘This project can have a tremendous impact on the economy and employment,’ stated Marco Waas, seminar chairperson and Director of RD&I at Nouryon (previously AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals).

The plant is being created in Rotterdam and is the first of its type in Europe. The development of the plant is a good example of public and private parties working together to achieve a sustainable cluster for the chemical industry. W2C can contribute to the objective of the Netherlands of no longer being dependent on raw materials by 2050. W2C aims to make this contribution with partners from the region and is using the seminar to seek further cooperation with SMEs. The consortium would like to start discussions with interested companies, governments, sector organisations, research institutions and knowledge centres that also aim to contribute to the energy transition.
‘The W2C plant can enable the Netherlands to be independent of raw materials and the oil market by 2050. How can other interested parties contribute to this and how do they want to do so? This is what we aim to achieve at the seminar,’ stated Marco Waas.

Considerable economic impact

The W2C project is an important step on the road towards a sustainable chemical industry cluster in Rotterdam. Marco Waas: ‘The plant offers a sustainable alternative to waste incineration. It converts non-recyclable waste products into chemicals and biofuels. This project can have a tremendous impact on the economy and employment.

Across all layers

For whom is the seminar interesting? Marco Waas: ‘First and foremost, the seminar is intended for people and companies already operating in the waste sector, such as SME waste processors and companies in the chemical industry. Or companies that think that they can and would like to contribute, such as technology start-ups. But it’s also intended for universities and other knowledge institutes and sector organisations. And the question of how to establish such a project will be interesting for government agencies. It covers so many different sectors and goes across all layers. The project is a technical challenge and is feasible, but to actually establish this at a viable scale is the real challenge. What is and how do you ensure the right incentive for companies to participate? This also relates to policy. That is why the seminar is also very interesting for policy makers from local, regional and even national government agencies.’
In recent years, the consortium has achieved a lot and gained a lot of knowledge. The W2C consortium will be sharing its knowledge, experience and vision during the seminar. We would like to start discussions with interested companies, governments, sector organisations, research institutes and knowledge centres. Do join us to discuss the factory of the future!

The seminar will start with speakers from Nouryon, Enerkem, the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Municipality of Rotterdam. Three workshop sessions will follow, covering the topics ‘governance of the energy transition’, ‘technical challenges’ and ‘value creation in the waste cluster’.

Why should you attend? Marco Waas: ‘This is such an iconic project, a public-private partnership, at the heart of the circular economy. This is no simple matter and the seminar offers insight into this. I’d say to everyone who wants to think, talk and develop this: just come to the seminar!’

W2C Engineers

W2C plant

The plant will be able to process 360,000 tonnes of waste per year. This is more than the amount produced by 700,000 households. From this amount, the plant will produce 220 million tonnes or 270 million litres of ‘green’ methanol (not manufactured from fossil sources). This entails a reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 300,000 tonnes. The waste will first be processed into synthetic gas and then into clean methanol. This can be used in the chemical industry and the transport sector. Methanol is an important raw material for sustainable transport fuel. Methanol is currently still manufactured from natural gas and coal.


The W2C project was partly financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Opportunities for West II programme focuses on providing additional incentives to businesses. Other priorities include an improved business climate, innovation by SMEs and a low-carbon economy.