Open Chemical Innovation Centre “Green Chemistry Campus”: Accelerating Biobased Business

September 2011, the Green Chemistry Campus has started on a small scale. The vision of the Campus is to become the open chemical innovation centre when it comes to biobased innovations. In a biobased economy, ‘green’ materials take over the role of fossil fuels like oil. The Green Chemistry Campus wants to be the driving force for this development: an environment where larger and smaller companies, knowledge institutes and the authorities work together in an open innovation structure, to develop new products and technologies, focusing on biobased materials, -chemicals and -coatings. A dynamo, so that the companies involved can accelerate making a profit from their biobased business and speed up the transition to a biobased economy.

March 2012, the four initiators signed the partnership agreement underlying the Green Chemistry Campus. The four initiators are SABIC IP (one of the six top petrochemical companies in the world and is the largest company in the Middle East), REWIN West-Brabant (regional development authority), Province of North-Brabant (Netherlands) and the municipality of Bergen op Zoom.

Bert Pauli, Provincial Executive for Economic Affairs and Administration of the Province of North Brabant, said:

“The biobased economy can be an important driving force for the Brabant economy. Here, many companies are already looking for proper substitutes for fossil fuels. The Green Chemistry Campus gives the innovative power of Brabant in this field a boost. With an extensive agricultural-food sector in search of a market for its own residual flows and a good infrastructure, all preconditions are met. Thereto, the Green Chemistry Campus adds the opportunity of taking great steps in developing new materials. An asset for Brabant.”

Willem Sederel, Technology & Innovationeleader SABIC, said:

“Signing this agreement is an important step for SABIC in Bergen op Zoom. It is in keeping with the ambitions of SABIC to, world-wide, increasingly produce in a more sustainable manner and market more renewable products. Through the campus’ open innovation with other companies, this process is accelerated.”


De Green Chemistry Campus is based in Bergen op Zoom and has its physical location at the premises of SABIC at the Theodorusharbour. From this homebase the Green Chemistry Campus has access to regional projects and (inter)national networks. Next to that, the Green Chemistry Campus is situated in the heart of a region that is unique through the large presence of agricultural, food- en feed businesses, as well as large chemical companies.

Mid 2012 the Campus Innovation Center will become available. In this iconic building offices will be realised that will stimulate open innovation. In an inspiring and open atmosphere campus residents can do business and work together.

Dutch open chemical innovation centres

Dutch regional development agencies are involved in more open innovation centres. OostNV is investing in the Polymer Science Park, the OICAM (Open Innovation Center Advanced Materials), TPRC (ThermoPlastic composite Research Center). Brainport Development in Brainport Region Eindhoven and so on.

Goal: Becoming the open chemical innovation centre in biobased innovations

In a fast-paced global business environment, with shorter product life cycles and quickly changing customer behaviors, can open innovation be supported and enriched to enable faster, better and cheaper business output if social media and social technologies are being deployed?

Province West-Brabant wants to have a leading and distinctive position in the (inter)national biobased economy, can social media and social technology integration in the open innovation centre support and accelerate achieving this goal?

Yes, social technologies can be the enablers, the infrastructures for faster, better and cheaper knowledge sharing and -valorisation between the many participating entities, be this on site or globally.

Secondly, insights from online conversations can validate, direct and bottom-up inspire market-driven innovations, both locally and globally. By spotting (unmet) needs and anxieties, success rates can increase by bringing validated (or even co-created) innovations to markets.

Explicitly mentioning co-creation, going beyond the Green Chemistry Campus’ scope. Through engagement on social networks, new partners can be spotted and involved, expanding the biobased platform with appropriate experts. This organically will grow the visibility and status of the open chemical innovation centre, thus getting into a virtuous cycle of visibility, involvement of “outside” experts and developed innovations.

What open chemical innovation initiatives do you know outside the Netherlands?

By Gianluigi Cuccureddu

About the author:

Gianluigi CuccuredduGianluigi Cuccureddu, contributing editor, is an experienced writer specializing in innovation, open business, new media and marketing. He is Managing Partner of the 90:10 Group, a global Open Business consultancy. They help clients leverage social media as business accelerators to generate faster, better and cheaper business output. Social media integration is the new secret ingredient to achieve sustainable competitive advantage in delighting the clients’ customers while continuously driving their cost down.