PPP allowance projects

Via TKI Green Chemistry & Circularity several projects receive a PPP allowance (PPS Toeslag). Below are brief summaries of the awarded projects per roadmap. The summaries will be updated once a year.

Summary Chemistry of Advanced Materials
Summary Chemistry of Life
Summary Chemical Sensing & Enabling Technologies
Summary Chemical Conversion, Process Technology & Synthesis 
PPP programme allowance 2016
PPP programme allowance 2017

Awarded PPP allowance projects per month

In 2022 the board of TKI Chemistry awarded the following PPP Allowance projects (updated every month). As of January 2023 the board of TKI Green Chemistry & Circularity awarded the projects:

New enzymes as tools to explore adaptive immunity via immunoglobulomics
Utrecht University / Genovis AB Sweden
Immunoglobulins are some of the major molecular players in the adaptive human immune system. In addition, they are increasingly developed and applied as therapeutic proteins to battle cancer, autoimmunity, and infectious diseases. Current knowledge on human immunoglobulins is for a large part still extrapolated from laboratory animal studies. In our lab we develop tools to monitor and sequence individual antibody clones from human biofluids. Our tools and approaches are quite innovative, but still somewhat limited to the IgG1 and IgA1 sub-classes, i.e. two of the at least nine human antibody types actually present in circulation. In this project we aim to discover and apply new enzymes and methods to expand our toolbox to achieve a wider coverage of the human immunoglobulome, ideally covering all isotypes and sub-classes.

Ion exchange coating for liquid biopsy to capture and release hypermethylated DNA under mild conditions|
Twente University / Qurin Diagnostics B.V.
How to find tiny amounts of cancer DNA in someone’s urine. Our body can turn off genes on our DNA by methylation. Cancer cells turn off genes that restrict cell division, resulting in hypermethylation of these genes. Fragments of both healthy and cancer DNA can be found in blood and urine. Measuring hypermethylated DNA in urine can be used to tell whether someone has cancer or not. The advantage of measuring in urine is that people can test at home without the need for needles. The main challenge is that the amount of DNA in urine is very small and the amount of cancer DNA even smaller. In this project, a carrier with a special coating will be developed to capture DNA from urine and to release it without harsh chemicals for measuring with a sensor. Elution methods will be evaluated in order to assess capture amounts and release yields. The method will be adapted to match the workflow of Qurin Diagnostics and to allow detection with their envisaged aMZI optical sensing platform.

Exploring insect enzymes: an underexploited source of biocatalysts
Groningen University / GECCO Biotech BV
New enzymes can also offer more sustainable alternatives to existing chemical processes. By using enzymes as biocatalysts, one can develop more efficient, environmentally friendly processes that produce fewer waste products and use fewer resources. This can help reduce pollution and conserve energy, both of which are crucial to protecting our planet. Additionally, new enzymes can help create new products that may have previously not been possible, further advancing our scientific and technological understanding. Insects exploit the power of enzymes in various biological processes. For example, the bombardier beetle uses enzymes to produce highly reactive compounds as part of its defence mechanism. When in danger, the beetle will mix and spray a solution that reaches temperatures of 100 °C, thereby deterring predators. Another more known insect-based product is honey. The honey bee produces and secretes a mixture of enzymes to convert the collected plant nectar into honey. Recently, the identity of all honey bee enzyme in honey have been identified. Yet, they have not been studied in detail. In this project, individual honey-processing enzymes from the honey bee will be produced and their catalytic potential will be explored for their use in chemical processes.

Better chemistry, better implants, better lives
PTG/e BV / Xeltis BV
Xeltis is developing world-first restorative heart valves and blood vessels that allow restoration of patient’s body-own tissue, potentially improving quality of life for millions of patients each year. PTG/researchers (PTG/e BV 100% owned company of TU/e) will focus with their more than 18 years experiences on material understanding of ‘chemical – physical – rheology – processing’ of novel (bio)polymeric structures/materials. The key will be to develop suitable routes for better shelf life time of the Xeltis biomaterial. In collaboration with XELTIS, research will be initiated to increase the fundamental mechanisms underlying Xeltis’ technology, thus enhancing Xeltis’ chances of improving life for many patients.

Detection of Systemic atherosclerosis by detection Ca2+-loaded monocytes: the DeSy study
University Utrecht/UMC Utrecht / FlowViewDiagnostics
Calcium loaded immune cells: traffic lights in atherosclerosis (AS). Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are big killers in the Western world. Apart from the genetic background our lifestyle including diet and smoking behaviour is an important risk factor for the development of AS, which is a main driver in CVD. AS is caused by plaque formation which leads to progressive deposition of calcium salts in the vessel wall. Therefore, AS should be diagnosed in time in order to allow early intervention. The problem of the diagnosis is the complexity of the procedures: echography and biopsies. These are expensive, labour intensive and provide information of only one or very limited number of tissue sites. An additional main disadvantage of these complex procedures is the fact that these cannot not be used for proper longitudinal analysis. This allows for diagnosis of current state of the disease but tells little about the rate of progression. Our project applies the concept that AS particularly at early stages is mediated by an inflammatory response in the vasculature where immune cells play an important role. These cells can enter the AS area, stay there and, importantly, can leave the diseased area carrying inside calcium salt crystals. This leads to the concept that the number of calcium positive cells and the extent of their calcification can be used as diagnostic when they are measured in blood by fully automated flowcytometry after staining for presence of these salts. Our project develops a flowcytometric method for longitudinal monitoring of systemic AS.

Microstructural engineering of porous electrodes for electrochemical production of ethylene
Eindhoven University / Shell Global Solutions International b.v.
To fully decarbonize our energy economy, there is a need to develop suistainable and pollution-free routes to manufacture key chemicals of industrial importance. Furthermore, pressing envinronmental concerns motivate the removal of carbon dioxide (i.e. negative emissions) from concentrated sources. Together, these pressing challenges motivate the development of technologies that can valorize carbon dioxide to produce chemicals with high economic value. Electrochemical conversions are particularly well suited because they can be performed with high selectivity and at low temperatures. In this research project, we will study the role of the porous electrodes on carbon dioxide electrolyzers to produce ethylene, a commodity in the chemical industry with high value. We will deploy a new methodology, non-solvent induced phase separation, to make highly controlled three-dimensional morphologies, and introduce electrocatalytic particles in the polymer casting formulation. If successful, we expect to improve reactor stability and performance to accelerate the scale-up of the technology.

SUCCES: SUpramolecular microCapsules for bioreactor Expansion of mesenchymal Stem Cells
Leiden University / Secoya Technologies
In this project, Leiden University and Secoya Technologies will collaborate to efficiently expand and differentiate Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Our dynamic and fully synthetic supramolecular biomaterials that show mechanical features on par with the biopolymer networks that compose the extracellular matrix will be used in combination with a microfluidic droplet generating platform for high throughput microcarrier production. Moreover, the supramolecular nature of these materials provides several practical advantages, such as shear-thinning behaviour, the possibility to mix and match monomers to tailor the materials towards a particular cell type, and their facile dissolution as they are composed of non-covalent interactions. Knowledge gained from squaramide-based materials in this format will lead to advances in cell culture under dynamic conditions and microfabrication strategies of supramolecular materials, with the potential to impact the fields of disease modeling, drug screening and regenerative medicine. Contribution to the state-of-the-art in these fields will lead to eventual societal impact in healthcare in understanding disease, its diagnosis and treatment.

STING-Coat: A coat to bring drugs into immune cells to make them attack tumors
Twente University / LipoCoat BV / Iamfluidics BV
Cancer immunotherapy strategies have shown striking activity against a variety of tumor types. Immuno-oncology regimens involve leveraging immune cells, primarily cytotoxic T cells, to recognize and destroy tumor cells. Current strategies have shown antitumor effects in the clinic. However, the majority
of patients fail to achieve long-term disease control, making the development of complementary approaches to improve treatment efficacy a priority in oncology research. Recently, interventions that act on the tumor microenvironment (TME) have gained increasing attention. STING genes emerged critical for dendritic cell maturation in the TME. In this project lipid biomaterials-based delivery strategies will be developed to deliver STING agonists and compared to induce proinflammatory gene expression and provide antitumor activity.

Cure a hereditary disease with a pill? How?
Utrecht University / FAIR Therapeutics
Since 2012, medicines have become available for the first time that treat an incurable, hereditary disease, Cystic Fibrosis (CF). create treatable disease. Instead of treating the symptoms, the defective CFTR protein is addressed. Even if it is evidence now provided that such a faulty protein could be a suitable target of treatment is the first generations of drugs not yet suitable for all CF patients. In addition, CF patients will have to use them for a lifetime. The industrial partner is therefore developing new substances that show synergy with each other and that represent new chemistry. Within the already existing collaboration of the participants, the working mechanism of these substances is being investigated the defective protein. The aim of the proposed project is to improve and deepen the methods and reagents needed to investigate the mechanism of action. Deep molecular insight into the mechanism of action of each substance will lead to a better understanding of the CFTR protein (which represents a large family of so-called ABC transporters, of which many are related to disease). This deeper understanding will also clarify which patients will benefit from these
medicines and whether there are side effects on the CFTR protein in addition to the main effect. This one is for hereditary diseases molecular approach and protein-targeted therapy actually preventive medicine: the pill makes the difference between a life with a serious, chronic illness, a lot of hospital time and early death and suddenly an almost normal, productive life, with a future, children and work.

Electro-Scattering Microscope for In-operando Battery Investigation (MIOBI)
Utrecht University / Solbion B.V.
Rapid development on battery technologies relies on investigation of materials for storage and conversion of electrical potential to electrochemically stored energy. Potentiodynamic optical scattering microscopy has recently presented a great potential for rapid and low-cost investigation of solid-electrolytes and interfaces, which are two major elements of every battery. In this project, we will adopt the high sophistication of optical microscopy tools developed for bio-imaging to this novel application of in-operando battery testing. The additional analysis power and ease of use for chemical investigations is necessary for wider adoption of this novel method by other battery researchers. By combining a non-contact system, the light-sheet microscope, with a fast acquisition strategy, we will be able to study changes on surface and electrode properties with spatial and temporal resolutions not currently available. The light-sheet approach applied to electro-chemistry opens the door to new multi-model analysis, including spectroscopy, and electro-optical modulation of signals.

SPIRIT – Surface Protein Immunocoupling using Ramp Imaging Technology
Universiteit Twente / InterFluidics B.V.
Technologies for personalized and cost-effective diagnostic of infectious diseases can greatly enhance our quality of life. Here, a crucial aspect is the rapid and accurate quantification of biomolecular interactions (for example between proteins, viruses), for which Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPRi) is a promising diagnostic tool. SPRi is a label-free, photonic-based technique carried out on biofunctionalized surfaces, used for investigation of biomolecular interactions. It generates thousands of datapoints because every camera pixel corresponds to an individual SPR sensor, while each datapoint generates a sensorgram that could be potentially used for highthroughput diagnostics. During the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at UT and Interfluidics applied SPRi for realtime and label-free antibody screening of patients, measuring thousands of serum samples. It was found that a patient who will develop severe COVID-19 possesses high antibody concentrations in combination with overall worse quality of the antibodies (weak binding strength). However, such accurate measurements required a high level of expertise and time to extract and analyze the generated data, which hampers widespread use of this technology. To advance SPRi towards high-throughput and point-of-care applications, while decreasing analysis costs and facilitating its adoption in the clinics, novel functional materials and efficient analysis methods for SPRi are urgently needed. In SPIRIT, a new SPRi biosensing method will be developed towards dual measurement of concentration and binding strength of biomolecular interactions. We will i) develop protocols for smart coatings of SPRi substrates, ii) develop protocols for efficient data analysis, and iii) validate the method for diagnostics using a COVID-19 cohort. If successful, SPRi measurements will become “plugand- play”, paving the way for more accessible solutions for personalized diagnostics.

Capturing dynamics in protein digestion with chemical reaction networks (CRNs)-on-chip
Twente University / n.able GmbH / Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
This proposal aims to develop chemical reaction networks (CRNs)-on-chip to predict how robustness in digestive systems emerge. In vitro digestion studies are essential for determining the biological compatibility of compounds varying from drugs (in health) to nutrients (in food). But how molecular-level events determine robust behavior in critical functions that require a network of chemical reactions to work together in vivo is essentially not understood. The proposed work applies a systems-chemistry approach, centered around a microfluidically-driven network of enzymatic reactions (from the serine protease family), and examines how the introduction of fluctuations and heterogeneity could influence or enable robustness in digestion. It will be carried out at the University of Twente (UT) in collaboration with n.able GmbH and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The combined expertise of the three partners—design of chemical reaction networks (UT), development of molecular inks (n.able), scanning probe lithography for functionalization of microfluidics (KIT)—will provide the foundation for establishing novel Lab-on-Chip technologies. If successful, this project will develop novel CRN-on-chip devices for understanding fundamental concepts in the chemistry of critical biological functions, important for finding solutions for healthcare in the field of diagnostics of infectious diseases.

TU Eindhoven / Nobian Industrial Chemicals bv
In the Funchal project, TU/e ​​and Nobian will jointly conduct research into the electrolysis of lithium chloride. This process makes it possible to extract lithium from lithium chloride, producing only chlorine and hydrogen as products in addition to the desired lithium hydroxide, making this process more environmentally friendly than existing production processes. In addition, lithium chloride is available in Europe and this process makes it possible to become less dependent on distant countries for the critical raw material lithium. It also makes it easier to recycle used lithium. However, to successfully perform lithium chloride electrolysis, some technical challenges still need to be overcome. To achieve this, TU/e ​​is conducting research into the fundamentals of lithium chloride electrolysis in the Funchal project, which are then used by Nobian in the design of large-scale lithium chloride electrolysis.

Interphase interaction of EoL composites and acrylic resins
Windesheim / Circular Recycling Company
Composites are difficult to recycle because they are made from thermoset resins that do not melt. This has obstructed the circularity of modern wind mills because all rotor blades are made of thermoset composite. The Professorship for Polymer Engineering of Windesheim has developed a method of re-use for these materials using EoL thermoset product into flakes that can be used as reinforcing material for new composite products. The flakes are embedded in the new product by a virgin resin. Because the interaction between the flakes and this resin depends on the origin of the EoL material, there is variation in performance of the new product. The present project aims to use acrylic resins to circumvent this because acrylic resins are known for good interphase interaction with other materials. The project starts with fundamental studies focusing on the interaction of flakes from EoL composites of various origin with acrylic resin. Besides micro-mechanical tests also FEA model simulations are made. A next step in the project is to determine product performance on a macroscopic level that can be used for design analysis. Material characterization will be done by mechanical tests on samples made from EoL composite flakes embedded in acrylic resin. Static strength, creep deformation and fatigue performance are determined both on dry (as moulded) samples and after moisture absorption (conditioned). These results can be used within the industry for further development of products made with re-used EoL composites.

Fundamental understanding of Mechanochemical Plastic Waste Conversion
Universiteit Utrecht / Carboliq GmbH
Mechanical recycling of plastics through washing, shredding and reshaping is currently the dominant end-of-life treatment technology for these materials, besides incineration and landfilling. However, imperfect sorting and degradation occurring during mechanical recycling lead to a lower product quality. Chemical recycling is a promising alternative to produce monomers for making high value plastics again, as it overcomes the gaps in the current ways of waste treatment and prevents quality degradation. However, especially polypropylene and polyethylene, making up about 50% of global polymer production, require heating above 400 °C for recycling, resulting in a high variety of different molecules, not only monomers. Therefore, there is a need for better recycling technologies that can produce monomers or other useful chemicals directly and more efficiently. Mechanochemistry, using force to drive chemical reactions instead of or in combination with heat, can be used as a tool for controlling the product scope for example by lowering the process temperature, especially in combination with catalysts. The unique process developed by Carboliq GmbH already demonstrates that no additional heat is required to drive plastic waste conversion by friction, and recent results from Dr. Ina Vollmer (Utrecht University) have demonstrated conversions below 60 °C, which would provide much more control over the product. In this project we want to build a strong fundamental basis to understand mechanochemical plastic conversion over a wide range of conditions and in combination with catalysts, which will provide handles to tune the product scope, develop the process and spark new research in this field.

SeaO2 – CO2 extraction from sea water
DIFFER / Toyota Motor Europe

The urgent need to reduce and minimize anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has led to extensive research focused on development of technologies that can be used for carbon capture and storage (CCS). CCS from concentrated sources has received a great deal of attention; for example, from power plants that burn fossil fuel and cement plants. On the other hand, capture of dispersed CO2 from the atmosphere or seawater is another viable option that likely will play an increasingly important role in achieving net-zero emissions. Compared to direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere, direct removal of CO2 from seawater is a promising method of capturing dispersed CO2 because (i) the concentration of CO2 in the oceans is 140 times higher than the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and (ii) the ocean provides much of the capacity for natural carbon sequestration. We have, together with Toyota Motor Europe, recently demonstrated a negative emission process, based on anion and proton exchange membranes, where CO2 capture and separation is solely solar driven via photoelectrochemical reactions. The proof of concept has been already validated in the lab for CO2 extraction from seawater with model-type materials which resulted to low productivity. In the frame of the proposed project, we will evaluate the challenges and the mechanisms that govern the processes in order to improve performance in terms of CO2 capacity, selectivity and productivity (via material development and tuning the operating conditions).

‘HOPy – Headstart on Pyrolysis scale-up’
University of Twente / Versnellingshuis CE / ISPT
HOPy will be the bridge between the previous Circular Plastics Initiative (CPI) project ‘Circular Polyolefins’ and ‘InReP’ and the National Growthfund programme Circulaire Plastics NL. This bridging project enables a kickstart in the further scale up for pyrolysis technology. Two focal points of this project are (1) the manufacturing of pyrolysis oil that can be used for characterization and further testing in downstream application (cracking) within the NGF CP programme. The second focal point is to gain insight in the economic costs of producing pyrolysis oil that is fit for cracking. This will be done by developing an economic decision model, which can calculate the costs based on different choices that can be made to prepare pyrolysis oil towards naphtha standards. This project will result in sufficient pyrolysis oil that is fit for further testing in downstream applications (cracking) in the NGF CP programme on industrialization of recycling technologies, and in economic insight which will provide new directions for future research and testing within the programme.

Maastricht University / Nationaal Testcentrum Circulaire Plastics (NTCP) / Steinert GmbH / PespiCo / Stichting CEFLEX
The focus of this project is on flexible plastics from household waste, which is dominated by polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) based packaging. High-quality recycling is challenging due to the presence of non-polyolefins (NPO) like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or polyamide (PA). NPOs are often incorporated in a multilayer construction, with additional layer like barrier or tie materials. All of these significantly affect the quality of the recycled PP (rPP) and PE (rPE). There is broad consensus that multilayers should be removed for quality improvement, but no real insight in optimized sensor technologies to do this, the exact level to which they should be removed (tolerance levels), nor a techno-economic assessment that balances the quality gains versus the additional cost. Therefore, Multiflex will assess sensor-based sorting to remove NPO-containing multilayers and link this to recycling quality. In this project, we will cooperate with PepsiCo that strives for use of recycled PP film in packaging, and with Steinert that focuses on new developments on material-based plastic sorting. Furthermore, we will cooperate with the CEFLEX consortium that strives for high quality recycling of plastic film.

AquaSurf: Plastic waste stream characterisation methods for moisture & surface contamination’
Nationaal Testcentrum Circulaire Plastics (NTCP) / PreZero Nederland Holding B.V. / Metrohm Applikon
Along the recycling chain from waste collection to ‘clean’ flakes (as input for reactor or extruder) limited quality data is present. Different disturbing materials (contaminants) can be present in different streams: moisture (easily 15 – 30 %), surface contamination (5 – 25 %), non-intended objects, labels, sleeves, adhesives, inks, etc. and miss-sorted objects. Especially moisture and surface contaminate pose a threat to process efficiency. Fast and easy methods to determine these quantities are lacking for the different streams in the plastic recycling process. The goal of the project is to develop these quality methods for the plastic waste sorting process.

100% recyclable PET trays
DPI / Dufor
PET trays are ideal for packing and transporting perishable foodstuffs because of their low weight and gas and moisture-tightness. This makes them very popular for this application. Unfortunately, PET trays are difficult to recycle as they consist, next to PET, out of non-PET seals and lidding films.
In this project, a consortium of parties ranging from the supply chain of PET trays, has decided to join forces with knowledge institutions to jointly arrive at a fully circular PET tray solution, aiming at a 100% PET-tray for perishable foodstuffs. This project will be important to support the growing demand of PET-trays towards a sustainable and circular situation.

Zeolite catalysts highlighted with Raman spectroscopy
Utrecht University / BASF
Catalysts for methanol-to-hydrocarbons (MTH) process are important for making propylene, a.o. one of the important building blocks in the chemical industry. Due to the increasing economic importance of propene, the MTH process is being researched a lot. The necessary catalyst is a zeolite system, the mechanism of action of which is still unclear. This lack of insight is partly caused by carbon deposits, which block both the pores and the active site. For the further development of this process and to make better/more efficient catalysts, it is necessary to expand our understanding of the dynamics of the catalyst. The aim of this research project is to apply a new form of Raman spectroscopy to take a closer look at the MTH process with zeolite materials. The Raman spectroscopy makes it possible to properly distinguish the Raman signal from the fluorescence signal by measuring very quickly. In this project, operando time-gated Raman spectroscopy is used to analyze the carbon deposits during the MTH process over zeolite ZSM-5 materials as a function of reaction temperature and time, as well as catalyst composition. In addition, we will try to obtain the temperature on the catalyst directly from the ratio of the Stokes and anti-Stokes signals and to link it to exothermic processes such as catalyst regeneration in which carbon deposits are burned off.

Influence of promotion and reaction conditions on the selectivity of Cu based catalysts in CO2 conversion
Utrecht University / TotalEnergies (BE)
It is crucial to develop ways to convert carbon dioxide in a sustainable way (by linking it to green hydrogen) into fuels and building materials for the chemical industry and thereby become less dependent on fossil energy sources and limit carbon dioxide emissions. Copper is a versatile catalyst for the conversion of carbon dioxide, but the addition of an extra ingredient (“promoter”) determines which molecules are made. Researchers from Utrecht University, in collaboration with TOTAL, will investigate which additions to copper catalysts lead to which products from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen.

Catalytic behaviour of post transition metals in the electroreduction of CO2 to formate
Utrecht University / Avantium Chemicals B.V.
The extensive consumption of fossil fuels has caused an increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. Carbon capture and storage strategies are a transitory solution towards carbon capture and utilisation. An appealing method to achieve this goal is the electro reduction of CO2 into e.g., carbon monoxide, formate and C2+ hydrocarbon products. Formate is of great industrial relevance for its economical market and as feedstock in various chemical processes. Furthermore, its reaction mechanism is less challenging than that for C2+ products. Industrial implementation of electrocatalytic formate production requires maintenance of high formate yields for long operating periods. The In-Bi catalyst for formate production patented by Avantium, shows great performance of selectivity and stability at high conversion before deactivation occurs. Insights into the In-Bi alloy structure and composition are necessary to reveal activation/deactivation. 2 research questions: ‘What is the active phase of the catalyst?’ and ‘What is the activation and deactivation mechanism of the In-Bi-based catalyst?’. These questions lead to a broader study evaluating the catalytic behaviour of post-transition metals and their alloys, as well as alloying-dealloying-migration-sintering phenomena of the electrocatalyst material under operating conditions at high current density. This research also covers further studies on the catalyst binder in the GDE configuration. A multitechnique approach will be implemented, including vibrational and X-ray spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and surface science methods.

PolyOlefins Recycling to Aromatics (PORA)
Groningen University/BioBTX
Household waste is usually separated into different categories, including plastics, paper, glass, organic and the rest, due to the varied material properties which require tailored recycling technologies. Plastics recycling is arguably the most challenging, because plastics are made up of a wide range of polymers. For instance, single-use plastics, commonly used for food packaging, light weight plastic bags, drink containers etc, are made up of polyolefins. The current state-of-art technology for chemical recycling of polyolefins is pyrolysis, in which the raw material is fed into a reactor operating at elevated temperatures (450 – 650 °C). In this project, University of Groningen and bioBTX are partnering to develop a potentially more energy-saving and cost-effective process known as hydrogenolysis. In a hydrogenolysis process, C-C bonds were broken and C-H bonds were formed on the same catalytic sites. Importantly, hydrogenolysis takes place at milder temperatures (200 – 300 °C) which makes it potentially more attractive than pyrolysis. Hydrogenolysis of polyolefins produce liquid hydrocarbons, which could then be upgraded to aromatics, in particular benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX). BTX are building blocks for high performance materials, e.g. aramid fibers used in aerospace and military applications. Ultimately, the new hydrogenolysis process to convert polyolefins to aromatics will be evaluated against bio-BTX propriety Integrated Cascading Catalytic Pyrolysis (ICCP) technology.

Ultrasonically Aided Extrusion
Windesheim/Profextru/CF Kunststofprofielen/Timaflex/NRK Federatie/Aeson BV
Plastic profiles are widely used in industry and construction, for example plastic frames. These profiles are usually produced with virgin (not recycled) plastics. But for the sake of sustainability and a circular industry, it would be better if profiles were made from recycled plastic. Plastic extrusion (i.e. production) companies, including the partners Profextru, CF Kunststof Profielen, Timaflex and the members of the NRK, currently have difficulty making dimensionally stable profiles when working with recycled plastics. Virgin plastics often have very constant material properties, but with recycled plastics the material properties are variable. As a result, the production costs of recycled plastic profiles are significantly higher. The Plastics Technology Research Group has demonstrated in collaboration with Aeson that the extrusion process can be adjusted quickly (1 bar/s [1]) with an ultrasonic actuator in the extrusion die. This technique has the potential to facilitate recycled plastic extrusion and mold development. The research group wants to further develop this technique, from TRL level 4 to TRL level 6.

Lanthanide-doped semiconductor nanostructures for spectral conversion
Universiteit Utrecht/Seaborough Research BV
Various types of luminescent materials are currently used for the efficient generation and conversion of light in white LED lamps, screens and solar cells, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Lanthanide ions efficiently emit light in sharp lines at any desired color. You can find them in fluorescent tubes, energy-saving lamps, LED lamps and screens. Unfortunately, the absorption of light by lanthanides is characterized by weak and sharp absorption lines that make light conversion difficult. A sensitizer with a broad and strong absorption that then transfers the energy to the lanthanide ion is the solution for this. For several years, perovskite semiconductor nanocrystals have been investigated for light conversion. These are efficient but stability is an issue as are the relatively wide emission bands. In this project, the good properties of lanthanide ions (stable and efficient sharp line emission) and perovskites (strong and size-tunable absorption) are combined in a new nanoparticle. These new nanoparticles provide unparalleled flexibility in light conversion and can be used in white LED lamps, displays, solar cells and medical imaging. The development and characterization of the new class of nanomaterials is done at Utrecht University and the testing of the materials for applications takes place at Seaborough Research, an innovative scale-up for LED lighting.

Development and Demonstration of Thermochromic Polyolefin Elastomer Interlayers for Smart Safety Glazing (SunSmart POE)
TNO/The Compound Company 
In this project we focus on the integration of thermochromic VO2-containing nanopigments in polyolefin elastomer (POE) films, which are used for the lamination of glass sheets for the production of safety glass. The laminated glass with thermochromic functionality, which has high transparency to visible light and can switch based on temperature between transmitting and blocking infrared radiation from the sun, can then be used to reduce energy consumption for cooling and heating buildings and cars. reduce. The thermochromic circuit is based on a structural phase transition from monoclinic to rutile VO2 and vice versa, and the associated metal-insulator transition. Monoclinic VO2 as an insulator is infrared light transmissive, and metallic rutile VO2 reflects and absorbs infrared light. This optimized heat regulation in buildings and cars, which is achieved by the thermochromic material, will drastically reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions. In this project, we want to demonstrate that thermochromic functionality can be added to POE films via VO2 pigments, and that the resulting laminated glass sheets can be applied in thermochromic architectural glass. In addition, we want to demonstrate by means of energy simulation studies that these innovative, smart windows significantly reduce the energy demand of buildings.

Targeting Glioblastoma via tumour associated macrophages
LEI / Liposoma BV
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains one of the most aggressive cancers to date, with prognosis not exceeding 5 years. It is therefore imperative to acquire further knowledge on mechanisms that fuel and sustain GBM growth and to develop more precise therapeutic technologies that can target GBM malignancy leaving the healthy tissue unaffected. Macrophages are the most abundant immune cells in GBM tumor microenvironment (TME) and can be detrimental to therapeutic response, as they can have immunosuppressive phenotypes and pro-tumorigenic functions. Herein, we describe unique liposomes and RNA-loaded LNPs that selectively target tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) in in vitro TAM/GBM coculture systems. In GBM mouse models, liposomes can cross the blood brain barrier and target TAMs with high selectivity. Targeting TAMs to rewire them so as to have inflammatory and pro-tumorigenic functions is an enticing therapeutic strategy that could lead to effective combination treatments. Additionally, these novel liposomes and LNPs offer the unique opportunity to target TAMs associated to GBM in vivo and form the basis of the novel concept of cell-specific active targeting. Nanoparticle-encapsulated drugs targeting TAMs could overcome toxicity and the challenges of selective targeting, leading the way to more effective treatments for the most aggressive form of cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme.

Handsfree Biotechnologie: Biopharmaceutical process development for continuous manufacturing
TUD / Janssen Biologics BV
The transition to higher yielding automated and continuous biotechnological processes is one of the solutions to serve the increasing demand for affordable biopharmaceutical products, such as vaccines and cancer drugs. An automated production method therefore no longer makes use of manual actions, such as intermediate manual measurements to determine whether everything is going according to plan, and will therefore run “hands-free”. This collaborative project between the academy and industry focuses on realizing such biotechnological processes. This is done using computer simulations to simulate processes and advanced measurement equipment in combination with mathematical models to monitor and validate the effects being simulated in the laboratory. This method provides insights that lay the foundation for automated and continuous small-scale biopharmaceutical production processes, so that they can be tested for future applications on an industrial scale.

Bringing immune and physiological health monitoring to primary care: the BrIMo study
TI-COAST / SkinTwin BV
There is a  silent pandemic of chronic inflammatory diseases  in our Western Society. These diseases such as COPD, allergies, auto-immune diseases (e.g. psoriasis) have a major impact on  health care costs, quality-of-life (QoL), economic burden (loss of working days). Despite the consensus that these diseases are of major concerns particularly in our ageing population the current approach of these disease has many characteristics  of trying to empty the ocean with a thimble. This is caused by the fact that the majority of cases is diagnosed too late when the disease has switched to persistence that is relatively refractory to therapy. Nowadays, new biologicals are being developed  to treat the chronic persistent phase of these diseases. However, these biologicals are very expensive, are not curative (life-long therapy is required), have putative severe side-effects, and are a economic burden.  It is more logical to intervene earlier in the pathogenesis when the disease is still at least in part reversible. Unfortunately, these patients are under the radar of our health care system as they are not seen by specialists. General practitioners see these patients, but do not have adequate diagnostics at place. Sending these patients to the outclinic is not realistic as it will ‘swamp’ the health care system and is patient unfriendly. Therefore, the vision of BRiMo is to bring the diagnostic work-up outside the hospital to primary care in the form of diagnostic equipment in a bus to aid early diagnosis of patients at risk for development of persistent disease.

Catalysts for the sUnlight driven catalytic conversion of CO2 To CO and mEthanol (CUTE)
TNO / Sibelco
The CUTE project addresses the use of CO2 and renewable hydrogen (green H2) as a green feedstock, that under solar light irradiation, and in presence of a plasmonic catalyst, can produce CO as a starting material for methanol synthesis or methanol directly as synthetic fuel (green fuels). We aim to develop several plasmonic photo-catalysts that selectively reduce CO2 to CO or methanol. Within the project we will explore whether we can use materials of natural origin supplied by Sibelco as a carrier material for photocatalysts developed by TNO. These plasmonic photocatalysts consist of a carrier material and plasmonic (nano) metal particles, which are used in the photochemical conversion of CO2 to CO or methanol. The outcome of the project will be a library of catalysts (consisting of combinations of different natural minerals as carrier materials in combination with metallic nanoparticles) that can be used for the selective conversion of CO2 to CO or methanol using sunlight as an energy source.

New Insights in the Electroreduction of CO2 to Formate over In/Bi-based Catalysts through In-situ and Operando Spectroscopy and Microscopy: Role of Promotor Element and Binder Material
Utrecht University / Avantium Chemicals BV
In order to combat climate change our society is moving away from fossil resources and increasingly producing and using renewable resources, including green electrons from e.g., solar panels and wind turbines. These green electrons can be used to produce via electrochemical routes fuels (e.g., hydrogen) and chemicals (e.g., ethylene). This research project focuses on the production of another important building block, namely formate, which can be the starting point for the manufacturing of a variety of chemicals and materials. However, this is only possible when the overall formate yields are sufficiently high and when high conversion levels can be maintained for long operational periods. This should become possible when we are capabable to better understand both the reaction and deactivation processes for suitable catalyst materials and having proper means to alter their structure and composition. The project goal is to use a range of powerful and sensitive analytical methods, including vibrational spectroscopy, X-ray spectroscopy and tomography, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, as well as surface science methods.

Understanding new candidate drugs for treatment of ABC transporter-mediated diseases
Utrecht University / Rectify Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Mutations in the protein family of ABC-transporters cause a range of diseases. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the best known one, but also Stargardt disease (STGD1), adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD1), Sitosterolemia (STSL2), PFIC2, and others. These are monogenic inherited diseases, caused by mutations in the ABC-transporter gene. This leads to a defective or absent ABC-transporter protein, and the lives of most Cystic-Fibrosis patients has improved tremendously since they have access to a pill that corrects and enhances their defective ABCtransporter protein. A pill with a typical medicine is much easier to develop than the alternative, gene therapy. The industrial partner is developing a pill that targets a defective ABC-transporter. Whereas medicines can be approved for the patient without understanding how the medicine works, it helps development of therapy for all ABC transporters when the protein and effect of the pill are understood. The aim of this project is to establish a toolset for the first ABC-transporter for which a pill is being developed, and to start characterizing the ABC-transporter protein and the mode of action of the first candidate medicines.

Extending boundaries: Single-particle mass analysis of von Willebrand Factor oligomers by mass photometry and charge detection mass spectrometry
Utrecht University / MS Vision
Our blood contains a wide variety of circulating proteins, mostly quite small. However, one protein in blood is the “von Willebrand Factor” that is present as a dimeric protein of about 0.5 million Da, but also forms readily higher order aggregates ranging in mass to about 20 million Da. In this project we aim to pass the current boundaries in single-particle mass analysis by mass photometry and charge detection mass spectrometry targeting the analysis of the VWF oligomers. If this can be achieved, we aim to subsequently develop new diagnostic tools to monitor (the self-aggregation of) this important blood biomarker.

PTG/e BV / Shell Global Solutions BV
High-temperature heat is key for industrial process and climate change mandates to derive this from emission-free sources such as renewable power from wind and solar PV. The conversion of renewable power to high-temperature heat can be achieved by Joule heating using wide-bandgap semiconductors such as Silicon Carbide. In this project, PTGe in partnership with Shell will study the heat conversion and conductivity as well as the surface modification of SiC synthesized from natural sources that contain unquantified levels of hetero-atoms.

Recycled polypropylene based buckets for food application (“rPP buckets for food”)
Brightlands Materials Center / TNO / Dijkstra Plastics / CHILL / SABIC / Milgro /  Quality Circular Polymers
This project relates to the increasing demand for using recycled content in packaging products and more specifically in buckets used for food applications (e.g. sauces and salads). A working closed loop demonstrator will be established, where post-consumer recycled polypropylene is being used as raw material for the production of new buckets for food contact applications. Within this project knowledge will be generated on the following topics: 1) quality development of recycled material including the microplastic formation during multiple closed loops of production and recycling, use and mechanical recycling of buckets used for food applications. 2) influence of organic food remains on the recyclate properties 3) cleaning process to remove organic food remains 4) possibilities to reach the required recyclate quality (both regarding mechanical properties as well as food safety), additivation and/or decontamination technologies and mitigation of microplastics formation upon recycling 5) EFSA authorization process and hurdles to overcome for obtaining food safety approval. In order to fulfil the requirements for food safety, the used polypropylene buckets and related materials within this project will be kept in a closed loop. As it is generally accepted that upon mechanical recycling the quality of the materials will deteriorate, upgrading and readjustment of the recyclate properties will be investigated. The information achieved regarding the decrease of the recyclate quality during the subsequent recycling cycles will serve as input for the development of a life cycle recyclate quality assessment model.

Modelling and experimental validation of HTW bubbling fluidized bed gasification
TU Delft / G.I Dynamics
Aim of the gasification process is to generate a syngas which, after cleanup and upgrading, will be suitable for fossil-free methanol production. The goal of this project is to arrive at a simple transient one-dimensional model for the gasifier at GIDARA Energy, with the ability to predict the residence time distribution of gas/solids, the (axial) temperature distribution, and the chemical conversion and selectivity to various products. Focus lies on a research-scale bubbling fluidized bed gasifier operating with solid waste feedstock, e.g. sewage, wood, household and industrial types of solid waste. To arrive at such a model, the output of more detailed Computational Fluid Dynamics models (without reactions) will be analysed and reduced to simpler equations, after which chemical reactions will be added. Cold flow experiments using a downscaled version of the gasifier will be performed at TU Delft for model validation. Validation gasification measurements at the gasifier will be performed, targeting closure of mass- and energy balances and to obtain more insight in the conversion process of the challenging circular carbon feedstock for further scale-up. These include measurement of main gaseous and solid carbon species, but also online alkali species measurement and carbon-in-ash measurements.

Plasma assisted capture and conversion of CO2 to useful chemical products (PLACHEM)
Eindhoven University / CASALE SA
The PLACHEM project aims at developing and demonstrating a novel, direct, integrated air capture and conversion process for the conversion of atmospheric CO2 into high value chemicals in one step without sorbent regeneration. The proposed activities in this project include i) development of high capacity sorbent and 3D structure material tailored for plasma environment; ii) investigation of plasma-induced one step desorption and conversion of CO2 by testing the plasma-sorbent system; iii) modelling and system design for the developed process to be tested in the intended environment as well as strategic plans for further scale-up or implementation; iv) evaluation of the process and further exploitation for business case development and commercialization. The project will be carried out by 2 PhD students working at Eindhoven University of Technology, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry department, with support by CASALE.

Iron fuel: a clean and circular energy carrier (MEC II)
Eindhoven University / Shell Global Solutions Int. BV
The goal of the MEC-II project is to use metal powder as a dense energy carrier for a demonstrably circular and renewable zero-carbon energy storage and conversion system. The TU/e carries out the fundamental and industrial research necessary to boost the required technological developments for the utilization of metal powder, supported by the industrial partner Shell. The breakthrough of the metal energy carriers concept provides a circular, storable, zero-emission, highly efficient, and low-cost pathway to employ widely available metals like iron for heat and power generation. The key element of the MEC-II project is a more rapid progression to TRL level 5-6. To achieve this the reduction chain of the overall process needs to improve. As a result, the TU/e places itself in a good position for further participation in the growing demand for iron ore reduction using renewable methods (i.e. hydrogen). We are acquiring direct reduced iron (DRI) expertise and expect to leverage the acquired skills, experimental assets, and knowledge in further contacts with Tata Steel, Arcelor Mittal etc. This effort is not confined to solving the storage requirement for intermittency in renewables and retrofittable novel zero carbon fuels. It will also enable us as the TU/e to contribute and compete in other heat intensive industrial areas on the cusp of integrating renewables i.e. the steel industry.

No longer ‘too hot to handle’: microscopy of heat-loving microorganisms
Leiden University / Confocal.nl
In this project Leiden University and microscopy company Confocal.nl collaborate to visualize and study archaeal organisms at high temperatures at high spatial and temporal resolution. This permits fundamental studies of the cell biology of such organisms under physiological conditions, aiding in establishing them as model organisms and industrial production vehicles. Furthermore, the established approach extends to application of super-resolution rescan confocal microscopy to other biological and non-biological systems (e.g. in materials science) that require high temperatures.

Densification of polyelectrolyte multilayer membranes for high NaCl retentions
Twente University / NX Filtration B.V.
With the increasing world-wide water scarcity, it becomes increasingly important to obtain clean water from alternative sources, including brackish water. To do that in an efficient process, we propose to develop a new generation of hollow fiber based membranes based on ultrathin coatings of charged polymers. These advanced coatings can be build up in a layer-by-layer fashion, allowing a great deal of control over their material properties and therefore their eventual separation performance. By increasing the density of these coatings, we will improve the retention of ions, such as Na+ and Cl-, allowing their effective removal to produce clean desalinated water. To achieve this, researchers from the university of Twente will closely collaborate with membrane company NX Filtration.

Electrochemical valorization of biobased chemical building blocks
Utrecht University / TNO / Relement
Utrecht University, Relement and TNO will conduct fundamental research into new, clean ways to convert chemical building blocks obtained from biomass into a palette of valuables connections. Through a combination of biorefinery and further chemical conversions, the sugar fraction can be green building blocks for the chemical industry are made from non-edible biomass, compounds that can be used in plastics, coatings and other applications. One of the last synthesis steps suffices not yet meet the requirements of green and sustainable chemistry. We are looking for an alternative to this step. This alternative technology can then in principle be applied to a whole range of building blocks.

Pre-study flake cleanliness in plastic recycling
Nationaal Testcentrum Circulaire Plastics (NTCP) / Danone Nutricia Research
One of the major challenges in mechanical plastic recycling is to achieve a sufficiently high quality flake material that serves as feedstock to an extruder line to produce pellets that can be used by convertors. An area where this is of utmost importance is plastic packaging for food products, not only for product quality but also for food safety. Danone (one of the leading European food companies) and NTCP (the unique test and research centre around circular plastics) team up to take the measurement of flake quality a step further to eventually enable dedicated washing processes for specific plastics. The project will focus on selecting and developing easily accessible methods to determine the quality and especially cleanliness of plastic flakes. If these methods are easily accessible, one can adjust process parameters to reach the required output quality.

The CO2WA program: the development of new technology for water electrolysis and the capture, compression and conversion of CO2
Delft University / HyET Electrolysis B.V. / HyET NoCarbon B.V.
For the upcoming energy transition, water electrolysis and the capture and conversion of CO2 are essential technologies to produce fossil-free feedstock and fuels. These technologies need to be developed with the utmost reduction in cost at the maximum efficiency and durability possible. This program will explore this goal from various angles in the following exploratory workpackages in close collaboration with HYET. WP1. We develop an electrochemical approach to capture CO2 from air using pH swings. In addition, we will explore the electrochemical compression of the captured CO2. WP2. We develop a low temperature electrochemical CO2 conversion system for the production of CO at a rate of 0.5 kg/day. WP3. We develop novel anionic exchange membranes for water electrolysis with improved chemical stability, ionic conductivity and handling properties. WP4. We will investigate non-trivial ways to improve the water electrolysis process in zero-gap anion exchange configurations using magnetic fields and pulsed potentials.

Nature helps out: Bio-based Additives for Supporting Plastic Recycling in a Modern Circular Economy (Bio-SuPReME)
Groningen University / NHL Stenden / Croda Nederland BV
University of Groningen, NHL Stenden and Croda were already instrumental in initiating many research projects in the field of sustainable polymers and circular plastics. In this project they join forces to study the effects of novel biobased slip additives on the processing and recycling of PET. This will be achieved by simulating each step of the post-consumer closed loop mechanical recycling process. Although plastics have superior properties in many applications, often additives are used to improve these properties. In addition, additives are deployed to optimize process conditions during the production of plastic products. However, with regard to environmental issues, like the plastic soup, micro plastics and other plastic contaminations, not much attention is paid to the impact of additives on the environment. In most cases, additives used in plastic products are more polluting than the plastic itself, which often contains only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen building blocks. Additives, like plasticizers, UV-stabilizers and flame retardants are examples of non-environmental-friendly chemicals. However, some additives result in environmental advantages as they can facilitate recycling of the used plastics and with this promote a future circular economy.

Performance Polymers and Polyolefins DPI 2.0 Call for Research Proposals 2021
Dutch Polymer Institute (DPI)

TEAMs – Thermo-electrical ageing mechanisms in polymer-ceramic nanocomposites for energy storage applications
University of Lincoln, DSM, Shell, Teijin, Sabic, Aramco, SKF, Kingfa, Hutchinson

TRAIL Monitoring lifetime of thermoplastic composites by combining analytics and machine learning
NTNU Norwegian Unvi of Science and Techn DSM, Shell, Teijin, Sabic, Aramco, SKF, Hutchinson

MADPY Multi-scale Analysis and Design of the Pyrolysis of Polyolefins
Ghent Univ Borealis, Braskem

QLife Quantum-Chemical Life-Time Optimization of Sustainable Engineering Polymers
VU Amsterdam SKF, DSM, Sabic, Aramco, SKF

ODIN OptimiseD matrix and fIbre treatmeNt for high performance thermoplastic composites recycling
Utwente DSM, Shell, Teijin, Sabic, Aramco, SKF

Benign and Circular by Design – Sustainable Organophosphates
Uva-HIMS and Susphos

Phosphorus is essential for life on Earth and plays a prominent role in modern science and technology, where organophosphorus compounds are of immense importance for their wide-ranging applications in material science, nanotechnology and life sciences. At present, however, the overall industrial processes to produce these phosphorus compounds are unsustainable, energy intensive, and inefficient. Additionally, many organophosphorus chemicals are found in the environment, contributing to ever-growing chemical pollution. In this project, we will develop a computer-aided framework for the design of benign chemicals, making use of state-of-the-art predictive models and innovative experimental assessment techniques for environmentally relevant properties. Simultaneously, we will advance the eco-friendly production of benign organophosphates using waste phosphates as renewable feedstock, which will prevent their constant spillage in the environment. We will implement these innovations into a broader context and develop scalable protocols, which are needed to realize safe and sustainable phosphorus chemistry on a large scale, introducing systematic and targeted molecular design, as well as recycling, clean, and ‘cradle-to-cradle’ technologies as ground-breaking changes in the field to ensure the continued beneficial use of phosphorus, in particular as sustainable flame-retardant additives for textiles.