Bioclear earth harnesses the power of nature

Bioclear earth harnesses the power of nature

A mission to harness the power of nature to find a good connection between prosperity and the environment. That's what drove Sytze Keuning when he started the Groningen consultancy and innovation agency Bioclear earth in 1988, as a spin-off of the University of Groningen. "As an entrepreneur, you should never think you know how things are," says Keuning. It explains why pioneering and inventing is in the character of this company. "Then you sometimes bump your nose, but you learn from that in the search for parties with whom you do get ahead."

Now he works with a team averaging 35 people - including research students - on innovative solutions that contribute to natural cycle processes. "Our efforts have gradually shifted from biological cleanup of soil pollution, think of gasoline residues, to working on soil and water quality. The latter involves, for example, cleaning up medicine residues or pesticides. Biology is an important link for a circular economy."

Water corridor
Soil and water quality can be improved and protected naturally through a water corridor; a green area with pools, plants, shrubs and trees. Through a collaboration between plants, bacteria and fungi, the water is then filtered. "In the Netherlands it is becoming more and more popular to use the power of nature. It looks beautiful ánd it works," Keuning explains.

Bioclear earth harnesses the power of nature


Mission Work
When Keuning began his work, a market had yet to be created for biological cleanup of soil contamination. "It was new, mission work, we had to convince people," he said. Now there is greater awareness. "The speed at which that is emerging is beautiful. In thirty years it has become a household word. Now more than half of all soil remediation is done organically."
Cooperation with NOM has been important in the past and still is today. Keuning: "They gave us confidence. NOM actively contributes to stimulating a biobased economy. The Northern Netherlands benefits when they put energy and money into certain developments. Through the NOM we recently followed a positioning trajectory. This involved, for example, social media; making clear what we stand for and achieving additional growth. We benefit from that now."

Entrepreneurship is always pioneering

Investing in innovation
Keuning: "Sometimes you have to rekindle that dynamic, especially if you have been established as a company for some time. Time is on our side now: sustainability has become mainstream. Although we are mainly talking about the mindset, because in the implementation there is still a lot to do. We therefore continue to invest purposefully in innovation. Think for example of the utilization of residual streams, bioenergy. By learning from the intelligence of nature, we can create new opportunities for the world."

Guts and responsibility
Bioclear earth shows that it is possible to contribute to progress by creating returns both economically and ecologically. The biggest challenge here, according to Keuning, is making a distinction. "No matter how much knowledge and experience you have, no matter how well you research and test: in a way, entrepreneurship always remains pioneering. It suits our agency to be bold, to take personal responsibility and to keep discovering and learning. Because we know what we are doing it for: passing on a healthy earth to the next generations."