CFC Recycling from Germany wins the Sustainable Industry Challenge 2020

After an exciting final battle in the boxing ring, the jury declared CFK Recycling from Germany the winner of the Sustainable Industry Challenge - Chemport Europe edition. This scale-up devised a method for recycling carbon fibers for Teijin Aramid's challenge. CFK Recycling wins €100,000 to spend on developing their innovation for this sustainability challenge. Chairman Emme Groot of Economic Board Groningen announced the winner and presented the prizes to the 5 finalists. 40 scale-ups participated in the competition and met regional parties during the two-day event, with a view to possible future collaboration.

The finalists

The winner was announced during Groningen Seaports' New Year's reception in Delfzijl. After a battle against the British startup Immaterial Labs, CFK Recycling was declared the convincing winner by the jury. CFK Recycling has developed a method for the sustainable recycling of carbon fibers. Carbon fibers are widely used in airplanes and cars. Wind turbine blades also contain many carbon fibers.

Edward Groen, Director Energy Transition & Sustainable Development at Teijin Aramid, is looking forward to working with CFC Recycling: "This scale-up is already very far along in recycling carbon fibers. We are going to do a small-scale pilot with them to recycle aramid."

Emme Groot, chairman of Economic Board Groningen, is pleased with the success of the competition. "What an extraordinary innovation CFK Recycling has for this challenge for the greening of chemistry in the Northern Netherlands. A deserved winner of this first Sustainable Industry Challenge. And fantastic that together with partners we have put the Northern Netherlands on the map like this. In addition to the winner, there are more scale-ups that will be working with northern companies. As far as we and our partners are concerned, this competition is definitely worth repeating."

Recycling windmills

The five industrial companies, the challenge setters, all chose their finalists. For the Hydrogen theme, they were Immaterial Labs from Great Britain and ScandiNAOS from Sweden. For the Green Chemistry theme: Susteen Technologies from Germany and Bioextrax from Sweden. And for the Recycling theme: CFC Recycling from Germany. Just before the grand finale in the boxing ring, the independent jury chose the two finalists who were allowed to battle it out on stage, after reviewing the pitches of the five finalists. Tjeerd Jongsma, director Institute for Sustainable Process Technology and jury chairman: "All five finalists were very strong. We chose CFK Recycling as the winner because this company's innovation has the biggest impact on our region. Recycling windmills, almost no one else can do that!"

From more than 200 entries, 40 innovative companies (scale-ups) from 13 different countries were invited to the two-day final event of the Sustainable Industry Challenge, Chemport Europe edition in Northern Netherlands. There were scale-ups from the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, France, Spain, Latvia, Hong Kong, Belgium and Canada.

Impact on regional activity

The main underlying goal of the Sustainable Industry Challenge goes far beyond simply launching this competition. The organization hopes that connections will be made between the more than 200 companies from around the world and companies from the region - with the 40 that participated, the first connections have now been made. The goal of the competition is to attract companies to the region and create a dynamic that will have a positive impact on business activity in the Chemport Europe region.

Expert jury

The independent expert jury consisted of jury chairman Tjeerd Jongsma PhD (director Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT)), Aaldrik Haijer (director Water & Energy Solutions), Dr. Katja Loos (Professor Faculty of Science and Engineering and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen), Nienke Homan (Provincial Executive of Groningen) and Veronique de Bruijn PhD (CEO Photanol). The jury finally chose which of the five finalists chosen by the challenge setters, industrial companies, became the winner of the grand prize.

About the Sustainable Industry Challenge

Economic Board Groningen is initiator of the 2019-2020 Sustainable Industry Challenge, Chemport Europe edition. Partners are Campus Groningen, NOM, Groningen Seaports, Province of Groningen and Province of Drenthe. All organizations are part of Chemport Europe, the ecosystem for green chemistry in the northern Netherlands. Based on challenges formulated by industrial companies, this large competition called on innovative companies to come up with concrete innovations in the field of making recycling, hydrogen or green chemistry more sustainable.

Learn more about the Sustainable Industry Challenge