Delfzijl gets 'Chemport Industry Campus' for pilot plants

Scale up Photanol BV builds new demonstration plant at AkzoNobel in Delfzijl

Following a substantial new round of funding, Amsterdam-based Photanol BV is building a plant in which it can test the production of chemicals from CO2 and sunlight on an industrial scale. The new shareholders GROEIfonds, Innovatiefonds Noord-Nederland and Investeringsfonds Groningen, plus support from the Dutch government and existing shareholders UvA Ventures Holding and Icos Capital, make possible the construction of Photanol's first demo plant. The plant will be on the AkzoNobel site in Delfzijl and will be operational from 2020.

Photanol uses modified blue-green algae bacteria to produce chemicals from photosynthesis. The demo plant is a major step toward scaling up the production of these organic acids that can be used for the production of biodegradable plastics, cosmetic products and as a feedstock for the chemical industry, among others.

CEO Photanol BV Véronique de Bruijn says, "The Photanol team now wants to prove to the world that we can produce clean chemicals while reducing the CO2 impact on the environment. We can really make a difference here.'

Peter van Gelderen, partner and CIO at cleantech investor Icos Capital adds, "We are very excited about the progress Photanol has made to address climate issues and make a strong business case out of it."

New shareholders

The new shareholders GROEIfonds, Innovatiefonds Noord-Nederland and Investeringsfonds Groningen are eager to take the next step towards commercialization of the environmentally friendly raw materials with the construction of the demo plant. Sytze Hellinga, Investment Manager at GROEIfonds, says: "With this, we show that cleantech innovations are possible within the Groningen ecosystem and that Photanol can play an important stimulating role in the region for this."

Sustainable chemical industry

"The new investment plus the support of existing shareholders and strategic partners are proof that Photanol's 'CO2 to chemicals' technology, has real potential," de Bruijn said.

Marco Waas, director of RD&I and Technology at Akzo Nobel Specialty Chemicals added, "The joint development of Photanol's production capacity is part of our strategic choice to partner with innovative companies to develop a sustainable chemical industry."

Peter Krijnsen, CEO UvA Ventures Holding: "We are very proud that Photanol, a spin-off from the University of Amsterdam, has reached this important milestone. Thanks to powerful partnerships, it can now start realizing its potential to make a difference worldwide with the production of clean chemicals."

About Photanol BV

Photanol B.V. was founded in 2008 by UvA Ventures Holding BV and the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS) of the UvA, with an additional investment in 2012 from Icos Capital Photanol's headquarters are at Science Park Amsterdam. The company focuses on the development of valuable and clean chemicals produced efficiently and sustainably using blue-green algae bacteria, which absorb sunlight and CO2 as feedstock. The goal is to make biofuels, biochemicals and semi-finished products that fit the 21st -century requirements of sustainability and energy efficiency.

The joint effort by various northern parties ensured that Photanol BV chose Delfzijl as its place of business. In doing so, Akzo Nobel, NOM Business Development, Groeifonds (from Economic Board), Innovatiefonds Noord Nederland (NV NOM) and Investeringsfonds Groningen worked together intensively. This enabled Delfzijl to realize the decisive advantage over other intended locations.