Electrochemistry offers great opportunities for increasing efficiency and reducing waste

10-06-2019 | P2Chemicals | Business development

Meet our new teammember!

Electrochemistry offers great opportunities for increasing efficiency and reducing wasteBy intensifying its electrochemical R&D efforts for specialty and high-value chemical applications, VoltaChem strengthens the Power-2-Chemicals program line providing additional opportunities for the chemical industry. Meet Dr. Reinier Grimbergen, who joined the VoltaChem team in May as senior business development manager responsible for developing the Power-2-Chemicals proposition in the high-value segment.”

Reinier Grimbergen (49) was trained as a chemist at Radboud University Nijmegen, where he obtained his Ph.D. in 1998 on research in the field of crystallization. He then worked for nearly 20 years at DSM, at various positions in R&D, R&D management, and innovation management. From 2014 to 2016, he was responsible for DSM's corporate R&D program as Director 'Science to Innovate'. After a stint as Research & Development Manager at Bolsius, the Dutch producer of candles and fragrance products, Grimbergen took a sabbatical year, spent time with his family and ticked off a number of items on his 'bucket list', such as a bike ride to Rome.

Grimbergen now joins VoltaChem to further develop the value proposition of the Power-2-Chemicals program line towards the high value and specialty chemical segment. In this way, VoltaChem can optimally connect to these two distinctive sectors within the chemical industry, each with its own problems, challenges, and dynamics. Grimbergen finds the field of chemical specialties quite appealing, he says: "It's not dominated by the well-known large, established chemical companies, but includes a large number of smaller businesses of which some are even in the startup phase. I find it very motivating to be in touch with such medium-sized and small companies that are really motivated to establish innovation. "

"We can make a substantial contribution to waste reduction in the chemical industry"

At VoltaChem, the new business developer is continuing his international career at the intersection of sustainability and new technology, now with a particular focus on the aspect of business development. "Of course I had to deal with that at DSM as well," he says, "but now it is my direct responsibility. In fact, VoltaChem's business driven, open shared innovation program perfectly aligns with my plans for this new phase of my career, providing me with an environment that is geared to bringing knowledge to the market."

For Grimbergen, it is crucial that innovation is always linked to sustainability: "There is less and less societal support for processes and products that are not sustainable. So for any innovation, sustainability must be part of the proposition. Without that, you won't be ready for the future." VoltaChem offers relevance with respect to both innovation and sustainability, says Grimbergen. "With our portfolio in knowledge and technology for electrification, we can make a substantial contribution to the decarbonization of the chemical industry. Many companies are looking for ways to make their business less carbon intensive. I am excited to be at the heart of this matter and be able to provide solutions."

Opportunities for scale-up towards commercial application

That being said, it still is somewhat of a challenge to draw attention to the importance of sustainability in the field of chemical specialties. "This is because functionality and performance are the primary drivers in this branch of chemistry. That has always been and will always be the case. However, I am convinced there are plenty of opportunities to establish innovation with respect to both functionality and sustainability." 

VoltaChem has a number of leads for which Grimbergen already sees opportunities for scale-up towards commercial application. These include platform molecules such as lactic acid and a novel process for the conversion of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) to 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid (FDCA). FDCA is a 'green' building block for polyesters such as the PEF plastic that serves as a sustainable alternative for the PET of soft drink bottles.

"There is a lot of knowledge, there are many good ideas".

At the same time, we will focus our Power-2-Chemicals efforts in the specialty and high-value chemical industry on identifying new opportunities. "It concerns a very broad area in chemistry," says Grimbergen, "from the functionalization of sugars to new high-tech performance materials for plastics and batteries." Whether it concerns food products, pharmaceuticals or technical materials, in all sectors the brand owners of the final products - pressed by consumers and society - are setting ever higher demands in terms of sustainability. "I believe that driven by that relationship between brand owner and supplier, there are many opportunities for VoltaChem to develop technology for sustainability in the field of chemical specialties. There is a lot of knowledge, there are many good ideas. VoltaChem, together with external parties, has plenty of opportunities to bring that towards commercial success."

Do you want to learn more about the opportunities for applying electrochemistry in your production process? Please contact Reinier Grimbergen directly through our contact page


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25 mrt 2020 at 09:52

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This event has been cancelled and will soon be rescheduled to a later date. https://twitter.com/VoltaChem_/status/1228260144670179328 …

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