2020: a year beyond our imagination

The year is almost over. It was an unusual year in which we learned that our capabilities are beyond what we ever thought.

We can simultaniously work from home, teach our children and maintain contact with our network. Admittedly, it was not easy. But it has made us realize that we are capable of more than we sometimes think.

Due to this strange time, digitization has accelerated. We started with online meetings, and shortly afterwards we initiated the online panel discussion Industrie in Gesprek. Little did we know at the time that we would be hosting many more major events later this year – all fully online.

The annual ISPT Conference, the GigaWatt webinar and the NPS17 webinar series are a few examples of how we have been able to connect with you, our network. We really enjoyed that and we want to thank you for your involvement. We hope to continue this contact in 2021 and hopefully soon there will be opportunities to see each other in person once again.

Development of a pilot for in-pack RF-sterilization of food products.

green beans with current treatment (left/middle) and by RFS (right)

RF as alternative for classic sterilization

Within the project Radio Frequent Sterilization (RFS) a pilot installation was developed for in-pack RF-sterilization of food products. The RFS project was a cooperation between project partners TOP bv, Marfo, HAK and Unilever and coordinated by ISPT.

Prior to the realization of the RF pilot the fast autoclave TESS (Temperature Effect Simulation System) was developed and realized to perform a screening to determine which products are eminently suitable for RF sterilization. By TESS a significant number of representative singular and also mixed food products with different temperature profiles were sterilized and evaluated on their quality. It proved amongst others that RF is very interesting for a large group of products as an alternative for standard sterilization.

RF pilot with combined measurement method

To be able to determine the real advantages of RF Sterilization a RF pilot installation was built with which for industry interesting food preparations were treated. In addition hereto also a combined measurement method was developed to be able to determine the temperature-time-treatment of food preparations. The first sequel of extensive tests was performed with standardized mashed potatoes. Herewith is was proven that sterilization of a food preparation of appr. 1 kilo by means of RF is possible in a very short time (<10 minutes).

Hereafter tests were performed with relevant products from the portfolio of the project partners. The short heating time that can be accomplished by RF has large advantages for the product quality; The colour is more attractive, and the texture of f.e. vegetables is better. Further development will mainly focus on the more detailed predictability of RF sterilization of food by means of 3D models, validation of the sterilization process and feed and taking out of food preparations.

For production of healthy ingredients and the recovery of valuable components (i.e. proteins) out of process streams.

New production concepts for valuable components

Bio-refinery is a crucial activity for the food industry. It enables the production of healthy ingredients and the recovery of valuable components (i.e. proteins) out of process streams.

The main objective of the program was to realize new production concepts and technologies to harvest or recover valuable components in a sustainable and economical feasible manner.

The research program consisted of five projects:

  • Process synthesis in the agro-food chain – A new in silico methodology for optimizing agro-food processing chain for agro-material valorization combining logistics and processing was designed. It has been designed in such a way that it is possible to explore the trade-off between product portfolio value and energy consumption in different processing routes. An industrial case-study showed that with the software tool it is possible to determine the optimal balance between the amount of large production facilities and more smaller production facilities close to the crops.
  • Process selection tool mild fractionation technologies – After a comprehensive literature study on proven technologies for separation and fractionation in the industry, all the technologies were evaluated on, amongst others, robustness, performance, applicability in food, availability, costs and know applications. This information is transformed into a user-friendly process selection was developed in Excel. With this tool the user can put in the characteristics of the raw material he wants to be fractionated and the desired results. As a result the process selection tool presents a list of most (estimated) appropriate process technologies.
  • High capacity industrial chromatography – Chromatography is known as an effective method to separate different components on lab-scale. A lab-scale experimental set-up was made for evaluation of phenomena involved with chromatography for large scale separation in the food industry. Several experiments to evaluate the performance (i.e. column efficiency) as a function of process conditions and design were performed. The results were used to construct preliminary process models and design rules for industrial chromatography. This is an important step for robust and economical feasible recovery of high value components (proteins, organic acids) by industrial chromatography.
  • Bio-refinery of solid raw materials for food purposes – The main goal of this activity was to prove that non-pure fractions of proteins and starches obtained by mild fractionation/bio-refinery techniques, can have good functionality in food products. Tests were executed to evaluate stabilizing and water-binding capacities in food products. In addition, sustainability analysis to verify if the mild bio-refinery process has a lower environmental input than the conventional refinery methods was performed. It was shown that emulsions stabilized by mildly refined protein fractions show good stability properties. In addition, non-starch polysaccharides showed an increasing effect on the shear viscosity, due to their water binding capacity. This is important to create texture in an efficient and sustainable way. The case-study with a mixture of plant protein isolates and press cake gives improved stabilizer effects.
  • Membrane fractionation at high viscosities – This activity focused on improving the performance of membrane separation processes: how to increase capacity of membrane operation (less fouling) in relation to physical properties of proteins and carbohydrates. An experimental set-up has been constructed to analyse a system containing proteins, ions and water. The effect of the process parameters on flux and ions rejection was determined. In addition, industrial case studies were defined. The interaction between solutes and membranes during the desalination of lactose has been quantified. This is one of the examples in which the application of membrane processes appeared to be hindered by fouling and inefficiency. Another result is the insight in the effect of viscosity and pore size distribution in the rejection of solutes. This knowledge is essential to come up with adequate measures for better performance of membrane processes. Membrane processes are considered as a key-process to improve the sustainability of the food sector. Several applications are foreseen such as: mild pasteurization, harvesting of valuable fractions from voluminous process streams, water removal, et cetera.

    The program partners are enthusiastic about the program results. As a consequence, in addition to the initial Bio-refinery Program, the consortium has initiated several new research activities on Bio-refinery related subjects. Besides, the partners are actively discussing the update of the technology roadmap for the next decade.

Scope and outlook of the cluster

Scope of activities within the program

Knowledge dissemination

The results of the program were published in several ways: scientific journals, theses, posters, papers at conference. In Appendix I a complete list of publication can be found.

Knowledge transfer was an essential part of the program execution. ISPT drafted a standard communication plan that provides some guidance and can be used as a ‘template’. The goals and results of this project were shared with the ISPT community through newsflashes. The results of this project were disseminated in peer-reviewed literature and on (inter)national conferences, and with news items aimed at the general public.

Appendix I: Publications and communications

  1. Jonkman, Jochem; Kanellopoulos, Argyris; Bloemhof, Jacqueline M.. 2019. “Designing an eco-efficient biomass-based supply chain using a multi-actor optimisation model”. Journal of Cleaner Production 210: 1065-1075.
  2. Jonkman, J.; Barbosa-Póvoa, A.P.; Bloemhof, J.M.. 2019. “Integrating harvesting decisions in the design of agro-food supply chains”. European Journal of Operational Research.
  3. Jochem Jonkman; Jacqueline M. Bloemhof; Jack G.A.J. van der Vorst; Albert van der Padt. 2017. “Selecting food process designs from a supply chain perspective”. Journal of Food Engineering 195: 52-60
  4. Lena Jankowiak; Jochem Jonkman; Francisco J. Rossier-Miranda; Atze Jan van der Goot; Remko M. Boom. 2014. “Exergy driven process synthesis for isoflavone recovery from okara”. Energy 74: 471-483.
  5. Jonkman, Jochem; Geerts, Marlies E.J.. 2017. “‘Clean label’ door milde raffinage – Mild fractioneren verduurzaamt bestanddelen”. VMT, 2017/10/02: 32-33.
  6. Jonkman, Jochem. 2017. “Niet blindstaren op procesefficiëntie – Logistieke verschuiving biedt kansen voor agrofood”. VMT, 2017/06/02: 32-33.
  7. Castiglioni, Alberto; Jonkman, Jochem; Akkerman, Renzo; van der Padt, Albert. 2018. “Selection of fractionation pathways and intermediates for mixed consumer products”. In Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, editado por Friedl, Anton; Klemeš, Jirí J.; Radl, Stefan; Varbanov, Petar S.; Wallek, Thomas, 651-656. Elsevier
  8. Jonkman, Jochem; Bloemhof, Jacqueline M.; van der Vorst, Jack G.A.J; van der Padt, Albert. 2015. “A Sustainability Driven Methodology for Process Synthesis in Agro-Food Industry”. In Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 1289-1294. Elsevier
  9. Jonkman, Jochem; Kanellopoulos, Argyris; Bloemhof, Jacqueline M.; van der Padt, Albert. 2016. “Multi-actor logistic network design for sustainable agro-food processing chains”. Trabalho apresentado em 1st Conference of the EURO Working Group on Sustainable Supply Chains.
  10. Jonkman, Jochem; Bloemhof, Jacqueline M.; van der Vorst, J.G.A.J.; van der Padt, Albert. 2015. “A sustainability driven methodology for process synthesis in agro-food industry”. Trabalho apresentado em 12TH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON PROCESS SYSTEMS ENGINEERING & 25th EUROPEAN SYMPOSIUM ON COMPUTER AIDED PROCESS ENGINEERING.
  11. Jonkman, J. Bridging process engineering and supply chain design for agro-food processing chains. PhD Thesis Wageningen University 2018
  12. Lecture: Decision support modelling for food processing chains. EURO2018 29th European Conference on Operational Research 2018
  13. Lecture: Selection of fractionation pathways and intermediates for mixed consumer products. 28th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering 2018
  14. Lecture: Evaluating new process configurations within the supply chain. ISPT Day 2017
  15. Lecture: Integrated Process and Network Optimisation for Sustainable Food Supply Chains. EURO2015, 27th EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON OPERATIONAL RESEARCH 2015
  16. Assema, F. van. Process screening tool for next generation recovery. Poster ISPT dag 2016
  17. Schultze-Jena A, Boon MA, Bussmann PJTh, Janssen AEM, Padt A van der. 2017. The counterintuitive role of extra-column volume in the determination of column efficiency and scaling of chromatographic processes, Journal of Chromatography A 1493: 49-56.
  18. Schultze-Jena A, Boon MA, Winter, DAM de, Bussmann PJTh, Janssen AEM, Padt A van der. Submitted as Predicting intraparticle diffusivity as function of stationary phase characteristics in preparative chromatography.
  19. Schultze-Jena A, Boon MA, Vroon RC, Bussmann PJTh, Janssen AEM, Padt A van der. Submitted as High viscosity preparative chromatography for food applications.
  20. Schultze-Jena A, Boon MA, Vroon RC, Bussmann PJTh, Janssen AEM, Padt A van der. Submitted as Elevated viscosities in a simulated moving bed using ino-exclusion chromatography: a case study on gamma-aminobutyric acid recovery from tomato serum.
  21. Schultze-Jena A, High viscosity industrial chromatography for mild food fractionation. PhD Thesis, Wageningen University 2019.
  22. D. Karefyllakis, A.J. van der Goot, C.V. Nikiforidis, 2019, The behaviour of sunflower oil bodies at the interfaces, Soft Matter, accepted
  23. D. Karefyllakis, H. Octaviana, A.J. van der Goot, C.V. Nikiforidis, 2019, The emulsifying performance of mildly derived mixtures from sunflower seeds, Food Hydrocolloids, 88 (2019) 75–85
  24. M.E.J. Geerts, A. van Veghel, F.K. Zisopoulos, A. van der Padt, A.J. van der Goot, 2018, Exergetic comparison of three different processing routes for yellow pea (Pisum sativum): Functionality as driver in sustainable process design, Journal of Cleaner Production, 183: 979-987
  25. D. Karefyllakis, S. Salakou. J.H. Bitter, A.J. van der Goot, C.V. Nikiforidis 2018, Covalent bonding of chlorogenic acid induces structural modifications on sunflower proteins, ChemPhysChem, 19: 459 – 468
  26. D. Karefyllakis, Mildly derived ingredients for the utilization of oilseed material. PhD Thesis Wageningen University 2019
  27. M.E.J. Geerts, B.L. Dekkers, A. van der Padt, A.J. van der Goot, 2018, Aqueous fractionation processes of soy protein for fibrous structure formation, Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 45: 313–319
  28. M.E.J. Geerts, C.V. Nikiforidis, A.J van der Goot, A. van der Padt, 2017, Protein nativity explains emulsifying properties of aqueous extracted protein components from yellow pea, Food Structure, 14: 104-111
  29. D. Karefyllakis, S. Altunkaya, C.C. Berton-Carabin, A.J. van der Goot, C.V. Nikiforidis, 2017, Physical bonding between sunflower proteins and phenols: Impact on interfacial properties, Food Hydrocolloids, 73, 326-334
  30. M.E.J. Geerts, M. Strijbos, A. van der Padt, A.J. van der Goot, 2017, Understanding functional properties of mildly refined starch fractions of yellow pea, Journal of Cereal Science, 75: 116-123
  31. M.E.J. Geerts, E. Mienis, C.V. Nikiforidis, A. van der Padt, A.J. van der Goot 2017 Mildly refined fractions of yellow peas show richer behavior in thickened oil-in-water emulsions than highly purified pea fractions, Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 41: 251-258
  32. A.J. van der Goot, P.J.M. Pelgrom, J.A.M Berghout, M.E.J. Geerts, L. Jankowiak, N.A. Hardt, J. Keijer, M.A.I. Schutyser, C.V. Nikiforidis, R.M. Boom 2016, Concepts for further sustainable production of foods, Journal of Food Engineering: 168, 42-51
  33. M.E.J. Geerts, Functionality-driven fractionation. The need for mild food processing. PhD Thesis Wageningen University 2018
  34. Interview “Levensmiddelen van milder geraffineerde ingrediënten” by Judith Witte, Voedingsindustrie, 2016, nr 3, p. 10-14. http://www.vakbladvoedingsindustrie.nl/archief/levensmiddelen-van-minder-geraffineerde-ingredienten
  35. Aguirre, V, Padt, A. van der, Boom, R.M, Janssen, A.E.M. Modelling of membrane cascades for the purification of oligosaccharides. Journal of Membrane Science 520 (2016) 712 – 722
  36. Aguirre, V, Bakker, J., Boom, R.M, Janssen, A.E.M., Padt, A. van der, Ultrafiltration of non-spherical molecules. Journal of Membrane Science, Volumes 570–571, 15 January 2019, Pages 322-332
  37. Aguirre, V, Janssen, A.E.M., Padt, A. van der, Boom, R.M,  Modelling ultrafiltration performance by integrating local (critical) fluxes along the membrane length Journal of Membrane Science, Volume 578, 15 M ay 2019, Pages 111-125
  38. Aguirre, V, Boom, R.M, Janssen, A.E.M., Padt, A. van der, Fine ultrafiltration of concentrated oligosaccharide solutions – Hydration and pore size distribution effects. Journal of Membrane Science, Volume 580, 15 June 2019, Pages 161-176
  39. Aguirre, V, Boom, R.M, Janssen, A.E.M., Padt, A. van der, Hydration effects in the NF of concentrated solutions. Euromembrane 2018.  EMS / Universitait Politecnica de Valencia
  40. Aguirre, V, Membrane filtration of food streams: mechanisms and modelling. PhD Thesis Wageningen University 2018

The ACHEMA World Forum for the Process Industries is the driving force and groundbreaker for the international process industries and their suppliers.

With the Dutch National Growth Fund, a large fund is (finally) available again for knowledge development, innovation and infrastructure. This offers great opportunities for green hydrogen and chemistry, but a thorough approach with attention to leadership and focus is crucial.

Click here to read this article in Dutch.

On Thursday, October 15, three panel members, led by Frans Nauta, the founder of Climate Launchpad, and more than 50 participants talked to each other during the online event Industry in Conversation, which ISPT organized. This time the National Growth Fund was the central topic. This fund, also known as the ‘Wopke-Wiebesfonds’, was launched during ‘Prinsjesdag’ last September. 20 billion euros will be available over the next five years. An independent committee will assess the proposals. The most important criterion is that the submitted projects must contribute to the Dutch GNP. Who will take on the challenge? And how are we going to make this a success?


The National Growth Fund brings back memories of ICES-KIS, says Nauta. ‘This money came from natural gas revenues and was mainly spent on infrastructure projects in the 1990s such as the Betuwelijn, the expansion of Schiphol and Maasvlakte 2. Later, the knowledge component, KIS, was added.’

Gertjan Lankhorst is chairman of VEMW, was Director-General Energy at the Ministry of Economic Affairs at the time, and then CEO of GasTerra. He talks about the evaluation of ICES-KIS. ‘The spending of the money became diluted with other budget expenditures and there was fragmentation; few concrete results were achieved because the objectives were not clearly operationalized. However, good networks emerged from the projects and some achieved good returns.’ Three success factors were found, according to Lankhorst: leadership, focus and cohesion. ‘There is cohesion in the new fund, but you should emphasize leadership and focus to make it a success.’

Green hydrogen and chemistry

Six projects have already been submitted, says Nauta, for example on artificial intelligence and quantum technology. Paulien Herder, professor of Energy Systems Engineering at TU Delft is involved in a proposal on green hydrogen and green chemistry. Herder: ‘We wrote a proposal with the three top sectors Energy, HTSM and Chemistry and a large number of writers from industry, government and knowledge institutions. We are requesting 750 million euros, of which 500 million is intended to develop devices such as electrolysers for hydrogen. We want to convert the existing industry and build new industries.’

Lankhorst: ‘I think it’s a great program, and I think it’s extremely important that we can permanently connect parties. Scientific and industrial activities must constantly interact with each other.’ According to Herder, a ‘sandpit procedure’ could help, in which the parties determine the course together after intensive consultation, for instance by spending a week in a country house together.


An important criterion in the Growth Fund is the so-called ‘matching’; the contribution from the government must be matched with an equal contribution from private and university funds. Tjeerd Jongsma, director of ISPT, is concerned about the private contribution. ‘Due to the economic downturn and the low oil price, I suspect that it will be very unprofitable for companies to match this money.’

Lankhorst is more positive. ‘The industry also has to put in effort to meet the requirements of the Dutch Climate Agreement; by 2030, CO2 must be reduced by 50% and by 2050 we must be CO2 neutral. You won’t get there without investments. Matching may be difficult in the short term, but in the long term something has to be done.’

Jongsma agrees completely. He also sees many opportunities for ISPT to take up a role in consortium formation. ‘Hydrogen is inevitably coming and offers great economic opportunities. Now all hydrogen initiatives are very fragmented, so more conformity is certainly needed.’ The Dutch industry could also form consortia and submit plans for other themes, the participants suggest, such as electrical cracking, the chemical recycling of plastics and ‘circular carbon’, to preserve carbon in the process chain.

The scope of the hydrogen proposal is ‘un-Dutch’, Nauta concludes. Jongsma: ‘Due to its size, it is now marked on the political agenda, which is a positive development. I also see that the Netherlands dares to take on the challenge, and dares to excel. We have the right track record to do so.’

About this series

During the online event ‘Industry in Conversation’, the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) will discuss current topics such as innovation, AI and infrastructure with partners from the industry. Keep an eye on our website for more information.

Welke kansen zijn er voor de industrie?

Donderdag 15 oktober – 15u00

Investeren in plaats van bezuinigen, zodat Nederland stappen kan maken op weg naar 2030. Dat is de insteek van het Nationaal Groeifonds, ook wel het ‘Wopke-Wiebes-fonds’ genoemd. Inzet: maar liefst 20 miljard euro. Wie pakt de bal op waar het gaat om innovatie in de industrie? Welke initiatieven lopen er al en hoe nu verder? Praat hierover mee op donderdag 15 oktober.

Investeren in plaats van bezuinigen, zodat Nederland stappen kan maken op weg naar 2030. Dat is de insteek van het Nationaal Groeifonds, ook wel het ‘Wopke-Wiebes-fonds’ genoemd. Inzet: maar liefst 20 miljard euro. Wie pakt de bal op waar het gaat om innovatie in de industrie? Welke initiatieven lopen er al en hoe nu verder?


Frans Nauta


Frans Nauta is de founder van ClimateLaunchpad, ‘s werelds grootste competitie voor business ideeën die klimaatverandering gaan oplossen. Daarnaast werkt hij als visiting scholar aan de Haas School of Business UC Berkeley in Californië en hij is verbonden als fellow aan het Copernicus Instituut van de Universiteit Utrecht

Gertjan Lankhorst

Voorzitter, VEMW

Paulien Herder

Professor Energy Systems Engineering, TU Delft

Tjeerd Jongsma

Directeur, ISPT

European Research and Innovation Days is the European Commission’s annual flagship Research and Innovation event to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond.

High-quality nutrients in a nitrogen-closed system

Click here to read this article in Dutch

What does the agri-food chain of the future look like? Elzo de Lange discussed this with Peter Bruinenberg of Avebe and Reggy van der Wielen of FrieslandCampina during the fourth session of the online panel discussion series Industrie in Gesprek. It was a powerful discussion about the main elements of a new agri-food system.

The session kicks off with a video illustrating the development of agriculture from the past decades to the present. It tells us that although the current agricultural system has solved problems, it has also created many, such as depleted soils and increased nitrogen emissions. It is a video that effectively addresses the conflicts of the current agricultural system. As soon as the film ends, the ISPT ‘praat plaat’ visual is shown, which represents a new vision for the food supply chain of the future. Does the ‘praat plaat’ visualize an answer to today’s problems?

Unused synergy

Peter Bruinenberg thinks it does. He indicates that this visual effectively illustrates modern agriculture that is more diverse than the current system. “The large-scale agriculture as we know it is not sustainable. Arable farming and animal husbandry tend to draw their own plans, while there is a lot of synergy that is not being used. If you approach it in the same way as illustrated in the visual, you will come close to achieve the climate targets. But it is not easy. In addition, this visual also shows: if you don’t tackle it together, you have a problem. I think we should take accountability for our future, together”.

Reggy Van der Wielen sees opportunities for nature and the environment when he looks at the visual: “At FrieslandCampina we believe in all the good dairy has to offer, but we must balance it and deliver added value to both nature and the environment. The visual also shows the ambition to be climate neutral, not only as industry but as society as well”.

Systematic solutions

“The space in the Netherlands is limited, so what are we going to do with it?”, reads the first poll that is presented to the public. The majority agrees: we are making the transformation to large-scale, high-quality nutritional ingredients for the world population. Regarding the other option, which a minority has opted for, Bruinenberg is clear: “Local, small-scale organic farming sounds very likeable, but this is not the solution for the system as a whole. I also like to buy locally, but it is really a niche market and I expect it to stay that way, because small-scale agriculture ultimately comes at the expense of efficiency, and also climate efficiency. Moreover, you have to ask yourself whether a farmer still has the opportunity to get the same price for small-scale food.”

Reggy van der Wielen mainly sees opportunities in dairy as a high-quality nutrient. “Take it to an deserted island, because it contains everything from B12 to calcium and proteins. But while doing so, you are dragging a lot of water as well. It is therefore important to concentrate dairy and its nutrients, for example by drying them. But that is an energy-intensive process, so it is important to get it from sustainable energy sources.” Jongsma adds that as an “former dairy person” (at FrieslandCampina) he also sees many opportunities in vegetable proteins which contain loads of high-quality nutrients. According to Jongsma, we should focus on high-quality products for human food, which is an interplay between animal and vegetable proteins. “An integral look at residual processing is essential for this. Take for example biomass and hydrogen: that is an interesting combination with a lot of potential ”.

Nitrogen-closed system

“But what about nitrogen and what does it mean to have a ‘nitrogen-closed system’?”, asks Elzo de Lange, referring to the ISPT visual. After all, cows always graze and excrete manure. Tjeerd Jongsma indicates that the nitrogen issue is in fact a control issue. “I don’t think it’s right that we instruct farmers to produce a lot of milk and be good for their cows, but at the same time we hook them up with the manure. You should offer an industrial solution for the manure instead. If we could manage to get a grip on all those nitrogen flows, we should be able to find that balance. Take Gasunie, for example: they are currently active with large-scale gasification installations and could collect manure and convert it into methane. In order to establish a nitrogen-closed system, we should ensure that the nitrogen is not being released into the atmosphere.”

Reinier Gerrits of Meststoffen Nederland, who is in the audience, adds that producing reactive nitrogen is ultimately also an energy issue. “It is obvious that it can and must be more sustainable, such as sustainable ammonia production from renewable energy or from biogas. The current issues are environmental pollution from ammonia emissions into the atmosphere and nitrate leaching in groundwater. Reducing those losses is crucial. Manure also plays an important role. We should not be afraid to add nutrients back to the soil, but we must ensure that they remain within environmental standards and are produced in an energy-efficient manner”.


Nevertheless, for Jongsma it is time for an agricultural transformation in which the Netherlands should take the role of frontrunner when it comes to become a global supplier of high-quality nutrients. “We need to focus on utilizing all nutrients throughout the chain, with minimal processing. Nutrients appear to do their job better in the body when minimally processed. You have to start milder to keep the micronutrients that we need in the end product. It is very difficult to apply this worldwide, but the Netherlands certainly has the knowledge and skills to do this”.

The Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) is committed to developing knowledge and technology and stimulating innovation that enables a sustainable food supply chain in which high-quality nutrients are central. Read more here.

About this series

During the Industrie in Gesprek online event series, the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) discusses current topics such as innovation, AI and infrastructure with industry partners. The next edition is about knowledge development in the Dutch process industry and takes place on Thursday 9 July.

What is the use of an EED energy audit, what are the alternatives and how can you tackle the EED obligations? Join the webinar (in Dutch) to learn more.

De agrofoodketen van de toekomst

Donderdag 25 juni – 15u00

Industrie in Gesprek - Agrofood

Wat is de rol van Nederland in de agrofoodketen van de toekomst?

In de landbouw draait het nu nog om kwantiteit, niet kwaliteit. De sector vraagt veel van onze resources in de vorm van energie, water en ruimte. Stikstof belast het natuurlijke systeem verder, in de verwerking gaan veel nutriënten verloren en er is – vooral aan het einde van de keten – veel verspilling.

Tegelijk is er in Nederland een zeer grote kennis en kunde aanwezig en slaan partijen door de keten heen – agrofood, chemische industrie én energiesector – de handen in elkaar om te komen tot een natuur-inclusieve en emmissie-vrije landbouw. Maar wat betekent dit? Kan Nederland wereldwijde leverancier van hoogwaardige nutriënten zijn? Is intensieve landbouw te combineren met het in stand houden van de natuur? Wat is de rol van groene chemie in stikstofreductie?

Sluit donderdag 25 juni aan voor een perspectief op de toekomst van de voedselketen en de rol van Nederland daarin. Registreer je gratis. 

Agrofoodketen van de toekomst praatplaat


Elzo de Lange

Events - Moderator - Elzo de Lange

Dat Elzo “Kwartiermaker” als functietitel hanteert is helemaal terecht: hij praat, hij verbindt en hij zorgt dat ideeën en plannen werkelijkheid worden. Met zijn bedrijf EmpowerMi, werkt hij aan dé projecten waarmee de industrie verduurzaamt; of het nu gaat om het produceren van bio-kerosine, grootschalige waterstofproductie of CCU. Begin dit jaar was hij nog projectleider van de Sustainable Industry Challenge. Verder is hij mede-eigenaar van Albatrozz, een start-up in de windenergie. Elzo heeft een brede kennis van de uitdagingen waar we voor staan in het verduurzamen van de industrie. Met Elzo weten we: dit wordt een levendig gesprek!


Events - Panel - Peter van Bruinenberg

Peter Bruinenberg


Public Affairs

ISPT Team - Tjeerd Jongsma ©marc van der kort

Tjeerd Jongsma

Institute for Sustainable Process Technology


Events - Panel - Reggy van der Wielen

Reggy van der Wielen

FrieslandCampina Innovation Centre

Director Research & Technology

Artificial intelligence (AI) may not provide world peace, but it will increase efficiency in the process industry. This became evident in a lively second edition of ‘Industrie in Gesprek’.

Click here to read the Dutch version of this article

On May 14, representatives from the process industry once again entered into discussions with each other and the public, through interviews, polls and chat messages. This time it was about the high expectations regarding machine learning, part of AI. Such a smart system works on the basis of an algorithm that, through experience, can automatically analyze data sets and sometimes also improve its own results. The algorithm builds on historical data, predicts and decides without being explicitly programmed to do so. Moderator Ann Robin, technology scout for project 6-25 of FME, kicks off the discussion: ‘The process industry is risk-averse; safety always comes first. So why would you apply an exciting new technique such as machine learning?’

Industrie in Gesprek - AI brain visual


According to Frans van den Akker, program director Industry 4.0 at the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology, the sector has long been accustomed to working with, for example, data from sensors and process control. ‘Machine learning is particularly good at recognizing patterns and detecting deviations. It is of especially good use when repetitive processes take place.’ Rob Burghard is director of enerGQ and has a lot of experience with the application of AI in energy, process and weather data. This allows energy-efficient settings to be advised and deviations to be detected. ‘If the complexity of installations increases, with all kinds of process parameters and weather conditions that you cannot capture in normal energy-based models, then it is useful to apply machine learning. It is like putting a magnifying glass on the performance of those installations.’ Michael van Hartskamp, ​​senior scientist at Philips, knows that the healthcare sector is risk-averse as well. ‘This sector processes a lot of data, too much for doctors to handle. So machine learning is very useful. Moreover, it is safe as there is no direct control of a device.’

The remaining question is what exactly distinguishes machine learning from the common models used in industry. What is new about it? Simon Jagers, founder of Semiotic Labs, is involved in smart machine monitoring. ‘In contrast to the current models, you can detect deviations with the help of machine learning without having to indicate in advance what you consider a deviation.’


The media also pay a lot of attention to the shadow side of AI. For example, this development could hinder innovation, limit human creativity and cause socially undesirable ‘bias’. However, according to the panel members, this does not have to be the case. Jagers: ‘I am optimistic about the contribution of technology to innovation. In the United States, for example, models have been developed that allow you to quickly assemble new materials in a virtual environment that are, for example, both cheap and good for the environment.’

Many questions are asked via chat, such as: do we believe a computer over a human? Burghard: ‘It remains an interplay between man and machine. However, there is an enormous aging population in the technical profession. The younger generation is harder to find and has less experience. In the long run, fewer people may be needed, but real intelligence will always be needed to make the final judgment.’ Van Hartskamp agrees: ‘Human cooperation gives confidence to the person who ultimately has to be at the controls.’ Expectations of the technology have been too high anyway, according to Jagers. ‘AI has been hyped. Now there is more rationalization and people understand that you first need to understand individual assets. A few algorithms will not bring about world peace.’

About this series

During the online event Industrie in Gesprek the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) discusses current topics such as innovation and AI with industry partners. Register now for the next edition which will be focused on the infrastructure for the energy transition and takes place on Thursday May 28.

The Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate has sent a Letter to Parliament about their vision for a sustainable basic industry by 2050, titled Sustainability of the basic industry; an opportunity for the Netherlands.

It illustrates how Dutch, European and global climate policy represents a fundamental change for industry. By 2050, industrial production must become climate neutral. At the same time, it is also clear that the world will still need basic industrial products by 2050. We will continue to drive, travel, dress, use medicines; all possible thanks to basic industry.

With this vision, the Dutch government outlines a new perspective for a sustainable, climate-neutral basic industry in the Netherlands. The transition to climate neutrality requires great efforts from companies and government: both financially and in terms of cooperation, with an active coordinating role for the national government.

On the other hand, there are enormous opportunities for the Dutch economy and for the Dutch contribution to solving the challenges of climate change. With a transition from its own basic industry, the Netherlands can become the breeding ground and accelerator for sustainable industry worldwide and at the same time strengthen its strategic position in industrial value chains.

The Letter to Parliament is the first part of a two-part vision for industry in 2050. The second part will be focused at the manufacturing industry. The latter will be published after summer.

Read the full Letter to Parliament (Dutch) here.