Feasibility study of local biobased manufacturing industry

SNN feasibility study

promising crops in a sustainable production chain in De Marne

With the support of Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN), we conducted a feasibility study into sustainable local production chains in the municipality of De Marne. This research is a follow-up to the project We gaan het meemaken (We are going to make it).

We have investigated the potential of six promising crops as well as the technical, economic and organisational feasibility in a local sustainable production chain. With this innovative chain, we hope to give an economic and sustainable boost to the municipality of De Marne, which is now part of the municipality of Het Hogeland.

The possibilities of straw have been investigated by designers Gerard de Hoop and Volken de Vlas (Studio Volop), Simone Larabi has researched the possibilities of hemp, Paul Bloemers has looked into the possibilities of bamboo, while Eileen Blackmore has focused on seaweed, elephant grass and flax.

The feasibility study provides an insight into the following aspects: potential sustainable chains and an approach to different links, the technological qualifications and specifications required for setting up the sustainable chains, technologies to achieve this (both existing and methods yet to be developed), potential earnings models and potential partnerships.

Feasibility has been tested on the basis of literature research, desk research, discussions with experts and potential partners. In literature research and desk research, information was sought about promising crops, associated cultivation aspects, processing technologies, technical specifications and application possibilities.In addition, discussions were held with various stakeholders about the feasibility aspects, the possible solutions and the follow-up project. The exploratory talks are initially focused on application in the municipality of De Marne.

We see clear opportunities for the crops studied and the applications that the designers have developed. We also see opportunities to link innovative manufacturing techniques. Raw materials such as bamboo, straw and hemp can be processed into sheet material, polymers or panels. This mainly requires press machines, fiberisers and the entire chemistry behind the development of polymers. To achieve this, we are in talks with parties such as Huis Veendam, Enkev, and the Graanrepubliek (grain republic). We are conducting research into polymers with Greenpac and NHL Stenden.

We are already working on the follow-up to this research. With the project Local Making Site, we are organising a follow-up in the Wadden region. We will set up two local making places there. In addition, we are launching a training programme around Local Making Places (Maakplaatsen) in collaboration with Keunstwurk in Friesland.

Ask for local products
We notice that there is a demand for locally produced sustainable materials and products. These are barely available now. Nevertheless, the sequel still depends on funds. The local and circular products that are developed in the Local Making Place have a higher cost price because the costs for research & development are included. The production will initially take place on a small scale. Local parties are not yet ready to pay this price.

True costs
For the remainder, we will work with launching costumers. These are governments and large companies in the north. Leading employers who want to commit to the sustainable local production chain. We provide insight into the true costs for these parties, which enables us to show the real differences between locally produced products and imported products.The true costs are based on the true costs of raw materials, transport, employment and health. In addition to the large companies, we also focus on smaller companies, so that the local economy can fully benefit.

First partner
Biblionet Groningen is the first partner in this project. Biblionet Groningen want to talk to us about the acoustic panels made from hemp and chitin and small furniture. We are also in talks with a couple of municipalities and the province of Groningen.

For more information about this study, please contact Eileen Blackmore.


Where: municipality De Marne
When: 2018
Partners: De Graanrepubliek, Foundation SintJan, Hogeland College and Terra.
Financial support: SNN
Tags: local, crops, chain, innovation