Luuk van der Wielen
Prof.dr.ir. Luuk A.M. van der Wielen (Amsterdam, 16-06-1964) holds a MSc degree in Chemical Engineering from Twente University (Netherlands), and a PhD degree (with honours) from Delft University of Technology (TUD). Since February 2017, he is Director of the Bernal Institute at the University of Limerick, Ireland, (http://www.bernalinstitute.com/ ) and Bernal Professor for Biosystems Design and Engineering, while continuing as Distinguished Professor for Biobased Economy of TUD. He is Full Professor at it’s Dept. of Biotechnology at (www.bt.tudelft.nl ), where he headed the Bioprocess Engineering Section effectively since 1998. The activities of the section were ranked as excellent by consecutive national research evaluations and have resulted in several spin-off companies. His research interests include thermodynamics for bioprocesses, bioseparation/-conversion technologies, multifunctional bioreactors, miniaturized (‘on-chip’), high-throughput technology for rapid process development, analysis and development of biorenewables production systems, and their societal impacts.
He is since 2004 director of BE-BASIC (www.be-basic.org), the globally operating private-public research organisation for Biobased Sustainable Industrial Chemistry & Energy, which is based in The Netherlands with hubs in South East Asia and Brazil, and a cumulative budget exceeding 250 M€. BE-BASIC executes a R&D, training and innovation program in the field of industrial and environmental biotechnology, via a consortium of 50 academia and industries. He initiated the multi purpose pilot facility (www.bpf.eu, ~ M€ 80). In 2012, he coordinated the Netherlands’ Bioenergy and Biochemicals Innovation plan under the new Dutch Topsector Policy (budget exceeding 1 billion euro), and was appointed in the 1st Board of Directors of Foundation TKI-BBE. In 2007, he joined (part-time) Royal Dutch Shell as Principal Scientist Biotechnology. He was Visiting Professor at the Univ. San Carlos, the Philippines until 2008; and 2009-‘13 at Univ. of Technology Malaysia. The last Google Scholar count shows over 280 publications and patents as of july 2016 (H-index 32; RG 42.83).
Luuk van der Wielen is/was member of editorial and advisory boards of several leading international scientific journals, and chaired several scientific conferences (a.o. ESBES4, BPP2005, RRB4, ECOBIO2016, BBEST 2017). He is/was member/chair of national and European committees: AgroPolo (agro/forestry re-industralisation initiative Sao Paulo, BR), coordinator Bioenergy and Biochemicals RD&I programming in NL Topsector Policy (2011-12), Supervisory Board of Dutch Separation Technology Institute, of NL Platform Renewable Feedstocks, Sustainable Energy Cie of the Royal NL Academy of Sciences (KNAW), Steering Group of the EU Technology Platform Suschem/ Industrial Biotechnology, Steering Committee BBE (Min LNV) and BioPort of Rotterdam, Taskforce Bioenergy Systems (EU Fed. for Biotechnology), Advisory Boards of US-EU Taskforce on Biotechnology Research, KP Sinha Bioenergy Center (IIT Kharagpur, India), of CLIB2021 (Germany), of BIO4EU (EU Commission), Oversight Board Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project and advisor to several European and international industries. He is in the Boards of Commisioners of Dutch Greentech Fund and SHIFT Invest, Bioprocess Pilot Facility BV and chairs BioPort Holland1(aviation industry group).
He is one of the initiators of the successful academic program on Life Science & Technology (www.lst.tudelft.nl ) of Leiden University and TU Delft, and director of the postgraduate program Bioprocess Design (www.bodl.bt.tudelft.nl ). Luuk van der Wielen is married, has 3 children, and has an active and passive interest in jazz music.
Advancing Functional Materials: is ‘Green’ an advanced function?
For many good reasons, chemicals, fuels and energy industries transfer to shift their product portfolio’s to more sustainable, ‘green’ products. ‘Green’ is a loosely defined quality, and mostly refers to a product that has the same (‘drop-in’) or comparable (‘substitute’) functional performance as the conventional, usually fossil, product. In many cases, this is quantified through one of the versions of Life Cycle Analysis; in a very crude simplification this reduces to lower carbon emission profile. Given the still fairly low volumes of ‘green’ products in a fossil-dominated market, simple scaling rules will dictate higher (processing) prices and, when the volume grows, increasing price levels of limited ‘sustainable’ feedstocks like agro and forestry residues. With respect to the latter, the economic reality already kicked in since the price of UCO (used cooking oil) is approaching that of virgin palm oil (S600-700/ton). The same happens with the potentially much larger lignocellulosic residues market which is practically absent a few years ago and usina’s had inefficient power plants to get rid of bagasse , and now there is a serious price for bagasse that approaches and soon exceeds that of coal.
For advancing a ‘green’ materials (and chemicals, fuels and energy) industry, we need to understand what the function of ‘green’ really is. Because if it is better than conventional, a higher price or premium is justified. If it is more rare then conventional, a higher price is justified as well. Those are simple economic principles. If that is the case, then investors will become increasingly motivated, and insurers will calculate lower risks when they insure those investments (and thus lower prices). This is a fundamentally different and more positive model then the current negative schemes of penalties (carbon and other emission taxations), or environmental subsidies which destroy economic value.
So we have to look back into what ‘green’ really means. If green implies reduced emission profile, there is a different group of technical innovations necessary, then when ‘green’ implies -for instance- higher oxygen content in the ‘green’ building blocks and thereby lower flammability in the resulting materials. The latter is a key advanced functionality for construction and airplane materials. This contribution targets to look into a number of examples based on aviation sector where ‘greenification’ should come from a broad portfolio of more advanced airplanes, more advanced (bio)materials and more advanced (bio)fuels.