Royal DSM, the global Life Sciences and Materials Sciences company, and Natuurmonumenten (Society for the Preservation of Nature in the Netherlands) are together looking for a partner who is willing to use the biomass generated from the nature-reserve maintenance activities of Natuurmonumenten as a raw material in the production of, for example, renewable fuels and bio-based materials. The signing of the agreement today in presence of Atzo Nicolaï (president DSM Netherlands), Marc van den Tweel (general manager of Natuurmonumenten, Teo Wams (Natuurmonumenten’s director of nature preservation) and Hans Wijers (chairman of Natuurmonumenten) marks the start of the search. To support this initiative, DSM will become the corporate partner of Natuurmonumenten in the Netherlands for a period of three years.
The nature-reserve maintenance activities of Natuurmonumenten annually yield 175,000 tons of biomass in the form of reeds, straw, grass and wood residues. Through its cooperation with DSM, Natuurmonumenten sees opportunities to sustainably offer the residual biomass as a raw material for producing energy, biofuels and/or bio-based products.
DSM has the innovative power, technological know-how and global experience to convert the biomass generated by Natuurmonumenten and to make it available to energy companies, for example, in the form of biogas and/or advanced biofuels, and/or to material producers and the fiber industry in the form of renewable chemical building blocks, such as bio-succinic acid. Together, DSM and Natuurmonumenten have agreed to actively search their networks for customers who could potentially benefit from a business case involving the upgrading of biomass. The parties will assess the economic feasibility and possible follow-up process for each business case.
The relationship and cooperation between Natuurmonumenten and Royal DSM came about as a result of the Manifesto for the Bio-based Economy, signed in October 2011, in which 43 representatives from business and civil-society organizations made a commitment to guide and support the development of a Bio-based Economy in the Netherlands in the most efficient way possible.
Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Atzo Nicolai, President of DSM Netherlands, said: “DSM and Natuurmonumenten are the same mind about a sustainable future where the sun, wind and biomass play a prominent role in the production of renewable energy and materials. DSM sees an important role for biomass residues in such a future. Today, we are taking yet another step towards realizing a bio-based economy where nature conservation and economic development go hand in hand and contribute to making the Netherlands even more sustainable.”
Marc van den Tweel, Managing Director of Natuurmonumenten, said: “We are pleased with a partner like DSM to help us find a good, high-quality use for the biomass generated by our nature-reserve maintenance activities. Hopefully we will encourage a large number of companies to join us in making the world a more sustainable place by using biomass.”
Natuurmonumenten is a society with over 732,000 members, all sharing a common goal: protecting nature in the Netherlands. The organization therefore acquires and manages nature reserves in the Netherlands, of which there are now 355, covering a total area of over 100,000 hectares. In this way, Natuurmonumenten keeps the Netherlands open and green, so that every citizen can enjoy nature.
As well as nature reserves, Natuurmonumenten also manages approximately 3200 buildings of cultural and historical value, 550 of which are listed monuments. In the months of May and September, the public can visit and explore castles, stately homes, orangeries, farmhouses, country estates, homesteads and fortresses which are usually closed.