Nine of the seventeen projects funded by RAAK-mkb (with €300,000 each) are related to chemistry. In particular, projects in higher vocational education that address the circularity of materials and design processes score well.

RAAK-mkb projects are collaborations between lectors and researchers from universities of applied sciences and SMEs. Researchers can apply for funding twice a year. Seventeen projects from the September 2023 round have just been awarded. Below you will find summaries of the projects related to chemistry or life sciences.

BioADD 2.0: Sustainable innovation in horticulture and agriculture

Environmental concerns call for increased use of biodegradable plastics in horticulture and agriculture. The RAAK-mkb project BioADD (2020-2022) responded to this need with a study on new biochar bio-composites. The results of the BioADD project were promising, but the business partners also needed additional research. This follow-up project will further investigate the path to commercially viable materials. The consortium represents the whole chain, including producers and end users. Avans University of Applied Sciences and Eindhoven University of Technology provide expertise in biochar and biocomposites, and Aeres University of Applied Sciences in horticulture and agriculture. The industry organisations CompositesNL and SIGN contribute sector knowledge.

Project leader: Avans University of Applied Sciences

Squeaky clean

In the Netherlands, 600,000 industrial engines run in transport, shipping and agricultural and forestry machinery. They consume about 5 billion litres of diesel per year, which is 20% of the total diesel consumption. These sectors also need to reduce their CO2 and nitrogen emissions. Supported by the EU’s technology-neutral climate policy, the sector is defining a preference for renewable methanol as a way to reduce emissions. A previous project delivered a working prototype methanol conversion kit and manual for a small industrial engine. The current project is investigating how this technology can be made available for smaller industrial engines. By combining the engine knowledge gained with the academic knowledge, the consortium aims to achieve a reliable application of methanol in inland navigation.

Project leader: HAN University of Applied Sciences

Circular composites

Composites are essential materials in the energy transition, as they are the only way to make large wind turbine blades. Traditionally, composites are made from thermoset resins. This is a challenge for the transition to a circular economy because thermosets are difficult to recycle. The Windesheim Lectureship for Plastics Technology has developed a reuse method. This project investigates whether the reuse method with new recyclable resins is industrially applicable, what the design characteristics of products made with these resins are, and what the environmental impact is when these resins are used in the reuse method. The results of the project will highlight the opportunities for SMEs to use recyclable resins to produce new, circular composite products.

Project leader: Windesheim

Circular box

Box-like sandwich products are common in mobility and logistics applications. Think of electric delivery cars, light vans and transport boxes. In their current form, these products consist of rigid and lightweight walls (often composite sandwich panels) assembled with mostly aluminium off-the-shelf parts. The joining technology consists of gluing, screwing or riveting, making the materials difficult to recycle. This RAAK SME project investigates the circularity of these products. The project starts by classifying the recyclate of sandwich panels and qualifying the different raw material forms. It then looks at how these materials can be incorporated into the design process at an early stage. Finally, the economic feasibility will be investigated.

Project leader: Saxion

CRAFTing RAAKe bieren

With over 800 breweries and several thousand different types of beer, the Netherlands has an impressive beer culture. The majority are independent breweries belonging to SMEs, the so-called craft breweries. Both breweries and suppliers struggle with the fact that the composition of the raw materials is poorly known. In this study, craft breweries, suppliers and the industry association are working together with Avans Hogeschool and Hogeschool Leiden on tools for more control in the brewing process. A sensor based on near-infrared spectroscopy and machine learning is being developed. This will make it possible to monitor the progress of the brewing process so that adjustments can be made in good time. Innovative hop products will also be developed to reduce waste and allow brewers and hop growers to produce more efficiently and with more control.

Project leader: Avans University of Applied Sciences


After food, housing and transport, textiles are the world’s biggest environmental impact sector. It is estimated that Europeans buy more than 26 kg of textiles per person per year and about 11 kg per person is thrown away. Reusing textiles offers huge savings. The DreamWeaveFactory project aims to design and produce circular textiles for home, interior and technical applications on a pilot industrial scale. To do this, the project will apply circularly inspired design principles to create new circular textiles. A new, unique, scaled-up Makerspace-Max with industrial weaving and tufting machines will enable designers and participating SME partners to produce the sustainable designs on a larger scale and in series.

Project leader: Hanze

Recycled flat glass

Every year, more than 90,000 tonnes of glass is released from construction and demolition waste, which is mainly downcycled. At the same time, the need for new construction and sustainability challenges are increasing the demand for building materials. Reusing glass from windows is a sustainable solution. In this RAAK SME project, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam is working together with TU Delft, TNO and 14 SME entrepreneurs, 3 large companies, 3 industry organisations and 4 building owners on research into high-quality reuse of flat glass. The project aims to answer the questions of SMEs in this field and to contribute to the application of circular window glazing with 100% reused flat glass.

Project leader: Hogeschool van Amsterdam

MEM4CHEM: MEMbranes for CHEMical Process Innovation

In order to achieve the climate goals for 2050, industrial greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced, for example through process innovation with new techniques. Membrane Downstream Processing (DSP) is one of these new techniques. Membrane DSP offers many opportunities to make process water purification and the concentration of dietary supplements more sustainable. In this project, Zuyd and Hogeschool Utrecht will expand their practical laboratories with (reactor) membrane set-ups to support SMEs in the implementation and dissemination of membrane DSP. This should lead to guidelines for further optimisation/scaling up, quantification of energy and material savings and accelerated implementation of membrane DSP.

Sponsor: Zuyd University of Applied Sciences

MycEoLA: End-of-Life Assessment of Mycelium Bio-Composites in Construction

Within the European Union, the construction sector stands out with 40% of total energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions. Previous projects have developed circular mycelium bio-composites (MBCs) for use in construction, including panels and insulation materials, which are 100% bio-based, biodegradable and circular. This project will evaluate the durability of these building materials. The project will be carried out in co-creation with industry partners. An advisory board of industry experts has been set up to ensure successful market integration. The aim is to license the use of MBMs as a certified building material, so that architects and construction companies consider them in new designs.

Sponsor: Avans University of Applied Sciences

Source: Regieorgaan SIA