How do we make manufacturing circular?


Circularity is the cornerstone of a sustainable future. In a circular economy, resources are kept in use for as long as possible while maximum value is obtained from their usage. Then, at the end of their service life, materials are recovered and regenerated. What is waste for one factory, might be a highly valuable resource for the other. In establishing the future circular economy, the relevance of industry – and in particular the process industry – cannot be underestimated.

ISPT envisions a waste-free economy in which products and raw materials are either recycled or reused. In this new economy we have to transform our value chains. For instance, carbon and plastics will no longer be waste products but valuable resources. Together with our partners we’re making circularity a reality. We are working on feasible and innovative solutions that will lead to full circularity by 2050.

A circular system builds a future in which the Netherlands can be frontrunner in new technologies

Tjeerd Jongsma – director ISPT

Closing the loop: a fundamentally different approach

In the field of chemicals and plastics, ultimate circularity lies at the molecular level. When products at the end of their lifespan are chemically degraded, the constituting molecules can re-enter the product cycle. This requires new technology for production, recycling and re-use, powered by renewable energy.

To achieve this we need everyone. And that is a fundamentally different approach. It’s no longer about separate process innovations, but about a system innovation in which we close the chain together.

Circularity of waste

As part of the circular economy, there is an increasing interest in converting waste streams into feedstock and energy carriers. We aim to match under-utilized residual streams with the most suitable conversion technologies.

Circularity of plastics

As a society, we need to rethink plastic. It is the most visible waste on the planet, but alternatives are heavier contribute more to CO2-pollution. Plastic is far too valuable to be treated as waste. It can serve as the feedstock for circularity.

Circularity of carbon

How do we transform carbon from single use to circular use without CO2 emissions, at low cost and on an industrial scale? In the Circular Carbon Program we’re developing viable pathways for circular carbon use in carbon intensive industries.

Circularity of heat

The concept of circular heat is to cycle heat through a closed pipeline among a group of factories. Each of these applies heat pumps powered with renewable energy, to realise the temperatures required for their process and to return excess heat to the pipeline at the right temperature.