Developments in industry and research in the field of biobased materials, and biobased plastics in particular, are forging ahead.
“So it is hardly surprising that biobased plastics is the first subject to find its way onto the curriculum”, says Ben van den Broek, researcher at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. He is working on the biobased impulse in the present Higher Professional Education sector as part of the Biobased Performance Materials programme.
To ensure that education echoes the latest developments in industry and research, teachers of subjects such as Chemistry, Chemical Technology, Mechanical Engineering (Engineering, Design & Innovation) are being brought up to speed on the ins and outs of the basic biobased building blocks right through to the production of new green plastics. Van den Broek: ”The Train the teacher course (together with the DPI Value Centre) is meeting the main needs of the eight institutes of Higher Professional Education taking part in the project. We have opted to use teachers as the best means of reaching the largest possible group of students”. Another aspect that is missing is the opportunity to show students concrete applications and measuring methods in action. Food & Biobased Research has organised guided tours for HBO students to introduce them to the practical side of research into biobased materials. This impulse will help students to prepare for a green future.
Biobased Performance Materials
In the Biobased Performance Materials programme, knowledge institutions and businesses are working together on new bio-based plastics and application focused research to improve the properties of existing bio-plastics. This will allow the bio-based materials to compete with fossil-based plastics, with regard to material characteristics and price. The bio-based plastics can be applied in plastic bottles, household equipment, train -, plane - and car parts, computer housing, paint, floor coverings and packaging materials. The programme is coordinated by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research and is co-financed by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.