The Port of Rotterdam Authority is currently investigating the consequences and opportunities of the raw materials transition for the Rotterdam port and industrial complex.
Circular and renewable
he Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) defines a circular economy as one in which ‘we deal radically more efficiently with raw materials, other materials and products in order to limit the use of natural resources and environmental pressure caused during production, use and waste phase’.
According to the Port of Rotterdam, the raw materials transition is important to sustainability, and it also reduces dependence on unstable or unreliable countries. In a circular economy, products are recycled at the end of their lifespan. In addition, there are renewable raw materials such as biomass and green hydrogen. The result is that there are (almost) no new raw materials that will have to be extracted from the earth.
The raw materials transition is not a new topic for the port of Rotterdam. The carbon transition, as it’s called, is already up and running. ‘Hydrocarbons are the main component of everything that is currently made from crude oil, ranging from petrol to synthetic fibres. But you can also extract hydrocarbons from biomass
… said Nico van Dooren, Director New Business of the Port of Rotterdam Authority
In Rotterdam, there are already several factories producing biofuels and another two large ones are being built. A few years ago, the Port of Rotterdam Authority set the goal of producing in Rotterdam, by 2030, bio or other renewable fuels equivalent to 20% of the volume of fossil fuels that was produced in 2019.
That goal (6.3 million tonnes) is now within reach, with the current production capacity, factories already built or those for which there are concrete plans. There is a similar goal for the production of naphtha, a raw material for chemicals traditionally made from crude oil, the aim being to produce 20% of the 2019 volume (1.9 million tonnes) circularly by 2030.