4 Minutes with…Hans Heinerman, Managing Director, BiCHEM Technology

March 8, 2015 |

Tell us about your company and it’s role in the Advanced Bioeconomy.million minds

BiCHEM produces platform chemicals from biomass. It uses an inexpensive, recyclable solvent to break down cellulose and hemicellulose into sugars. These sugars are converted into base chemicals for amongst others the production of fuel additives. Another application is the conversion of sugars into bioethanol via fermentation, while a third, more exploratory route, is the direct conversion of sugars into drop-in fuels.

Tell us about your role and what you are focused on in the next 12 months.

BiCHEM, a company founded by BIOeCON  to execute research and development related to the processing and upgrading of biomass and biomass waste material, started in 2010 with the execution of the first phase of the BiCHEM technology development program as defined in a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) between BIOeCON and Petrobras. This phase I included exploratory research to validate the process on laboratory scale. It was carried out at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. After completion of phase I, by the end of 2012, BiCHEM moved to a new and larger research facility to continue with phase II, which has the purpose of bringing the technology to the pilot plant scale. In this phase II we are validating various processing schemes, the original envisaged production of chemicals such as isosorbide, and a combination of BiCHEM technology for cellulose conversion and well known sulfuric acid hydrolysis for hemicellulose conversion. To continue our technology developments BIOeCON is looking for new partners that are interested in second generation bioethanol and exploratory drop-in fuel investigations.

What do you feel are the most important milestones the industry must achieve in the next 5 years?  

For the advanced biofuels industry the most important milestone would be a robust sugars production from hemicellulose and cellulose.

If you could snap your fingers and change one thing about the Advanced Bioeconomy, what would you change? 

World-wide tax reductions on second generation biofuels.

Of all the reasons that influenced you to join the Advanced Bioeconomy industry, what single reason stands out for you as still being compelling and important to you?  

Working on something worthwhile.

Where are you from? 

From The Netherlands, born in Rotterdam and studied in Utrecht and Rotterdam.

What was your undergraduate major in college, and where did you attend? Why did you choose that school and that pathway?

Chemistry

What hobbies do you pursue, away from your work in the industry?

Golf, fitness and books on how our brains are working.

What are 3 books you’d want to have with you, if you were stranded on a desert island

On a desert island I would like to have with me books with photographs of famous paintings.

What books or articles are on your reading list right now, or you just completed and really enjoyed?

The Fall written by Steve Taylor, a book on how the human ego has developed over time.

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