Start-up converts waste into bio based chemical building blocks

Waste2Chemical are a spin-off company from Wageningen University and Research centre. Since 2010, Waste2Chemical have been working towards creating a profitable technology for processing organic waste, agrofood and paper residues. During her studies, entrepreneur Kirsten Steinbusch, discovered a mixed culture bacteria fermentation process that converts virtually any wet degradable organic waste material into medium chain fatty acids.

waste2chemical-logoThese acids can be used as building blocks in the production of existing or new polymers, solvents, lubricants, coatings and even renewable fuels. Eventually, replacement of oil-based production by biological chemical production is feasible. The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions saved due to replacing fossil fuels are expected to be large, due to the CO2 consuming production process and the use of waste instead of food competitive resources. There will be a significant impact on the environment.



Currently, Waste2Chemical are working with both the agrofeed industry, which in The Netherlands mainly produces organic waste from potatoes and beetroots; and a company that reprocesses consumers’ waste such as supermarket leftovers.


Award Winning

Waste2Chemical won the BioDiversity Award 2011 of NewVenture. As a result, they signed an innovation contract at East Netherlands Development Agency (PPM Oost) and received a Mibiton (foundation to stimulate Dutch life sciences entrepreneurship) grant for a pilot facility. They joined the Be-basic consortium, an international public-private partnership in the fi eld of sustainable chemistry and ecology, led by Delft Technical University.


A helping hand from Climate-KIC

After their introduction to Climate-KIC by the Wageningen based incubator StartLife, Waste2Chemical won the Climate-KIC Netherlands 2011 Venture Competition. The prize was a voucher of 15,000 euros which enabled them to purchase the patent. As a result, Waste2Chemical presented their business at the Climate-KIC venture competition fi nals in Budapest. And although they did not win, it was a great opportunity for practicing their presentation skills and meeting a large network. Climate-KIC also provided Waste2Chemcial with several useful coaching sessions and access to master classes. These were another very valuable opportunity to expand their business thinking and expertise.

“The high-level master classes are a must for every start-up, they inspire you and help to refl ect on your own business.” – Niels van Straalen, Waste-2Chemical5 The future

Currently, Waste2Chemical has entered stage 3 of the ClimateKIC incubation programme and thus can lay claim on a 50,000 euros’ grant. As well as this fi nancial aid, Waste2Chemcial are looking for support in attracting additional investment for their start-up phase and to move their business towards self sustainability.

The long term plan is to build a factory in 2014 that is operational in 2015. Currently, they are working on the design. Such a factory costs approximately 10-20 million Euros; thereforethey aim to attract a large investor worth 800.00 euros by the end of this year. In the interim period, Climate-KIC is supporting the management of Waste2Chemcial and helping them attracting such an investment.

“Turning waste into valuable building blocks for the chemical industry almost sounds too good to be true, so we are happy to support them in this huge challenge”. – Frans Nauta, Climate-KIC the Netherlands



Founding Year: 2010
Funding needed: 2012 Q4) Series A: € 1 M 2014 Q2) Series B: ~€ 8 M
Type of support
Investor: Strategic or Institutional investor
Customers: Chemical companies (plasticizers, lubricants, polymers, paint etc.) 
Partners: Customer of Customer: consumer goods companies, industrial companies (automotive, aviation etc.)
Industry Sector: Industrial Biotechnology
Number of employees: 2 (and 2 open vacancies)



Niels van Stralen
+31 645 006 177