Cranendonck creates international hotspot for metals and energy

On Tuesday 03 January 2017 a core group of representatives from this unique collaboration between government, business life and education presented the new name and logo Metalot as an umbrella name for the innovating developments in and around the Nyrstar site in Budel-Dorplein.

The Sustainable Industrial Site Cranendonck which will be developed, and for which the zoning plan is now available for perusal, is an important part of Metalot. Metalot will become the (inter)national hotspot for innovation and circular use of metals and energy.

Triple helix cooperation
Metalot is a cooperation between Nyrstar, TU Eindhoven, Telos, the municipality of Cranendonck and Province of Noord-Brabant. It is a so-called triple helix cooperation, or a cooperation between business life, educational actors and government. The parties involved intend to optimally develop the Nyrstar premises and surroundings. With an eye for innovation, economic aspects, people, and with respect for the natural surroundings. A nice challenge, knowing the site is actually intended for heavy industry.

Vision on innovation centre
An important carrier for the acceleration of this project is the initiative of Philip de Goey, lecturer and dean at TU Eindhoven and Jan Vlassak, initiator from a social perspective and manager in healthcare. These gentlemen, as founders of the Metalot innovation centre, developed a vision for the construction of an open innovation centre that focuses on energy and metals. This vision is closely in line with all business developments at the sustainable Cranendonck industrial site.
“The innovation centre will support companies settling at the sustainable industrial site in their pursuit of innovative applications. The plan is to create a campus-like environment for organisations and companies working in the world of knowledge development. The purpose is to achieve a circular economy, new use of energy, use of residual heat and energy storage, and to develop new knowledge”, according to Jan Vlassak.

First steps
Philip de Goey, chairman of the board, says: “Within Metalot entrepreneurs, government, researchers and students come together to conduct studies and share knowledge and experience. This will create an acceleration of revolutionary developments in the field of metals and energy. For example, we have unique and innovative ideas to combine the circular use of metals with fully sustainable energy and other innovations that are not being developed anywhere else. Just think of vehicle driven by zinc powder that is generated by Nyrstar by means of solar energy. Jan Vlassak, secretary of the board says: “At least ten researchers will move into the Nyrstar offices before the end of March 2017 to start up the first research study. More initiatives will systematically follow, all of them within the area that is now known as the Sustainable Industrial Estate Cranendonck.”

Economic encouragement
The municipality of Cranendonck also sees Metalot as a major boost for the local and regional economy. In this respect, councillor Frans Kuppens says: “Metalot creates jobs, knowledge development and an education centre. It will be a boost for the economy and our inhabitants will benefit from it. It is important to guarantee the liveability of our cores in the future. Metalot does not only offer schooling and jobs to our own inhabitants, it will also generate a force of attraction for knowledge workers who will want to live in Cranendonck after a while.”

Cranendonck: strong in metals
It is a logical step to choose for metals and energy. Cranendonck has an excellent entrepreneurial climate in terms of metal, home to Nyrstart, the only zinc producer in the Netherlands. The location of the Brainport and Keyport region also makes this focus a natural choice.

Steef Steeneken, acting plant manager at Nyrstar: “Nyrstar is very proud of its zinc smelter. In terms of energy-efficiency we really made our way to the top. Also when it comes to environment, safety and production we continue to aim high. Therefore, Metalot is a perfect match for our story. It would be wonderful if we could jointly contribute to a circular economy, in which the reusability of products would be maximised and value destruction minimised. That is the ultimate goal.”