InterviewDutch DSM eyes solar, biofuels investments

07 May 2010 21:35  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS news)--The Netherlands-based chemical producer DSM is looking to invest in technology projects within the solar and biofuels industries, a company executive said on Friday.

“We will be more of a technology player rather than producer of either biofuels or solar cells,” said Rob van Leen, chief innovation officer. “In biofuels, we have strong capabilities in biotechnology, especially in enzymes where we can help advance biomass-based fuels.”

Van Leen cited as an example DSM’s investment this January in Sweden-based Bioprocess Control, which provides advanced control technologies in biogas processing.

Biogas, an alternative energy source, is produced by anaerobic fermentation of biodegradable materials such as manure, sewage sludge and energy crops.

DSM said it was rapidly establishing itself in the biogas field as a technology and service provider using the company’s portfolio of microorganisms and enzymes.

In the solar field, DSM was currently working to improve its KhepriCoat solar anti-reflective coating system, which could contribute to improving the efficiency of solar modules.

Van Leen said biofuels and solar could be included as part of the company’s next “emerging business areas” or EBAs, which were housed under DSM’s Innovation Center.

DSM expected to announce in September its new five-year innovation strategies when its current Vision 2010 commitment concluded this year.

The EBAs under the Vision 2010 strategy included white biotechnology, specialty packaging, biomedical materials and personal nutrition, van Leen said.

Van Leen said they were looking to put the personal nutrition and specialty packaging business areas through joint venture or partnerships, which would create the room for new EBAs.

“We have generated a whole lot of value and interesting innovation in these two areas, but we believe that we are not the best company, at least on our own, to make them a success,” he added.

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