De belangrijkste aanjagers van Metalot
Author profile picture

Philip de Goey has a vision. At the industry park of Cranendock nearby Budel-Dorplein a completely circular economy should arise. That means it will be self-sustainable in its energy,  complete recycling of metals is the goal. That vision should be formed in Metalot, the initiative that should give the industry park a new look and provide a place for researching innovation in durable energy when it comes to using metal materials.

The plans for redeveloping the park have been long discussed. For over twenty years there have been talks between government and commercial industries about what purpose and look the terrain should get.

When de Goey, Professor and dean at the TU/e, was approached to think about remodeling the terrain, the project got a big breath of fresh air. Together with Jan Vlassak, an executive in healthcare, a vision document was developed. That was two years ago.

De belangrijkste aanjagers van Metalot
De belangrijkste aanjagers van Metalot, met de Goey rechts op de voorgrond.

The project got some new influences, de Goey and Vlassak had a big hand in this. A new plan was developed that would create a campus where innovative businesses and research could find a home

The Nyrstar-plant, the biggest plant in the park and already Europes cleanest production plant of zinc, would get a new purpose. Also, two buildings should be purposed by the newfound Metalot-foundation.

As final touch a plan was layed out to create a naturepark on or around the industry park. Seen as a reward for the green purpose of the work at the new site, there would literally be more green around.

First step
A first step in realizing those plans has now been taken. The goal for 2017 is to place ten researchers and twenty students in the labs of Nyrstar, the plant is one of the original parties that instigated the first ideas of Metalot.

It is a project with a long-term vision and serious ambition, innovation on steroids. “But we are are eager to get to work”, de Goey says. “So we have already started the first researches towards innovating the durable use of metals.”

“The transportation of warmth is an example of one of those researches”,  de Goey says. “That literally is sprayed into the air there. There’s no way of harboring all of that energy no, so it just gets wasted. Why not research a way of capturing all that heat, transporting it and use it elsewhere.”

A first idea to do this is already being formed: “We should be able to contain the heat in salts, transport that on a ship, and use it to heat cities elsewhere.”

We are eager to get to work.

According to de Goey zinc producer Nyrstar now uses one percent of all energy in the Netherlands, about as much as the city of Eindhoven. And that has to change. “Definitely. We have to be completely durable and the metals we use should have to be recycled completely. Now, mostly ore is used in the production of zinc. But it is already possible to work with twenty percent recycled metal. We want to go to a process working with one hundred percent recycled metal. That is the dot on the horizon.”

Those are the short and long-term plans. Two examples of possible innovations. But the vision that De Goey and Vlassak developed does not stop there.

This is what the new Metalot-site will look like, with a museum and and innovation centre.

“We want to bring education and industry together. Eventually, we want to go to about a hundred researchers and as many students. We want a Metalot-innovation center. The schools involved should come from all layers of education: from VMB to MBO,HBO and the universities.”

De Goey and Vlassak may be responsible for a big part of Metalots vision, the development of the plan has to come from a lot of different parties. Telos from Tilburg University has a hand in this and the provinces of Brabant and Limburg have been involved in developing the strategy that will lead to achieving this goal. That group has now gathered enough money to be able to operate and develop plans for the next four years.

One of those plans is buying a monumental building on the site. The ‘Cantine’, build around 1900, with some 7000 square meters. The building should function in part as meeting and congress center, but also as a museum.

The new innovations of Metalot will be put on display as well as the old and established techniques of Nyrstar. De Goey: “It will be a museum dedicated to (innovating) metals. Not an Evoluon, but a Metaluon.”

Earlier, we spoke to de Goey about how he thinks electric cars do not yet offer a solution to the pollution problem. Read about that here