©Floris Heuer

Students from the four Dutch universities of technology presented, among other things, the so-called ‘Waterstofschap’ to accelerate the implementation of hydrogen applications.

The so-called Aanjagers van Technologie (‘Boosters of Technology’), a group of students selected by the 4TU.Federation from TU Eindhoven, Delft, Twente and Wageningen University & Research, pronounced the Techrede 2021 on Thursday, according to a press release. From the Industriepark Kleefse Waard in Arnhem, the Aanjagers presented the results of a year of research with talks, inventories, technological innovations and presentations to actually accelerate transitions.

Constantijn van Oranje was present online to support the Techrede and pointed out that the acceleration of the transition affects multiple generations. Thereby emphasizing the importance of the Techrede and all resulting actions.

In October 2020, The Techrede was pronounced for the first time. Students from the universities of technology of Delft, Eindhoven, Twente and Wageningen University & Research, collectively the 4TU.Federation, called for transition acceleration.

During the Techrede 2021, several initiatives were presented in which not only the universities, but also a representation of a wide diversity of sectors actively participate. All on five central themes: Energy, Food & Agriculture, Healthcare, Circular Economy and Digital Security.

Hydrogen board

Among other things, Het Waterstofschap (‘The Hydrogen Board’) was presented, which the 4TU students founded together with Top Sector Energy, Hymatters, Foundation Kiemt and Connectr. It is an administrative body whose main goal is to accelerate and especially simplify the implementation of hydrogen applications.

“Within 10 years, targets must be met in terms of reducing CO2 emissions. Just a permit process for a hydrogen filling station, for example, now takes between 1.5 and 5 years. This can and must be done much faster,” said Luc Kikkert, director of the Kiemt Foundation.

“The idea of a Waterstofschap is wonderful, even more wonderful is that an enthusiastic and motivated group of young people is propagating the idea and making it concrete. Because 2030 is closer than you think and we still have so many complicated puzzles to solve together. Our biggest dilemma is that we can’t really talk anymore; we have to get to work. That’s where these young people are helping us,” says Jörg Gigler, New Gas Director of the Top Sector Energy.

This October 7, the first action agenda of De Waterstofschap will be handed over to State Secretary Dilan Yesilgöz.


Within the theme of Care, the emphasis is mainly on prevention. In collaboration with the Netherlands Health Insurers, ways are being explored to make prevention a higher priority. One of the ways in which this can be done is by means of the Preventientje.

The use of the Preventientje must contribute to the ‘Prevention is better than cure’ principle. Discussions are currently underway with the Dutch Health Insurers to give the Preventientje a prominent place in the prevention policy.

Circular Economy

Making plastics recyclable is the big challenge for the coming years. Plastics consist of many different types of raw materials and not all those raw materials are the same in every type of plastic.

Consequence: collected plastic is difficult to recycle because of the great diversity of raw materials. It is simply not well known what the properties of many types of raw materials are when recycled. In the coming year, the Technology Drivers will focus on adapting the production process and especially on reducing the use of plastics.

The Milk Tap

The theme of ‘Know what you eat’ is to make consumers more aware of the origin of products. As an alternative to cartons of milk, De Melktap is being introduced more broadly. A tap in the supermarket where one can tap milk from local farmers.

The milk is pasteurized and consumed in the shortest possible production chain. Shorter chains ensure higher margins for agricultural entrepreneurs, giving them more room to invest in sustainability.

Digital safety

Recently, universities and colleges have been the victims of hackers. Large sums of money were demanded to release stolen data. Astrid Oosenburg Foundation DIVD: “The first thing to do in such a situation? Don’t panic. It’s difficult to decide whether to pay. After all, you never know whether you will actually get the stolen data back. I think Prevent in Healthcare is also a good tool in Cyber Security. Prevention is best and those tools are many times simpler than everyone thinks!”

One of the most important conclusions from the Aanjagers’ research is that there is a serious shortage of suitable and compatible training courses. Both colleges and universities are to blame for this, they say. Capgemini and Connect2Trust call for better structured and more aligned education to meet the growing demand for Cyber Crime specialists.

Techrede 2022

For 4TU and the Aanjagers, the coming year will be all about turning words into action. With the full support of the universities of technology, together with industry and governments, they will roll out the initiatives that have been taken and work towards that one goal: accelerating transitions through technological innovations.

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