Category Archives: News

Renewable energy in Zambia: looking for Dutch companies

RVO and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs have commissioned a market study into the opportunities for Dutch renewable energy companies in Zambia. Expected publication/presentation date for this study is early April, with a view to a possible trade mission to Zambia and Zimbabwe later in the year. We would like to get in touch with Dutch renewable energy companies that are interested to further expand their activities to the Zambian market. These companies will be invited to an informative networking meeting on doing business in Zambia, and their input will be used to determine the contents of the trade mission.

So, is your company working in the field of sustainable energy and potentially interested in doing business in Zambia?
Please fill out your contact details in this form or click here to send an e-mail. We will then contact you as soon as possible.

Why Zambia?
Zambia is a politically stable country, endowed with a wide range of renewable energy resources and rated very highly in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of doing business’-monitor. At the same time, both the population’s access to electricity and electricity tarrifs are low, while blackouts frequently leave businesses and higher-income residential areas to secure their back-up energy requirements with expensive diesel gensets. However, electricity prices have recently increased with 75%, economic growth is strong and stable, and in coming years Zambia will receive a lot of support and funding from international programs focussed on renewables.

Trade mission Vietnam

Minister Kaag (Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) is leading a trade mission in Vietnam and Malaysia this week together with Hans de Boer (chairman VNO-NCW) and about 45 companies. The economic mission is focused on urban growth and societal challenges. Partners for Innovation and CREM conducted a scoping study of the opportunities for circular economy in Vietnam, of which the results are presented during the trade mission.

On behalf of RVO and the Dutch Embassy in Vietnam, Partners for Innovation and CREM carried out a scoping study on circular economy in Vietnam. The study focuses on the state of play of circular economy in Vietnam and social-economic and environmental challenges and circular solutions. Besides that, the report provides opportunities for Dutch – Vietnamese cooperation on CE.

Read more about the study in the presentation of the results.

Manufacturing small wind turbines in Benin: is it feasible?

On November 30th and December 1st, over 40 stakeholders gathered in Cotonou to discuss the role small wind turbines can play in the electrification of Benin. Partners for Innovation presented its feasibility study and outlined an action plan for sector development.

The government of Benin is looking for ways to provide its population with the energy needed for socio-economic development. Especially in rural areas, electricity provides a clear pathway to expanded and sustainable energy access. Renewable energy technologies can play a key role in this. Small wind turbines are part of this renewable energy technology.

In a feasibility study, Partners for Innovation found that potentially more than 30.000, currently unelectrified, households can gain access to electricity generated by turbines in the range of 1 – 10 kW. In addition, we found that within a 5-7 year horizon, more than half of the economic value of the turbines can be created through local assembly, manufacturing and construction taking place in Benin itself. In the manufacturing and construction sector alone this would create 50 to 150 jobs annually.

These results, together with an outline for a small wind sector development roadmap, were presented to over 40 local stakeholders on November 30th and December 1st in the Beninese capital of Cotonou. The participants included ministry representatives, private sector representations, academia and a variety of NGO’s (including NGOs focused on youth and female empowerment). Through this session and the incorporation of feedback from the participants, it will become possible to formulate a clear and thought-through strategy.

Want to learn more?


Recycled plastics in electronics: from individual pilots to industry collaboration

Ten companies in the electronics sectors, together with the two trade associations Digital Europe and CECED, gathered in September for a two days’ workshop.  Goal of this workshop was to formulate concrete projects to use more recycled plastics in electronic appliances. All parties agree that the market for recycled plastics will get a boost when electronics producers increase the use of these plastics in their products. Industry collaboration can help speed up this development. The workshop in Brussels boosted this cooperation. 

“We already have projects on recycled plastics. We started back in 2010 by introducing more and more recycled plastics” Eelco Smit, sustainability manager of Philips explains. “Now we want to take this to the next level. We are too small to make a big change ourselves: we can only make a change if we get critical mass.”The collaborative workshop, bringing together several electronics producers, electronic collectors, virgin producers and recyclers, gives companies the opportunity to learn from each other and work together to achieve industry wide collaboration. [1]

Different material properties

Why are recycled plastics not reused for new electronics yet? Often this is related to the material properties of the recycled material. These are not the same as the properties of virgin material. This means electronic producers need to test all recycled materials for all different product groups – a time consuming process. In addition, the designers working for brand owners do not always know how to design with recycled materials. And even if they do have this knowledge, high quality recycled materials are not always available in large quantities. The bigger electronics brands such as BSH (Bosch Siemens) and Philips prefer to work with large suppliers. Recyclers, on the other hand, face the challenge to produce a high quality and high value material at a competitive price. This involves large investments in machines needed to separate the different plastics from each other. The recyclers deal with a mixed materials supply stream, as many product types (e.g. washing machines together with tumble dryers, dishwashers, cookers, etc) are collected together.

What’s next?

During the workshop participants shared their knowledge, evaluated their supply chains and created new ideas how to make this more circular. Subsequently, they worked together on solutions for the current challenges. This resulted in five project proposals. A group of workshop participants agreed to work on an educational tool “Design for Recycling” in order for designers to get more in-depth knowledge on working with different recycled materials. Another group worked on a project proposal related to standardization of recycled plastics, whereas another group focused on improving the collection and recycling of filled PP(polypropylene) from washing machines. The participants will be invited again to follow up on the progress in the projects. One thing is clear: all parties are highly motivated to close the plastics loop. As Gisela Lehner from Borealis stated: “Plastics is too valuable to throw away, we want to be part of the second life of plastics.” To be continued…

More information? contact Marjolein van Gelder or Ingeborg Gort.

[1] Present at the workshop were CECED, Digital Europe, Ricoh, Technicolor, Philips, BSH Hausgeräte GmbH, Eco-systèmes, Recupel, Coolrec, MBA Polymers, Urban Mining Corp and  Borealis.

Mainstreaming gender in energy projects: training

Partners for Innovation and MDF offer a free of charge train-the-trainer course for organizations in ECOWAS countries involved in gender mainstreaming in energy projects. This three day course will be held in Accra, early 2018.  We are looking for NGOs or training institutes that have experience with gender and energy-related capacity building. The course, travel and accommodation will be paid for by UNIDO-ECREEE.

Find more details on the training here: ECOWAS Training announcement – incorporating gender-sensitivity in energy practices.

For more information on the project, please contact Stan van den Broek.


Getting down to work on circular plastics

A number of thirteen companies from the plastics chain – brand owners, plastics processors, recycle companies and designers – presented their new circular business model at the  CIRCO Track Plastics edition of 2017. Their aim is to realise their plans in the near future.

Circular business model

The Dutch federation for the rubber and plastics industry (NRK) and CLICK.NL (Top sector Creative Industries) work together on the development of circular plastics. For this they organised  the so called Business Design Tracks in which participants exchange experiences and learn techniques in order to make their business model more circular.

Working together in the chain

Cooperation in the chain is essential. Everyone has access to the same information and possible outcomes of innovations and experiments. The end goal is better solutions for the whole chain.

Look on the website of the  NRK  for a selection of presentations that contribute to the goals of ‘NL circulair 2050’.

– Are you interested in what previous participants did? Take a look at this vlog.

Boost for agribusiness – FinAgri Niger 2017

On 16 and 17 May 2017 Partners for Innovation Niger organized in Niamey the FinAgri. Financial institutions and key actors of the agricultural sector in Niger took part in a finance fair related to the agri sector.

Participants of the fair were agri-businesses, farmer organizations, banks, micro finance institutions, government organizations, NGOs and donor organizations.

Partners for Innovation organized the FinAgri through AgriProFocus as Partners for Innovation is responsible for running the  AgriProFocus network in Niger.

Find detailed information (in French) in the  Journal AgriProFocus spécial 2017


First prize won by Senegal youngsters on agroforesty entrepreneurship

On March the 28th  three young Senegalese entrepreneurs have been awarded a prize of 5,000e by the French Embassy in a   competition in which 72 projects were submitted. The three entrepreneurs participated in the  Senegal Youth Forum organized by the French Embassy in November 2016 and were under training by Partners for Innovation. 

Creating business opportunities

Saga Africa offers young African entrepreneurs, project leaders and operators in the informal sector the opportunity to submit project proposals aimed at  improving social economy and solidarity. Their goal is to “make the journey together and learn by sharing their mutual experiences, networking and creating business opportunities.” Submitted proposals are examined by a jury composed of investors and partners of the HUB during the HUB AFRICA Pitch.

More information

Eindhoven Airport & Vanderlande are closing the loop

The airport of Eindhoven and logistics automatisation company Vanderlande have taken an important step towards a circular economy. In the Closing-the-loop project parts of existing baggage handling systems are being reused at the airport instead of being disposed of. In a unique cooperation valuable transport systems now have a longer life span, it’s Vanderlande’s first step to see if a circular business model for transport handling systems is feasible and functioning.


Due to our airport expansion the airport can no longer use our current baggage handling system. A challenge presented itself. By dismantling the equipment into pieces, without knowing where they end up would lead to an unnecessary diminution in value. If (parts of) the equipment are to be reused on a new location, the airport manages to keep its maximum value. So, part of the transport and sorting machines have been put up for sale. See this e-magazine.

Unique cooperation

The Airport of Eindhoven en Vanderlande worked together in this project with amongst others Forbo and SEW (supplier of Vanderlande), ACE Reuse Technology (a specialist in the field of remanufacturing) and locally based recycling company Heezen. For the assessment of the current status of the system and its parts (including the driving mechanism) it’s essential to involve all companies in the value chain and their expertise. In the end you need to be able to guarantee the quality for the new user. Ingeborg Gort of Partners for Innovation, acted as independent project manager to guide the companies in taking the next steps and communicating the results. She documented the steps and the business model.

Circular business model

The business model is work in progress and is depending on the infrastructure of Vanderlande, logistic processes, partners, new customers and last but not least, the costs and margins. However, two things can be noted:
1 The Netherlands will be 100% circular in 2050, since natural resources are becoming scarce.
2 Vanderlande’s systems are employed in 600 airports worldwide, of which 14 in the 20 biggest airports in the world.
If Vanderlande continues in this direction it will work out for the best, keeping in mind that natural resources will become the predominant factor of future business models.

Want to learn more?

See also the video with project learnings

Subsidy for innovative renewable energy projects – with export potential

From the 1st of July a funding program is open for innovative renewable energy projects. It’s aimed at supporting Dutch entrepreneurs who intend to demonstrate a new renewable energy service or product. Applicants have to present a solid business case and show a potentially high contribution to a sustainable energy system. The product or service has to be passed the prototype stage and be ready for first market introduction.


The budget of the call for proposals is 20 million euro, and will be granted in a tender. Proposals are ranked on basis of quality and receive a subsidy in order of this ranking until the budget is fully allocated. Financing of the applicant’s share needs to be demonstrably arranged at the time of submission. Considered eligible  activities are experimental development (max. 30% of a project) and  demonstration (min. 70%).

Example projects

Examples of projects that are considered eligible are coming from Dutch companies producing new equipment / technologies for converting biomass to electricity / heat, for example biogas digesters (small/medium/large), waste-to-energy installations, pyrolysis installations, biomass gasification or other renewable energy innovations.

Important dates

Project proposals can be submitted from July 1st. The DEI call for proposals closes on October 24th 2017.

  • For more information please contact

Thomas Dietz

Elke Roetman