Europe’s chemical industry is at a crucial crossroads, ready to seize the major advantage of using biomass as a resource for chemicals, materials and energy. Flanders plays a key role in creating this biobased economy, and owes its leading position to its strong foothold in agro-food, sugar and starch, promising value chains, recycling expertise and international gateways to biomass streams. Find out how to boost your biomass business in Flanders.
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The biomass industry in Flanders
By setting up operations in Flanders, you will gain access to a close-knit business and knowledge ecosystem ideal for your biomass activities.
Flanders is leader in biomass feedstocks, thanks to its strong foothold in agro-food, promising value chains and position as major recycling hub.
Flanders offers dedicated, highly specific education and training programs to foster promising talent in the field of biomass. These include:
- Bachelor, Master and research programs at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering of Ghent University;
- Unique academic training at the University of Leuven’s Faculty of Bioscience Engineering;
- Research programs in the reuse of biomass waste at the University of Hasselt and Hasselt’s university college PXL.
With three seaports, three international airports and a dense network of pipelines, roads, railroads and inland waterways, Flanders offers a strong and – above all – globally-oriented logistics network. In addition, the region is ideally situated between the Netherlands, France and Germany, three nations with significant strengths in terms of biomass and biotechnology.
Companies with or deciding to set up their activities or headquarters in Flanders can reap the rewards of:
- various government grants and subsidies for transformation, ecological, R&D and growth investments;
- unique tax incentives for various types of business activities and investments;
- a set of employment subsidies to further reduce your salary costs as well as fiscal remuneration advantages;
- a number of funding options to help you get off the ground.
Flanders offers incentives that are particularly relevant to organizations conducting intensive biomass research. Examples include:
- Investment deduction for R&D – 13.5% of acquisition value/qualifying asset or 20.5% of the depreciated amount;
- Exemption of payment of 80% – of the personal income withholding tax of researchers in certain scientific fields.
Flanders has a system of ‘green certificates’ to promote energy generation from renewable sources. Put in place by VREG, the regulator of the electricity and gas market in Flanders, the system is two-pronged:
- on one hand, producers of electricity from renewable energy sources such as biomass can receive green certificates, which they may sell;
- on the other hand, power suppliers must submit a specific number of green certificates to avoid a fine.
- ... 1.81% of the gross margin of Flanders’ economy is biobased?
- … 22% of the installed electrical power at the Port of Ghent is generated through the combustion of biomass?