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Joop Groen, manager new business development at TNO, says that “the stakeholders are convinced of the potential of a biobased economy. But if we are to achieve optimal results, we must cooperate strategically. That is not always an option, partly because each party has interests of its own. To support the transition, we worked with Tygron to build a computer model of a dynamic 3D world in which stakeholders can develop detailed scenarios. The responses to the test sessions were so favourable that we decided to model a real Dutch region. In consultation with the Biorenewables Business Platform, Biobased Delta, and Clean Tech Delta we opted for the Port of Rotterdam. This region has specific aspirations, and plenty of issues are involved. What are your projections for the new biobased industry on Maasvlakte 2, how are synergies within the cluster evolving (e.g. due to the fact that one plant’s product can be a neighbouring plant’s raw material, and so on)?”
Tygron is developing the software and building the dynamic 3D platform. Together with the regional project partners, TNO is providing expertise and information, specifically in the area of biobased. Mr Groen adds that “the model is displayed on one or more computer screens. You see a real world, and you can move through it. We want to read-in data from a variety of sources, involving roads, buildings and waterways. The model will also receive input about elevations (heights), enabling it to identify dikes, for example. To turn it into a biobased model, we want to add additional information. Such as raw material flows. Or factory-related data, such as this many people work there, they convert this raw material into these products, in the process they use this much energy and emit this much CO2. And what about profits and losses? All such information will soon be calculated within the model.”
“The feature that really makes this model stand out from the rest is that you can work with multiple different people at the same time”, Joop Groen adds. “In addition, you can track events in real time, which means that the participants’ backgrounds are less important. Technical experts, financial experts and general managers can easily communicate with each other. If they have developed a scenario through joint consultations, the model will calculate the extent to which the planned objectives will be achieved. The model can also be used for strategies or future scenarios. Alternatively, it can serve as a project management tool. If you have the model anyway, then you can keep it updated and use it to track information. We’re now getting to work on the Port of Rotterdam. In the future, by modelling multiple biobased hubs and connecting them with each other, we can improve the biobased transition for the Netherlands as a whole. That would be really great, of course.”
The consortium partners play a decisive role. “We start by identifying their needs and wishes, and by agreeing on the specifics of what we will ultimately deliver. We then build the model along pressure-cooker operational lines, while adding the appropriate data and calculation rules. Finally, we carry out a validation and conduct a strategy session. The use of a dynamic 3D model like this makes it possible to engage with the biobased economy in an entirely different way. I detect a great deal of enthusiasm for this approach, and a lot of curiosity, among the test-session participants and the consortium partners.”
We cordially invite any readers who are interested in this topic (whether in connection with the Port of Rotterdam or an entirely different region) or want to join the consortuim to contact us.
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