Innovation and collaboration thrive at Chemelot: an interview with BMC researcher, Ryan van Zandvoort

Innovation and collaboration thrive at Chemelot: an interview with BMC researcher, Ryan van Zandvoort

March 20, 2024

Ryan van Zandvoort, one of the first three researchers at Brightlands Materials Center (BMC), works at TNO and has built up nine years of work experience since his education at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. With a broad range of tasks, no two days are the same: “It’s nice to sometimes let go of something.”

“As a researcher, my job includes various tasks, such as managing a laboratory and ensuring a safe environment through chemical management,” says Van Zandvoort. In addition to these tasks, he also conducts research, such as developing a smart window that can block or transmit infrared radiation based on the ambient temperature without being visible. “That’s one of the main projects I’m working on.”

 “Despite being a researcher by job description, my responsibilities at work are quite diverse,” Van Zandvoort elaborates. “On one day, I could be involved in lab upkeep, and on the next, I could be conducting experiments. With a different theme to work on every week, the job is truly dynamic and multifaceted.”

 Van Zandvoort states that TNO is currently thriving. “Initially, our focus was on producing tangible results that would attract customers. We would then organize events for our partners, showcasing our work.” As Van Zandvoort recalls, these events began with mere polymer grains and small glass plates. “Now, customers are queuing up, and we are able to showcase entire windows.”

Chemelot is a large industrial park located in the southern part of the Netherlands. It houses a range of companies and institutions working in fields such as chemistry, materials science, and biotechnology. The campus is focused on fostering innovation and collaboration between its occupants and is home to numerous research centers and facilities for testing and production. Chemelot aims to develop sustainable solutions for industry and society, and to position itself as a leading hub for high-tech materials and processes.

 “I find it a shame that there is not much awareness among the common populace of what is happening at Chemelot,” says Van Zandvoort. “Nobody really knows what Chemelot does, but there is so much going on here. It’s unfortunate that nobody knows because we can help almost everyone.” Van Zandvoort uses “his” flagship project as an example: “Everyone has a window, everyone wants it to be nice and warm or cool in the house, and everyone knows how hot the steering wheel can get in the summer. Everyone can benefit from our windows and the developments at Chemelot.”

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