The new CAPTURE building will play a central role in research into the circular economy in Flanders. This research field is making strong progress, but also requires collaboration between many disciplines. But the step is necessary, believes Van de Walle, who has high expectations.
"We are explicitly putting forward themes such as sustainable development and sustainable technology development as priority policy choices," says Van de Walle. The rector will begin a second term in September. "We want to be among the best globally, to have a global impact to help make a difference globally."
The new building is described as a "melting pot" for linking research around resource reuse to ways of thinking out realistic applications. "With CAPTURE, we want to bring together both research groups and companies, so that together and on a scientific basis, they can develop and bring to market new technology for the recovery of raw materials."
CAPTURE works around the recovery of water, capture and conversion of CO2 and use of plastic waste. "Wastewater can be a source of pure water, for example," Van de Walle said. "CO2 can become a source of carbon for the production of chemicals. And plastic waste, as the increasingly diverse contents of our PMD bags attest, can serve as a raw material for new applications."
The Flemish government is already allocating 3.9 million euros for the building. Flemish Minister of Work Hilde Crevits (CD&V) therefore describes the opening of the building as "an important milestone in the Flemish policy on sustainability, innovation and circularity."
For funding, CAPTURE was able to call on 4.8 million euros from the European Regional Development Fund and 1.5 million euros from UGent. UGent's Incubation and Innovation Center is also contributing 2.2 million euros and the province of East Flanders another half million euros.