5 speakers 15 minutes each

Stefaan De Wildeman

An end to plastic straws

Stefaan De Wildeman graduated as a Chemical Engineer in Applied Biological Sciences (KULeuven, 1998), and finished his PhD after discovering a new bacterial species dehalorespiring chlorinated organic pollutants in groundwater (Ghent University / Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, 2002). Since 2002, he joined DSM as an Associate Scientist in the field of Biocatalysis, the cross-over of his core interests in organic chemistry and microbiology. That days, Biocatalysis served several DSM businesses in Pharma, Anti-Infectives, Nutritionals, Vitamins and Plastic Materials. As a Senior Scientist, he started to explore the potential of Biocatalysis to link renewable raw materials to new biobased building blocks for novel materials with added functionality. In 2013, Stefaan started up a research group and strategic early-phase projects on new biobased building blocks at Maastricht University, in close cooperation with regional academia and global industries. From this position, his vision on biobased materials further matured by co-starting up two new Biobased Institutes: Aachen-Maastricht Institute for BioBased Materials (AMIBM) and Institute for Science&Technology (InSciTe). He also helped to lay the foundation for the new Master in Biobased Materials at Maastricht University. Inspired by increasing dynamics, challenges and opportunities in the plastics industry, he founded B4plastics, a company with a radical eco-plastics vision and a world-new product portfolio. “Tomorrow’s Plastics” will be built up from more local and renewable resources, will allow consumers to enjoy and understand their plastics, and will be designed for a sustainable afterlife. This vision is reflected in niche products designed and marketed by the young company. B4plastics is on a mission: awake our world from its fossil dreams and medieval plastic behaviours and guide it to a more enjoyable and sustainable materials future.