Can CHILL help us optimize our production process?
NovioPonics, which relocated from Sittard to Venlo in 2016, is a company with a clear focus: reducing pesticide use. To achieve this goal, they developed a material known as NovioHelix. Last year, the company was chosen to participate in the Startup Bootcamp organized by the Brightlands Chemelot Campus and was given the opportunity to further develop this innovative product. That is how Linde Zhou, CEO of NovioPonics, first came into contact with CHILL.
"The communication is excellent and I expect a very fruitful partnership."
Pesticides are a big problem in agribusiness and measures are being taken to introduce new legislation that will force companies to reduce the amount of pesticides they use. “A scientific study found that 90% of chemical agents do not end up on plants, but in the soil and in the water. This causes environmental pollution. The market is calling for a product that will help prevent pollution,” explains CEO Linde Zhou. Her company has been developing NovioHelix since 2014. “We discovered that our material reduces the use of pesticides by at least 50%. This is an incredible result that needs to be pursued further. We therefore decided to join the Startup Bootcamp. Being selected to participate has greatly increased our chances of success. We are being given the necessary support, we can draw on a network of experts, our funding opportunities have increased, and we were introduced to CHILL,” explains Linde. Both NovioPonics and CHILL are based in the municipality of Sittard-Geleen. “That’s one of the advantages,” says Linde. “We immediately got together to discuss how CHILL can help us.”
"Conducting research together is a great learning experience for our students and for us."
NovioPonics plans to market its product in 2017, first in the Netherlands and then in the rest of the world. But before they do, Linde wants to assess the production process with the help of the students at CHILL. “We know the strength of our product, but we’re still looking for ways to optimize our process. New technologies or different technologies may help us speed up our manufacturing process. We first defined our question and are now busy setting up the project.” The partnership has yet to take off; at this point, the focus has been on establishing contact between lecturers and supervisors. “The communication is excellent and I expect a very fruitful partnership,” explains Linde. “We have a lot of work to do in the months to come. Conducting research together is a great learning experience for our students and for us. It would be great if they found a way to improve our product and our process.”