Gerard Nijhoving

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Gerard Nijhoving
Managing Director, Senbis Polymer Innovations B.V.


Inventing the Future of Performance Fibers and Nonwovens 

Developing Continuous Filaments (Fibers) from Biopolymers with Improved Mechanical Properties

Developments of continuous filaments for technical applications, whether it concerns a multifilament (yarn) or monofilament, typically focus on improving mechanical and thermal properties. Typical applications concern ropes, twines, fabrics but also reinforcements of all kinds, which explains this development focus. Virgin oil based polymers and extrusion processes have been continuously optimized for decades with this purpose. Most technical filaments can therefore be classified as a commodity and no breakthrough improvements have been seen in recent years.

Today there is an increasing demand for biopolymers for technical filaments as well. For these relatively new polymers many development opportunities are still present. That is exactly where Senbis is focusing on. We are however faced with the challenges that the conventional fiber industry has been working on for years: reaching sufficient mechanical and thermal performances.

The presentation will provide a general explanation of filament R&D. We will explain how the structure of a polymer molecule can provide indications of the performance and development options. After that we will discuss why it is more challenging to reach high mechanical performances with the current commercially available biopolymers, and also directions on how to overcome it. As an illustration, three examples of filament development with biopolymers by Senbis will be given: a compostable horticulture twine (PLA), a dolly rope for the fishing industry and a degradable trimmer line.

About Gerard Nijhoving

Gerard Nijhoving is an entrepreneur and Managing Director of Senbis Polymer Innovations in the Netherlands. He holds a BSc in mechanical engineering and a MSc in engineering and policy analysis. Before Senbis, Gerard has worked as a management consultant, sales manager and business developer for different organizations. Besides the polymer sector he has experience in the food and biodiesel industry. Within Senbis, Gerard is responsible for general management, investments, marketing and commerce.


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