Gerard Nijhoving


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.


Don’t just take our word for it

I strongly recommend Innovation Takes Root. It's a good opportunity to understand and see what happens in this area of biopolymers. It's an international event and not just on PLA. I think it's well done, well-managed, and well-organized. It was a good investment for me.
Marco Garilli

Innovation Expert - Polymers, Electrolux

I'd definitely come back (to ITR) and recommend it. I think many different industries could learn something from a conference like this - it really is focused on the next level of sustainability.
Maddie Guillory

Vice President, Titan Robotics

It has been a wonderful event; very well organized. I especially appreciate the scheduling of activities, the alternation of speeches, and time to network, which has been one of the key successes from my point of view. We also felt very supported by your team; we had the feeling you believe in what Flo is doing and, for us, that's very important.
Tazio Zerbini

Operations Director, Flo S.p.A.