EU-ATS consortium wins innovation grant to realize fully circular artificial turf
Amsterdam, 24 January 2020 – The EU-ATS consortium of DSM-Niaga, NextEconomy.nu and Recreational Systems International (RSI) was granted the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award. The SBIR is a competitive program of the Dutch Government which focuses on high quality, sustainable sports fields. The EU-ATS consortium is one of the initiatives that has received an incentive budget, between 400K and 750K, to develop a prototype for sustainable sport fields and turn it into a marketable product.
The Eureka Artificial Turf System (EU-ATS) is the consortium’s proposed solution. It is a fully reusable artificial turf: at end of each life cycle, it can be recycled back into artificial turf of the same high quality. The uniqueness of this product is that it is intentionally designed with one material only that can be reused again and again. Also, it does not contain any toxic materials.
Traditional turf is made of polypropylene and polyethylene, held together by latex. This deems it unrecyclable: it is technically complicated to take apart because of its (non-modular) design and the materials used. This renders the recycling process energy consuming and the materials used can often only be down-cycled. Crucial to the product design of EU-ATS is that the single material used for this artificial turf keeps its value as a resource after each life cycle.
Managing partner at SRI, Arnoud Fiolet, says, “If and when we succeed to make our project wishes come true by the beginning of next year, we will have succeeded in making (unfilled) products that adhere to the standards of FIFA and FIH as well as the highest sustainability requirements that society demands from us. The interest in this innovation is huge, both on a national and international level. We are confident that this consortium has all the elements from a knowledge and capability perspective to make this innovation work.”
Chris Reutelingsperger, Chief Technology Officer at DSM-Niaga, emphasizes, “All over the continent, there are huge piles of used sports fields lying around. A vast amount of soccer and hockey fields are being placed and replaced annually. Recycling them is so complex of a process that it would cost far more than it would yield. This grant will allow us to test and iterate quickly and introduce our turf to market, turning waste into a treasure.”
Arun Swami Persaud, New Business Creation Specialist at NextEconomy.nu, adds, “Especially for urban areas in the Netherlands, but also elsewhere in the world, there is a great need for playgrounds and sports fields that can be played intensively all year round under all kinds of weather conditions. With EU-ATS we have developed a prototype that offers a perfect playing experience and is completely reusable. From grass to grass!”
This consortium of frontrunners formed a partnership to combine knowledge and expertise to turn this complex innovation into a reality. RSI has extensive knowledge of playing comfort and quality in the artificial grass industry, NEN is an expert in bringing together the right expertise in innovative projects, and DSM-Niaga has the material knowledge and design experience to redesign everyday products for circularity together with its partners.