ESA Technology Broker in the Netherlands

Jointly operated by the NL Space Campus and the Space Business Innovation Centre Noordwijk, the ESA Technology Broker for the Netherlands facilitates a unique convergence of space and terrestrial industries. 

 

ESA Technology Broker in the Netherlands 

The ESA Technology Broker Network is a dedicated consortium of specialists uniting space and non-space industries for the purpose of technology transfer. With a blend of market insight and technological expertise, this network offers thorough support including business support, technology scouting, and guidance in funding opportunities. The brokers operate within regional and national innovation ecosystems, but also act as a network to ensure a pan-European reach accelerating technology integration and product development. 

 

ESA Technology Brokering in the Netherlands: Joint Efforts for Innovation 

The ESA Technology Broker for the Netherlands operates through a collaborative effort between the NL Space Campus and the Space Business Innovation Centre Noordwijk.  

Drawing upon national technological roadmaps, the broker focuses on key sectors such as agri-food, energy, logistics and transportation, and high tech. The aim is to address innovation challenges using existing technology in the Netherlands, while also leveraging relations with space technology developers across ESA Member States. 

Corneel Bogaert, ESA Technology Broker for the Netherlands, reflects on the primary objective: “Our focus is on transferring technology and knowhow, particularly from space to non-space (spin-off) applications. While spin-off applications are our mainstay, occasional spin-in cases also contribute to our overarching goal of fostering innovation in the space industry.” 

Highlighting solutions with significant socio-economic impact, the broker plays as a mediator in advancing ideas and introducing products to the market. Working closely with ESA and the Netherlands Space Office, and actively involving the broader community at the NL Space Campus, the brokerage service is tailored to explore new synergies between space and terrestrial industries. 

 

Connecting Industries: NL Space Campus’s Role in Collaboration 

Corneel Bogaert discusses the role of the NL Space Campus in promoting collaboration: “With the immediate presence of ESA BIC Noordwijk and the NL Space Campus network, we have a solid foundation to work with as ESA Technology Broker in the Netherlands. It gives us plenty of options to build bridges within and beyond the space sector. We can help our startups and space companies to reach new markets by facilitating collaborations with stakeholders working in completely different domains such as in agriculture, energy or logistics. At the same time our brokerage service enables these terrestrial industries to tap into the realm of space technology.” 

He further explains the network’s effectiveness, emphasizing its capacity to bring together various stakeholders: “The NL Space Campus serves as a hub, connecting space companies, experts, and industry players across various sectors. Through introductions and relationship-building, it fosters connections that transcend traditional industry boundaries.” 

 

Space for Energy Competition: Driving Innovation 

The Space for Energy winners after the award ceremony at the NL Space Campus Network & Drinks 

Expanding on its range of services, the ESA Technology Broker in the Netherlands actively promotes innovation across various sectors. One noteworthy initiative is the annual technology transfer competition. Corneel Bogaert highlights the competition’s role, “Such contests are a good way to raise awareness about the broker and opportunities at hand”. The theme of the latest edition of the competition was ‘Space for Energy’. Focusing competitions around specific themes has been found to enhance engagement among potential contestants and partners. Corneel Bogaert emphasizes the positive response from various organizations, including the top sector energy and NL Hydrogen, noting, “We’ve received considerable support from a variety of organizations, including the top sector energy.” 

The contest, initiated in September 2023, attracted fifteen submissions. From these, three winners were chosen and unveiled during the NL Space Campus Network and Drinks event on November 30. 

One of the winning entries was Metalot Future Energy Lab B.V. (Metalot), which won the 1st prize with their proposal, “The New Iron Age – The Green Energy Revolution with Iron Powder.” This technology uses iron powder to safely store large amounts of green hydrogen, inspired by applications in space missions. It offers a clean energy alternative without smoke or carbon emissions. Adapting this concept for Earth has the potential to address issues related to renewable energy supply and grid congestion, supporting local efforts to reduce carbon emissions. 

Stijn van Aken and Ariana Kadri, representing Metalot, elucidate their journey, stating, “Our idea literally originated from the NL Space Campus, which is why we decided to join the competition.” Stijn and Ariana emphasize the competition’s role in catalyzing actionable ideas, stating, “The competition is a nice opportunity for people to look into space technology and think of ways to apply this to terrestrial problems.” He underscores the competition’s impact, stating, “The competition is beneficial wherever you are in your process; it really helps nail down an idea and aids the process.” 

Ariana acknowledges Metalot’s advantage and readiness in the competition, “We were a few steps ahead of perhaps other competitors, as Metalot has existed for quite a while and already has the role of facilitation. So, we do have a lot of things figured out already. So, for us, it was more about clarifying points rather than reevaluating things.” This insight highlights Metalot’s experience and strategic approach, enabling them to fine-tune their proposal effectively. 

 

Opportunity at ESA Technology Broker 

Corneel Bogaert emphasises the accessibility of ESA Technology Broker NL: “Our service is free, powered by ESA and NSO, making it accessible to all. There are no strict criteria for participation in the ESA Technology Broker programme, but typically a technology provider possesses tested and reliable technology or software ready to be transferred towards a product developer. In the end, our objective is to maximise the impact of space in the wider economy. Our brokerage is mainly about exploiting investments in space to generate non-space applications, resulting in a win-win for both worlds.” 

Regarding synergies with ESA’s incubation programme, Corneel also highlights process agility, stating, “Successful transfers may come from incubated companies, alumni, or even lead to the participation in the incubation programme of a non-space venture looking to utilise technology originally developed for space.” 

 

Get Involved 

Whether you’re a non-space entity seeking to address innovation challenges or a space entity exploring terrestrial applications, we’re here to assist. Share your technology needs or innovative solutions, and let us facilitate impactful collaborations and technology transfers. Together, we can harness the power of space technology to drive real-world innovation and change. 

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