XCELIS® CHAMPION: Bart Koops, Grain Processing Application Development Leader – EMEA
As a PhD student in enzymology at Utrecht University, Bart Koops was drawn to the many possibilities of enzymes: to build things, to break things down, to create new molecules. When a sales manager position opened up at Genencor (now part of DuPont) in 2005, he had the chance to share that passion with his customers—which he still finds rewarding today.
“Having the chance to explain why and how enzymes work, and what they can improve in their process, that’s the part I really like,” he says. “I’ve always had the scientific joy of seeing enzymes being applied.”
As sales manager and later as leader of the EMEA Applications team in the Netherlands since 2011, Bart has seen the ethanol industry mature across the region. That means he’s had the opportunity to engage with customers at every stage of their development—from getting their plants up and running to optimizing their operations with advanced enzymes. Now, customers are looking beyond basic ethanol production and want to improve other parts of the process as well, like downstream processing.
"I’ve always had the scientific joy of seeing enzymes being applied."
“For example, the more efficiently they can separate solids and liquid and the more efficiently they can evaporate the liquid after separation, the more process water they can recycle. That saves not only on water, but also on energy—so it’s a cost savings too,” he explains. “That’s one area of expertise we are building in our laboratory in Europe: to have a better understanding of this downstream processing and how our enzymes can influence it.”
Building that expertise has been made possible by the customer partnerships he’s developed. Many provide him with samples that his team tests with enzymes in the lab. The results have generated so much interest that they are now planning to trial some of these enzyme combinations in their plants.
This tailored approach has been a winning strategy for both sides.
“We have so many customers using different processes and different raw materials, there’s really no one solution that fits all of them,” he says. “We now have created the capability to prepare tailor-made solutions for individual customers that bring the biggest value to their process.”
Testing solutions in the lab also gives an ethanol producer peace of mind that a new enzyme will pose no risk to their process. That builds confidence in their relationship with DuPont—and drives Bart to do even more.
“For me, building capabilities to help our customers improve their processes is a big part of how we help fuel them forward toward the future.”