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Purified Metal Company

They know each other from Nedstaal, and now the three of them are busy creating a revolutionary business from scratch. Purified Metal Company (PMC) in Delfzijl will soon be cleaning contaminated scrap metal for reuse. Director Jan Henk Wijma: “It’s a childhood dream, it started with an A4 and turned into a factory.”

A few years ago, while he was still working at Nedstaal, he became aware of the problem of scrap metal that was contaminated with hazardous asbestos. “We established that there was no solution to this environmental problem. The contaminated scrap metal was simply dumped with all the resulting environmental consequences.” That was when he and Nathalie van de Poel started developing the idea. Bert Bult joined them soon after. Step one was assessing the business opportunities. They saw that money could be made from cleaning contaminated scrap metal and then melting it again. With that premise, Wijma studied the technology to do that. On the PMC site, they clearly state how this works, including a glimpse into the process that will soon take place in the factory: “Because the temperature reaches 1,500°C during steel smelting, the hazardous asbestos fibers are broken down to sand, glass and magnesium oxide. The entire sealed off factory was specially designed to guarantee the safety of people and the environment during processing and transport.”

‘By patenting our invention, we have the development and execution under our control.’

Jan Henk Wijma – Purified Metal Company

Every aspect

“We don’t have a background as inventors,” explains Wijma. “Once we calculated that we could earn money with this, we also discovered that no one had thought of this before. We found that incredible, it seemed so logical to us. Laying down a patent as soon as possible was the clear next step. Because the goal was and is to develop this ourselves and, therefore, also execute it. V.O. has guided us through all aspects of intellectual property. We went through everything with the patent attorney and their lawyers and applied for patents in various countries. We also tackled the business structure, so that everything is covered contractually.”

Childhood dream

We have since signed contracts with builders and users, and the permits have been arranged. “The factory will be built in Delfzijl and with turnkey and operational delivery in 2020. Renewi (formerly Van Gansewinkel) is doing the collection. Jansen Recycling is participating in the business and guarantees the purchase of Purified Metal Blocks, in short PMBs. Once the factory has been built and proven itself, our invention will have even more value. Then conceivably we could sell our expertise on license in other places in the world. It’s a childhood dream that has come true. It was once an idea on an A4, and now we are going to build it. And we are going to contribute to the circular economy. Instead of dumping, the cleaned steel scrap will be reused.”

More about the expert

Otto Oudshoorn

Otto Oudshoorn

  • European and Dutch Patent Attorney, European Patent Litigator
  • Partner
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