Kees Koolen gets his cleantech campus after all

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Kees Koolen has acquired Eaton’s business park in Hengelo to start a science, technology and enterprise campus dedicated to the development of clean-energy solutions. The Green Box will immediately start to fill up with subsidiaries from the Koolen Industries conglomerate, but the site welcomes other companies and R&D groups as well. An incubator for cleantech startups will also be launched.

Kees Koolen at The Green Box site. Credit: The Green Box

Serial entrepreneur Koolen tried to establish a green campus in the east of the Netherlands before. After joining US battery cell manufacturer Lithium Werks, he announced a large-scale energy campus on the Technology Base, a former airfield. Lithium Werks backed out, however, after which Koolen left the company and started ‘collecting’ his own cleantech companies, which he can now bring in close proximity to one another.

“Collaboration is an essential ingredient of the energy transition. We aim to foster an entrepreneurial and cooperative spirit here. We’ll encourage startups and others to work together and learn from each other as we strive towards a shared goal of providing clean energy for everyone, whenever and wherever they need it,” commented Koolen.

As with the Lithium Werks campus, nearby University of Twente will also be involved. The Green Box aims to facilitate collaboration between commercial entities and scientists, and entrepreneurial student teams will be encouraged to participate in competitions, where the winners will be offered free working space on site to develop their ideas.