2010, a holiday in Borneo, Jan-Govert van Gilst witnessed a worldwide problem at first-hand. Vast areas of forest being destroyed and beautiful beaches awash in a sea of plastic waste. He decided to do something about it, he quitted his job and started a company. The initial idea was growing bamboo on building sites, for co-firing in coal plants. This won the Zuid-Holland Prize and reached the finals of the TEDxAmsterdam Award in 2011 and in 2013, bringing the company to the attention of the media. However, Jan-Govert realised that bamboo wasn’t the answer. He approached Wageningen University, who pointed him in another direction. Elephant grass.

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