Hugo den Besten

PhD candidate
University of Groningen

About myself

I grew up in Scheemda, a small village in the north-east of the Netherlands. In my spare time you can find me at least three days a week in the gym. Other hobbies of me include riding my motorcycle and sailing, both preferably when it is warm and sunny. I like to go for a walk, or in general to spend time outside.

At the moment I work on

After graduating cum laude with a master’s in Chemistry, I started my PhD in May 2020 in the group of prof. dr. W.R. Browne. Here I focus on finding renewable alternatives for reactive diluents used in industrial coatings, as part of a bilateral ARC-CBBC coatings program. As drop-in replacements have proven not to be successful, a bottom-up approach to develop a new coating will be taken. I design and synthesise new coating monomers, and characterise and test the newly developed coatings using a wide range of (spectroscopic) techniques.

As a researcher I am passionate about

I’ve always been passionate about making the world greener. Especially with projects on the interface between academia and industry: things that could possibly be introduced in industry or society within the next few years. I have a very broad interest in, among others, (mechanical) engineering, green hydrogen production, energy storage, and (physical) organic chemistry. This is reflected in the things I worked on during my studies: from working on organic solar cells with prof. dr. J.C. Hummelen during my bachelor’s to exploring the possibilities of lignin, with prof. dr. K. Barta and by synthesising and characterising zeolites with prof. dr. P.P. Pescarmona during my master’s.

Research close to industrial applications or that could have large impact on society has always had my interest. I want to make a difference for future generations.

Within ARC CBBC, I wish to accomplish

I want to create a durable and strong industrial coating from bio-based materials. I want to give industry a guideline on how to approach such a problem, which will allow them to find new coatings for different applications in the future. I also wish to build on and strengthen the relationship between AkzoNobel and the University of Groningen to make sure this valuable collaboration is continued.