Turning CO2 in value-added chemicals

The chemical industry is the largest industrial consumer of fossil fuels in the world. Reducing the industry’s overall dependence on so-called petrochemicals to reduce the greenhouse effect is one of the great scientific challenges of our time. Using waste CO2 (as an alternative carbon feedstock) and transforming it into value-added chemicals, also known as Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU), has the potential to address this challenge. This will result in new business opportunities for the chemical industry.

With the support of CATALISTI, the Flemish Government recently provided a significant boost to establish a technology platform for CCU by funding three research projects for a total budget of 6 million euro. The CO2PERATE(1) project aims to develop catalytic technologies to convert CO2 into formic acid, using renewable electricity. Formic acid will subsequently be used as building block for the biosynthetic production of value added chemicals, as a building block for the chemical industry, or as a potential carrier for energy storage. A decision support framework will be developed to select the best available technology for CO2 utilization within a given techno-economic context. The CATCO2RE project focuses on the conversion of CO2 to methane and methanol using solar energy, integrating new developments in the production of solar hydrogen with catalyst design and state-of-the-art separation technologies, allowing for the integrated production of solar fuels. Both research projects gather a multidisciplinary team of scientists from several Flemish research institutes, and involve an industrial advisory board who are eager to implement the results and create economic valorisation. The CAPRA(2) project aims to develop an anaerobic biological process technology for converting undistilled syngas fermentation products to a bio-oil of medium-chain carboxylic acids, that can serve as feedstock for the production of added-value chemicals. This project matches a demand from two industries: the steel-making industry (ArcelorMittal), that is looking for opportunities to valorize waste gases, and the chemical industry (Proviron), that is looking for alternative and sustainable sources of carboxylic acids as building blocks for the production of chemicals. The development of the biological process technology will be performed jointly by Ghent University and OWS. A life-cycle assessment (Ghent University and OWS) and techno-economic assessment (VITO) will highlight the feasibility and environmental benefits of the CAPRA process technology.

Apart from these recently approved ‘Flemish’ projects, some Interreg and European projects in which Flemish partners are actively involved were also recently approved. Among these projects are:

  • EnOp (Interreg) (3)
  • E2C (Interreg) (4)
  • MicroSync (NWO) (5)
  • Carbon4PUR (EU) (6)
  • BioRECO2VER (EU) (7)
  • BIOCON-CO2 (EU) (8)
  • IMPACT (EU) (9)

The potentially new business models originating from CO2 utilization within all these projects are expected to contribute significantly to economic and sustainable growth in Flanders and Europe’s circular economy.

Picture: CO2PERATE consortium at the kick-off meeting in Ghent



B4Plastics, small company, great innovations!

B4Plastics is a young technology company that designs, develops and distributes new ecological plastics. The polymeric materials are designed to fulfill application criteria. They make use of established or novel building blocks to result in novel backbones. That way, a new balance between functionality, cost and ecology is offered in the resulting materials.


A one-man business

With a background in corporate chemical industry, and having inventarised a wide spectrum of scientific possibilities for “greening plastics”, the time was mature to create B4plastics: help partners and customers to green their plastics products and practices. Grown from a “one-man business” at the very beginning, B4plastics now forms a small international team that develops, produces and markets its first eco-plastic products.

At B4plastics, we have a young tradition to launch products that set new ecological standards in their respective markets. This has been the case for Ecotrim, COMPOST3D® and Biorix® (see, and each product is subjected to innovation cycles that bring them to a next generation with an improved [cost – functionality – ecology] balance. That way, the products keep up their pioneering promise over the years and challenge the incumbent plastic producers to green their product portfolio. The B4plastics products also provoke governments to speed up sustainable legislation, by showing which new ecological standards become possible in the respective market.

Innovation process

Catalisti has played an important role in the first years of B4plastics, by linking and framing the innovation practices of the company with surrounding partner companies. As a result, pioneering technology and business targets are synergized with Flemish partners, giving Flanders the perspective of world-class innovation.

The current plastics industry comes in a dynamic transition towards more sustainable practices. Legislation is kicking in, media start to report on the dynamics on a weekly or even daily basis, and customers raise their voices and give their input. Plastics are becoming the hotspot of criticism, though they have brought us admirable wealth in their first generation. It is clear that we gradually need to shift into a next generation of plastics: those that are better adapted to sustainable business practices, and those that are better understood by their users. It is the belief of B4plastics that the transition can only be successful if a socially responsible production is linked to a socially responsible consumption. Therefore, the company strives for an improved relationship between plastic products and their consumers. By developing novel ecological material platforms, and by cultivating this important relationship, the company hopes to fulfill a unique role in the plastics industry.


Converting CO2 into fuel wins prize for most promising scientist for University of Antwerp Researcher

Marleen Ramakers, a chemist at the PLASMANT research group of the University of Antwerp, is developing a method to convert waste gases such as carbon dioxide into useful fuels. She is awarded the Eos Pipet, an award for most promising scienteist, for her research. The verdict of the jury: ‘Marleen Ramakers has built a reactor that can lead to a usable application for the sustainable storage of energy. The step between the lab and industry is small. Marleen already made several important contributions to science at a young age. ‘

Read the full article on the Eos website (in Dutch):


Approval of 4 EFRO-projects for our cluster

In July 2017, the Flemish government has launched an EFRO-call for the “Support of spreading technologies with the purpose of valorization and commercialization” within its Cluster policy. After an application and evaluation process, four projects from our cluster were approved and granted.

In the first project, LignoValue Pilot, VITO and its partners Jacobs België NV and VMH will construct a pilot line (TRL 5-6, production capacity of ± 200 kg/day) for the conversion of wood/lignin into biobased aromatics. This will allow the production of larger amounts of these biobased aromatics, as such allowing companies to take further steps in their application development path. The aim will be to design the pilot line as flexible as possible to demonstrate different depolymerization processes. For this purpose, the most preferential conversion technologies  that will be identified in the recently-approved Catalisti project ‘Bio-Aromatics Feedstock Technology Assessment (BAFTA)’ (in which a thorough landscape analysis including the most promising technologies for isolating and depolymerization of lignin will be made)  will be implemented on relevant scale.

Also, two projects coordinated by member companies were granted. Within the DUVAL project, Agfa Gevaert will implement and provide a continuous thin film evaporator platform for the Flemish chemical industry. The InQbet Accelerator project from P&G has the aim to increase the success of start-ups and growth companies in commercialising innovative products and business models.

In the fourth project, Bio Base Flow, the BioBase Europe Pilot Plant will accelerate technology transfer and improve project management by means of new processing equipment and an innovative concept of partner hubs and project management room with integrated infrastructure for process steering.


Lybover lanceert uniform verschijningsbeeld voor haar zes Business Units

In 33 jaar tijd heeft de familie Boels haar onderneming van een eenmanszaak tot een bedrijvengroep met bijna 200 medewerkers uitgebouwd. Ze hebben inmiddels 7 nichebedrijven in hun portfolio, allemaal KMO’s die zich één voor één profileren als specialisten in het zoeken naar een op maat gemaakte industriële oplossing voor de klant. Om dit alles duidelijk te profileren naar de buitenwereld werd gekozen om onder één verschijningsbeeld in de markt te treden, duidelijk aangevend dat alle activiteiten verder onder de Lybover koepel ontwikkeld worden.

“Met onze Lybover groep willen we extra opportuniteiten creëren en nieuwe medewerkers aantrekken”, aldus Hans en Filip Boels.

De Lybover groep bestaat voortaan uit zes Business Units (tussen haakjes de voormalige namen):

  • RECYCLING: Machines en installaties voor droge scheidingstechnieken (BULK .ID)
  • METAL: Plaatbewerking, constructiewerken en industriële buisleidingen en dit zowel in staal als in inox. (Hafibo – Hafinox)
  • AIR: Industriële ontstoffingsinstallaties. (Keller Lufttechnik Benelux – Keller France – Luksal)
  • FIRE: Brandcompartimentering en rook en warmte afvoerinstallaties voor ondergrondse parkings en gebouwen (Keller Benelux)
  • INSTALLATION: Montage en service activiteiten (Lybotech)
  • BULK: Installaties voor opslag en transport van bulkgoederen (Motogroup – site Brugge)

Om meer te lezen, klik hier:


New VLAIO call for pilot and demo projects

The focus of this call is on projects aimed at pilot scale or demo activities that are carried out at the level of an individual company or within a collaboration between two or more companies. This means that sufficient maturity is available at the start of the project (eg proof of concept on a smaller scale) but that no commercial rollout is possible yet.

More information:

Catalisti members can get free guidance and support from Catalisti, please contact Leentje Croes (


Vlaanderen Circulair launches new OPEN CALL Circular Economy

Vlaanderen Circulair launches two project calls to support innovative and valuable projects.

CALL 1: Circular purchasing
These subsidies are intended for those who have registered as purchasers or supporting parties in the Green Deal Circular Purchasing. Cooperation between partners of the Green Deal is also possible.

CALL 2: Circulair city and entrepeneurship
These subsidies are intended for (the partnerships of) local authorities, companies, research institutions, organizations and citizens. We encourage collaborations with other parties in the value chain (from producer to consumer and back).

more information:


Chemiesector is de gangmaker voor de circulaire economie

Als de circulaire economie ergens haar oorsprong vindt, dan wel in de chemiesector. Dat zegt Saskia Walraedt, kersvers directeur van essenscia PolyMatters. “We willen gangmaker zijn voor de omslag naar een kringloopeconomie.”

Anne Vandenbosch en Pascale Martello | 17 april 2018

Basf Antwerpen Overview 2


“De manier waarop chemiebedrijven de nevenstroom van de ene productie-installatie inzetten als grondstof voor een andere, is circulaire economie avant la lettre”, zegt essenscia.

De moeder van alle industrieën, zo wordt de chemiesector weleens genoemd. Niet onterecht, want heel wat sectoren zijn afhankelijk van bouwstenen die uit de chemie- en kunststoffensector komen. En ook hun duurzaamheid wordt erdoor bepaald. De chemiesector moet gezien haar milieu-impact leidend zijn in de omschakeling naar de circulaire economie. Maar ze biedt ook meer dan een deel van de oplossing, zegt Saskia Walraedt. Voor een visie-interview over de rol van de chemische industrie in de economie van de toekomst zijn we bij haar aan het juiste adres. Gepokt en gemazeld in het CSR-vak – Saskia Walraedt was zes jaar lang duurzaamheidsadviseur bij essenscia – schopte ze het begin dit jaar tot directeur van essenscia PolyMatters, de kunststofdivisie van de sectorfederatie van de chemie en life sciences.

Om meer te lezen klik hier:


Gezocht: interclustermanagers transitieprioriteiten

Via e-tendering zoekt VLAIO 2 interclustermanagers om de samenwerking tussen verschillende speerpuntclusters te versterken.

VLAIO zoekt samen met de speerpuntclusters en de transitieprioriteiten Circulaire Economie, Industrie 4.0 en Energie, 2 interclustermanagers. Deze managers richten zich op het realiseren van samenwerking tussen twee of meerdere speerpuntclusters binnen deze transitiedomeinen.

Tijdens de looptijd van de opdracht ontwikkelen zij een methodiek voor het detecteren en ontwikkelen van deze samenwerking zodat deze ook op de langere termijn voortgezet kan worden. Ondertussen identificeren en realiseren zij ook concrete samenwerkingsopportuniteiten tussen de leden van de verschillende clusters.

De aankondiging van de opdracht is hier elektronisch beschikbaar. Voor meer informatie kan je contact opnemen met Annie Renders (, 02 432 42 32) of Corien Struijk (, 02 432 42 87).

Voor meer informatie klik hier:


SuperNova: Mede-oprichter van Twitter, technologielegende Ray Kurzweil en een cyborg tekenen present in Antwerpen

SuperNova Conference kondigt tweede lading topsprekers aan

Donderdag 19 april 2018 — Eind september trapt Antwerpen het eerste SuperNova festival af, een ode aan technologie, innovatie en ondernemerschap. Na eerder onder andere Seth Godin en Philip Ingelbrecht (oprichter van Shazam) te hebben aangekondigd als sprekers, maakt de organisatie opnieuw een paar indrukwekkende namen bekend. Zijn ook van de partij: de co-founder van Twitter Christopher Isaac “Biz” Stone , levende technologielegende en Google-coryfee Ray Kurzweil, MIT-topper en bio-architecte Neri Oxman, erkend cyborg Neil Harbisson en het Zweedse excentrieke agency Snask.

De conferentie werpt een blik op welke technologie en trends  de wereld van morgen zullen sturen en geeft een uniek overzicht in de bedrijven en creatieve ondernemingen van de toekomst. De SuperNova Conference maakt deel uit van het SuperNova Festival en is een initiatief van Flanders DC en met de steun van de Vlaamse overheid. Early Bird-tickets zijn nu al verkrijgbaar via

De toekomst van technologie en ondernemen
De SuperNova Conference wist een waslijst aan briljante sprekers te strikken. In dat rijtje spreekt ook de verscheidenheid aan toonaangevende namen, van de technologie-, marketing-, architectuur-, muziek-, ingenieurs- en academische wereld tot de verbeelding. Een massa intrigerende en verrijkende visies in lijn met het centrale thema: ‘Tomorrow is Unstoppable’.

Om verder te lezen, klik hier: