Chemical or pharmaceutical companies generate a lot of valuable data which are currently not fully explored because of laborious (pre-)processing activities and the limitations of the available software tools which are typically designed to meet one specific objective. Data generation, however, is going to intensify over the coming years with the growing number of sensors, software applications and data storage capacity. This project aims to maximize data usage in a real-time manner for the benefit of chemical process development and manufacturing ensuring improved process optimization and operational excellence.


The main goal of the DAP² project will be to effectively implement real time data usage on several test-case processes/unit operations.
Specific tasks and goals to achieve the main goal:

  • To develop and setup a suitable data architecture (data warehousing) that allows machine learning enabled feedback loops in highly regulated environments
  • To develop and test machine-learning/AI data analysis platform
  • Perform test and learns on real time cases and evaluate modelling and data warehouse strategies


Innovation plan Industry 4.0: towards a digitized chemical and plastics sector in Flanders


Industry 4.0 is the general term used to describe the technological revolution driven by digitization of products, processes and services. Also known as the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ or simply ‘industry 4.0’.
Industry 4.0 offers interesting possibilities, but for many companies this revolution is a big challenge. The DIGICHEM project was established to help (both large and small) companies in the chemicals and plastics sector to find their way in the complex world of industry 4.0.


The concrete aim of this study is to develop a collective innovation plan on i4.0 for the Flemish sector of chemistry, plastics and life sciences. This innovation plan must outline the actions that can accelerate the integration of i4.0 technology into the sector.
More specifically, the following actions will be taken in the project:

  • Determine the scope and meaning of i4.0 for the target group
  • Mapping the questions, needs and challenges of companies from the target group regarding i4.0
  • Identification of barriers (internal to companies, legal framework, liability, etc.) regarding i4.0
  • Mapping the supply of services and products with respect to i4.0 with evaluation of the possible added value for the process industry in Flanders
  • Converting acquired insights into a concrete innovation plan i4.0
  • Making the innovation plan i4.0 known to the various stakeholders
Expected results and impact

By drawing up an innovation plan i4.0 in collaboration with actors across the entire value chain, collective business opportunities (= new value chains) and the possible ways to achieve them can be identified and realized. All opportunities that allow growth in the chemical sector in Flanders by implementing i4.0 technologies will be identified and an estimate can be made of where the best return-on-investment lies.
In the long term, the objective is to enable as many companies as possible to integrate the digital possibilities into their business processes, according to their own needs. This project will contribute to the awareness of companies that a transition is needed. It will also identify the different options and provide companies with a knowledge basis for starting the transition in their own company. The project will also offer the companies the opportunity to find the most suitable partners to assist them.

Project information
Project type: VIS Study
Approved on: 05/12/2017
Duration: 01/02/2018 – 31/01/2019
Total project budget: EUR 124.943
Subsidy: EUR 99.955

Particles In FlowExecution 

Development of continuous crystallization, dispersion and emulsion processes for tuneable (sub)micron particle generation

Organic nano- and microparticles are very important in all kinds of industries, products and applications. Three examples of particles with a high added value for Flemish companies are: organic micron sized crystals of active pharmaceutical ingredients, nano dispersions of coating resins and microcapsules with active ingredients. Four Flemish companies: Omnichem, Janssen Pharmaceutica, Allnex and Devan Chemicals have combined forces with three academic groups, with a proven track record in this field, to tackle problems associated with the production of these particles. Currently, batch reactors are used to produce the particles, but limitations in heat and mass transfer result in little control over the average particle size and particle size distribution and batch to batch variations. Higher standards maintained by the companies and their customers necessitate the industrial researchers to explore new and more robust technologies of particle synthesis. Upon executing this project, a large step in the direction of implementation of continuous processing technology in the Flemish nano- and microparticle production industry is taken.

The main advantages of continuous processing for these particles are:

  1. tuneable particles size and smaller particle size distribution
  2. control over crystal polymorphism and shape
  3. on demand production of low quantities
  4. less use of raw materials due to less out of specification production
  5. less use of mixing energy and solvent in cleaning steps
  6. scalability of processes

The PIF project aims to develop advanced (semi)-continuous processes to accurately control the average particle size, the particle size distribution and (polymorphic) shape of nano- and microparticles.

A complementary team of experts uses fundamental knowledge of the properties of the various solid-liquid systems to study influences of mixing devices, fluid dynamic and interactions between particles mutually and between particles and reactor components. This knowledge is used to design continuous reactors at lab and pilot scale.

Project type: ICON
Approved on: 26/10/2017
Duration: 01/11/2017 – 30/04/2020
Total project budget: EUR 1.780.259
Subsidy: EUR 1.432.057


SUperCritiCal Solutions for Side-stream valorisation


Currently, a market trend towards the upgrading of side streams to high added value ingredients through development of innovative know-how is present. Indinox (a company that has achieved a strong position in the market with the prefabrication, construction, assembly and installation of pipelines) and Eco Treasures (a company active in the extraction of natural components) target to make available and promote to the market isolated, high value added components, that have been produced sustainably from organic/biological side streams. Indinox is part of the Gumiro holding, which is the main shareholder of Eco Treasures. Both companies have joined forces with some other companies (e.g., Cargill), that are also interested in the upgrading of side streams to high value raw materials.

Project type: ICON
Approved on: 18/06/2015
Duration: 01/09/2015 – 31/08/2018
Total project budget: EUR 1.437.368
Subsidy: EUR 1.256.808
Partners: Logo_EcoTreasures_small gova logo indinox Tectero-Chemie
logo_UA_hor_kl_0 associatie UGent VITO logo blends


industriAl plaTform for flOw CheMistry

Development of a center of expertise and pilot production installation for industrial flow processes in Flanders



The fine-chemical processing industry in Flanders is to date still almost exclusively organized in terms of relatively large multi-purpose batch installations. Mainly under influence of the pharmaceutical industry in Europe and the US, a lot of research efforts have emerged in the field of continuous processing in the last decade. At first, this research was mainly focused towards small scale laboratory work, in the last couple of years more and more reports of pilot-scale and even full scale production developments in flow chemistry are being made. With the exception of some individual companies, the fine-chemical processing industry in Flanders is currently lagging behind in its adaptation of continuous processing.


With this ATOM project, we wish to make a start in building a true knowledge platform around flow chemistry in Flanders, and to investigate the feasibility of a flexible flow chemistry pilot production installation that would be open for contract manufacturing and pilot production for interested partners. By bringing together four industrial partners with a keen interest in this new technology and four academic groups with a proven track record in this field, we plan to make a serious step in the direction of anchoring the continuous processing knowledge needed to implement this technology in the Flemish chemical processing industry. Specifically, the main goals of this project can be summarized as follows :

1. Evaluate a number of specific processes from the partnering companies under flow conditions and prepare them for scale-up, if appropriate. The processes to be studied will cover a wide span of reaction conditions (multiphase, highly exothermic,…) so they can be considered to be generic for other applications from current and possibly future partners as well.

2. Gather the design input needed for the development of a multipurpose pilot plant flow reactor to produce pilot quantities of identified materials

3. Setting up a scientific, technological and economical centre of expertise for flow reactors, available for broad use by the Flemish chemical industry

Target Group

Companies exploring the possibilities of flow technology to increase their production efficiency.

Assuring that the scientific and technological knowledge is available and accessible, together with an accessible pilot plant facility, it will be possible for both the industrial partners from this project and other interested parties from within the Flemish chemical community to make a well-motivated choice between batch processing and flow processing for different chemical processes.

About the technology: Link


Project information ATOM 1
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 19/06/2014
Duration: 01/09/2014 – 31/10/2016
Total project budget: EUR 1.695.572
Subsidy: EUR 1.325.140
Project information ATOM 2
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 27/10/2016
Duration: 01/11/2016 – 31/10/2019
Total project budget: EUR 3.181.790
Subsidy: EUR 2.386.302
Partners: associatie UGent    

Plant on a truckCompleted 


The valuation study Plant-on-a-Truck ‘POAT’ (initiated by Janssen Pharmaceutica) aims to contribute to the creation of a new company, Avore, which provides integrated, chemical-technological solutions for the valorization of process (side)streams through flexible, modular and mobile units.

In a first phase, the focus within Avore will be on the on-site recovery of pharmaceutical and chemical secondary flows, that cannot be recycled or valorized within the current process (non-core for the process/business). The goal is to treat the secondary flows on site, close to the production process, to eliminate the use of holding tanks and central processing. The mobile, modular units will be constructed in a way that they can subsequently be used for the valorization of other process (side) streams (= flexible units).
But first, the most appropriate business model should be optimized to attract (additional) investors. To support the business model, technological proof of concept is needed for a number of side streams. During proof of concept the economic feasibility can also be evaluated.


Both the pharmaceutical and chemical industry are investing in sustainable processes. They do this partly by making use of process intensification, which should lead to safer processes, less emissions and waste, less consumption of energy and raw materials (energy and atom efficiency), smaller systems, lower costs and shorter time-to-market. Alternatively the companies invest in sustainability by using renewable raw materials in their processes. This shift of the typical petroleum-based industry to a more biomass-based industry requires not only new conversion processes, but also more flexible, modular and even mobile installations for reaction and separation that enable a more intensified approach. In addition to a broad chemical expertise this transformation also requires thoroughly understanding process technology (= translate the chemical solution in an efficient process) and process engineering (= translation of the process in an operating system) to be able to actually realize and implement the most viable chemical solution. Avore will combine this knowledge and translate it to practical solutions for its customers with a strong emphasis on modular and transportable production units, which the company will produce itself.