Innovation Fund: third large-scale call for saving energy and scaling back fossil-fuel dependency

Launch: November 2022 – Deadline: Q1 2023

In the context of REPowerEU, the Innovation Fund has announced that it will double its efforts to save energy and scale back dependency on fossil fuels. The European DG Climate Action already organised a few workshops this summer (heat pumps, energy storage, renewable energy, electrolysers & fuel cells). The third Innovation Fund large-scale call will support:
(1) innovative electrification and hydrogen applications in industry;
(2) innovative clean tech manufacturing (such as electrolysers and fuel cells, innovative renewable equipment, energy storage or heat pumps for industrial uses);
(3) mid-sized pilot projects for validating, testing and optimising highly innovative solutions.
This call has also been announced by the Flemish government ( – VEKA).

More information about the call
REPowerEU Plan

How can citizens and businesses save energy? Factsheet on energy saving (image source)

VLAIO informs: EFRO (ERDF)/Interreg Programme 2021-2027

This session for cluster member companies and organisations will focus on the opportunities for cluster members in several EFRO/Interreg programmes for Flanders. Companies in existing projects will share their experience. The session will offer the right insights, inspiration and motivation to apply for these programmes.

EFRO in Dutch refers to ERDF or European Regional Development Fund.
Interreg is an interregional cooperation programma co-funded by the EU.
🗒When & where:
Monday 28 November 2022
1000 Brussels, Atelier Vlaams Bouwmeester, Ravensteingalerij 54-59 (5′ from Brussel-Centraal) 
 12:30-13:30: registration, sandwich lunch
13:30-15:30: information, testimonials, Q&A

New to the Catalisti Team

Meet the most recent Catalysts to join our team:

Stef Koelewijn

Stef joined Catalisti in April as Program Manager. He has a background in valorizing (in)organic waste streams within the context of a circular economy. Stef holds a PhD in the field of sustainable chemocatalytic engineering. He will be mainly responsible for project brokerage within the innovation program carbon circularity and resource efficiency.

Otto van den Berg

Otto joined the Catalisti team at the beginning of July. He has a background as an entrepreneur working on renewable intermediates for different industries. Otto holds a PhD in the field of polymer chemistry. He will be responsible for the follow up of projects involving carbon circularity and bio-based materials chemistry.

Aagje Van Cauwelaert

Aagje joined the team in June 2022 as Communication Officer. She has a background in Germanic languages and the history of ideas. She likes to work on communication for societal themes and the transition we need to make to a sustainable planet.

We still have a job opening for Project Manager. Check out our job page!

PERSBERICHT: Chemie- en kunststofsector pioniert met interregionale innovatieprojecten

Brusselse, Vlaamse en Waalse overheidsinstanties openen grenzen voor innovatie

Brussel, 28 september 2018 – Brusselse, Vlaamse en Waalse ondernemingen die binnen eenzelfde innovatieproject samenwerken met steun van de overheid. Het lijkt een evidentie, maar tot op heden was dit onder strikte voorwaarden enkel mogelijk voor kmo’s. Onder impuls van de chemie- en kunststofsector zetten de bevoegde overheidsinstanties voortaan hun gewestgrenzen open om ook gezamenlijke innovatieprojecten tussen grotere bedrijven en kennisinstellingen uit de verschillende landsdelen te ondersteunen. Hiervoor is vandaag een uniek princiepsakkoord ondertekend door Catalisti, de Vlaamse speerpuntcluster voor chemie en kunststoffen, Greenwin, de Waalse innovatiecluster voor duurzame technologieën, en de regionale overheidsorganisaties VLAIO, SPW Recherche en Innoviris.

De kracht van innovatie schuilt in samenwerking: tussen grote bedrijven en kmo’s, tussen ondernemingen en kennisinstellingen, tussen partners uit binnen- en buitenland. In België toont het kmo-programma Bel-SME aan dat ook interregionale samenwerking tussen partners uit de verschillende gewesten economische en maatschappelijke meerwaarde biedt. Op vraag van de chemie- en kunststofsector worden dergelijke ‘grensoverschrijdende’ innovatie-projecten nu ook mogelijk voor grote bedrijven en clusterprojecten. De agentschappen van de drie gewestelijke overheden – VLAIO (Vlaanderen), SPW Recherche (Wallonië) en Innoviris (Brussel) – zetten daarvoor een gecoördineerde samenwerking met aangepaste procedures op poten.

Het blijft bovendien niet enkel bij theoretische principes en mooie verklaringen. Catalisti en Greenwin organiseren vandaag al in Edegem een matchmaking-event om ondernemingen en kennisinstellingen uit Brussel, Vlaanderen en Wallonië met elkaar in contact te brengen. De chemie- en kunststofsector streeft ernaar om zo snel mogelijk de eerste interregionale innovatieprojecten op te starten.

Frank Beckx, gedelegeerd bestuurder essenscia vlaanderen, sectorfederatie van de chemie en life sciences: “Innovatie stopt niet aan de grenzen van de drie gewesten in ons land. De chemie en kunststoffen is een strategische sector voor de verschillende regio’s en we zijn blij dat de overheid onze vraag steunt om interregionale innovatieprojecten te kunnen opzetten. Dit samenwerkingsmodel kan een inspiratie zijn voor andere industrietakken.”

Jan Van Havenbergh, Managing Director Catalisti, speerpuntcluster voor chemie en kunststoffen: “We botsten binnen onze innovatieprojecten soms letterlijk op grenzen. Het is een goede zaak dat we die muren nu slopen om onze krachten te bundelen en kennis te delen. Meer samenwerking leidt tot meer innovatie. Daar wordt iedereen beter van.”

Bart Candaele, waarnemend administrateur-generaal VLAIO (Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen), Katrien Mondt, Directeur Generaal Innoviris (Het Brussels Instituut voor Onderzoek en Innovatie) en Rose Detaille, Inspecteur Generaal van het Departement Onderzoek en Technologische Ontwikkeling van de Waalse Overheidsdienst (SPW Recherche): “Vlaanderen, Wallonië en het Brussels Gewest maken vandaag duidelijk dat ze de klant centraal stellen en dat onderlinge grenzen geen rol spelen in de gezamenlijke wens om bedrijven te steunen om te innoveren. Dat zal op termijn alle drie de gewesten ten goede komen.”

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.


Reduction of Emissions and Sustainable (Solvents in) Polyurethane Coating

With certain textile PU coating processes solvent is used or even combinations of solvents. For the removal of the solvent gas emissions, the companies use air purification techniques like scrubbers, rotor concentrators and post combustion. In cases where the gas streams have a medium or high load, the efficiency of current technologies is not high enough to reduce the solvent to the required minimum concentrations. The textile coating companies in Flanders are subjected to stricter controls, by the regulation agencies, compared to competitors outside Flanders. The companies need a robust, reliable and efficient emission gas treatment to be combined with their current technique to secure their operations in Flanders. 

A feasibility desktop study was already performed. This study screened 16 technologies for this use and concluded that 6 technologies show potential to meet the screening criteria: compatibility with running production systems and installations, (expected) effect and efficiency on removal of solvent, ecological and economical sustainability and “user friendly” (working conditions for operators, etc).

The overall goal of this project will be to tackle persistent issues in the use of the solvent in polyurethane coating applications. The main, short term development will consist of pilot scale solvent emission reduction. The secondary, longer term goal comprises the development of new, sustainable solvents for PU dispersions and coating processes to replace the current solvents while striving to preserve existing coating infrastructure.

Project Details

Project type: O&O
Approved on: 24/10/2018
Duration: 01/01/2019 – 31/12/2020
Total budget: €2.113.237
Subsidy: €685.019

Project Partners

Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Otto van den Berg (