32nd CORNET call for SMEs now open

To benefit non-research-intensive SMEs, Flanders is participating in the 32nd CORNET call through VLAIO’s TETRA and COOCK aid instruments. The call has no thematic limitations and is open till 29 September 2021.

What is CORNET?

The CORNET programme provides funding for innovation projects that strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs through international cooperation. Participation in CORNET projects allows SMEs and research organisations to build up an international network and to benefit from knowhow and resources that might not be available in their country or region.

Participation requirements

Interested companies should join hands in a consortium that consists of at least two partners from two different countries. The participating countries/regions in this particular call are: Austria, Brazil, Flanders, Germany, Japan, Peru, Poland, Québec, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and Wallonia. The applicant should be an association (see VLAIO’s TETRA or COOCK requirements). Per partner, an SME user committee needs to be established that includes a minimum number of SMEs. The project also has to have a research component executed by a research institute.

Please note that applicants are strictly advised to consult with VLAIO at an early stage during the preparation of their proposals in order to ensure compliance with the conditions of the TETRA or COOCK aid instruments.

Themes

The 32nd CORNET call has no thematic limitations. All project proposals that meet the conditions of the TETRA or COOCK aid instruments can be submitted.

Deadline

Deadline for submission of project proposals to VLAIO is 29 September 2021.

Contact

Visit the VLAIO website for more information about this call, or contact catalyst Johan De Houwer (jdehouwer@catalisti.be).

The Catalisti team welcomes two new colleagues

We’re excited to announce that two new catalysts have joined the Catalisti team. Peggy Fredrickx and Aron Deneyer are ready and eager to further support our members in accelerating innovation into business!

Peggy

Peggy, 45, has a PhD in Physics from the University of Antwerp. She began her career as manager of Bayer’s Process Analyser Technology Group. Later on, she worked as unit manager at Bayer Material Science/Covestro, with particular expertise in HyCO, nitrobenzene and aniline production. At Catalisti, she will focus on delivering innovations in Process Intensification and Transformation. She will also strengthen the Moonshot team.

“I’m looking forward to being the engine of solid innovation projects and partnerships!” – Peggy

Aron

Aron, 29, completed his PhD on biomass conversion at KU Leuven. As a postdoc, he developed a new reactor platform for zeolite synthesis. He went on to work at Oleon as an R&D engineer in the field of oleochemistry. At Catalisti, Aron will mainly focus on innovations in Biobased Value Chains and Advanced Sustainable Products.

“There still is a wide array of sustainable innovation opportunities in chemistry and plastics. Let’s seize them together!” – Aron

Accelerating innovation into business

“Through their experience and expertise, Peggy and Aron will support us in serving the needs of our members even better”, says managing director Ann Verlinden. “They are eager and ready to set up innovation projects with impact, thereby helping all companies across our sector in accelerating innovation into business. Welcome to the team!”


Check out Peggy’s extended bio on her LinkedIn page
Check out Aron’s extended bio on his LinkedIn page

VLAIO helpt kmo’s in bio-economie bij opschaling

Vanaf september kunnen Vlaamse kmo’s bij VLAIO een steunaanvraag indienen om via pilootinfrastructuur te testen of het opschalen van een biogebaseerde toepassing haalbaar is.

Opschaling

Vooraleer een nieuwe biogebaseerde toepassing effectief op de markt komt, vindt een uitgebreid opschalingstraject plaats. Om kmo’s in dit traject te ondersteunen, op een laagdrempelige manier, lanceert VLAIO vanaf midden september 2021 de call “Piloottrajecten biogebaseerde toepassingen”.

Piloottrajecten

Binnen de call kunnen Vlaamse kmo’s een steunaanvraag indienen om via pilootinfrastructuur te testen of het opschalen van een biogebaseerde toepassing haalbaar is (TRL4-7). Focus van de projectvoorstellen dient te liggen op opschalings- en demo-activiteiten. Dit betekent concreet dat de toepassing reeds voldoende maturiteit kent bij de start van het project (proof-of-concept op experimentele schaal), maar dat commerciële uitrol nog niet mogelijk is.


Voorwaarden

Alle kmo’s met operationele activiteiten in Vlaanderen kunnen ingaan op deze call. Daarbij is samenwerking vereist, in onderaanneming, met een pilootinfrastructuur die als dienstverlener geregistreerd is voor de kmo-portefeuille. Meer details over de voorwaarden, en over de evaluatiecriteria, vind je op de VLAIO-website.

Subsidiepercentage en duur

De subsidie voor de piloottrajecten wordt bepaald op basis van de projectbegroting. Het subsidiepercentage bedraagt 45% voor kleine ondernemingen en 35% voor middelgrote ondernemingen. De steun bedraagt minimaal € 20.000 en maximaal € 100.000.

De projectduur bedraagt maximaal 1 jaar (mits verantwoording uit te breiden tot maximaal 2 jaar).

Infosessie

Op 26 augustus organiseert VLAIO vanaf 10u een online infosessie om geïnteresseerde kmo’s meer informatie te geven over de call. Inschrijven voor deze sessie kan via de VLAIO-website.

Vragen?

Vragen over deze call? Schrijf je dan in voor de VLAIO-infosessie, check de VLAIO-website of contacteer info@catalisti.be.


Picture by wirestock

België scoort wereldwijde primeur met chemische recyclage van yoghurtpotjes

“Het afvalverwerkingsbedrijf Indaver staat klaar om 100 miljoen euro te investeren in een fabriek om polystyreen te recycleren tot petrochemische basisgrondstoffen. Een wereldwijde primeur.”

In een interview in De Tijd lichten o.a. Paul De Bruycker van Indaver, Jacques Beuckelaers van TotalEnergies en catalyst Wannes Libbrecht toe hoe chemische recyclage aan een opmars bezig is in Vlaanderen. Ook Catalisti zet binnen haar innovatieprogramma Circularity & Resource Efficiency sterk in op het chemisch recycleren van allerlei kunststoffen, en dat als aanvulling op verdere innovaties in mechanische recyclage. Een en-en-verhaal!

Het volledige artikel lezen? Check de website van De Tijd of klik op de afbeelding hieronder.

VLAIO launches IraSME call for SMEs

To strengthen the competitiveness of Flemish SMEs, Flanders is participating in the 28th IraSME call through VLAIO’s Ontwikkelingsproject aid instrument. The call has no thematic limitations and is open till 29 September 2021.

What is IraSME?

The IraSME programme provides funding for innovation projects that strengthen the competitiveness of SMEs through international cooperation. The programme supports, amongst others, R&D with significant technical risks including the development of new products, processes or technical services (from the first idea to a possible prototype).

Participation requirements

Interested companies should join hands in a consortium that consists of at least two SMEs from two different countries. The participating countries/regions in this particular call are: Alberta (Canada), Brazil, Flanders, Germany, Luxembourg, Russia, Turkey and Wallonia. Projects with a Walloon and a Flemish partner need an additional third partner from another country. Cooperation with knowledge institutes is possible, but not obligatory.

Please note that applicants are strictly advised to consult with VLAIO at an early stage during the preparation of their proposals in order to ensure compliance with the conditions of VLAIO’s Ontwikkelingsprojecten.

Themes

The 28th IraSME call has no thematic limitations. All project proposals that meet the conditions of VLAIO’s Ontwikkelingsprojecten can be submitted.

Deadline

Deadline for submission of project proposals to VLAIO is 29 September 2021.

Contact

Visit the VLAIO website for more information about this call, or contact catalyst Johan De Houwer (jdehouwer@catalisti.be).

BIOPOL4MOTIVE

Biobased polyols for flexible polyurethane foams in automotive applications

BIOPOL4MOTIVE will support car manufacturers and their suppliers in making polyurethane (PU) foams used in car acoustic interiors more sustainable. The project will create two grades of PU systems specifically developed for manufacturing flexible PU foams with a substantial biobased content, without functional loss, and at attractive cost.

Sustainable PU foams
Due to their high performance at low weight and their competitive cost, PU foams are the material of choice for car acoustic interiors. Today, fossil-based methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and polyols are used to produce these PU foams. As car manufacturers and their suppliers strive towards increased sustainability and a reduced CO2 footprint, they are looking for ways to incorporate more sustainable materials into their PU foams.

One such sustainable material is biobased polyol. Currently, however, the chemical structure, inconsistent quality and cost of bio-polyol are curtailing its full potential. PU foams containing more than 10% bio-polyols, for example, exhibit an immediate loss of functionality. To overcome this challenge and increase the amount of bio-polyols in PU foams, innovative solutions are needed.

New bio-polyols
BIOPOL4MOTIVE offers these solutions by developing new bio-polyols and modified MDI, targeting use in automotive acoustic applications. In practice, the project aims to create two grades of PU systems developed for manufacturing flexible PU foams (i.e. high-resilience and visco-elastic) with a substantial biobased content. This will be achieved by developing the bio-polyol polymer and the MDI pre-polymer including the bio-polyol, delivering the required biobased content without functional loss and at attractive cost.

Impact
The project will lead to a significant increase of sustainable content in PU-based car acoustic interiors, while preserving the use and production of light-weight, cost-competitive PU foams in the automotive value chain.

Project Details
Project type: O&O
Approved on: 16/06/2021
Duration: 01/04/2021-31/12/2023
Total budget: €2.553.157
Subsidy: €1.276.579
Project Partners
To execute the project, a partnership covering the entire PU foam value chain was established: from a polyol producer (Oleon), over a PU raw material and formulated systems producer (Huntsman), to a supplier of sustainable lightweight components for acoustic and thermal management (Autoneum).
Contact
Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Linsey Garcia-Gonzalez (lgarciagonzalez@catalisti.be).


Flemish Bioeconomy Label
In the framework of the Flemish government’s policy plan for the bioeconomy, BIOPOL4MOTIVE was awarded the Bioeconomy Label by VLAIO.

Financed through the recovery plan ‘Vlaamse Veerkracht’, the policy plan for the bioeconomy seeks, amongst others, to stimulate spearhead clusters like Catalisti and support their collaborative innovation projects.

BIOPOL4MOTIVE is the first cluster project to be awarded the label, as it matches one or more of the focus themes identified by the policy plan, including the conversion of biomass and/or biological waste into useable materials and products.

BIOPOL4MOTIVE project approved

A new Catalisti project has been approved by Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). It’s BIOPOL4MOTIVE!

Full project title
Biobased polyols for flexible polyurethane foams in automotive applications

In a nutshell
This project will support car manufacturers and their suppliers in making polyurethane (PU) foams used in car acoustic interiors more sustainable. It will create two grades of PU systems, specifically developed for manufacturing flexible PU foams that can be used acoustic applications. Goal is to deliver a substantial biobased content without functional loss and at an attractive cost.

Project partners

Learn more
Want to learn more about this project? Check out the BIOPOL4MOTIVE project page!

Overheidsinvesteringen zijn broodnodig om klimaatdoelen te halen

Om onze klimaatdoelen te halen en de duurzame transitie van de Vlaamse industrie te ondersteunen zijn bijkomende overheidsinvesteringen broodnodig, dat stellen enkele Vlaamse topwetenschappers in een open brief in De Tijd.

Sectoren als chemie, staal en raffinage vormen de economische ruggengraat van Vlaanderen. Hoewel die drie sectoren hun CO2-uitstoot de afgelopen decennia al duidelijk wisten te verminderen, vertegenwoordigen ze vandaag nog altijd het leeuwendeel van de industriële CO2-uitstoot. Om die uitstoot terug te dringen en de klimaatdoelen te halen werkt de industrie volop aan duurzame alternatieven voor de fossiele grondstoffen die ze vandaag gebruikt. Het gaat bijvoorbeeld om biogebaseerde grondstoffen, of het gebruik van CO, CO2 en waterstof als grondstof. Daarnaast zet de industrie ook in op materiaalrecyclage, de elektrificatie van processen, hernieuwbare energiebronnen en restwarmte.

Vlaamse topwetenschappers geven echter aan dat begeleidende investeringen vanuit de overheid broodnodig zijn om die duurzame alternatieven een volwaardige kans te geven. Ze roepen de overheid dan ook op om in te zetten op zes zogenaamde ‘no regret-investeringen’ waarmee de klimaattransitie van de industrie begeleid en bestendigd kan worden.

Weten om welke investeringen het precies gaat? Lees dan de volledige open brief op de website van De Tijd.

Enzymares

Enzyme Prediction Toolbox

The intercluster project Enzymares, supported by Catalisti, Blauwe Cluster and Flanders’ FOOD, will develop an enzyme prediction toolbox to speed up enzyme discovery and reduce the time-to-market for new enzymes. The innovative toolbox will contribute to the success of enzymes as sustainable bio-catalysts and thus support companies in making their processes and products more sustainable.

Enzymes everywhere
Enzymes are ubiquitous. They are used in fine and specialty chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food and (aqua)feed products, textiles, cosmetics, and so many more industrial applications. As they are non-toxic and biodegradable, enzymes are an attractive alternative to chemical additives or catalysts. In fact, enzymatic catalysis has the potential to make industrial processes cleaner as well as more resource- and energy-efficient, thereby contributing to a more sustainable industry.

Given their wide array of applications and their sustainable profile, it’s no surprise that the global demand for enzymes is growing rapidly. Specifically, the hunt is on for new or better performing enzymes in terms of substrate selectivity, inhibition sensitivity, chiral selectivity, pH and temperature range. There is also an increased focus on enzyme performance in extreme conditions (e.g. high salt tolerance, hyper-thermostability, barophilicity, cold adaptivity).

Several sources…
Luckily, biological resources, and particularly marine environments, offer an enormous opportunity for enzyme exploration. Moreover, while current research has focused on tapping enzymes from microbial organisms, more complex eukaryotic organisms may represent yet another untapped reservoir of discovery.

… but difficult to discover
Tapping this reservoir and finding the right enzymes is, however, not straightforward. Today, most new enzymes are found through high-throughput functional screenings of genomic libraries and a comparison with biological databases.

Once interesting enzymes have been identified, their performance in industrial applications is assessed. This assessment can take years and, even then, the majority of enzymes identified through the screening process proves not to be particularly useful. In short, finding the right enzymes is extremely time-consuming and resource-demanding, slowing down their valorisation and application.

Optimising the enzyme discovery pathway
The intercluster project Enzymares seeks to speed up enzyme discovery by developing an enzyme prediction toolbox. The toolbox will optimise the enzyme discovery pathway through:
  1. an improved high-quality database that integrates different types of molecular and biological data
  2. the inclusion of ecological information about the organism and its habitat, as organisms inhabiting extreme habitats are far more likely to produce enzymes capable of performing under extreme conditions
  3. the inclusion, at an early stage, of process parameters and performance needs, to make sure that enzymes are indeed fit-for-purpose, to significantly increase the number of qualitative hits, and to reduce the time-to-market
All in all, a toolbox that integrates and includes different types of molecular data, ecological information, process parameters as well as performance needs will increase the chances of success in the enzyme discovery pathway. Furthermore, by exploring the diversity of enzymes in more complex organisms, a “new world” of previously unknown enzymes may become available for valorisation by the industry and may expand the application potential of enzymatic catalysis in industrial processes.

Through its innovative toolbox, Enzymares will contribute to the success of enzymes as sustainable bio-catalysts and thus support companies in making their processes more sustainable.

Project Details
Project type: SBO, intercluster with Blauwe Cluster and Flanders’ FOOD
Approved on: 20/05/2021
Duration: 01/09/2021 – 31/08/2025
Total budget: €2.699.884
Subsidy: €2.699.884
Project Partners
To tackle the complexity of the enzyme discovery pathway, a multidisciplinary approach is crucial. Therefore, Enzymares brings together experts in ecology, microbiology, protein (bio)chemistry, bioprocess technology, bioinformatics and machine learning. The intercluster project is supported by three Flemish spearhead clusters: Catalisti, Blauwe Cluster and Flanders’ FOOD.
Industrial Advisory Board
AB Mauri, Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services, BASF, Bienca, B4Plastics, Cargill, ChemStream, Flen Health, IMAQUA, Innovad, INVE, Kemin, Nutrition Sciences, Proviron, Puratos, Puxano, and Tereos

Contact
Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Johan De Houwer (jdehouwer@catalisti.be).