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, B4Plastics, BASF, Bienca, Cargill, ChemStream, DEME, Flen Health, IMAQUA, Innovad, INVE, Kemin, Nutrition Sciences, Open Analytics, Proviron, Puratos, Tereos.

Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Martijn Mertens (mmertens@catalisti.be).

Enzymares project approved

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

Full project title
Enzyme prediction toolbox

In a nutshell
Enzymares 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.

Project partners

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


True Recycling Upscaling of Flexible Packaging in the Plastics Circular Economy

Key innovative players in the packaging value chain are joining forces in the TRUCE project to develop new building blocks for highly functional, flexible packaging solutions as well as a lean recyclability protocol. The innovations pursued within this project, with respect to end-of-life of plastic packaging, are yet another important step towards a truly circular economy.

In a nutshell
Goal of the TRUCE project is, first of all, to develop new building blocks for highly functional, flexible packaging solutions that can be combined into fully recyclable mono-polyethylene (≥95% PE) structures.

The combined expertise of packaging design from Amcor, polyethylene production, design and recycling activities from Borealis, specialty additives from Eastman, adhesives from Bostik, packaging line and food product requirements from Puratos and recyclability testing and predictive modelling from Ghent University will result in new innovative packaging designs and bring certainty to the recyclability at both small and larger scale.

The first application testing will be performed at Puratos and will result in a proof of concept for these new recyclable flexible packaging structures. Ghent University will perform the life cycle assessment (LCA) study of the innovative packaging designs. Finally, the consortium is completed by spearhead cluster Flanders’ FOOD, which actively supports the project.

Recyclability protocol
TRUCE also seeks to develop a robust and targeted recyclability protocol, which is both lean and representative for the targeted recycling stream. This will, on the one hand, allow the project partners to do fact-based analyses of the improved recyclability of the newly developed structures at state-of-the-art recycling facilities. On the other hand, the protocol could align and integrate with existing evaluation systems, to bring the best of both worlds to industrial application and accelerate the implementation of recycling-ready structures into the market.

By involving a wide range of industrial partners throughout the value chain, TRUCE enables the testing of the developed structures on dedicated packaging lines at industrial scale, taking a critical step towards product testing in an operational environment and assuring functionality of the packaging towards the shelf-life performance of the packaged good. Life cycle assessment will help quantify the environmental sustainability performance of the new innovative packaging designs (with the building blocks of highly functional flexible packaging solutions) in particular applications. All in all, the results to be obtained by this project will represent yet another important step towards a truly circular economy.

Project Details
Project type: COOP, intercluster with Flanders’ FOOD
Approved on: 18/12/2020
Duration: 1/01/2021 – 31/12/2022
Total budget: €2.236.912
Subsidy: €1.170.153
Project Partners

VITO launches tool for downstream processing of lignin and lignin oils

With the support of the Catalisti project BIORESAL, VITO has launched a tool that helps companies select the right downstream processing strategy for lignin and depolymerised lignin oils.

Downstream processing of lignin

Lignin is one of the most abundant organic substances. Due to the substantial presence of aromatic components, it’s also one of the most promising natural raw materials.

Choosing the right downstream processing strategy for lignin and lignin oils is, however, not always straightforward. On the one hand, polymeric lignin is known for its structural complexity and heterogeneity. On the other, lignin oils obtained after depolymerisation might contain impurities such as ash or polysaccharides. These realities complicate downstream processing of lignin and lignin oils. To end up with exactly the right specifications for specific applications, different processing steps should be perfectly aligned.

A helpful tool by VITO

Based on the properties of the feedstock and the required end specifications, how can companies decide which series of downstream processing steps will lead to the required results? With the support of the Catalisti project BIORESAL and in the framework of Biorizon, VITO has developed a tool that helps companies make this decision.

The tool is a decision tree for the selection of the appropriate downstream processing strategy for lignins and depolymerised lignin oils. It is specifically designed for:
  • providers of lignin (oil) that want to align the properties of their feedstock with the requirements of specific applications
  • end users that want to adjust the properties of lignin (oil) in order it to use it in their applications, such as coatings, adhesives, sealants or elastomers

More info

Does your company wish to obtain specific properties from lignin for application in coatings, adhesives or insulation foam? Or does your company struggle to find a suitable application because your lignin does not possess the right properties? Then make sure to find out more about VITO’s tool on the Biorizon website.

Join the Multi2Recycle Advisory Board

Circular food packaging remains high on the agenda, with both European and Belgian authorities setting ambitious recycling targets. In line with our innovation programme on Circularity and Resource Efficiency, Catalisti continues to focus on sustainable food packaging that enables both optimal product protection and maximal circularity, for example through the Multi2Recycle project. Plastic converting, packaging, sorting and recycling companies are invited to join the Advisory Board of this project.


In the intercluster COOCK project proposal Multi2Recycle, we join forces with Flanders’ FOOD, Pack4Food, UHasselt and VKC-Centexbel to work on the future of circular food packaging. Specifically, this project will seek to answer the following question:

“How can a multilayer plastic food packaging be recyclable and, at the same time, have the optimal barrier properties to ensure the shelf-life of food products?”

Goal of the project is to develop ‘Design for Recycling’ guidelines for multilayer plastic food packaging, incorporating both recyclability and optimal barrier properties. The maximal acceptable concentration of a certain type of barrier material (e.g. metallisation, EVOH) will be defined in function of the packaging recyclability. Afterwards, we will investigate how this translates into the shelf-life of the food product. In addition, the packaging recyclability will be validated on the level of the sorting and recycling sector.

Join us!

Industrial input and participation is crucial for reaching the project goals. Therefore, Catalisti and its partners are cordially inviting plastic converting, packaging, sorting and recycling companies to participate in the Multi2Recycle Advisory Board. Is your company interested in this project and its goals? Then join the Advisory Board by sending a signed Letter of Intent (LOI) to Wannes Libbrecht (wlibbrecht@catalisti.be). Click here to download the LOI template, including a more detailed project description.


For more information about the project, or about the LOI and Advisory Board, please contact Wannes Libbrecht (wlibbrecht@catalisti.be; +32 499 315 604).


Catalisti werft aan: Program Manager

Er beweegt heel wat in de Vlaamse chemie- en kunststoffensector. Elke dag werkt de sector aan innovatieve technologieën, producten en processen om ons leven te vergemakkelijken, de transitie naar een duurzame industrie te versnellen, én haar positie van wereldklasse verder te versterken. Als speerpuntcluster voor de chemie- en kunststoffensector in Vlaanderen, draagt Catalisti actief bij aan deze innovaties.

Ben ook jij gebeten door innovatie? Werk je graag rond concrete innovatieprojecten en businessopportuniteiten? Vind ook jij dat duurzaamheid en competitiviteit hand in hand gaan? Wil jij Vlaanderen helpen om haar klimaatdoelstellingen te realiseren en haar industrie te versterken? Solliciteer dan als Program Manager bij Catalisti en geef de duurzame industrie van morgen mee vorm!

Jouw profiel

Je beschikt over een masterdiploma in de exacte of toegepaste wetenschappen en je bent opgeleid tot bijvoorbeeld (bio)chemicus, biotechnoloog, burgerlijk ingenieur, bio-ingenieur of industrieel ingenieur. Onderzoeks- (PhD) en/of bedrijfservaring rond chemie en kunststoffen is een meerwaarde, net als kennis van open innovatie, economische valorisatie, business development of het uitwerken van projectaanvragen.

Je wil graag frontrunner zijn, innovatieve technologieën, processen en producten van nabij opvolgen, en baanbrekende innovatieprojecten opzetten.

Je gelooft in de kracht van samenwerking, werkt graag in teamverband, bouwt vlot een netwerk uit, bent in staat om de noden en wensen van verschillende actoren in rekening te brengen, erkent nuances, en gaat van nature op zoek naar opportuniteiten en oplossingen.

Je spreekt Nederlands, hebt een goede kennis van het Engels en bent vertrouwd met het Microsoft Office-pakket.

Jouw verantwoordelijkheden als Program Manager

Als Program Manager verbind je technisch-wetenschappelijke kennis aan bedrijfsnoden en toekomstgerichte innovaties. Je neemt een echte voortrekkersrol op binnen jouw expertisedomein. Je hebt een gevarieerd takenpakket, waaronder:
  • het identificeren van interessante innovatiekansen en -partners in chemie en kunststoffen
  • het opzetten en opvolgen van innovatieprojecten met meerdere bedrijven, universiteiten en/of onderzoeksinstellingen (projectmanagement: van ideedetectie, brokerage en bemiddeling tot projectrealisatie)
  • het selecteren en implementeren van een geschikt projecttype of financieringsinstrument
  • het beschermen van IP door bemiddeling tussen innovatiepartners
  • het identificeren en realiseren van sector- en clusteroverschrijdende initiatieven
  • het uitbouwen van een netwerk met spelers die aansluiten bij jouw expertisedomein, en dat zowel binnen de bedrijfswereld als binnen het academische landschap (community building)
  • het verlenen van business support, subsidie-advies en individuele strategische begeleiding aan Catalisti-leden

Jouw voordelen

Als Program Manager kom je terecht in het hart van het Vlaams innovatielandschap. Je hebt rechtstreeks toegang tot een rijk netwerk aan professionals in chemie en kunststoffen. Je krijgt de kans om je eigen expertisedomein voortdurend te verdiepen en te verbreden. Zo maken we jou bijvoorbeeld wegwijs in subsidiemechanismen en IP.

Je kan je prima ontplooien dankzij de:
  • open werksfeer in onze horizontale organisatie
  • intensieve samenwerking binnen ons klein en enthousiast team
  • flexibele werkomgeving (met combinatie kantoor- en thuiswerk)
Verder biedt Catalisti jou een:
  • contract van onbepaalde duur
  • marktconform loon
  • mooi pakket aan extralegale voordelen (bedrijfswagen, maaltijdcheques, …)

Hoe solliciteren?

Klaar om als Program Manager bij Catalisti aan de slag te gaan? Grijp dan snel jouw kans en stuur je cv en een heldere motivatiebrief naar Managing Director Ann Verlinden (averlinden@catalisti.be). We kijken uit naar jouw sollicitatie!

Vragen over deze vacature of de functie van Program Manager? Contacteer info@catalisti.be. Ken je iemand die mogelijks interesse heeft in deze functie? Download de vacature en stuur maar door!

Chemie als bakermat voor een betere wereld

De chemiesector speelt een cruciale rol in de verduurzaming van onze samenleving. Om de Europese klimaatdoelstellingen van 2030 en 2050 te halen, investeert de sector intensief in duurzame technologieën, processen en producten. Ook de overheid draagt haar steentje bij, bijvoorbeeld via het baanbrekende Moonshot-initiatief dat bedrijven helpt om hun CO2-uitstoot drastisch terug te dringen tegen 2050.

Een mooi overzicht van de indrukwekkende klimaatinspanningen die bedrijven, overheden en andere stakeholders uit de sector leveren vindt u in de bijlage “Duurzame Chemie” in De Standaard. Aan bod komen onder meer Moonshot-Manager Jan Van Havenbergh en BlueChem’s Leentje Croes, met verder ook inspirerende artikels over innovatieve Catalisti-leden als Eastman, B4Plastics, InOpSys, INEOS en Alco Bio Fuel, opinies door essenscia en VITO, en nog zoveel meer!

Ontdek de volledige bijlage “Duurzame Chemie” in De Standaard van 30 april 2021 of surf naar de website van Mediaplanet.

Moonshot mikt op elektrificatie van chemiefabrieken

“Als je iets aan de CO2-uitstoot van de Vlaamse chemiesector wil veranderen, dan moeten kraakinstallaties een van de eerste aandachtspunten zijn”.

In een interview in De Tijd geven o.a. catalyst Luc Van Ginneken en Total’s Walter Vermeiren hun kijk op de elektrificatie van chemische processen en krakers, en dat bijvoorbeeld via het Moonshot-project P2O. Lees het volledige artikel op de website van De Tijd, of klik op de afbeelding hieronder.

VLAIO werft aan: Accountmanager Moonshot

Wil jij meewerken aan een innovatieve en duurzame Vlaamse industrie? Heb je een goede kennis van chemische processen en hun rol in de klimaattransitie? Solliciteer dan als Accountmanager voor Moonshot bij het Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO) en misschien word jij onze nieuwe collega!

Als Moonshot-accountmanager bij VLAIO sta je in voor de sturing en opvolging van het Moonshot-initiatief. Je legt relaties, zoekt verbanden en start innovatieve samenwerkingen tussen bedrijven, universiteiten en kennisinstellingen op. Je bent daarbij de brug tussen bedrijven en kennisinstellingen. Je vormt het eerste aanspreekpunt voor VLAIO en externe actoren. Ook ben je nauw betrokken bij concrete onderzoeks- en innovatieprojecten binnen Moonshot, zowel bij het tot stand komen van de projecten als bij hun evaluatie.

Meer info

Klaar om de klimaattransitie van de Vlaamse industrie te ondersteunen? Check dan zeker de VLAIO-website voor meer informatie over de jobinhoud, de vele voordelen die VLAIO biedt, en de sollicitatieprocedure. Solliciteren kan tot en met 16 mei 2021. Het Moonshot-team binnen Catalisti kijkt er alvast naar uit om samen met jou aan de slag te gaan!

Waarom bij VLAIO werken?