“Een wereld zonder chemie bestaat niet … Ook tijdens de coronacrisis zijn de langetermijnprojecten van onze sector blijven doorlopen. Een goed voorbeeld hiervan zijn de Moonshot-onderzoeken van Catalisti,” vertelt Jan Remeysen, CEO van BASF Antwerpen, in het voorwoord van de nieuwste editie van FOKUS Chemie.
Naast Jan Remeysen benadrukt ook Frederik Van Eetvelde van Antea Group het belang van Moonshot voor het verminderen van de industriële CO2-uitstoot in Vlaanderen. And there’s more… Ook Jan Van Havenbergh, managing director van Catalisti, komt in de nieuwe editie van FOKUS Chemie aan het woord!
Forum Startup Chemie boosts your business by strengthening the innovative power of the chemical industry and promoting the growth of start-ups. All Flemish start-ups in chemistry and plastics can join this open platform.
What’s Forum Startup Chemie?
This brand-new, Germany-based partnering platform initiated by VCI is an open forum that seeks to support young ventures, starting from the first business idea up to market success. Their objective is to contribute to a significant increase in the number of innovative chemical start-ups and to improve their success.
What’s in it for your business?
Start-ups who join the forum have easy access to other start-ups, established companies, infrastructure, information and investors. The forum, among others, maps support options for start-ups and includes a database of potential partners.
The forum focusses on chemistry and related fields such as industrial biotechnology, bio-economy, and process engineering.
Boost your business
More information about the platform can be found on https://forum-startup-chemie.de/. Flemish start-ups in chemistry and plastics can join the platform by submitting a short profile! For all questions regarding the forum, please contact essenscia’s Edith Coune (firstname.lastname@example.org or +32 475 90 15 10).
After a thorough selection procedure, the Catalisti Board of Directors has appointed Ann Verlinden, the current CEO of Belcare, as the spearhead cluster’s new Managing Director. She will succeed Jan Van Havenbergh as of 5 April 2021.
Background in science and industry
With her strong scientific and industrial background, Ann’s profile perfectly matches her new role. Ann graduated at KU Leuven as a civil engineer in chemistry with a specialisation in environmental technology. She obtained her PhD at the University of Leeds-Bradford, where she focused on powder technology.
During her career, Ann has worked for companies, knowledge institutes and governments. She started at Exxon Chemical in Diegem, where she worked on membrane technology. She then joined BASF Antwerp as project manager of sustainable investment projects, production manager of the ammonia plant and innovation coach. In 2010, Ann switched to KH Leuven and subsequently to Innovatiecentrum Limburg. There, she supported companies across all sectors with (inter)national innovation projects and increasingly focused on innovation in the construction sector. In 2015, she became CEO of Belcare, which initiates and facilitates open innovation and transformation projects in the construction sector, with an emphasis on sustainability and circular construction.
A positive vision
“Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to initiate and carry out numerous sustainable innovation projects in multidisciplinary teams,” says Verlinden. “I did so within various sectors, always tailored to the specific knowledge institute, government, construction SME or chemical company. Time and again, I was amazed by the expertise Flanders has on offer and by the innovative power brought by multidisciplinary cooperation.”
“I am excited to work with the Catalisti team and all its partners to create positive collaborations and to realise sustainable innovations that accelerate the climate transition of the chemical and plastics sector”.
A bright future
For Wouter De Geest, chairman of Catalisti, the future looks bright: “With Ann at the helm, Catalisti’s successful track record will be continued in the coming years. Her drive and vigour will allow the spearhead cluster to further prepare and ensure the sustainable future of our sector. I wish Ann all the best in leading the dynamic Catalisti team.”
Jan Van Havenbergh to stay on as Moonshot manager
Jan Van Havenbergh will remain manager of Moonshot. This Flemish government initiative supports companies in reducing their CO2 emissions and is hosted by Catalisti. “Innovation remains a topic close to my heart. In this position, I will continue to focus on the climate transition of our industry and in particular on the connection between disruptive innovation and business implementation,” says Van Havenbergh.
“On behalf of the entire Catalisti team,” concludes chairman De Geest, “I wish to thank Jan for his enthusiasm and years of commitment. I am delighted that he will continue his role within Moonshot.”
VLAIO, SPW Recherche and Innoviris have replaced the BEL-SME financing programme with BEL-COO. This new programme is open to both SMEs as well as large enterprises, and allows for both research and development projects.
BEL-COO is a financing programme focused on Belgian enterprises aiming to execute a joint R&D project with enterprises from other Belgian regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels). The duration of a BEL-COO project must be between 12 and 36 months.
BEL-COO replaces and extends the BEL-SME programme. BEL-SME was restricted to development projects and was only eligible for SMEs. BEL-COO is eligible for both SMEs and large enterprises and allows both research and development projects.
The project consortium should consist of at least two enterprises from two different Belgian regions. Research institutes can participate as a subcontractor or research partner. They cannot, however, participate as a direct contractor.
The interregional ValBran project focussed on enhancing the value of wheat bran, an agricultural co-product derived from flour mills and biorefineries that is mainly used for animal feed. The project finished in December 2020. Scroll down to learn more, or read the end report.
Starting from the carbohydrates of wheat bran, ValBran aimed to develop biotechnological and green chemistry pathways for the sustainable production of high added-value surfactant molecules, as a substitute for oil-based molecules. The plant-based molecules were required to respect four conditions: have a lower cost than the oil-based equivalent, have at least equivalent properties to those of the oil-based equivalent, do not compete with food, and have minimal environmental impact. Targeted applications were detergency, cosmetics, phytosanitary agents and food additives.
A second ambition consisted of strengthening the cross-border cooperation between the bio-economy sectors of northern France, Wallonia and Flanders. This aim was reflected in the broad project consortium, which included partners from all three regions.
Specifically, the project focussed on two categories of surfactants: alkylpolyglycosides (APG) and sugar esters. Its approach consisted of developing several laboratory-scale processes and the selecting the most promising process for pilot-scale transfer. This was followed by an economic and environmental analysis of the developed process(es).
The project lasted 4 years and finished in December 2020. It has shown that wheat bran has great potential for the sustainable production of surfactants. It proved possible to produce biological surfactants with interesting properties via enzymatic technologies. Yet, the production cost of the biological surfactants remains an issue, as it is higher than the cost for producing oil-based surfactants. Tests at pilot scale will have to be carried out to demonstrate the economic viability of the processes.
Flexible polyurethane (PU) foams are widely used due to their unique and superior properties. Although several companies are active in the area of biobased polyols, no commercially available polyols have the desired design properties that would allow using them in large quantities in automotive applications.
Therefore, Catalisti is currently elaborating the BIOPOL4MOTIVE project, entitled Biobased Polyols for flexible PU foams in automotive applications. This project aims to develop flexible polyurethane foams with an increased biocontent for automotive applications and brings together a strong partnership over the PU application development chain, from a polyol producer, over a PU raw material and formulated systems producer, to a final part producer.
“De chemische procesindustrie is essentieel om een duurzame ontwikkeling van onze maatschappij te garanderen omdat de producten bijdragen aan het invullen van zowat alle maatschappelijke behoeften – van de meest elementaire tot de meest gesofisticeerde.”
In een kort interview in de bijlage FOKUS Energie & Innovatie bij De Standaard geven Jan Van Havenbergh, managing director van Catalisti, en Pieter Nachtergaele van Oleon hun kijk op de verduurzaming van de chemische procesindustrie. Elektrificatie, energie-efficiëntie, het gebruik van hernieuwbare grondstoffen,… Allemaal topics waarrond de afgelopen jaren al heel wat vooruitgang werd geboekt, én waar ook de komende jaren versterkt op ingezet zal worden. Want hoewel het laaghangend fruit volgens Jan Van Havenbergh ondertussen geplukt is, blijven er zich nieuwe, innovatieve opportuniteiten aandienen!
The interregional BioInnovation Growth mega-Cluster (BIG-Cluster) is currently updating its innovation agenda to guide its actions in the coming years. To gather input for this update, BIG-Cluster is organising a virtual Industry Table on 9 February 2021. Professionals throughout the biobased value chain can already share their views on which topics will be most relevant in the coming years through a 5-minute survey.
A trilateral innovation initiative The BioInnovation Growth mega-Cluster (BIG-Cluster) is a trilateral innovation initiative between cluster organisations in Flanders, The Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia. It is coordinated by Catalisti, Circular Biobased Delta and CLIB. Representing one of the biggest chemicals clusters in the world, BIG-Cluster aims to foster and support innovation in the field of circular biobased chemicals and processes, as well as support the transition of the cross-border region towards a more sustainable economy.
BIG-Cluster implements its goals by promoting biobased innovation within its network and by bringing together all relevant stakeholders (from industries, SMEs, academia and governments) to cooperate on new technologies.
Update of innovation agenda
Until now, BIG-Cluster focused primarily on:
C1 as a feedstock
Aromatics from woody biomass
Bio-fuels for aviation
Currently, however, the initiative is updating its innovation agenda to guide its actions in the coming years. To gather input for this update, as well as bring cross-border expertise together, a virtual Industry Table will be set up on 9 February 2021. The aim is to have a limited number of stakeholders of each region present around the table. By mid-January, a final agenda will be made available and registration for the Industry Table will be opened.
Share your views!
To prepare for, and bring focus to, this meeting, BIG-Cluster is gathering a first round of feedback through a 5-minute survey. Make sure to share your views and help guide BIG-Cluster’s future activities!