Biobased resins from aldehydes and lignin

The current industrial production of a wide range of chemicals and synthetic polymers relies on fossil resources. Consumers and brand owners drive the search for biobased materials and products that are more sustainable. Companies search for performant materials containing biosourced carbon. Phenol, a fossil-derived chemical building block, is used downstream in various chemical formulations and applications, such as phenolic resins. Phenolic resins are successfully used in a variety of industrial applications, among others automotive, coating, varnish, adhesives, construction and insulation foams. For all these applications, there is a continued drive to find novel sustainable alternatives to these basic building blocks. In view of its chemical resemblance and availability, lignin and its derivatives could be a viable alternative to partially substitute phenol in phenol-formaldehyde resins.

The BIORESAL project aims to research to produce biobased LPF resins by replacing phenol with (modified) oligomeric lignin fractions, as potentially less hazardous and sustainable building blocks for their application in insulation materials and moulding compounds. Most importantly, this replacement is needed in a technologically proven and economically viable way. Additionally, BIORESAL will include the evaluation of a series of aldehydes as co-reactant in the synthesis of biobased LPF resins.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 13/12/2018
Duration: 01/05/2019 – 30/10/2022
Total budget: €2.596.723
Subsidy: €1.807.567
Project Partners

Biobased Resins Using Lignin and Glyoxal
I. Van Nieuwenhove, T. Renders, J. Lauwaert, T. De Roo, J. De Clercq, and A. Verberckmoes
ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2020, 8, 51, 18789–18809 – DOI: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c07227

The utilization of lignin and glyoxal as potentially sustainable and less hazardous building blocks for phenolic resins is an emerging research field. Lignin thereby serves as a partial, macromolecular substitute for phenol, while glyoxal fulfills the role of an aldehyde cross-linker. In the first part of this perspective, the industrial context of lignin and glyoxal will be expounded with a focus on their origin and production processes. In the framework of phenolic resins, the use of lignin and glyoxal can be categorized into two research domains: (i) glyoxalation to improve the reactivity of lignin prior to resin synthesis and (ii) direct resin synthesis using lignin and glyoxal with glyoxal immediately serving as the cross-linker. This perspective provides a comprehensive overview of the progress made in both domains, pinpointing the opportunities, blind spots, and challenges that lay ahead.

The full publication can be accessed via:

Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Bert Boekaerts (

Job opportunity @ Puratos – Research Manager New Processing Technologies

As member of the Upstream Research Department team, leading the introduction and development of innovative technologies in Puratos, this role is focusing on identifying, developing and validating emerging and disruptive processing technologies in the field of bakery, patisserie and chocolate processing.The function requires strong creative, hands-on and collaborative skills, as well an extensive external and internal network.

 Key Accountabilities

·        To take the lead in proactively and creatively sourcing, building and developing breakthrough processing technologies to leverage and support product and process innovations throughout Puratos.

·        To make interdependently connections between new processing technologies (even outside food business) and product opportunities across the Puratos portfolio, and to convince the business of these opportunities.

·        To extend and build an external network, mainly throughout Europe, of companies, start-ups, Universities and Expertise Centers having a link to development and validation of existing and new processing technologies. To source actively for highly valuable collaborations with these partners and start-up new structural collaborations.

·        To set-up, lead and support cross-departmental teams to leverage implementation of new processing technologies supporting NPD.

·        To focus on sustainability impact of existing and new processing, having a holistic view to reduce CO2 footprint / waste in the broadest possible approach (drying technologies, processing water, raw material and processing waste streams, …).

·        To consult and/or advise Group Engineering teams & Local Engineering teams on potential processing technologies, identified through the different open innovation platforms.

·        To communicate actively own expertise, projects, future developments etc. throughout Puratos Group by different media (e.g. community presentations, social media, practical sessions, trainings, regional seminars).      

·        To (pro-)actively collaborate and communicate in professional organizations and networks (e.g. conferences, social media platforms) to leverage own expertise and use it in (potential) Puratos projects.

·        To have keen interest in emerging & disruptive technologies and take part of different platforms / work groups dealing with these subjects.

Who are we looking for?

·        You have 2 – 5 years of experience, ideally engaged within an innovative & entrepreneurial setting, preferably business environment (food or non-food).

·        You have a master degree in Civil, Industrial or Bio-Engineering (Mechanical, (Bio-)Chemical, Process Engineering).

·        A technically skilled and oriented person, having a creative and hands-on mindset with an open view on opportunities between different businesses.

·        An established insight in properties & structures of food-ingredients and –matrices is a strong asset (knowledge of food fermentation is a plus) to be able to match new technologies to food processing.

·        Possessing an entrepreneurial mindset, strong organizational, interpersonal and communication skills. Stakeholder and project management (incl. understanding of cost drivers) skills are a strong asset. Having the ability to guide, lead and take part of multiple projects in parallel.

·        The ability  to work across a matrix organization.

·        The ability to influence people and decisions in a positive, non-hierarchical and effective way is essential.

Why would you join Puratos?

You will join a stable family business that has become an international market leader with a strong corporate culture and a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. You will receive plenty of room to take initiative. In that way, you will contribute to the company’s success. A challenging work environment with varied tasks is what you can expect:

·        many responsibilities and the possibility to take ownership of your work

·        training and career opportunities to evolve within the company

You can count on a competitive salary package with benefits such as

·        meal vouchers (8€/day)

·        free group and hospitalization insurance

·        company car and fuel card

·        bonus plan

Watch our corporate movie and feel the Puratos Magic:

Who are we?

The secrets behind Puratos’ global success and consistent growth are taste and quality. We would like to welcome you within our enthusiastic, committed and passionate team of more than 8800 employees. We are an international player and, what is more, a Belgian family business. Our people make the difference every single day. How? By developing, producing and distributing a unique and high-quality range of ingredients for bakers, pastry-chefs and chocolatiers, since 1919.

A century later, our products and services are available in more than 100 countries around the world. Our passion for innovation, closeness to our customers, and their customers, as well as our core values form the basis of our passion to improve.

Working at Puratos is choosing a Top Employer in Belgium.

Shall we meet soon?

Puratos LinkedIn platform:


CAPTURE is a finalist for the Regiostars 2019 – your support needed

We can no longer let precious resources like water, CO2 and plastics go to waste. We must capture them for the circular economy and keep them in the loop for re-use. The CAPTURE initiative will do exactly that by literally bringing together scientists from many fields, allowing them to work with local, regional and national governments/industries. CAPTURE is the catalyst needed to make our relation with the planet more sustainable. CAPTURE is where innovation meets society meets industry.
The CAPTURE initiative was launched in 2015 at Ghent University to find solutions for efficient waste treatment and resource recovery, with the aim of turning Flanders into a circular economy.
They are a one-stop-shop for industry and government, offering integrated solutions from waste to resource to final application. To this end, they are building new building that will double as a research centre and accelerator, where spin-off companies can work.

To find out more click here

Opleiden 4.0

Living Lab Industry 4.0: Opleiden 4.0

Industry 4.0 technologies and digitalisation provide interesting opportunities for educating and training individual employees. Despite such technological developments being rapid and numerous, companies in the chemical, plastics and process industries rarely implement them in new learning and training methods.

In the Opleiden 4.0 project, Catalisti – together with imec, Karel de Grote Hogeschool and ACTA – seeks to develop, test and validate innovative learning and training methods based on industry 4.0 technology. In the living lab, collective sessions and workshops will demonstrate a number of promising technique. In addition, the living lab seeks to support companies in working out concrete cases. Finally, the project aims to stimulate the transition of chemical companies towards industry 4.0 by creating success stories and best practices that can be shared with other companies.

Recently, Catalisti and its project partners presented its first research results and conceptual developments. Through in-depth interviews with VDAB and 16 employees from six different companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector, the project mapped the training needs of the sector. Following exhaustive research into modern learning and training methods, technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) proved to be most promising.

A high-quality workforce is crucial to the Flemish chemical and plastics industry. This project seeks to ensure that employers have the right learning and training methods at their disposal to strengthen the competences and skills of their employees.

If your company is interested in this living lab, please visit the relevant VLAIO webpage or contact catalyst Laura-Lynn Fockaert for more information.

Project Details
Project type: Living lab Industry 4.0
Approved on: 03/12/2018
Duration: 01/04/2019 – 31/03/2022
Total budget: €429.960
Subsidy: €343.968
Project Partners

Industrie 4.0 @ Advanced Engineering 2019

Volgende week donderdag 23 mei organiseert VLAIO voor het eerst een publiek event rond de industrie 4.0-proeftuinen tijdens Advanced Engineering in Flanders Expo. En jij bent uiteraard van harte welkom!

Flanders Expo
Maaltekouter 1
9051 Gent

(toegang tot de beurs is gratis)


         Tussen 13u15 en 14u15 stellen we het huidige aanbod voor aan bedrijven. We tonen in primeur video’s van lopende projecten en laten alle nieuwe projectleiders aan het woord. Verder voorzien we een live presentatie van de proeftuin ‘Smart Maintenance’ én een overzicht van steunmaatregelen voor industrie 4.0 door Team Bedrijfstrajecten vzw.

         Vanaf 16u trekken we ons terug voor een netwerkmoment met de proeftuinen onderling. Hier willen we wat achtergrondinformatie aanreiken over onze werking en de opvolging van de proeftuinen. Om alle betrokkenen te inspireren en aan te zetten tot onderlinge samenwerking nodigen we enkele projectleiders uit voor een panelgesprek.

–      Om 18u sluiten we af met een hapje en een drankje.

Bevestig je aanwezigheid
Bevestig jouw aanwezigheid tegen maandagochtend 20 mei, 10u, via

Katalysator zet via zonlicht CO2 om naar methaan

Onderzoekers van UHasselt en het Nederlandse TNO hebben een innovatief concept ontwikkeld om zonlicht direct te gebruiken als ‘brandstof’ om chemische processen aan te drijven. Hierbij zijn ze erin geslaagd om CO2 bij lage temperatuur en met zonlicht als duurzame energiebron om te zetten naar de brandstof methaan.

Het zonlicht wordt met een uitzonderlijk hoge efficiëntie van 55% gebruikt. Deze innovatie kan gelijktijdig bijdragen aan de transitie van fossiele brandstoffen naar duurzame energie en aan de vermindering van CO2 uitstoot. Dit is gepubliceerd in dit wetenschappelijke artikel van prof. dr. Pascal Buskens (TNO en Universiteit Hasselt), prof. dr. Marlies Van Bael (Universiteit Hasselt) en hun medewerkers.

Uitzonderlijk hoge efficiëntie

De bereikte resultaten zijn bijzonder omdat een ongewenst afvalproduct, namelijk CO2, met behulp van zonlicht wordt omgezet naar methaan als bruikbare brandstof. Daarbij wordt 55% van de energie uit het zonlicht gebruikt. Dat is een uitzonderlijk hoge efficiëntie. Conventionele fotokatalysatoren gebruiken in de meeste gevallen alleen het UV deel van het zonlicht, waardoor een groot deel van het licht niet gebruikt wordt en de efficiëntie veel lager is. Met het door TNO en de Universiteit Hasselt ontwikkelde concept wordt methaan geproduceerd met alleen zonlicht als energiebron en bij lage temperatuur en lage druk.

Om meer te lezen klik hier:

Don’t miss the Catalisti Day on June 6, to discover the Moonshot programme and much more

Catalisti coordinates the moonshot initiative, building on Flanders’ leadership in breakthrough research and innovation for a carbon-smart industry

On March 23 the Flemish government’s ambitious moonshot programme was launched by Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation, Philippe Muyters. The 400-million-euro programme for the next 20 years will help position Flanders as a leader in research and innovation for energy-intensive industries. 

The moonshot programme supports basic research on breakthrough technologies that catalyse the chemical, petrochemistry and steel industries to take on climate challenges and become ‘carbon smart’. Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for innovation in chemistry and plastics, is responsible for the programme’s coordination, strategy, audit,…

Click here to read more about the moonshot

Don’t miss the Catalisti day on June 6, to discover the moonshot programme and much more

We invite you to find out more about the moonshot programme, its goals, what we and our partners will achieve, and what the next steps will be, at our Catalisti day on June 6, from 9.30 AM to 6 PM!

You do not want to miss the presentation on how to Enable the Flemish industry to transition towards a carbon circular and low-carbon system in 2050.
The Catalisti 
day has much more in store for you. In addition to the moonshot, it is all about ‘Accelerating Innovation into Business’.

  • Learn how Catalisti catalyses collaboration between industry and knowledge institutes to enable sustainable innovation.
  • Discover testimonials from innovation project champions.
  • Hear candidates defend project proposals in the Battle of the Pitches.
  • Network with your peers to share ideas and experiences.

More information on the event will follow soon.
We look forward to seeing you there!

Click this button to block the date in your agenda now!


Polyol-Based Flame Retardants and Lubricants

Flame retardants are a diverse group of chemicals which are added to a number of different materials (e.g. plastics, textiles, building materials) to enhance the materials’ resistance to fire. Within this diverse group, halogenated flame retardants are often regarded as being the most effective flame retardant, as only relatively small amounts are needed to obtain high flame protection. Nevertheless, this class of flame retardants can have detrimental effects on the aquatic environment if they leach out of different (plastic) materials, as they are very persistent, and they tend to bioaccumulate. A second possible negative effect could be their toxicity for humans. For these reasons, a number of them have been put on the candidate list (SVHC), like for instance hexabromocyclododecane (HBCDD) and decabromodiphenyl ether (DecaBDE). There clearly is a need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly flame retardants.

The PolyFlam project aims to develop and produce branched polyols derived from a bio-based alcohol. These polyols can then be further transformed into (reactive) flame retardants via phosphorylation chemistry. The obtained flame retardants can subsequently be used in different applications, such as textile, polymers and fire-resistant industrial fluids. The bio-based polyols can also be converted into (fully) bio-based lubricants. The project will result in a new value chain starting from a common bio-based alcohol and ending up in high-end applications that can be embedded in the chemical industry in Flanders.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 13/12/2018
Duration: 01/04/2019 – 29/09/2022
Total budget: €2.274.737
Subsidy: €1.633.696
Project Partners

Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Luc Van Ginneken (