New additions to the Catalisti Team!

Martijn Mertens

Martijn joined the Catalisti team as project manager in February. Earlier this year, he successfully defended his PhD in the faculty of Science – Chemistry at Hasselt University. More information about his solar cell research can be found in De Standaard. Martijn will also be responsible for the international projects and collaborations at Catalisti. Glad to have you with us Martijn!
dr. Martijn Mertens, Project Manager

Julie Jannes

Julie started her internship at Catalisti in February and will be with us until the end of April. She is studying a master’s degree in communication science at Ghent University and is helping us out with all of our communication outlets as well as helping with the organisation of Catalisti Day, welcome!
Julie Jannes, Communications Intern

Join the ‘Pot Marigold’ Advisory Board

Is your company a candidate processor or buyer of pot marigold raw materials, the flowers, the seeds or derivatives thereof such as flower extract or seed oil, from locally grown pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)?

In the context of an agricultural project, it has been established that the cultivation of pot marigold for Flemish agriculture is technically feasible and, provided that it is scaled up and optimized, also profitable. Eleven pioneers have already tried the cultivation and no less than 52 farmers are interested. Pot marigold can be grown for a dual purpose: first, flowers are harvested several times and then seeds are harvested. The crop looks beautiful in the Flemish agricultural landscape (see photo) and also contributes to biodiversity (supporting beneficial insects). In the short term, our pioneers can realize a production of about 10 ha, good for about 5 tons of seeds and 5 tons of dried flowers. The yields per hectare are currently not yet optimized and potentially about twice as high. If necessary, the acreage can be scaled up quickly.

Pot marigold offers a wide range of raw materials and possible applications. For the flowers, there are applications in food (dairy, chocolate, jam, …) , cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, medical textiles (antibacterial effect). The seed oil can be used in the paint and coating industry. Also the press cake has applications in animal feed.
The pot marigold raw materials contain several active ingredients:

Apolar (fat-soluble) compounds that can typically be extracted with supercritical CO2:
  • Essential oils are a mixture of volatile, fat-soluble molecules. Essential oils are well known and widely used in ointments for burns, insect bites and skin treatments.
  • Carotenoids are natural, fat-soluble dyes that can be used in food as antioxidants (to preserve oil better and longer) and as colorants.
Polar (water-soluble) compounds that can be extracted from the petals via water and/or alcohol extraction:
  • Polyphenols, aromatic compounds known for their antioxidant properties.
  • Polar natural dyes (flavonoids) that can be used in food or textiles.

Oil can be extracted or pressed from the seeds. The oil content of the seeds is around 20%. This oil contains high concentrations (50-65%) of C18:3 Calendic Acid. This oil can be used in high quality resins and paints and hopefully in the future in food applications after going through the novel food procedure. After removing the oil, a press cake remains that can be used in animal feed.

Despite these numerous possibilities, there is currently no concrete sale of Calendula raw materials in Flanders. Therefore, we are looking for companies that want to work with these raw materials. Are you interested? Then you can commit yourself as a member of the guidance group of the project ‘Marketing and product quality as keys to the success of pot marigold cultivation’. In this VLAIO La-traject Praktijkpunt Landbouw Vlaams-Brabant and ILVO work together on new cultivation techniques and on markering of the flowers and seeds to achieve better product quality and rendability. If this project is approved, you will be closely involved in the further development of the pot marigold chain and you will receive, in exchange for your participation in the guidance group and in the co-financing, the necessary test material (quantity to be agreed upon).

For more information about this project, please contact Linsey Garcia-Gonzalez (

Hydrogen Matchmaking Event

On 9 November, all Flemish research institutes had the opportunity to present their research on hydrogen in a series of short pitches to an audience of industrial partners.

Research inventory
The Flemish hydrogen strategy focusses on economic and innovative development. Flanders has expressed the ambition to become a European leader in the field of hydrogen. One of the pillars of this Flemish hydrogen vision is the strengthening of the Flemish research base in the field and the drawing up of a “research agenda”.

The federal hydrogen strategy aims to position Belgium as an import and transit hub in Europe for green hydrogen, make the country a leader in hydrogen technologies and create a robust hydrogen market. The focus is mainly on infrastructure to import and transport hydrogen in the future.

In this context, WaterstofNet has made a research inventory of the hydrogen-related research currently being carried out at the Flemish knowledge institutions.

Link with industry
In a quick fire round, the institutes presented the themes of their research. Afterwards, the questions of the industrial partners present were addressed in smaller, topical sessions, such as:
  • Production of hydrogen and e-fuels
  • Transport and storage of hydrogen
  • Use of hydrogen in engines and fuel cells
  • Interaction hydrogen/materials and safety
  • Overarching themes: techno-economic modeling, LCA

Low TRL research is interesting, and there are companies that want to be kept abreast of emerging possibilities and solutions, but in order to be of use to the industry, a vision on valorisation and a valorisation approach needs to be developed from the very inception of the research project, as is the case with the Moonshot projects. Crucially, the business case needs to include the LCA/TEA and the service life span of the materials, right from the lower TRL onwards.

There is a great need for more demonstration projects. The industry has expressed the need for retrofit options and transition solutions. Linking up with start-ups and with technology companies is of particular benefit, which fits right in with the Catalisti mission.

For more information about this article, please contact our colleagues at Catalisti (

B4Plastics is awarded the Food Planet Prize 2021!

On Thursday 18 November 2021, B4Plastics was awarded the $2 million USD 2021 Curt Bergfors Food Planet Prize for our work in developing biomaterials for degradable fishing gear within the Glaukos project. This is a huge recognition for B4Plastics, as it confirms our potential as biotech scale-up. The excitement of the B4P green team upon receiving the Food Planet Prize is immense. Check out the live reaction of Stefaan De Wildeman, founder and director of B4Plastics, on the announcement of this news as representation of this feeling HERE. And find out more about the story of B4Plastics within the Food Planet Prize in this video. CLICK HERE to learn more

Clusters helpen industrie duurzaam ondernemen

“Duurzame innovaties in chemie en kunststoffen zijn een springplank voor de duurzame transitie van onze hele industrie én samenleving”, aldus managing director Ann Verlinden in de nieuwste editie van FOKUS R&D.

In een korte bijdrage geeft Ann Verlinden niet enkel haar kijk op de rol van Catalisti in het Vlaams innovatielandschap, maar ook op de kansen die Moonshot biedt en de steun vanuit het Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO). Ze wordt in FOKUS R&D trouwens vergezeld door haar clustercollega’s van Flux50 en SIM. Een aanrader!

Meer weten? Lees dan gratis de bijdrage in FOKUS R&D.

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.


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


Visit the VLAIO website for more information about this call, or contact catalyst Johan De Houwer (

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, 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, 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.


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”.


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.


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).


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 over deze call? Schrijf je dan in voor de VLAIO-infosessie, check de VLAIO-website of contacteer

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.