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The Netherlands: Start-Up Initiative Akzo Nobel Nominates Finalists for Imagine Chemistry Challenge

Editor: MA Alexander Stark

Akzo Nobel announced the 20 finalists for its Imagine Chemistry initiative, which was launched earlier this year to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and to uncover sustainable opportunities for the company’s Specialty Chemicals business.

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Through Imagine Chemistry, Akzo Nobel has invited start-ups to work with them to find solutions to some of the most urgent chemistry-related challenges.
Through Imagine Chemistry, Akzo Nobel has invited start-ups to work with them to find solutions to some of the most urgent chemistry-related challenges.
(Source: Akzo Nobel)

Deventer/The Netherlands — “We’ve received so many great ideas from all across the globe for novel chemistries and business concepts, ranging from new sources of bio-based products to potential breakthrough ideas for the circular economy,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Global R&D Director for Akzo Nobel Specialty Chemicals.

“It has been a challenge making a selection but we believe these final 20 all hold great potential to address customer needs and contribute to a safer, more sustainable world. This shows that there is tremendous innovation potential, even in seemingly mature chemistries. We look forward to working with the eventual winners to turn their ideas into a commercial reality with real global impact.

The finalists for the five Imagine Chemistry and two “open challenge” categories are:

Revolutionizing plastics recycling

Waste-based recycling technology for plastics — Adriana Pineda, Cadel Deinking, Spain

Interactive watermarks for plastic products — Emile Clement, FiliGrade B.V, The Netherlands

Closed loop recycling for plastic bottles — Jack Buffington, University of Denver, USA

Waste water-free chemical sites

Pass-through distillation for waste water — Steve Furlong, Drystill, Canada

On-site treatment of waste water — Steven De Laet, InOpSys, Belgium

Development of LED-based processing of waste water — Guido Mul, University of Twente – Enschede, The Netherlands

Cellulose-based alternatives to synthetics

Bio-based citrus products — Lindy Hensen, PeelPioneers, The Netherlands

Miscanthus grass as a sustainable source of cellulose — Gertjan de Jong, MISCQ, The Netherlands

Nano silica modified cellulose — Andrew Mwangi , Aquabax Enterprises, Kenya

Soluble and insoluble cellulose oligomers from supercritical water hydrolysis — Charles Sanderson, Renmatix, USA

Bio-based and biodegradable surfactants and thickeners

NatSurFact: Natural biosurfactants from fermentation — Dan Derr , Logos Technologies, USA

BioGel polyglutamic acid: a sustainable alternative to polyacrylates — Jeremy Minty, Ecovia Renewables, USA

New separation system for bio-surfactants — Ben Dolman, The University of Manchester, UK

Bio-based sources of ethylene and ethylene oxides

Biocatalysis of ethylene to ethylene oxide — Derek Greenfield, Industrial Microbes, USA

Direct route of ethanol to ethylene oxide — William Mackintosh, Rise, Sweden

Highly Reactive Chemistry and Technology

A green alternative to wood pulping using highly reactive chemistry — Mark Mascal, University of California Davis, USA

CO2 to methanol — Sasa Marinic, Antecy, The Netherlands

Sustainable alternatives to our current technologies

Scalable, low-cost, post-bioreactor dewatering — Brian Miller, uFraction8, UK

Producing chemicals from waste with algae — Mark Randall, T2 Energy, USA

Biocatalytic synthesis of chemicals — Christoph Winkle, University of Graz, Austria

The finalists will now participate in a three-day event starting June 1 at Akzo Nobel’s research facility in Deventer, the Netherlands, where they will be supported by RD&I and business development experts to further develop their business ideas and concepts.

The challenge, organized in partnership with KPMG, is the latest in a series of efforts by Akzo Nobel to focus on open innovation and startup firms. The company recently announced cooperation with start-up organizations Lux Research and Start-up Delta focused on developing new business opportunities stemming from the challenge.

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