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ICIS Innovation Awards Short List

Posted on September 5th, 2016 by in Chemical R&D

ICIS innovation awards sized

The environment as well as the chemical industry looks set to be a major beneficiary of the innovations shortlisted for the ICIS Innovation Awards, revealed this week in ICIS Chemical Business magazine.

Without exception, each of the 12 advances either reduces energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions, improves recycling or makes products safer and more environmentally friendly.

Which really should not come as such a surprise, given the way chemical producers have brought on-board the concept of sustainability in recent years. Few, if any, projects would make it past the ideas stage these days unless they had a positive environmental impact.

As one major short-listed chemical innovator explains, all its innovations have to pass the test of being positive in at least two dimensions of sustainability’s “people, profit and planet” formulation, and negative in none of them.

Of the 12 innovations selected by the six-strong judging panel to go into the final round in this year’s awards, no less than four address polymer recycling.

Three originate from Dow Chemical and focus on solving issues in packaging making better use of Dow’s polyolefins technologies. The fourth, from GreenMantra Technologies, is a catalytic process that breaks down mixed-grade polyethylene (PE) waste into marketable synthetic waxes.

Dow’s Canvera polyolefin dispersions technology offer an alternative to conventional systems in can coatings, thus avoiding use of epoxy and bisphenol-A based systems which are perceived at least to be problematic – although the industry and regulators firmly back their use as safe.

Its second entry seeks to make oxygen-barrier-layer packaging systems more easy to recycle by using a polymer modifier to compatibilise the various polymers involved, so recyclate can be effectively blended in with virgin PE material for re-use.

The third entry is for a novel thermoformable packaging that can be made entirely from high performance PEs, thus removing the necessity to use a coextruded polyamide/PP base and PET/PE lid, which are difficult to recycle.

Other highlights of the shortlist include AkzoNobel’s advanced epoxy amine coating for ships’ cargo tanks that offers operation cost and energy savings, Teijin’s improved nonhalogenated phosphorus-based flame retardant with environmental and performance benefits and novel coatings from Maeder using Reverdia’s biobased succinic acid.

On the process side, Siluria Technologies has been shortlisted for its novel catalytic route for oxidative coupling of methane. This results in lower capital costs and higher carbon efficiency, and thus environmental footprint, than in conventional steam cracking processes to chemicals and fuels.

Aqua Metals has developed an aqueous refining technology that provides a non-smelting route to recycling lead from lead acid batteries. And Compact membrane Systems is short-listed for its low energy membrane system for separating olefins for paraffins, thus avoiding the need to use huge and costly distillation columns.

The final two shortlisted entries are from Covestro and Global Bioenergies, both of which have developed alternative feedstock technologies for materials usually made from petrochemicals. In Covestro’s case it is using a catalytic route to convert carbon dioxide into intermediates for use in polyurethanes. Global Bioenergies, meanwhile, is using sugars to produce isobutylene in a fermentation process.

So there you have it – 12 exciting innovations all vying for awards across four categories and for that exclusive overall innovation winner accolade. All will be revealed in mid-October, but for more details you can see the Awards shortlist here and on the web site at

The ICIS Innovation Awards are this year sponsored overall by Elsevier R&D Solutions, with category sponsorship by U.S Chemicals and ExxonMobil Chemical.

All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.

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