Developed in conjunction with KPMG, Imagine Chemistry was launched to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges - such as finding ways to revolutionize plastics recycling - as well as uncovering sustainable opportunities for AkzoNobel's Specialty Chemicals businesses.
From the 200 submissions received, AkzoNobel will now select 20 finalists to attend a three-day event in June at the company's principal research facility in Deventer, the Netherlands.
"We have been very impressed by the number and quality of the submissions," said Thierry Vanlancker, AkzoNobel's Executive Committee member responsible for Specialty Chemicals. "This confirms our belief that there is tremendous potential even in mature chemistries. We are looking forward to working with the eventual winners to scale up their ideas and turn them into a commercial reality with real global impact."
The Imagine Chemistry challenge is focused on finding solutions in five areas:
Revolutionizing plastics recycling
Waste water-free chemical sites
Cellulose-based alternatives to synthetics
Bio-based and biodegradable surfactants and thickeners
Bio-based sources of ethylene
There are also "open challenges" for broad ideas in two further areas: Highly reactive chemistry and technology; and sustainable alternatives to current technologies.
The challenge is part of an integrated approach to further deploy AkzoNobel's innovation capability in support of its growth ambitions. "We put innovation and sustainability at the heart of everything we do," added Vanlancker. "Our strategic ambition is to deliver a world-beating product portfolio across all our markets, building on collaborative and open innovation."
Recent innovations from AkzoNobel's Specialty Chemicals business include Bolikel XP, a next generation, biodegradable micronutrient to efficiently combat iron deficiency in crops; and Berol DR-B1, a safe and sustainable surfactant for consumer and commercial cleaning applications that involve direct release.