Converting captured CO2 into high-quality polyester textile fibres and into valuable raw materials for use in packaging and car parts. French start-up Fairbrics intends to further refine this pioneering technology at BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry in Antwerp. The company today inaugurated a unique pilot lab there to scale up the complex chemical process to industrial levels. After UK company Aquature earlier this year, it is already the second international company to decisively choose BlueChem to make the crucial leap from the lab to industrial applications with sustainable innovations.


Founded in Paris in 2019, Fairbrics has spent the last few years developing a process to convert captured CO2 into raw materials for textiles, packaging and the automotive sector. For example, it can produce high-quality polyester, a widely used material for clothing production. To do this, Fairbrics uses a circular production process, based on molecular chemistry and powered by renewable energy, which means that CO2 is no longer emitted but is a sustainable alternative to replace fossil feedstock.


At BlueChem, Fairbrics has set up a test laboratory to further refine and demonstrate the industrial scale-up of this promising technology. The first innovation steps have been taken in France in recent years, but Fairbrics thus intends to take the decisive step towards the industrial and commercial production phase at BlueChem. There are also plans to build a demonstration plant in the pilot hall of neighbouring pre-incubator BlueApp. This illustrates the complementarity of the two incubators, which focus on sustainable chemistry and circular materials.

International appeal

The innovative power of BlueChem is also gaining international appeal. This year, two leading foreign start-ups have already chosen to settle in the incubator for sustainable chemistry. In addition to Fairbrics, Aquature is a British company specialising in an innovative water treatment technology that removes CO2 from wastewater and captures it for reuse as a raw material. The fact that two international clean & climate tech companies have chosen BlueChem is also thanks to the intensive collaboration between Flanders Investment & Trade, the City of Antwerp, the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, BlueChem (industry federation essenscia, City of Antwerp, POM Antwerp and VITO) and BlueApp (University of Antwerp), among others.


Benoît Illy, CEO and co-founder Fairbrics: “After several years of intensive research in Paris, we are now taking an important next step by further scaling up our unique first-of-its-kind technology here at BlueChem in Antwerp. In our pilot lab, we will test and fine-tune prototypes to make our breakthrough innovation in converting CO2 into high value feedstock cost effective and industrially applicable. Fairbrics fits perfectly among the other start-ups working at BlueChem to develop materials and processes that are eco-friendly, energy-efficient, circular and climate-neutral.”


Erica Caluwaerts, Antwerp alderman for Economy, Industry and Innovation, and member of BlueChem’s Board of Directors: “With BlueChem, BlueApp and Next Gen Demo, we are building a strong ecosystem for sustainable chemistry in Antwerp. With its establishment in Antwerp, the promising French start-up Fairbrics proves that this ecosystem in Antwerp works for both national and international players. Thanks to this success story, our city is and will remain an attractive European hotspot for sustainable chemistry.”


Joy Donné, CEO Flanders Investment & Trade: “Within Flanders Investment and Trade, our mission is to attract innovative companies like Fairbrics who will accelerate Flanders’ transition towards a carbon-circular industry. Fairbric’s technology is a game changer whereby carbon is no longer a problem but a solution. By connecting them to the right actors within our ecosystem we supported them to become part of the largest and most specialized chemical cluster in Europe.”


Liesbet Boogaerts and Barbara Veranneman, manager and president of BlueChem: “The arrival of two international start-ups, Aquature and Fairbrics, proves that BlueChem’s formula for success is increasingly resonating on an international level. Nowhere else can you find the unique combination of specialised laboratory infrastructure with tailored support expertise within a strong innovation network in the heart of Europe’s largest chemical cluster. With the planned expansion of BlueChem XL by 2025, we will double our lab capacity to attract even more promising innovation projects from home and abroad.”


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