bnp paribas fortis bluechem

BNP Paribas Fortis and BlueChem work together on sustainable chemistry

Helping growth companies to develop sustainable innovations for the chemistry of the future. That's the aim of the BlueChem incubator. Leentje Croes, manager of BlueChem, and Jeroen Vangindertael, expert at BNP Paribas Fortis' Sustainable Business Competence Centre, talk about this unique initiative.

BNP Paribas Fortis is one of BlueChem's strategic partners. You can find all the strategic partners here.

Read the full article here: https://companies.bnpparibasfortis.be/en/article?n=bluechem-and-our-bank-are-committed-to-sustainable-chemistry.


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BlueChem also focuses on innovation and sustainability in office design

Creativity and productivity. It is around these two key concepts that BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry, wants to create the ideal working environment for innovative start-ups and SMEs. In collaboration with Forum Office, the innovation focus will be extended to office design. Flexible workplaces for optimal focus and concentration are combined with spaces where employees can relax and exchange ideas. A sense of comfort, durable materials and a smart use of colours are central to this furnishing concept. In this way, we make BlueChem a stimulating working environment that is bursting with creativity where employees feel at home at the same time.

BlueChem atrium BlueChem meeting rooms BlueChem flex BlueChem offices


BlueChem gets off to a flying start and concludes contracts with first tenants and partner companies

Arpadis, Creaflow and InOpSys. These are the first start-ups and growth companies that will move into BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry that will open its doors at the climate-neutral business park Blue Gate Antwerp at the end of April 2020. The City of Antwerp supports the young entrepreneurs with the BlueChem Kickstart Fund, which provides them with financial support in furnishing their laboratories. Chemical companies BASF, Borealis and INEOS also rent office space in BlueChem to support promising innovations and help them grow. The incubator for sustainable chemistry will also be the operating base for employees of Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the chemical and plastics industry in Flanders, and research organisation VITO. The leases were signed today, four and a half months before the official opening.

BlueChem is the first incubator in Flanders to focus specifically on innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable chemistry. On 28 April 2020, BlueChem officially opens its doors on the Blue Gate Antwerp eco-company park, but today the first five tenants - Arpadis, Catalisti, Creaflow, InOpSys and VITO - and three partner companies - BASF, Borealis and INEOS - have already been announced. As a result, the objective of the first year of operation, an occupancy rate of 20%, has almost been achieved four and a half months before the opening. In total there is room in BlueChem for about twenty companies, depending on the office and laboratory space they each need.

The City of Antwerp also launched the BlueChem Kickstart Fund today. This is an investment fund that gives a financial boost, up to 700 euro/m², to young and starting companies setting up in BlueChem for the furnishing of their labs. This is because it often involves very specific and expensive equipment for chemical research. Earlier this year, cooperation agreements were concluded with strategic partners BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Laga and Port of Antwerp. They will provide specialist advice to start-ups and growth companies in BlueChem and help them grow with tailored services.

Frank Beckx, chairman of BlueChem NV and managing director essenscia vlaanderen: "BlueChem is getting off to a flying start. The construction works are ahead of schedule and the names of the first companies in BlueChem are known. They are all innovative companies, each in their own way engaged in sustainable chemistry and circular economy. It is a good thing that the spearhead cluster Catalisti and a number of major chemical companies have chosen BlueChem as their operating base. In this way we stimulate open innovation and create the ideal ecosystem for the chemistry of the future. We foresee a running-in period of five years in order to achieve maximum occupancy in BlueChem."

Claude Marinower, Antwerp's alderman for Economy, Innovation and Digitalization: "The city of Antwerp is launching the BlueChem Kickstart Fund for starting chemical companies in BlueChem. With this extra financial support, they can set up laboratories to give research into sustainable chemical products the greatest possible chance of success. With BlueChem and the BlueChem Kickstart Fund, the city of Antwerp is living up to its ambition: to create more innovative power for the chemical sector, Antwerp's economic engine."

Flemish Minister of Economy and Innovation Hilde Crevits: "To meet the climate challenge, we need to invest heavily in sustainable, innovative solutions. Research into sustainable chemistry is important in this respect. Incubators are needed to develop, test and commercialize new technologies. They are, as it were, the 'breeding grounds' for innovations and provide the necessary space, expertise and support for researchers to hatch new technologies and spread their wings. That's why we support BlueChem's chemical incubator financially."

Discussions are still ongoing with other interested companies, but the activities of the first tenants in BlueChem already make it clear that the focus is on sustainable chemistry and circular economy.

Arpadis is a distributor of chemicals with branches in the Benelux, Germany, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The choice for BlueChem illustrates the strategic direction of Arpadis to focus on sustainable chemical products through intensive partnerships throughout the entire supply chain for the chemical sector.

Creaflow designs and markets highly innovative reactors for the fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industries. These advanced photoreactors are scalable and durable, use alternative activation methods such as visible light and can therefore produce new molecules that are inaccessible with traditional techniques.

InOpSys NV develops, builds and manages modular and mobile units to treat industrial wastewater in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Waste water is purified on site for reuse and valuable components such as metals and solvents are recovered. It is a practical example of circular economics, which no longer requires the transport and incineration of waste water.

Ecosystem for sustainable chemistry

BlueChem not only offers the perfect accommodation for start-ups, the incubator for sustainable chemistry also wants to build an ecosystem that stimulates innovation projects between large companies, SMEs and start-ups on the one hand and between the private sector, the government and academia on the other hand.

That is why it is important that Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for innovation in the chemical and plastics industry, and VITO, Flemish Institute for Technological Research, will also be active in BlueChem to detect and guide promising innovations. Partner companies such as BASF, Borealis and INEOS keep their finger on the pulse of innovations in sustainable chemistry with their presence in BlueChem and can be a lever to help breakthrough technologies grow into applications on an industrial scale. In this way, BlueChem strengthens the innovative strength of the chemical cluster in the port of Antwerp and in the rest of Flanders.

BlueChem is a unique collaboration between government, industry and knowledge institutions with the ambition to help promising innovations from start-ups and young companies active in sustainable chemistry grow to an industrial scale in order to strengthen the economically important chemical sector in Flanders. Project partners in BlueChem NV are essenscia, POM Antwerp, City of Antwerp and VITO. The incubator is built according to the principles of BREEAM-Excellent, a sustainability label for buildings with minimal environmental impact, and meets the BEN (Nearly Energy Neutral) standard. BlueChem will open at Blue Gate Antwerp in April 2020 and has 15 labs, 24 offices, 20 flexplaces and several meeting rooms spread over four floors.

bluechem offices

bluechem hallways


BlueChem: where sustainable chemistry and sustainable building go hand in hand

As an incubator, BlueChem focuses specifically on start-ups and young companies active in sustainable chemistry. BlueChem is also extending this pursuit of sustainability to the construction of the incubator. It will be a place where sustainability and chemistry literally come together.

Not only the company operations at BlueChem, but also the facilities, will become models of sustainability. The incubator’s building will be certified as BREEAM Excellent. BREEAM is an internationally recognised label for assessing the integral sustainability of buildings. Attention is paid to the techniques applied, also taking into account a high-quality working environment, safety aspects, the use of sustainable materials, etc. The BlueChem building also complies with the NZEB standard (Nearly Zero-Energy Building).

In the construction of BlueChem, there is a concern for minimum environmental impact and maximum sustainability.

  • The roof will be completely covered with solar panels.
  • The building will be connected to the heating network of the Blue Gate Antwerp industrial park, by which green residual heat is shared.
  • BlueChem will thus purchase not only CO2-neutral electricity, but also CO2-neutral heat.

The BlueChem building is a true feat of technology. Because of the complexity of the construction project, the BIM (Building Information Management) system has been used from the design phase. In this system, engineering firms, contractors, architects and builders all draw together using the same 3D model, which significantly reduces the number of errors on the worksite. This method immediately reveals the secret of the smooth progress of this construction site: BlueChem’s construction is in fact ahead of schedule.

The incubator concept is at the heart of the architecture: the building is built with maximum flexibility.

For example, the partitioning between office and laboratory space can easily be adapted depending on the tenant’s needs. In addition, BlueChem wants to stimulate cooperation by means of different meeting areas throughout the building. The heart of the incubator is the atrium, bathed in daylight from the roof dome. This is the central meeting place where tenants can exchange ideas and share experiences.

bluechem site

bluechem inside


BlueChem chemistry incubator concludes important partnership agreements

In announcing four strategic partnerships with BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Laga and the Port of Antwerp and appointing Leentje Croes as Manager, BlueChem is taking important steps forward. The incubator for sustainable chemistry will open its doors next spring. It is the first project at the new Blue Gate Antwerp eco-business park. The construction works are on schedule, and this week the usufruct agreement was signed between BlueChem NV and BlueChem Building NV.

BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Laga and the Port of Antwerp: BlueChem's strategic partners

Providing start-ups and growth companies that will be accommodated at BlueChem with specialised advice and supporting them with specific, customised services: this is the ambition with which four renowned organisations are working on the development of BlueChem, the first incubator in Flanders that specifically concentrates on innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable chemistry. The focus is on the effective use of waste and side flows, process optimisation and the development of renewable chemicals and sustainable products.

BNP Paribas Fortis, the only participating bank, will assist innovative start-ups and scale-ups in their financing and will share its financial expertise in sustainable entrepreneurship with them. Deloitte will offer strategic advice in business development, law firm Laga will provide legal support and the Port of Antwerp  will help entrepreneurs at BlueChem develop by making the right contacts for pilot projects and industrial upscaling. All these partnership agreements have been concluded in recent weeks.

BlueChem NV's Board of Directors chose Leentje Croes (31), who holds a Master's degree in Bio-engineering Chemistry and Bioprocess Technology from UGhent, as its Manager. She started her career at Atos Consulting, supported an automation project at Sanofi and joined Catalisti, formerly FISCH, the spearhead cluster for chemistry and plastics, in 2012. While there, she brought companies and knowledge institutions together to set up innovation projects. “The fact that an ambitious initiative like BlueChem gains the support of four renowned partners right away gives me a lot of confidence to put this incubator on the map successfully in Antwerp and Flanders, but also beyond,” says Leentje Croes.

“With BlueChem, we are literally building a prime location with state-of-the-art infrastructure to shape the chemistry of the future.”

Frank Beckx, Chairman of BlueChem NV and Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen

Frank Beckx, Chairman of BlueChem NV and Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen: “BlueChem is now fully on track. The building is a new landmark in the city already, even during the shell construction stage, the contracts with the first tenants are being negotiated and even international companies are showing interest. We are quite literally building a prime location with BlueChem, with state-of-the-art infrastructure to shape the chemistry of the future.”

“With BlueChem Antwerp is building an incubator for top innovations in sustainable chemistry with which we can make a difference globally.”

Claude Marinower, Antwerp's Alderman for Economy, Innovation and Digitisation

Claude Marinower, Antwerp's Alderman for Economy, Innovation and Digitisation: “With BlueChem Antwerp is building an incubator for top innovations in sustainable chemistry with which we can make a difference globally. So I am delighted with the new steps we are taking today with BlueChem. We are expanding BlueChem's ecosystem with four strategic partners, to which residents can turn for customised growth advice. In addition, as of today, BlueChem will also have a face with Leentje Croes as Manager. I wish her every success and look forward to the opening next year.”

During a site visit this week, the usufruct agreement was also signed between BlueChem Building NV and BlueChem NV for the use of the building for a period of 30 years. The incubator is being built according to the principles of BREEAM-Excellent, a sustainability label for buildings with minimal environmental impact. In this way, not only are BlueChem's activities sustainable, but so is its housing.

“We are pleased to make our network and expertise available to this industry, one that is very important to our country.”

Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking, BNP Paribas Fortis

BlueChem - strategic partners

Didier Beauvois, Head of Corporate Banking, BNP Paribas Fortis: “We are very proud to be BlueChem's partner, which, like our bank, is committed to sustainable development and open innovation. We are pleased to make our network and expertise available to this industry, one that is very important to our country.”

BlueChem - strategic partners

Guido Vandervorst and Frederik Debrabander, Partners, Deloitte: “Setting up the BlueChem incubator in the heart of the chemical cluster can make an important contribution to maintaining the leading position of the chemical industry in the port of Antwerp area. Deloitte is very happy to be able to contribute to this innovative project to support the chemical companies of the future.”

Kathleen De Hornois, Partner, Laga: “The local anchoring, in combination with the focus on growth companies, innovation and sustainability, are the key elements as to why Laga has chosen to become a partner in this project. We are delighted to be involved in this project this early on and look forward to the further development of BlueChem with great enthusiasm.”

“BlueChem will contribute to an innovative ecosystem that will enable us to ensure a sustainable future for the chemical cluster in the port of Antwerp.”

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp

bluechem - strategic partners

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO Port of Antwerp: “BlueChem will contribute to an innovative ecosystem that will enable us to ensure a sustainable future for the chemical cluster in the port of Antwerp. We are thrilled to be part of this unique partnership, as innovation is crucial to meeting the challenges of the future successfully.”

BlueChem is a unique public-private partnership. BlueChem NV is responsible for the operation and day-to-day activities of the incubator. The partners are essenscia, the City of Antwerp, POM Antwerp and VITO. BlueChem Building NV is in charge of the construction of the incubator. The partners are DEME Environmental Contractors (DEC), Bopro Sustainable Investments, AG VESPA and PMV. BlueChem also has the support of the European and Flemish governments. Through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Europe is investing over €3.4 million. Flanders is contributing €868,397 via the Hermes Fund and the City of Antwerp is investing €4 million.


Interview: BlueChem to become Antwerp's incubator for sustainable chemistry

Antwerp has the second largest cluster of chemical companies in the world, so it is only logical that this is where the first incubator for sustainable chemistry will open its doors in 2020. BlueChem will be an ecosystem where new chemical companies can find a network, support and equipped labs. Some fifteen small organisations that have outgrown the start-up phase will come into contact with each other and with major players in the sector. This cross-fertilisation gives them every opportunity to grow and exchange knowledge.

Blue Gate Antwerp as a breeding ground for sustainable chemistry

Frank Beckx is the Chairman of BlueChem and Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen, the chemistry and life sciences sector federation. “With BlueChem, we are concentrating on young companies working on sustainable chemistry: turning waste back into valuable raw materials, looking for renewable chemicals or developing solutions for the climate problem. By providing the right framework, BlueChem wants these promising innovations to grow until they are ready for the market.”

“The incubator is an ecosystem in which young chemical companies are given opportunities to grow”

BlueChem is coming to Blue Gate, formerly the Petroleum Zuid site. “A prime location,” explains Leentje Croes, Manager of BlueChem, who takes care of the day-to-day management of the incubator. “Antwerp is very well known for its chemical cluster, so there is already a great deal of know-how. But we also want to put Antwerp on the map as an innovator in the chemical sector. BlueChem will thus also collaborate with large companies, universities and other high-potential starters. It will become an ecosystem in which cross-fertilisation is possible, and exchange is a matter of course.”

Infrastructure and guidance

There will be room for some fifteen companies at BlueChem. They can rent offices and labs there. Frank Beckx: “Those labs are very well equipped. We have three that can be used immediately and twelve other labs that companies can set up according to their wishes. These are real chemistry labs, unlike the laboratories in biotech incubators, for example.”

“BlueChem is more than a lab or an office. It is a place to network, exchange expertise and develop.”

Leentje Croes: “At BlueChem we want to offer more than just an office or a lab. It happens too often these days that a promising young company stops because it does not have enough financial resources or because it cannot successfully apply the product of its research. Thanks to the collaboration with the partners, we can also support them in this. For example, the City of Antwerp offers the companies at BlueChem financial support for equipping their laboratory. Deloitte, Laga, BNP Paribas Fortis and the Port of Antwerp are our other partners. They provide services and advice if one of the companies requests it. And Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for innovation in chemistry and plastics, will have a permanent office at BlueChem. They will provide access to a broader network. All these contacts ensure that companies can find each other and exchange knowledge.”

Such a state-of-the-art incubator costs a lot of money. Fortunately, BlueChem has the support of the EU through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). BlueChem has received €3.4 million from this fund. Flanders is also giving over €860,000 in support via the Hermes Fund, and the City of Antwerp, VITO and POM are also investing in BlueChem. The City of Antwerp has a fund to support companies as well.

Leentje Croes is currently holding initial discussions with interested companies. If you think you might be eligible for a place at BlueChem, please contact Leentje Croes on 0472 88 97 76 or by email at: leentje.croes@bluechem.com.


Groundbreaking ceremony for BlueChem, the very first incubator for sustainable chemistry in Flanders

In Antwerp today, the first sod was turned for the construction of BlueChem, the very first incubator for sustainable chemistry in Flanders and Belgium. The chemistry incubator offers the right infrastructure and customised services to enable promising start-ups, growth companies and open innovation projects to develop successfully to an industrial scale. BlueChem is a unique partnership between industry, government and knowledge institutions to anchor the economically important chemical sector in Flanders in the long term. The opening is planned for the spring of 2020, but discussions are already underway with the first prospective tenants.

Incubator BlueChem should accelerate sustainable innovations and anchor chemical sector in Flanders

With BlueChem, Flanders is fully committing to sustainable chemistry. And where better to do this than in Antwerp, at the heart of a world-class chemical cluster. This makes BlueChem one of the first realisations at the climate-neutral Blue Gate Antwerp business park, a leader in sustainability in Flanders. Chemistry federation essenscia vlaanderen participates as the main shareholder in the operation of the incubator.

In the chemical sector, it is not easy to make promising innovations develop into new companies. It takes a lot of time, money and courage. BlueChem offers the right facilities in the right place to offer innovations in sustainable chemistry the greatest possible chance of success. With BlueChem, we are going for more starters in chemistry, more excellence in research at our knowledge institutions and more innovative strength in the chemical sector, the economic engine of Antwerp and Flanders. We are world leaders in chemical production. We also want to achieve that in chemistry innovation with BlueChem,” says Frank Beckx, Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen and Chairman of BlueChem NV.

BlueChem has many assets: a prime location with over 3,300 m² of flexible workplaces, offices and fifteen laboratories, extensive services, financial support for the purchase of specialised equipment and direct access to knowledge and expertise within an extensive network of chemical companies, research centres and all five Flemish universities.

Catalisti – the Flemish spearhead cluster for chemistry and plastics – plays an active role at BlueChem to help start up and support promising innovation projects. In addition to BlueChem, the University of Antwerp is building Blue_App, a complementary pre-incubator for research projects in the field of sustainable chemistry. Blue_App focuses on research, BlueChem on commercialisation and industrialisation.

BlueChem places particular emphasis on the effective use of waste and side flows as a pioneer in the circular economy. Other innovation themes are process optimisation and the development of renewable chemicals and sustainable materials. How do we recover useful chemicals from waste? How can we use a greenhouse gas such as CO2 as a valuable raw material? What chemistry is needed to make products even more reusable and recyclable? These are questions that BlueChem wants to answer.

The total investment in BlueChem amounts to €11 million, of which €7 million is for the construction of the building. The City of Antwerp is the largest investor, with €4 million. BlueChem is receiving a maximum subsidy of €3,473,589 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Flanders in turn is investing €868,397 in the project via the Hermes Fund.

With our ambitious cluster policy, we are focusing on specific sectors and clusters that are closely aligned with the strengths of Flemish industry and knowledge institutions, through which we can also make a difference internationally. This also makes sustainable chemistry a clear spearhead,” explains Philippe Muyters, Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation and Sport. “BlueChem fits in perfectly with this strategy and so receives our full Flemish support.”

With the groundbreaking ceremony for BlueChem and Blue_App, Antwerp is literally building a new ecosystem for sustainable chemistry”, says Mayor Bart De Wever. “Our ambition is to make good use of the existing knowledge and expertise in chemistry in our region by setting up new innovative companies. In this way, we guarantee and strengthen the future of the chemical sector in Antwerp and, by extension, in Flanders.”

We are pleased that BlueChem and Blue_App are the first realisations at Blue Gate Antwerp. Both projects fit seamlessly into the ambitious vision of this very first eco-effective and water-bound business park in the country”, says Caroline Bastiaens, Chair at Blue Gate Antwerp Public Holding and Antwerp Alderman for Economy.

BlueChem is a unique public-private partnership in which the private sector accounts for half of the investment. The project is supported by eight different partners that provide the capital needed through two companies. BlueChem nv handles the operation and day-to-day activities of the incubator. The project partners are the principal shareholder essenscia, POM (Provincial Development Agency) Antwerp, the City of Antwerp and VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research).

BlueChem Building nv is responsible for the construction of the incubator. The project partners are the majority shareholders Bopro Sustainable Investments (BSI) and DEME Environmental Contractors (DEC), together with the Autonomous Municipal Company for Real Estate and City Projects in Antwerp (AG Vespa) and Participation Company Flanders (PMV).

Design & Engineering NV is responsible for the construction of BlueChem. This is a consortium of construction company MBG, LOW architects, engineering firm Ingenium and design firm ELD. The construction works start at the end of this year.


Moskou

BlueChem in the spotlight during Antwerp's trade mission to Moscow

Sector federation essenscia vlaanderen highlighted the many assets of the chemical sector in Flanders during an investment seminar in Moscow. The port of Antwerp is home to the largest integrated chemical cluster in Europe and was therefore one of the economic spearheads during the City of Antwerp’s trade mission to Moscow and Saint Petersburg. For example, more than half of Belgium's exports to Russia come from the chemical, plastics and pharmaceuticals sectors.

The chemical sector, together with the port and the diamond industry, was one of the main economic themes during the Antwerp trade mission to Russia led by Mayor Bart De Wever. An investment seminar was planned in Moscow to highlight the assets of the chemical cluster in the port of Antwerp for Russian companies and investors.

Export to Moscow

Of the total Belgian exports to Russia last year, no less than 53% came from the chemical and life sciences sector, representing a turnover of €2.1 billion. As far as Flanders is concerned, exports to Russia of plastics as well as chemicals and pharmaceutical products increased by 16% last year. Russia is also the second most important overseas trading partner for the port of Antwerp, with traffic of 14 million tonnes of goods in 2017.

Welcome team for the chemical sector

Frank Beckx, Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen and Chairman of BlueChem, said: “The aim of this trade mission is to put the chemical sector in Antwerp and Flanders even more firmly on the international map. We have a great many logistical advantages: we are the largest integrated and most diverse chemical cluster in Europe with excellent domestic and overseas connections, we lie at the heart of the Western European pipeline network and we have a unique capacity of almost 10 million m³ of tank storage, which means that a quarter of all chemicals in Europe are stored in our country. Moreover, we have talented employees with specialised knowledge and skills we can rely on, we are building the future with BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry that opens in Antwerp in 2020 and, together with Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT), we recently set up a Welcome Team for the Chemical Sector to provide the best possible support for foreign investment projects.

EuroChem

The trade mission’s delegation also visited leading research and innovation centres such as the Skolkovo Innovation Center and the TechnoSpark incubator. There was also a meeting with the Russian chemical company EuroChem, which has had a major fertiliser production facility in Antwerp with almost 400 employees since 2012.


BlueChem Israël

BlueChem highlight of the economic mission to Israel

BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry that opens in Antwerp in 2020, was one of the highlights of the economic mission to Israel led by Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Pieter De Crem and Antwerp Alderman Caroline Bastiaens.

Cleantech and digital innovation: these were the substantive spearheads of the economic mission to Israel. As number 1 in the Cleantech Innovation Index, and with the highest number of start-ups per population, Israel is known as one of the most innovative countries in the world.

Circular economy

The aim of the mission was to promote Belgian companies with knowledge and expertise in digitisation, waste management, chemistry and the circular economy in Israel and to encourage Israeli companies to invest in Antwerp and Flanders.

The assets of the BlueChem incubator were highlighted to Israeli investors during the Antwerp Business Seminar organised during the world-renowned DLD Innovation Festival in Tel Aviv. Blue Gate Antwerp, Umicore, Indaver and Isvag also presented their know-how and expertise there.


“Chemistry incubator BlueChem focuses on the effective use of waste and side streams”

Interview with Frank Beckx in Mblad
The first applicants for a place at Blue Gate Antwerp have confirmed. BlueChem, the future incubator for sustainable chemistry, has also chosen the new top location.

Antwerp is home to the largest chemical cluster in Europe. Blue Gate Antwerp was thus a logical choice for BlueChem. “BlueChem will become a breeding ground for innovative ideas in chemistry. The incubator brings together start-ups, SMEs and large companies and provides them with the knowledge and infrastructure to develop ideas,” says Frank Beckx, Managing Director of chemical federation essenscia vlaanderen and Chairman of BlueChem. “This is necessary, because the development of an idea for a chemical process requires time and money. It often takes a long time before an idea can be put to effective use. We want to accelerate that process.”

BlueChem will make offices and labs available and bring users into contact with knowledge partners and potential investors. Candidates can also count on the expertise and network of Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for chemistry and plastics.

Frank Beckx: “The main theme of the incubator will be the effective use of waste and side flows as a pioneer of the circular economy. Another focus area is the search for alternative sustainable raw materials, such as algae and biomass.”

“The main theme of the incubator will be the effective use of waste and side flows as a pioneer in the circular economy”

- Frank Beckx (BlueChem)

BlueChem is a public-private partnership between the chemical federation essenscia, developers DEC and Bopro, the city of Antwerp, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO), the Provincial Development Agency (POM) Antwerp, the Participation Company Flanders (PMV) and the Autonomous Municipal Company for Real Estate and City Projects in Antwerp (AG Vespa). The project will receive €3.4 million from the European ERDF programme and around €860,000 from the Flemish Hermes Fund. The incubator should be operational by 2020.