Calidris Bio

BlueChem presents: Calidris Bio

Making nutritious proteins with captured CO2 and renewable energy. With this innovation, Calidris Bio wants to help feed the growing world population. Lieve Hoflack from Calidris Bio explains how.


Start-ups in BlueChem present their innovations to the city council of Antwerp

The city council of Antwerp paid a working visit to BlueChem, the first incubator for sustainable chemistry in Belgium. BlueChem opened its doors at the beginning of May and helps promising start-ups and ambitious growth companies to scale up their innovation projects in sustainable chemistry and circular economy to industrial production. BlueChem has got off to a flying start: with 7 start-ups and 6 partner companies, a third of the available laboratories and office spaces in BlueChem is already occupied.

The city council of Antwerp met for the occasion in BlueChem. During an extensive tour, the mayor and aldermen were subsequently introduced to the specialised lab infrastructure in the incubator. The entrepreneurs of the start-ups and scale-ups presented their promising innovations during the working visit. With Arpadis, Calidris Bio, Creaflow, IBEVE, InOpSys, Peace of Meat and Triple Helix Group, 7 innovative growth companies are already working in BlueChem.

BlueChem

First incubator for sustainable chemistry

Frank Beckx, chairman BlueChem and managing director essenscia vlaanderen: “BlueChem is the first incubator for sustainable chemistry in Belgium. With BlueChem, here in Antwerp, in the heart of one of the largest chemical clusters in the world, we offer the right accommodation in the right place to help grow promising innovations in the field of sustainable chemistry and circular economy: from lab experiments to industrial production. The great interest of both start-ups and international chemical companies shows that we are writing a success story with BlueChem. For the chemistry of the future, you have to be in BlueChem.”

BlueChem is the first realised project on the eco-commercial site Blue Gate Antwerp. The incubator is sustainably built and meets the BEN standard and the BREEAM Excellent label. With the BlueChem Kickstart Fund, the city of Antwerp offers companies in BlueChem financial support for their lab equipment. With Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the chemical and plastics industry, and VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research), BlueChem can also rely on an extensive and valuable network of scientific knowledge partners.

BlueChem

Claude Marinower, Alderman for Economy, Innovation and Industry and director of BlueChem: “It was impressive to discover all those inspiring entrepreneurial stories about innovating for a sustainable industry and society. BlueChem proves that sustainability and economic growth do not have to be mutually exclusive. With the BlueChem Kickstart Fund, the city of Antwerp offers financial support to start-ups in the incubator so that they can equip their labs with the most advanced equipment. In this way, we are realizing more innovative power for the chemical industry.”

Bart De Wever, Mayor of the city of Antwerp: “With BlueChem we are strengthening one of Antwerp’s major economic assets: our chemical industry. This is investing in the future, in an ecosystem for top innovations in sustainable chemistry and climate technology with which we can make a global difference. BlueChem is a new asset for Antwerp that will play a full part in the international promotion of our city. We also strongly believe in the cross-fertilization between government, industry and academia.”

BlueChem is a unique collaboration between industry, government and knowledge institutions with the joint ambition to further strengthen the economically important chemical industry in Flanders. Shareholders in BlueChem NV are essenscia, POM Antwerp, the city of Antwerp and VITO. Supplemented with Catalisti, they form the Board of Directors. Chemical companies Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS and Vopak are also involved in this project. Strategic partners are BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Deloitte Legal, Port of Antwerp and SAS Institute. They offer the companies in BlueChem specialised advice tailored to their needs.

Leentje Croes, manager BlueChem: With BlueChem we have everything we need to help promising start-ups and ambitious growth companies from home and abroad to successfully develop their sustainable chemistry innovations. Adapted infrastructure at a top location, financial support for setting up labs, tailored services – from business and legal advice to data analysis platforms – and direct access to knowledge and expertise within an extensive network of international chemical companies, research centres such as VITO and the Catalisti innovation cluster that collaborates intensively with the five Flemish universities. BlueChem is a unique initiative that will frequently be heard of.”

BlueChemBlueChem


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First start-ups take up residence in BlueChem incubator for sustainable chemistry

With the relaxation of the corona measures, the first start-ups will take up residence in BlueChem this week. BlueChem is the first incubator in Belgium to focus on innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable chemistry. The labs are already almost half full. With Calidris Bio, IBEVE, Peace of Meat and Triple Helix, four innovative growth companies once again choose BlueChem in Antwerp as a base for their research and business activities. With additional support from Air Liquide, ExxonMobil, SAS Institute and Vopak, BlueChem provides the right expertise and framework to accelerate sustainable innovations and increase their success rate for industrial application.

Despite the corona crisis, the labs in BlueChem are already almost half full

Due to the corona virus, the official opening of BlueChem at the end of April was cancelled, but the incubator for sustainable chemistry at the eco-company site Blue Gate Antwerp is making good progress. With 7 start-ups and scale-ups, the cooperation of 6 international companies and 5 strategic partners who offer a tailor-made service to the tenants in BlueChem, the available laboratories and office spaces are already almost half occupied. As a result, at least 60 people will already be able to work in BlueChem. The first start-ups will start their activities this week, of course with respect for the applicable hygiene measures and physical distance rules in order to guarantee a safe working environment.

 

 

International network

Shareholders essenscia, POM Antwerp, the city of Antwerp and VITO stress that there is still enough room in BlueChem for extra start-ups. With Air Liquide, ExxonMobil and Vopak zetten, three international companies once again joined the incubator for sustainable chemistry. Previously, industry companies BASF, Borealis and INEOS had already agreed to cooperate. This gives the entrepreneurs in BlueChem access to a unique and cross-border business network to scale up their innovations in sustainable chemistry to an industrial level, both at home and abroad.

 

Specialised service

The companies at BlueChem can also count on specialized services in the field of financing, innovation, legal support and business development. For example, the experts from Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for innovation in the chemical and plastics industry in Flanders, will be housed in BlueChem and strategic partners such as BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Deloitte Legal and Port of Antwerp will provide a tailor-made service. SAS Institute also enters into a structural partnership with BlueChem, making its advanced analytics platform available to start-ups and scale-ups. This allows them to work with big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to take their innovative research and industrial applications to the next level.

Claude Marinower, Antwerp’s alderman for economy, innovation and digitilisation and director of BlueChem NV: “The flying start of BlueChem proves that Antwerp is becoming an attractive national and international hotspot for innovative companies in sustainable chemistry. In order to further strengthen this innovative power for the chemical sector, the economic engine of Antwerp and Flanders, we offer young entrepreneurs financial support with the BlueChem Kickstart Fund to set up their labs. Because they were forced by the corona measures to temporarily postpone their move to the BlueChem incubator, it was also agreed that the start-ups and scale-ups would only have to pay half the rent in April and May.”

Frank Beckx, chairman of BlueChem NV and managing director essenscia vlaanderen, the sector federation of chemical and life sciences industry: “The great interest shown by companies demonstrates that we are writing a success story with BlueChem. It is clear that there was a need for an incubator for sustainable chemistry in Flanders. BlueChem offers the right accommodation in the right place to successfully support ground-breaking innovations with a strong focus on sustainable chemistry and circular economy in their growth strategy. I would like to thank all entrepreneurs and partner companies for their commitment to take the lead with BlueChem in making the chemical and other industries more sustainable. For the chemistry of the future, you have to be at BlueChem.”

 

Innovation in sustainable chemistry

After Arpadis, Creaflow en InOpSys, who signed their lease in BlueChem in December 2019, four promising companies, Calidris Bio, IBEVE, Peace of Meat and Triple Helix, once again choose for BlueChem. Calidris Bio is a start-up founded last year that carries out innovation projects in cooperation with Flanders’ FOOD and with the cooperation of Catalisti and VITO, knowledge partners of BlueChem.

Calidris Bio uses fermentation technology to produce a high quality, nutritious and affordable source of protein with a low ecological footprint. The technology makes maximum use of renewable raw materials and has minimal impact on land use or marine ecosystems. The mission is primarily to offer an alternative to soy and fishmeal for animal nutrition. We are also investigating what is needed to use this same protein for human nutrition at a later stage.

IBEVE is an expertise agency that is part of the IDEWE Group and offers entrepreneurs and their employees specialist services in the areas of safety, sustainability and the environment. At BlueChem, IBEVE wants to set up a test lab to develop high-quality analysis techniques under strictly controlled conditions for more accurate detection and evaluation of nanomaterials, asbestos fibres and other dust particles. Therefore, an advanced scanning electron microscope (SEM) will be installed in BlueChem this summer. The goal? Better protect human health and the environment and conduct more scientific research in collaboration with universities and public authorities.

Peace of Meat is a rearing meat company that uses biological processes to grow fat and liver cells, among other things to produce animal-free foie gras. The primary focus is on the production of cultured fats, but Peace of Meat also wants to produce other types of cultured meat in the long term in order to become a European leader in this market segment. One of the projects is the marketing of foie gras based on laboratory-grown duck liver cells with a taste and texture identical to the traditional product. For this purpose, the start-up is part of a consortium with KU Leuven, the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant and some players from the food industry.

Triple Helix supports sustainable innovations of start-ups, growth companies and large corporations to accelerate the introduction of innovative technologies to the market. Based on a unique model, Triple Helix injects expertise and invests financially in companies focused on the transition to sustainable chemistry. The emphasis is on the development of circular value chains in high-quality materials such as PET, polyurethanes and phenols. The ambition is considerable: from BlueChem, Triple Helix wants to become an international player in sustainable chemistry in the long term.

Bluechem boardroom

 

About BlueChem

BlueChem is a unique collaboration between industry, knowledge institutions and government 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 industry in Flanders. Project partners in BlueChem NV are essenscia, POM Antwerpen, the city of Antwerp and VITO, which together with Catalisti form the Board of Directors. The incubator accommodates about 20 companies and has 15 labs, 24 offices, 20 flexplaces and some meeting rooms, spread over 4 floors.

BlueChem can count on financial support from the Flemish government via the Hermes Fund (868,397 euros) and on European support via the ERDF, the European Regional Development Fund (3.47 million euros). The construction costs for BlueChem amount to more than 7 million euros. The City of Antwerp supports young entrepreneurs with the BlueChem Kickstart Fund, which provides them with financial support in furnishing their laboratories.

With the support of:

 

 

 

 

More information

Leentje Croes
Manager BlueChem
0472 889 776
leentje.croes@bluechem.be 

Magalie Verstraelen
Spokesperson alderman Claude Marinower
0487 67 87 03
magalie.verstraelen@antwerpen.be

Gert Verreth
Head of Communication & spokesperson essenscia
0477 46 42 27
gverreth@essenscia.be


BlueChem SAS

SAS and BlueChem incubator for sustainable chemistry conclude partnership

SAS will be one of the strategic partners of BlueChem, the first incubator in Belgium to focus specifically on innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable chemistry. This involves the valorisation of waste and by-products, process optimisation and the development of renewable chemicals and sustainable products.

BlueChem is a collaboration between industry, knowledge institutions and government with the ambition to guarantee and strengthen the future of the economically important chemical industry in Flanders. Data- and ai-specialist SAS has been working for the chemical and life sciences industry for many years, with customers such as Prayon, Siemens Healthineers and Solvay.

Within the partnership, SAS will make its analysis platform available to start-ups and scale-ups in BlueChem. This should enable them to scale the data. For example, processes can be optimised, capacity and efficiency increased, energy consumption reduced and product quality and reliability improved.

“With this collaboration, we want to optimally support both our loyal customers and the customers of tomorrow. The partnership with BlueChem fits perfectly with our strategy to continue to support innovations and transformations”, says Wim Mues, Sales Director Manufacturing at SAS for Benefralux.

The importance of big data and artificial intelligence in the chemical industry is growing rapidly. Both to make industrial processes safer and more efficient, and in research and development. “Thanks to the partnership with SAS, we can offer the start-ups and growth companies in BlueChem the digital technology to use data to optimise and accelerate their innovations in sustainable chemistry”, says Frank Beckx, chairman BlueChem and managing director essenscia vlaanderen.


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.

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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.