British start-up Aquature chooses BlueChem as European base for unique water treatment technology

British start-up Aquature has moved into BlueChem, the incubator for sustainable chemistry in Antwerp. The company has developed an innovative water purification technology that produces hydrogen on the one hand and captures CO2 for reuse on the other. At BlueChem, Aquature will focus on further research and the development of pilot plants.

Aquature's innovative water treatment technology uses renewable energy and a breakthrough bio-electrical process to treat industrial wastewater. This process creates green hydrogen and removes CO2 from the wastewater whilst producing a variety of green chemicals as a side product. The CO2 can be captured and reused as feedstock for synthetic fuels, among other things. This turns the whole process carbon-negative and energy positive. Afterwards, the treated water can be reused in industrial production processes.

Aquature wants to apply its technology initially in the food and drinks industry as well as the agriculture and paper industry. Key benefits for customers are reduced energy costs, a reduction in scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions as well as reduced supply chain dependency due to inhouse production of chemicals.

Bjoern Pietruschka, managing director of Aquature: "If you are a foreign start-up in the circular economy looking for labs with support services in a unique ecosystem that has a direct link to industry, you will quickly find BlueChem. We are convinced that the exciting mix of start-ups and international players makes BlueChem the perfect base to launch our young company internationally."

Liesbet Boogaerts and Barbara Veranneman, manager and president BlueChem: "BlueChem is on the map as the hotspot for innovation in sustainable chemistry and circular economy. Nationally and internationally. The fact a British start-up chooses to host its first foreign operations at our incubator is further proof of this. We will therefore continue our efforts to maximise BlueChem's innovation potential and play it as an international trump card."

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Inopsys develops innovative solution to purify water from PFAS

Antwerp scale-up presents promising results in fight against 'Forever Chemicals'

Inopsys, a scale-up with an R&D team at Antwerp incubator BlueChem, is developing an effective and sustainable technology to remove PFAS from water. With support from the city of Antwerp, Inopsys is developing a solution that succeeds in purifying contaminated water better than the most widely applied technology on the market to date.

Inopsys develops promising technology to purify water from PFAS

After months of lab research with support from the city of Antwerp, Inopsys succeeded in applying a successful technology for the purification of water from PFAS. The results of the first tests at the BlueChem lab are promising and the pilot installation at Lantis' Oosterweel yard is scaling up the solution.

Current benchmark technology for PFAS removal

has received increasing attention from policymakers and the general public in recent months. The technology most widely applied today for the removal of PFAS from water - Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) - is reaching its limits. As the scale of the PFAS problem becomes increasingly clear, legal standards are emerging for the maximum amount of PFAS allowed in water discharges that are 100 to 1,000 times more stringent than current standards. For the first time, they will also apply to the most difficult-to-remove PFAS substances. Technological innovations are needed to efficiently meet those standards, and where necessary to contribute to the protection of public health and the environment. Inopsys is fully committed to this.

Innovative power of new treatment technology

The innovative power compared to the benchmark Granular Activated Coal (GAC) is obvious:

  • Inopsys' solution uses adsorbents that can absorb more PFAS, including the most difficult to remove PFAS substances.
  • The technology results in a more compact treatment installation.
  • The adsorbent material is reusable/regenerable, so it does not have to be incinerated after a single use each time. This creates less waste.
  • The technology allows higher rates of PFAS removal, and thus lower outgoing concentrations. This is positive given the upcoming stricter standards.
  • The combination of the foregoing advantages mean that the cost of this innovation is, in most cases, lower than the most commonly used technology to date.

Looking to the future

Inopsys offers full-service PFAS solutions and meanwhile is investing in the future: on the one hand in high-tech analytical and on the other hand in projects to develop innovative technologies to PFAS. "We are proud of this innovation and have the ambition to scale it up further. Inopsys wants to bring to market nationally and internationally a solution that makes an impactful contribution to addressing the urgent PFAS problem" said Steven de Laet, CEO of Inopsys.

Support from the city of Antwerp                                                                                

Inopsys was able to develop this solution with financial support from the City of Antwerp, encouraging innovative start-ups and scale-ups. Thanks to their support, companies can realize essential innovations that would not have been possible otherwise.

The Inopsys laboratories are located in BlueChem, an incubator for sustainable chemistry of which the city of Antwerp is a partner, alongside essenscia, VITO and POM Antwerpen. The success of Inopsys is proof that this incubator is performing well.

Antwerp’s Vice-Mayer : "The fact that this pioneering and globally relevant technology is being developed in Antwerp is magnificent, but obviously no coincidence. For several years, the city has been investing heavily in facilitating sustainable economic innovations. We do this with the realisation of BlueChem but also by supporting innovative developments. And that pays off. In this way, we not only create economic growth and thus prosperity in the city, but also harness the enormous potential of our start-ups in the transition to a sustainable economy as well as addressing environmental and climate challenges."

Steven De Laet - InOpSys

InOpSys starts subsidiary in Basel, Switzerland

InOpSys NV, based in Mechelen and Antwerp (BlueChem), will start a subsidiary in Basel, Switzerland, under the name InOpSys GmbH. The Belgian cleantech company wants to expand on a European scale and is targeting Swiss, German, Irish and French markets.

With Basel as a favourable geographical area, highly qualified experts and a strong commitment to a sustainable future, Switzerland is the ideal location for a European expansion. Basel Area Business & Innovation, the Swiss agency for investment and innovation promotion, supports the establishment process of the growth company.

InOpSys GmbH aims to become an innovative and sustainable industry partner for Swiss chemical and pharmaceutical companies. It will be able to help companies avoid transport and the burning of by-products by reusing water and raw materials.

Last, Steven De Laet, CEO of InOpSys, is also looking to expand into other countries, such as Ireland, Germany, Scandinavian countries and even North America, he previously told Mediaplanet.

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    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.


    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.

    The city council of Antwerp - hallways

    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.”

    The city council of Antwerp - Bart De Wever and Leentje CroesCity council of Antwerp at BlueChem