Sustainable chemistry

The strength of scientific innovation in the chemical industry is essential for the sustainable development of our planet. BlueChem underscores the belief in sustainable chemistry as the key industry of the 21st century and the pacesetter of a circular economy. In addition, chemistry provides crucial innovations and products for a successful approach to the climate challenge.

Examples? High-performance batteries for greater energy efficiency, lightweight materials to reduce the fuel consumption of cars and aircraft, high-quality insulation materials for energy-efficient buildings and household appliances, advanced components for solar panels and wind turbines, and the expertise to develop a hydrogen economy, to name a few.

Sustainable chemistry is one of the five key sectors that the Flemish Government is highlighting in its economic vision of the future.

BlueChem concentrates specifically on innovation in sustainable chemistry. The projects at BlueChem focus on four themes that correspond to the strategic goals of Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the chemical and plastics industry in Flanders.

  • Biobased value chains
  • process intensification and transformation
  • Circularity and resource efficiency
  • Advanced sustainable products

More specifically, it concerns the conversion of waste and CO2 into reusable chemicals, industrial applications for bio-based materials such as sugar beets or wood waste, making products more reusable and recyclable within a circular economy, and reinventing production processes to produce more with less energy, fewer raw materials and less waste.

In short, it is chemistry as the source of solutions for a better, cleaner and more sustainable future while respecting everyone’s quality of life.

The transition to more sustainable chemistry is in full swing. BlueChem needs to become its driving force and accelerate innovation.

BlueChem must provide the impetus for leading innovations with which Flemish chemistry sets an example for the rest of the world in aiming towards a more sustainable society and a circular economy. This reinforces the international appeal of the Flemish chemical industry, which can lead to new investments. BlueChem is thus an additional asset to anchor the chemical industry in Flanders in the long term and prepare it for the future.

With 60,000 direct and 150,000 indirect jobs, the chemical and life sciences industry is one of the most important branches of industry in Flanders. It accounts for a third of the added value, a third of all exports and almost half of all industrial expenditure on research and development in Flanders.

The chemical industry is the driving force behind the port of Antwerp and the Flemish economy.

In terms of per capita turnover, Flanders is actually the world champion in chemistry and plastics. Eight of the ten largest chemical companies in the world have a production site in the Flemish region.

Read more about the contribution of chemistry to the Sustainable Development Goals in the sector’s sustainability report: