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.


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 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.