ICIS Chemical Business (the magazine I work for) published yesterday its feature on Innovations and most innovations nowadays it seems is focused on the environment.

Specialty chemicals company Rhodia is certainly on top of this trend as they talked about how sustainability issues are largely affecting their R&D projects during my visit to their Center for Research and Technology in Bristol, Pennsylvania. Rhodia said 30% of their overall company sales last year are generated by products that offer sustainable solutions.

A consultant from UK-based Sagentia, Chris Richardson, also talked about green chemistry, what it means, and how chemical companies can capitalize on its opportunities.

“Business leaders should review both business development and technology strategies in order to understand how to deploy green chemistry to improve their environmental credentials, secure the bottom line and gain essential commercial advantage.”

Richardson noted that organizations that are able to embrace the sustainability challenge are more likely to succeed.

Finally, ICIS also published yesterday in the magazine the winners for its 5th ICIS Innovation Award, which was sponsored by Dow Corning. The winners include:

  1. ExxonMobil Chemical and Tonen Chemical for their polymer-based battery separator film for lithium ion batteries;
  2. Virent Energy Systems for their processing technology in producing hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals from plant sugars
  3. DSM Nutritional Products for their “Sight and Life Project” with the United Nation World Food Program;
  4. Dow Chemical in their project to reuse city wastewater effluent as process water.

According to John Baker, who launched and runs the awards at ICIS:

“Environmental and social benefits formed a strong theme in this year’s entries, regardless of which category was being entered. This is an encouraging trend, highlighting the fact that companies are taking wider issues into account when planning and prioritizing innovation projects.”

Hopefully with these new ideas, the chemical industry will soon regain its former glory as the champion of innovation (that crown I think is now in the hands of the electronics industry), and be able to help Mother Earth be healthy again at the same time.


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