Innovation Awards - Best Business Innovation Category

ICIS Innovation Awards 2011


Lead Sponsor
Dow Corning Logo

Category Sponsors
Bayer Materials

US Chemicals Logo



Best Business Innovation - sponsored by Shell Chemicals

The Best Business Innovation category is intended to highlight wider-based innovation in the way chemical companies do business. This may be with new service offerings to customers or partnerships with suppliers and downstream collaborators; new approaches to the route to market; or even novel supply chain or business process operations.

The panel of judges decided after careful consideration not to award a winner in this category this year. Even though the product and process innovations involved were of high quality, they did not represent examples of true business innovation as set out by ICIS in the category criteria.

As Alexander Farina of sponsor Shell Chemicals notes: “Coming up with new business solutions should be as important as technological or product development. Business innovation can add value and drive the right solutions to customers, and the industry.” Shell, he says, recognises that innovation goes beyond traditional product and process development. “We also look at how we can innovate in the way we do business. Our service offerings to customers, partnerships with suppliers, route to market or supply chain and operations.”

Shortlisted entries for 2012:

Christophe Schilling
Transforming the chemical industry through new enabling technology
A transformation of the route to petrochemicals is the bold aim of Genomatica in its role as technology enabler for bio-based production of chemical intermediates. It is seeking to create new bio-based process technologies to today’s high-volume petrochemicals, but with better economics and smaller environmental footprints. It is working on a range of materials such as butanediol (BDO), butadiene (BD), and 20 others. In pursuit of its business it is embracing a licensing approach to partnering, to speed the scale-up and uptake of its proprietary technology, working with the likes of
Novamont of Italy, Mitsubishi Chemical of Japan and Waste Management in the US.

Genet Garamendi
Breakthrough renewable oil creates new class of dielectric fluids
California, US-based start-up Solazyme is helping drive innovation in bio-based materials with its tailored algal oils, which it claims provide a unique opportunity to develop and produce next-generation bio-based dielectric insulating fluids that boast a number performance benefits over products currently available. Key properties are biodegradability, increased thermal and oxidative stability and close viscosity control. Solazyme has developed a biotech platform using the oil-producing capabilities of microalgae in a scalable, reliable and cost-effective manner using standard industrial fermentation. Solazyme is currently commercializing these oils for specific markets with Dow Chemical. It estimates the global market for dielectric  insulating fluids at over 2m tonnes/year.

The winner in this category for 2011 was:

Babette Pettersen
ation in biosuccinic acid
US renewable chemistry start up BioAmber has been first-to-market with bio-based succinic acid, creating a portfolio of renewable chemicals and polymers from the biomaterial including 1,4-butanediol and modified PBS. Open innovation has allowed BioAmber to utilize deep, existing industry know-how and global infrastructure, while reducing capital expenditure and accelerating development. It has licensed E. coli technology from the US Department of Energy, and is building on this with yeast technology from US-based company Cargill. BioAmber combines this advantage with a unique downstream purification technology developed with US non-profit research company MATRIC, and catalyst technology from US based DuPont that converts succinic acid to 1,4-butanediol and tetrahydrofuran.

Read more details here

The winner in this category in 2010 was:

Huntsman Advanced Materials

Philippe Michaud

New generation of rapid manufacturing equipment and resins

With its Araldite Digitalis polymeric additive fabrication system, Huntsman Advanced Materials, based in Basle, Switzerland, believes it has taken rapid manufacturing of 3D parts using stereolithography a significant step further, opening up potential for its UV-curable photopolymers in what it estimates is a $1.2bn/year market. At the heart of the innovation, is a radical new exposure system which uses computer-controlled micro-mechanical shutters, allowing a large surface area of photopolymer to be exposed and avoiding the use of laser technology. Exposure is fast, uniform and of high accuracy and large numbers of parts can be produced simultaneously.

Find more details here

The winner in this category in 2009 was: 

Remko Goudappel and Inge Massen
Moving down the value chain with claryl - the picture glass
Having invented a one-step optical anti-reflective coating for float glass, DSM decided that instead of marketing the coating, it would enter the market itself with a branded mid-priced picture-framing glass to capture more of the value from the innovation. Extensive market research indicated a gap in the market and the launch has been so successful DSM has had to install further capacity. The claryl picture-framing glass is now sold through 1,500 framing shops in 15 EU countries and a bid to enter the US market is underway. The original innovation came from DSM’s incubator unit.

Find more details here