Innovation Awards - Best Product Innovation Category

ICIS Innovation Awards 2012


Lead Sponsor
Dow Corning Logo

Category Sponsors


Bayer Materials

US Chemicals Logo



Best Product Innovation category - sponsored by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

The Best Product Innovation category gives entrants a chance to show how innovative they are in the more traditional but still vital areas of product and process deveopment. It is this, after all, that brings in new business and/or makes existing products more attractive and competitive.

The winner in this category for 2012 was:
Dr Ted Carnahan, Dr Phil Hustad, Karen Fennessy-Ketola, Dr Angela Taha, Dr Colin Li
Pi Shan, Dr Pradeep Jain, Lisa Madenjian, Susan Gill and Jennifer Carnahan
INFUSE olefin block copolymers – establishing new boundaries of polymer science
Dow Chemical’s INFUSE olefin block copolymers (OBCs) have enabled new combinations of property performance in olefinic elastomers thanks to their innovative block architecture. Dow has developed these breakthrough materials using a proprietary catalytic system that allows for more precise control of the polymer microstructure. A chain-shuttling agent transfers growing polymer chains between two distinct catalysts with different monomer selectivities in a single polymerization reactor. Soft blocks of flexible polymer are blended with hard blocks of high melting point polymer in a continuous process. The result is material with improved high temperature performance, faster set up in processing and better abrasion resistance.

Shortlisted entries for 2012:
Dr Martin Sicken
DEPAL – a breakthrough in non-halogenated fire protection
The search for effective and environmentally safer non-halogenated flame retardants (FRs) for use in engineering thermoplastics has led Swiss specialty chemical producer Clariant to develop a series of products based on aluminum salts of diethyl phosphinic acid (DEPAL), sold under its brand name of Exolit OP. These have wide potential for use as FRs in polyesters, polyamides and also thermoplastic elastomers. Clariant describes the DEPAL products as a “substantial breakthrough… already being realized in electrical and electronic products”, where they can achieve the highest fire safety ratings. Clariant also points to the product’s excellent ecological and health profile and good price/performance ratio.

Christophe Schilling
Making BDO with better economics and a smaller environmental footprint
Bio start-up Genomatica has developed a direct, one-step bio-based process for production of chemical intermediate 1,4-butanediol (BDO) from renewable feedstocks. The process is currently at the demonstration scale and California, US-based Genomatica expects the first full commercial plant to start up in 2013, with a capacity of 18,000 tonnes/year. The plant will be located in Italy and be operated as a joint venture between Genomatica and Italy’s Novamont, a producer of biodegradable plastics. Genomatica has also signed with Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical to explore a joint Asian production venture. The Genomatica process is a direct biocatalytic route using carbohydrate feedstock and a specially engineered strain of Escherichia coli.

The winner in this category (and the Overall Winner) in 2011 was:

Toshio Ishihara
World’s first mass production technologies for carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP)
With automotive exhaust regulations becoming increasingly strict, there is a mounting need to reduce vehicle weight by using materials such as CFRP. Japanese fiber and chemicals producer Teijin, the world’s second-largest producer of carbon fiber, has developed the world’s first mass-production technologies for CFRP. This allows a significant reduction of the time required for molding an ¬automobile body structure to less than one minute. Teijin’s new technologies include intermediate materials made of thermoplastic resin instead of thermosets for molding-use CFRP and methods to weld CFRP parts together and bond CFRP with other materials such as steel.

Read more details here

The winner in this category in 2010 was:

Tata Chemicals
Ramakrishnan Mukundan
Tata Swach nanotech water purifier

Mumbai, India-based Tata Chemicals has designed a novel purifier for home drinking water which uses a combination of natural materials - silicaceous material derived from rice husks - and cutting-edge nanotechnology in the form of minute particles of silver. The Tata Swach delivers safe drinking water at very low cost and has a safety cut-off so that when the purifying capacity of the filter cartridge is exhausted - typically after 3000 litres - the water flow is automatically stopped. At the heart of the invention is Tata’s patented TSRF technology which has been proven to kill water-borne organisms that cause diseases.

Read more details here

The winner in this category in 2009 was: 

Gilles Barreto
Formulations for “greener roads”
Surfactant formulations developed by the CECA subsidiary of France’s Arkema reduce energy consumption during road construction and improve working conditions and environmental impact in terms of emissions of dust, volatile organic compounds and nitrous oxides. They achieve this through control of the bitumen/aggregate interface structure in the asphalt, allowing it to be laid on the road at much lower temperatures. Other important properties and the productivity of the construction process are retained or improved, and the amount of recycled asphalt in the mix can be increased.   

Read more details here