Innovation Awards - Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit

ICIS Innovation Awards 2012


Lead Sponsor
Dow Corning Logo
Category Sponsors
Bayer Materials

US Chemicals Logo



Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit - sponsored by U.S. Chemicals

We re-introduced this category in 2010, to emphasise once again that the chemical industry and its innovative expertise can play an important role in addressing many of today's environmental concerns, including global warming, pollution, recycling, water supply security and nutrition. Entries might include improved manufacturing processes or products, with reduce environmental impact, or new products that tackle the issues above.

The winner in this category for 2012 was:
Manel Domingo, Manel Jimenez and Nuria Estape
Advanced Denim by Clariant
Production of denim, which accounts for 14%of global cotton usage, usually requires large quantities of water – an increasingly scarcecommodity. Swiss specialty chemical producer Clariant has developed technology that simplifies the finishing and dyeing of the fabric, reducing water consumption by as much as 92%. In addition, cotton waste is reduced by two-thirds and energy savings by 30%. The two processes, called Denim-Ox and Pad/Sizing Ox, use innovative Diresul RDT sulphur dyes that reduce the number of vat stages needed. If the technology were used for just a quarter of world denim production, water saving would amount to 62m m3/year.

Shortlisted entries for 2012:
Jeff Dorman
Make it greener with Myriant’s Myrifilm
US-based Myriant specializes in developing technology to produce chemicals from renewable,
non-food-based feedstocks, and will begin commercial production of bio-succinic acid from low-cost sugars in the US in early 2013 at a 15,000 tonne/year plant in Lake Providence, Louisiana. It is carrying innovation downstream and is now offering a bio-succinic acidbased coalescing solvent for use in coatings and adhesives, called Myrifilm. The product has zero volatile organic compounds, is free from hazardous air pollutants and is also odorless, providing environmental benefits over and above its renewable nature. Used with acrylics, styrene-acrylics and ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers it offers a replacement for conventional coalescing solvents.

Michael Wurst
Rare metal and specialty material reclamation
US-based waste stream expert WTS has been working with a Chinese minor metals technology group to develop a technology to recover selenium from the sludge by-product produced by a multinational chemical company. The sludge was previously land-filled. To recycle the selenium, WTS modified the traditional refining process used on metal sulphide ores. The process includes acid digestion, precipitation and purification to 5N/6N grade. WTS says the benefits include avoidance of selenium-containing landfill, recycling of a rare and useful metal, re-use in development of solar cells, reduction of disposal costs and the establishment of a revenue stream. Selenium is used in photocopying, photocells, light meters and solar cells.

The winner in this category in 2011 was:

Peter Shepard
CO2-based polyols for high-performance coatings, adhesives, foams, composites and surfactants
Novomer has developed a technology platform based on an innovative, proprietary catalyst system that transforms waste CO2 into valuable polymers. These polypropylene carbonate and polyethylene carbonate materials are approximately one-half CO2by weight. The catalyst is more than 300 times more active than previous systems, and produces a precise CO2-epoxide molecular structure which maximizes CO2incorporation. Novomer has developed a chain transfer technology to produce low molecular weight CO2-based polyols for thermoset applications, making them commercially viable in coatings, adhesives, foams and composite resins.

Read more details here

The judges decided to award a special mention to:

Clariant International
Roberta Gamarino, Licia Trimarco and Claus Reineking
EasyWhite Tan
Swiss specialty chemical company Clariant’s EasyWhite Tan process is the first fundamental advance in tanning in the past 125 years, claims Clariant. It offers the leather industry a viable, scientific and commercial alternative to the traditional tanning methods based on metals (such as chrome, accounting for 85% of leather produced), phenols, aldehydes or vegetable extracts. The technology has major environmental advantages for the global industry. EasyWhite Tan is based on the company’s liquid, non-hazardous Granofin Easy F-90, a synthesized organic self-reactive compound.

The winner in this category in 2010 was:

Teijin Fibers

Nobuyoshi Miyasaka

ECO CIRCLE innovative closed-loop recycling system for polyester

Japan’s Teijin Fibers has addressed the problem of polyester recycling using a chemical recycling technology which decomposes polyester in clothes and textiles into new polyester raw materials with purity comparable to virgin materials. Marketed as ECO CIRCLE, the technology is claimed to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by around 80% compared to producing polyester from new raw materials and disposing of the product at the end of life by incineration. Teijin is now working with over 130 companies worldwide to close the recycling loop on their polyester products using a recycling unit to recover dimethyl terephthalate from returned polyester at its Matsuyama factory in Japan.

Read more details here

The previous winner of this category (in 2007) was: 

Evonik Industries RohMax Oil Additives 

Christian Neveu, Doug Placek, Steven Herzog, Klaus Hedrich, Michael Alibert

A novel approach to saving energy through hydraulic fluid design

Researchers at RohMax developed a mathematical model for internal pump leakage (inefficiency) in fluid power systems, making it possible to improve substantially the efficiency of hydraulic power systems by specifying the most appropriate fluid that combines the right mix of high-viscosity index and high stability to mechanical sheer. Efficiency improvements of 10-25% have been achieved, translating into energy savings of 10%, which also means reduced emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and particulate pollution.

Read more details here