ICIS Innovation Awards 2013 - Environmental 

Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit

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.

After the first round of judging in mid-July, three companies and their innovations were successfully shortlisted and went forward to the final judging session on 6 September.

The 2013 winner is:


Cabot Aerogel Team

Cabot aerogel for eco-friendly building and construction

Forty per cent of the world’s energy is consumed in the buildings in which we work, sleep and play. As a result, Cabot’s aerogel products for building and construction are poised to have a dramatic impact, improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon footprint and increasing cost savings. The aerogels are lightweight, hydrophobic silica materials in particulate form, with each particle consisting of 90% air contained in a structure that prevents heat transfer. Five specific Cabot aerogel products make up the current suite of materials for use in commercial and residential buildings and construction projects: plaster, boards, daylighting systems, tensile roofing, and coatings.

Shortlisted entries for 2013:


Thomas Wegman

Bridging from today to tomorrow

DSM has developed composite materials, based on resins produced from renewable materials, that can be used in bridge building instead of steel or concrete. This dramatically reduces weight and construction and maintenance costs and brings environmental benefits. Infrastructure company Heijmans and bridge manufacturer FiberCore have installed an innovative 140m heavy traffic bridge over one of the busiest roads in the Netherlands using the DSM technology. The hybrid bridge is three times lighter than the concrete and steel alternative, without compromising structural integrity or load-bearing capacity.

TOTAL Refining & Chemicals

Herman van Roost

Bio-TP Seal polymer technology enables lightweight, sustainable automobile body components

TOTAL’s Bio-TP Seal is an innovative and sustainable polymer material technology specifically designed for manufacture of rotomoulded applications for the automotive industry. To produce a lightweight plastic structures in one step, it uses a three-layer sandwich which includes a central layer of very low density foam of 10mm to 100mm thickness. The combination of polylactic Acid (PLA) and polyethylene (PE) in Bio-TP Seal technology improves properties such as dimensional stability, gloss, paintability and stiffness of the final article. The Bio-TP Seal approach allows construction of lightweight cars that consume less materials in their construction and less energy in their use.

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 scarce commodity. 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 specialises 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 acid based 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 odourless, 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.

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.

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