ICIS Innovation Awards 2014


The overall winner for 2014 is:

Huntsman Textile Effects

Revolutionary dyes confront textile industry sustainability challenges

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Best Product Innovation

Sponsored by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
The 2014 winner is: Solvay
Emana - a polyamide fibre that emits far-infrared radiation

The textile apparel market is always seeking innovations. Solvay’s Emana is a patented polyamide fibre that emits radiation in the far-infrared (FIR), bringing well-being benefits in the cosmetic and sports performance segments of the textile industry. Emana is based on specially treated inorganic charges embedded in the polymeric matrix of the microfibre filaments. These charges emit FIR in specific wavelengths, promoting biostimulation in the skin, thus acting as a fibroblasts growth factor and stimulating nitric oxide synthesis which significantly enhances microcirculation. In the cosmeto-textile area, Emana garments improve skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of cellulite. In the sportswear sector, Emana helps athletes to reduce muscle fatigue and have a faster muscle recovery. The benefits have been demonstrated in scientific tests performed in universities and independent research institutes and in four years of extensive clinical trials.

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Best Process Innovation

The 2014 winner is: Honeywell UOP/INEOS/Total
Advanced methanol-to-olefins (MTO) process

Honeywell UOP’s Advanced MTO process, developed with INEOS and Total, produces propylene and ethylene from methanol. UOP scientists were the first to apply the discovery of SAPO-34, a new molecular sieve, in the 1980s to MTO chemistry. UOP continued development with partner INEOS (Norsk Hydro at the time), which operated the first 1 tonne/day demonstration unit in 1995. This technology relied heavily on UOP’s fluidised bed reactor design. In the mid-1990s, UOP worked with Total on a technology for conversion of naphtha-range olefins to ethylene and propylene. Total started the first Olefin Conversion Process (OCP) demonstration plant in Antwerp in 1998. MTO and OCP have since been integrated into a single Advanced MTO design. The first UOP-licensed MTO/OCP complex was successfully started up in 2013 by Wison, in Nanjing, China.

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A special mention was given to: Clariant
Heat-generating material for on-purpose olefin production

Houdry technology for dehydrogenating alkanes to alkenes is receiving much interest because of the supply-demand gap for C3 and higher olefins. Technology owner Clariant has developed a new concept – a Heat Generating Material (HGM) - in the form of a metal oxide on a proprietary carrier that is loaded into the catalyst bed. This HGM is inert towards the feedstock but undergoes oxidation and reduction during the Houdry operating cycle, producing heat inside the catalyst bed which reduces the quantity that has to be supplied and also establishes a more favourable catalyst bed temperature profile that increases olefin selectivity and reduces by-product formation. The decreased operating severity reduces stress on both catalyst and equipment. The overall process improvement reduces the carbon footprint of a typical unit by several 10,000 tonnes/year of CO2 and increases olefin yield by several per cent.

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Best Innovation by an SME

The 2014 winner is: Argex Titanium
Argex technology (AT) - a third-generation process to manufacture titanium dioxide

Canada’s Argex Titanium has developed an alternative to the sulphate and chloride routes used to make titanium dioxide pigment. Its proprietary Argex Technology (AT) uses chemical and hydrometallurgical processes in a patented closed-loop technology to produce high-purity TiO2 directly from the ore material, avoiding the need to upgrade it to ilmenite. Proven equipment is used at atmospheric pressure and low temperature. At the heart of the process is a leach of the ore (ilmenite, with no limit regarding TiO2 content or tailings) with hydrochloric acid, followed by two solvent extractions: one to remove iron compounds and one to remove pure titanium compounds (TiOCl2). Argex’s technology is another step towards environmental protection due to its high energy efficiency, low emissions and closed-loop design. This uses relatively low levels of hydrochloric acid that can be regenerated after use. A pilot is running at Valleyfield, Quebec, where a production plant is under construction

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Innovation With Best Benefit for the Environment or Sustainability

Sponsored by U.S. Chemicals
The 2014 winner is: Huntsman Textile Effects
Revolutionary dyes confront textile industry sustainability challenges

The textile industry is a heavy user of resources, including water and energy, and its wastewater is often contaminated with salt. As a leading global provider of high quality dyes and chemicals to the industry, Huntsman Textile Effects is committed to help it meet its toughest environmental and economic challenges. The company’s revolutionary AVITERA SE range consists of tailor-made poly-reactive dyes ensuring rapid, very high exhaustion and fixation when dyeing cotton and its blends. When compared with current best-available technologies, AVITERA SE enables textile processing mills to reduce water consumption, energy consumption and CO2 emission by up to 50%; salt consumption is cut by 20% and cycle times by 25%. Machine suppliers using sophisticated dyeing/washing-off equipment confirm water consumption of 15 litre/kg of dyed fabric is a reality with AVITERA SE dyes. Since its launch, AVITERA SE has saved 4bn litres of water and 150m kg of carbon emission.

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Overall Sponsor

Roland Berger

Category Sponsor

U.S. Chemicals