Market outlook: Looking for the best in innovation

20 April 2017 17:03 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

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Once again, ICIS is pleased and excited to launch the search for the very best in innovation in the chemical industry.

Now in their 14th year, the ICIS Innovation Awards seek to recognise and reward companies and individuals that show high levels of innovation in products and processes, as well as providing benefits to the environment and advancing progress towards sustainability.

The winners will be those companies and individuals that have made significant steps forward in technological and busi-ness innovation, with tangible results emerging during 2016 and the early part of this year.

ICIS is pleased this year to welcome back Elsevier’s R&D Solutions as the overall sponsor of the awards and as a partner in the Alpha Innovator of the Year Awards, to be presented to two high-performing individuals. The Alpha categories were launched last year to recognise individual achievement in chemical innovation, and we hope to attract even more high-quality entries this year.

ICIS is also grateful for the continued support of U.S. Chemicals and ExxonMobil Chemical as category sponsors. We thank them for their support of the Innovation with Best Benefit for the Environment and Sustainability category, and Best Innovation by a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) category, respectively.

To ensure we identify the very best in innovation from the global chemicals industry, we have enlisted a panel of leading innovation experts from the industry and wider innovation community, who will select the winners in each of the four categories and an overall Best Innovation for 2017 (see page 26). They will also judge the Alpha lnnovator of the Year entries.


To recognise the breadth of innovation in the chemical sector, the ICIS Innovation Awards offers four categories to enter, as detailed below. Companies may enter as many innovations as they wish, but can enter each innovation into one category only.

Entries should contain a 300-word statement outlining the innovation and its importance, the science behind it and key advances/issues overcome, and what the main benefits are to the company, the market and the customer, or the environment and sustainability.

The statement can be supported by uploaded files containing technical information and presentations, sales and marketing literature, press releases and any editorial coverage the innovation has attracted. ICIS selects an overall winner each year, chosen from the winners in the four categories.

This Award will be presented by Elsevier’s R&D Solutions, as lead sponsor of the ICIS lnnovation Awards 2017.


The Best Product lnnovation category gives entrants a chance to show how innovative they are in the traditional but still vital area of product innovation.

Previous winners:

■ 2016 – Dow Chemical: Canvera polyolefin dispersions for food and beverage metal can coatings

■ 2015 – AkzoNobel: Intersleek 1100SR patented anti-slime release coating for ships hulls

■ 2014 – Solvay: Emana polyamide fibre that emits far-infrared radiation

Best Process Innovation

The Best Process lnnovation category gives entrants a chance to show how innovative they are in the fundamental areas of new process development and process improvement – vital areas of innovation underlying better use of energy and raw materials, improved economics, safer performance and lower environmental impact.

Previous winners:

■ 2016 – Siluria Technologies: Oxidative coupling of methane

■ 2015 – No award made

■ 2014 – Honeywell UOP/INEOS/Total: An advanced methanol-to-olefins process

Best Innovation by a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME)

Sponsored by ExxonMobil Chemical

The Best Innovation by a SME category gives SMEs, that great source and reservoir of innovation, a chance to shine.

Previous winners:

■ 2016 – Compact Membrane Systems: Membrane separation of olefins and paraffins

■ 2015 – Cella Energy: Solid hydrogen

■ 2014 – Argex Titanium: Third-generation process to manufacture titanium dioxide

Innovation with Best Benefit for Environment and Sustainability

Sponsored by U.S. Chemicals

The chemical industry and innovative can play an important role in addressing many of today’s environmental concerns, including climate change, pollution, recycling, water supply security and nutrition. The category is designed to recognise those companies that have incorporated the ideas of environmental performance and sustainability into their innovation in the areas of product and process developments and approach to business overall.

Entries might include improved manufacturing processes or products that reduce environmental impact, or new products that tackle the issues above. They should show a distinct benefit to the environment and to the sustainability of the company and its customers.

Previous winners:

■ 2016 – Covestro and CAT Catalytic Center RWTH Aachen: Use of carbon dioxide in the production of plastics

■ 2015 – Global Green Products: Fresh water conservation in the Bakken

■ 2014 – Huntsman Textile Effects: Revolutionary dyes confront textile industry sustainability challenges.

Entry requirements for each category can be seen on or in this short video:


The ICIS lnnovation Awards are open to any chemical company or individual, regardless of where they are based.

The judges will be looking for innovative projects that solve problems or provide solutions for the company entering and/or its customers, or demonstrate an innovative approach to business, the environment and/or sustainability.

■ Decide which category you want to enter in either the ICIS lnnovation Awards or Alpha lnnovator of the Year Awards

■ Complete the relevant online application form that can be found at

■ Upload supporting documents

■ Click submit

■ Confirmation of receipt of your entry will be sent to you by email.

Winners of an award will:

■ NEW THIS YEAR – Receive a free trial to Reaxys, Elsevier’s R&D Solutions’ web-based tool for retrieval of chemistry information and data from published literature, including journals and patents

■ Enjoy extensive editorial coverage in ICIS Chemical Business and ICIS online

■ Be able to build on further publicity both within their company and externally, related to their success in the competition

■ Be invited to an Awards lunch with the other winners, sponsors and judges later in the year

■ Receive an active lnnovation Awards logo to host on their web site, promoting their success in the competition.

The deadline for entries is 30 June 2017. A shortlist of successful entries in each category will be published in ICIS Chemical Business in August. Winners will be notified in September, and the announcement of the winners will be made in ICIS Chemical Business in October. Award presentations will be made in early December at a special lunch in a leading London venue.

If you have any questions about the ICIS lnnovation Awards overall, contact John Baker at +44 20 8652 3153 or



Creative and talented scientists, engineers and other research and development (R&D) professionals lie at the heart of chemical industry innovation. Their passion and commitment, scientific and managerial expertise, and inspiration are vital to ensuring that the chemical industry continues to meet pressing industrial, social and 
environmental needs.

To recognise these individuals, lead sponsor Elsevier’s R&D Solutions teamed up with ICIS last year to introduce a new individual category within the ICIS lnnovation Awards.

The Alpha lnnovator of the Year Awards recognise individual scientists, engineers and other R&D professionals who are unafraid to tackle roadblocks head on, and who are unrelenting in their pursuit of innovation and optimisation as they strive to push the industry forward – not only as an industry but as a society.


Again this year, two individuals will be recognised as Alpha Innovators of the Year – one for their work in the area of product development and/or process optimisation and the other for innovations that help develop and promote environmental performance and sustainability in the chemical industry.


The winning entrant will have played a critical role related to a specific project that has produced measurable results within the last three years, such as, improving product performance or solving customer problems, by reducing resource consumption by reducing material and/or energy use and/or waste generation.

They must have shown excellence in the use of scientific or technical mastery in chemistry and/or chemical engineering, or related multidisciplinary fields, in an active hands-on effort and will have demonstrated exceptional leadership, internal collaboration across functions, and creativity.


The winning entrant will have played a critical role related to a specific project that produced measurable results within the last three years in the area of utilising green chemistry and engineering principles, especially in the area of replacing fossil fuel feedstocks in new product development and manufacturing.

They must have shown excellence in the use of scientific and technical mastery in an active hands-on effort and will have demonstrated exceptional leadership, internal collaboration across functions, and creativity.

To enter go to The entries for either category, consisting of a statement of 300 words and supporting material, should be endorsed by the entrant’s line manager as reflecting the accuracy of the entry.


Christina Valimaki

Christina Valimaki is senior director, chemicals segment marketing, for Elsevier, a leading provider of information solutions to science, health and technology professionals. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a member of the Chemical Marketing & Economics Group and the Chemists’ Club

Michael (Mike) Lacey

Michael (Mike) Lacey is new product identification manager within the New Product Platform group of ExxonMobil Chemical in Houston, Texas, and manages the pursuit of new product opportunities. He holds a BS in chemistry from Texas A&M University and a PhD in chemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Just Jansz

Just Jansz is an independent board member and advisor, and founder and MD of business and technology management consultancy Expertise Beyond Borders. He has 30 years of experience with LyondellBasell and its precursors, and was formerly president of the technology business at LyondellBasell

Mike McKenna

Mike McKenna is chief operating officer for Maroon Group, a North American specialty chemical and ingredients distributor. He is responsible for operational excellence, global supply partnerships and marketing, and is a member of the company’s mergers and acquisitions team. Before joining Maroon Group he worked for Johnson Matthey

Peter Nieuwenhuizen

Peter Nieuwenhuizen is global research, development and innovation director, specialty chemicals, at AkzoNobel, where he is focused on making chemistry both more profitable and sustainable. He joined the company in 2011 after five years at consultancy AD Little. He has a PhD in chemistry from Leiden University

Pierre Barthelemy

Pierre Barthelemy is executive director for research and innovation at Cefic, representing the priorities of the chemical industry towards the EU institutions for innovation-related aspects. He joined Solvay in 1988 and was seconded to Cefic in 2014. He has a PhD in chemistry from the University of Liège, Belgium



U.S. Chemicals, a Maroon Group company, is an organisation dedicated to enriching the lives of its employees and community by practising sustainability and respect for the environment. U.S. Chemicals is pleased to sponsor, for the ninth consecutive year, the lnnovation with Best Benefit to Environment or Sustainability category of the ICIS lnnovation Awards.

U.S. Chemicals is a diversified chemical distribution company that supplies quality chemicals at world-wide pricing. For customers and supply partners U.S. Chemicals is a trusted collaborator, whose nimble team is dedicated to leveraging decades of experience, relationships and a can-do attitude to assess risk, thus making decisions quickly and acting boldly and accurately.

U.S. Chemicals is set apart by the speed, flexibility and innovativeness of its employees; the team leads customers in identifying the best solutions for each opportunity and business challenge: grasping suppliers’ and customers’ needs and solving problems.

In addition to a variety of sustainability programmes – recycling, creation of green space/organic gardening, heating/lighting efficiency initiatives, paperless initiatives and wellness programmes at the headquarters in Darien, Connecticut – U.S. Chemicals seeks suppliers, principals and logistics providers that have sustainable programmes and processes in place. Our business partners are vetted to ensure that standards are met.

Social responsibility and giving back have long been part of U.S. Chemicals’ corporate culture and the company has an extensive history of supporting organisations in the environmental, educational and health arenas.

Collaborations have included programmes with Charity Water, Because I am a Girl and Trees for a Change. Most recently, U.S. Chemicals has led a campaign to raise and match up to $50,000 for AmeriCares’ Free Health Clinics serving the low-income and under/un-insured in the Connecticut County where the company is based. Since 1998, U.S. Chemicals has donated more than $300,000 to AmeriCares.



The future of the chemical industry relies on those who overcome challenges and drive critical advancements in compounds, formulations, advanced materials, and production processes.

In the chemicals industry, continuous innovation and process improvement have been the key to creating considerable value for customers and investors.

And yet, many accomplishments from the industry are not as visible to the market as they could be.

Industrial chemists, for instance, improve product performance and achieve customer requirements by innovating at the molecular level and discovering the changes in substances and processes that may have important implications to manufacturing, the environment and safety.

The same is true for the engineers working in manufacturing, where process improvement and engineering design is the focus. Identifying changes to plant design, equipment and processes can meaningfully improve safety, reduce cycle times and minimise operational disruptions.

Reaching that “Alpha” moment – achieving an important milestone for the first time – may happen in an instant, but one does not get there without unelenting perseverance, knowledge and skill.

It is therefore important to recognise those who are making these strides. With demands for high performance products; faster returns on innovation investments; lower costs of research and manufacturing; lower emissions; and safer manufacturing, the future of the chemical industry relies on those who overcome challenges and drive critical advancements in compounds, formulations, advanced materials and production processes.

For this reason, Elsevier’s R&D Solutions is honoured to again sponsor this year’s ICIS lnnovation Awards, celebrating the companies and individual innovators who have created and commercialised notable product and process innovations in the industry.

Additionally we are delighted to co-sponsor with ICIS the second annual Alpha lnnovator of the Year category, recognising two high-performing individuals who have played a critical role in improving product performance, solving customer problems and making progress towards environment and sustainability goals.

Let us celebrate those who are achieving commercial success through innovation while also paving the way for us to pass on a better Earth to future generations.

Elsevier’s R&D Solutions wishes continued success to all the nominees. We look forward to the celebrating your accomplishments.

About Elsevier’s R&D Solutions

Elsevier’s R&D Solutions is a portfolio of tools that integrate data, analytics and technology capabilities to help chemical companies more efficiently achieve commercial success, safety, and compliant manufacturing for chemical products and processes.



ExxonMobil Chemical is one of the largest chemical companies in the world. Our unique portfolio of commodity and specialty businesses generates annual sales of more than 24m tonnes of prime products.

The commitment by ExxonMobil Chemical to maintain a leadership position in technology is fundamental to our continued success. We have a broad portfolio of proprietary process, product and product applications expertise. Now, more than ever, chemicals are the building blocks of modern life.

Chemicals play a key role in fields integral to human progress, including transportation, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, as well as efficient manufacturing and packaging of a wide array of consumer goods.

As an organisation with technological achievements that have enriched the lives of people everywhere, ExxonMobil Chemical is pleased to sponsor the Best lnnovation by a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise category of the 2017 ICIS lnnovation Awards.

By John Baker