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Accelerating innovation into business in chemistry and plastics: that’s the Catalisti mission. As a spearhead cluster positioned at the very heart of the industry, we catalyse successful synergies between companies, universities and research institutes, as well as governments. By championing open innovation and cooperation across the value chain, we actively give rise to a sustainable and competitive chemicals and plastics industry in Flanders.

To jumpstart sustainable innovations in chemistry, the Flanders Innovation Hub for Sustainable Chemistry (FISCH) was founded in 2012. After merging with Flanders’ PlasticVision (FPV) in 2014, the hub was revamped as Catalisti in 2017. For years, our team had its stomping ground in Zaha Hadid’s iconic Antwerp Port House, overlooking one of the world’s largest integrated chemical clusters. In 2020, we moved to BlueChem, Europe’s first incubator for sustainable chemistry. This incubator is located within a brand-new business park that replaces some of the city’s oldest (petro) chemical plants along the river Scheldt, again symbolising the close connection between Catalisti and the industry we serve.

Catalysing open innovation
Catalisti sets up open innovation projects between cutting-edge companies, world-class universities and renowned research institutes. In this context, we employ the tried and tested Triple F Principle. We find, facilitate and fulfill collaborations across the value chain, always aiming for high-impact innovations that allow project partners to valorise development and growth opportunities, retain competitiveness in sustainable products and processes, as well as secure a robust international reach. These high-impact innovations are pursued in four main areas: biobased value chains, circularity and resource efficiency, process intensification and transformation, and finally advanced sustainable products.

A diverse network
The diverse Catalisti network consists of more than 100 industrial partners: from global players, over SMEs, to local start-ups. Besides, all five Flemish universities and research institutes like VITO, Centexbel and Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant also play a vital role in our operations. In addition, we cooperate closely with the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) for access to financial resources.

Within our network, we act as an impartial project leader and experienced service provider, enabling our partners to focus on their core business.

A boost for business
Throughout the years, Catalisti has delivered an innovative boost to a plethora of businesses. We have, for example, helped InOpSys develop mobile and modular sidestream treatment solutions, which allow for the on-site retrieval of valuable compounds (such as metals and solvents) from wastewater. We supported Agfa in improving flow technology, ChemStream in developing biopolymers from wood and insects, Indaver in turning plastic waste into chemical building blocks, Cargill in creating novel biosurfactants, Chemours and INEOS in retrieving additives from plastics products, and much more.

One giant leap for mankind
On top of our regular activities as a spearhead cluster, Catalisti also hosts Moonshot, an industry-driven innovation programme that helps Flemish companies significantly reduce their CO2 emissions by 2050. The programme is developing breakthrough technologies, innovative processes and new products with a smaller ecological footprint. To this end, the Flemish government has put aside no less than 400 million euro in funding. Research topics include, amongst others, biomass, plastics recycling, electrification, Carbon Capture & Utilisation (CCU) and hydrogen.

Moonshot turns climate ambition into action. Each new sustainable technology, process or product might just be a small step for man, but a climate-friendly industry by 2050 will be a giant leap for mankind!

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