The city council of Antwerp paid a working visit to BlueChem, the first incubator for sustainable chemistry in Belgium. BlueChem opened its doors at the beginning of May and helps promising start-ups and ambitious growth companies to scale up their innovation projects in sustainable chemistry and circular economy to industrial production. BlueChem has got off to a flying start: with 7 start-ups and 6 partner companies, a third of the available laboratories and office spaces in BlueChem is already occupied.

The city council of Antwerp met for the occasion in BlueChem. During an extensive tour, the mayor and aldermen were subsequently introduced to the specialised lab infrastructure in the incubator. The entrepreneurs of the start-ups and scale-ups presented their promising innovations during the working visit. With Arpadis, Calidris Bio, Creaflow, IBEVE, InOpSys, Peace of Meat and Triple Helix Group 7 innovative growth companies are already working in BlueChem.

Frank Beckx, chairman BlueChem and managing director essenscia vlaanderen: “BlueChem is the first incubator for sustainable chemistry in Belgium. With BlueChem, here in Antwerp, in the heart of one of the largest chemical clusters in the world, we offer the right accommodation in the right place to help grow promising innovations in the field of sustainable chemistry and circular economy: from lab experiments to industrial production. The great interest of both start-ups and international chemical companies shows that we are writing a success story with BlueChem. For the chemistry of the future, you have to be in BlueChem.”

BlueChem is the first realised project on the eco-commercial site Blue Gate Antwerp. The incubator is sustainably built and meets the BEN standard and the BREEAM Excellent label. With the BlueChem Kickstart Fund, the city of Antwerp offers companies in BlueChem financial support for their lab equipment. With Catalisti, the spearhead cluster for the chemical and plastics industry, and VITO (Flemish Institute for Technological Research), BlueChem can also rely on an extensive and valuable network of scientific knowledge partners.

Claude Marinower, Alderman for Economy, Innovation and Industry and director of BlueChem: “It was impressive to discover all those inspiring entrepreneurial stories about innovating for a sustainable industry and society. BlueChem proves that sustainability and economic growth do not have to be mutually exclusive. With the BlueChem Kickstart Fund, the city of Antwerp offers financial support to start-ups in the incubator so that they can equip their labs with the most advanced equipment. In this way, we are realizing more innovative power for the chemical industry.”

Bart De Wever, Mayor of the city of Antwerp: “With BlueChem we are strengthening one of Antwerp’s major economic assets: our chemical industry. This is investing in the future, in an ecosystem for top innovations in sustainable chemistry and climate technology with which we can make a global difference. BlueChem is a new asset for Antwerp that will play a full part in the international promotion of our city. We also strongly believe in the cross-fertilization between government, industry and academia.”

BlueChem is a unique collaboration between industry, government and knowledge institutions with the joint ambition to further strengthen the economically important chemical industry in Flanders. Shareholders in BlueChem NV are essenscia, POM Antwerp, the city of Antwerp and VITO. Supplemented with Catalisti, they form the Board of Directors. Chemical companies Air Liquide, BASF, Borealis, ExxonMobil, INEOS and Vopak are also involved in this project. Strategic partners are BNP Paribas Fortis, Deloitte, Deloitte Legal, Port of Antwerp and SAS Institute. They offer the companies in BlueChem specialised advice tailored to their needs.

Leentje Croes, manager BlueChem: With BlueChem we have everything we need to help promising start-ups and ambitious growth companies from home and abroad to successfully develop their sustainable chemistry innovations. Adapted infrastructure at a top location, financial support for setting up labs, tailored services – from business and legal advice to data analysis platforms – and direct access to knowledge and expertise within an extensive network of international chemical companies, research centres such as VITO and the Catalisti innovation cluster that collaborates intensively with the five Flemish universities. BlueChem is a unique initiative that will frequently be heard of.”