What is BlueChem?

Helping promising start-ups and ambitious growth companies at home and abroad develop sustainable innovations for the chemistry of the future on an industrial scale. This is the objective of BlueChem, the first incubator in Belgium that focuses specifically on innovation and entrepreneurship in sustainable chemistry, such as the effective use of waste and side streams, process optimisation and the development of renewable chemicals and sustainable products.

BlueChem is a unique partnership between government, industry and knowledge institutions that has the joint ambition to guarantee and strengthen the future of the economically-important chemical industry in Flanders.

BlueChem opened its doors in May 2020 at the climate-neutral business park Blue Gate Antwerp, located at the heart of one of the largest chemical clusters in the world. Despite great potential, it must be said that in the chemical sector it is not easy to transform promising innovations into new companies. Specifically, it takes a lot of time, courage and money to move from a lab setting to that of industrial-scale production.

BlueChem offers an answer to this through adapted infrastructure and customised service with financial support, combined with direct access to knowledge and expertise within an extensive network of international chemical companies, renowned research centres and the five Flemish universities.

BlueChem provides the right facilities in the right place to enable ground-breaking ideas to grow from lab experiments into new chemical companies with a strong focus on sustainability and the circular economy.

The incubator offers a mix of ready-to-use and customisable labs, as well as private offices and flexible workplaces that can be used by start-ups, SMEs, large companies, research centres and knowledge institutions alike. CATALISTI, the spearhead cluster for the chemical and plastics industry in Flanders, will also play an active role at BlueChem to detect, start up and assist promising innovation projects.

BlueChem is a project costing approximately €11 million that is supported by the European and Flemish governments. The EU is investing over €3.4 million through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Flanders is contributing €868,397 via the Hermes Fund while the City of Antwerp is investing €4 million.

BlueChem project timeline