Media release

Imagine Chemistry winner to supply watermark technology to AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals 

1 Mar 2018 - News

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals has agreed to use watermark technology developed by FiliGrade, one of the winners of the 2017 Imagine Chemistry challenge - a program through which the company collaborates with startups, scale-ups and scientists.

The technology provides an invisible watermark for packaging; this can be read with a digital camera, identifying both the material used and details about the manufacturer and contents. This helps with the challenge of sorting of plastics and therefore enhances the recycling of packaging, and also to confirm the authenticity of the packaged product to prevent counterfeiting. The first application in AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals will be in high-density polyethylene containers, improving their identification and traceability. 

“It is extremely gratifying to see a commercial application arising from Imagine Chemistry so quickly, particularly one that is applicable to us,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Chief Technology Officer at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals. “This is a great testament to the power of FiliGrade’s technology and to the collaborative innovation process that helped bring us together.”

FiliGrade was recognized in the ‘revolutionizing plastics recycling’ challenge category of the 2017 edition of Imagine Chemistry. They received dedicated support from the innovation team of KPMG and startup specialists ICOS Research to develop their business case and route to market.

“Being a winner in Imagine Chemistry was a huge boost to us in terms of visibility and credibility, and it’s even better that we are able to provide our technology to AkzoNobel,” said Johan Kerver, CEO of FiliGrade. Its technology has already gained strong support in the wood laminates industry, where counterfeiting is widespread, and its product development efforts are also being supported by the fast moving consumer goods and food industry.

Meanwhile, the 2018 edition of Imagine Chemistry is currently underway, and the company is seeking solutions in the following six challenge areas:

  • Sustainable small particle technologies
  • Wastewater-free chemical sites
  • Intelligent chemical plants
  • Revolutionizing chlorate production
  • Sustainable powder technologies
  • Zero footprint surfactant platforms 


If you think you have a solution that can help us make the chemicals industry more sustainable, the 2018 Imagine Chemistry is open for submissions to March 10th. For more information, visit the Imagine Chemistry challenge site.

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