Media release

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals’ 2018 Imagine Chemistry challenge generates 150 innovative business ideas.

22 Mar 2018 - News

There has been another tremendous response to AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals’ Imagine Chemistry challenge, with 150 innovative ideas being submitted by chemistry startups, scale-ups, scientists and university teams for the 2018 edition.

Imagine Chemistry was launched to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges as well as uncovering sustainable business opportunities. 

The company will now select 20 finalists to attend a three-day event in June at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden.

“We have again been impressed by the number and quality of the submissions,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Chief Technology Officer. “This is especially so given the very specific, harder-to-solve business and technology challenges we deliberately set this year. “

The 2018 edition of Imagine Chemistry set challenges in the following six areas:

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


The challenge is a key part of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals’ innovation strategy, Nieuwenhuizen says. “We believe that effective R&D aiming for breakthrough solutions requires collaboration across the value chain. Imagine Chemistry shows the value in that thinking, and we are looking forward to working with the eventual winners to turn their ideas into a commercial reality.”

FiliGrade, one of the winners of last year’s challenge, recently started supplying watermark technology to AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals. The technology provides an invisible watermark for packaging that identifies 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.


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