Media release

Nouryon announces additional finalist for 2019 Imagine Chemistry challenge

13 May 2019 - News

Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals) has named an additional finalist, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, for its 2019 Imagine Chemistry collaborative innovation challenge, bringing the total number to 14.

The finalists will participate in a three-day event held in late May at the company’s RD&I center in Deventer, the Netherlands, where they will work with Nouryon experts and business leaders to further develop their ideas into a joint value case. The winners will be granted awards ranging from joint development and research agreements to dedicated support from Imagine Chemistry partners.

“I’m very pleased that Beijing University of Chemical Technology is a finalist in this year’s Imagine Chemistry challenge,” said Mr. Shousheng Li, President of the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF). “With the increasing capabilities of the Chinese petroleum and chemical industry, I’m convinced that we will have deeper and broader cooperation with global partners on scientific and technological innovation.”  

Egbert Henstra, Nouryon Managing Director whose responsibilities include the China region, added: “Collaboration is an important way to develop the solutions our customers need. China’s chemical industry has grown significantly in the past decades and the country’s innovation capabilities are rapidly advancing so it is great to welcome Beijing University of Chemical Technology as a finalist.” 

The finalists from the challenge categories are:

Sustainable bio-based surfactants (in partnership with Unilever)

CarbExplore Research for ‘sugar-based surfactants platform through enzymatic glucosylation’

The Netherlands

Fraunhofer IGB for ‘terpene sugar esters as biosurfactants’


Sironix Renewables for ‘biobased surfactants with improved hard water performance’


The University of Sheffield and Entomics for ‘surfactants via an alternative fat source in a one pot saponification’


Performance-boosting nanoparticles

RISE for ‘vinyl-functionalized reactive additives’


Sensing in demanding chemical environments

Arenal Process Control Solutions for ‘ultrasonic and thermal sensors for monitoring production processes’

The Netherlands

Fluence Analytics for ‘realtime monitoring of polymerization processes’


Ingu Solutions for ‘miniaturized inline sensors for pipelines’


Label-free chemistries

Intelligent Fluids for ‘combining ingredients and tailor-made phase fluids to remove contaminants’


Pushing the frontiers of chemical innovation

Altum Technologies for ‘software-guided power ultrasound to remove fouling from industrial equipment’


Beijing University of Chemical Technology for ‘method to produce nanoscale polymer fibers’


Cambridge Carbon Capture for ‘capture and convert CO2 into a solid mineral by-product with commercial use’


Ionomr for ‘hydrocarbon ion exchange membranes and polymers’


Kansas State University for ‘a new natural gum from oil seeds’



Imagine Chemistry was launched to tackle chemistry-related challenges and uncover new ways to create value for customers. In three years it has generated more than 500 solutions, and several are entering the commercial phase.

Examples include the watermark technology developed by FiliGrade for packaging, which allows the company to provide product-specific information to our customers and improves identification and traceability. With FineCell Nouryon is exploring synergies to apply nanocellulose and Expancel expandable microspheres in lightweight materials.

About Nouryon

Nouryon is a global, specialty chemicals leader. Markets and consumers worldwide rely on our essential solutions to manufacture everyday products, such as personal care, cleaning goods, paints and coatings, agriculture and food, pharmaceuticals, and building products. Furthermore, the dedication of approximately 8,200 employees with a shared commitment to our customers, business growth, safety, sustainability and innovation has resulted in a consistently strong financial performance. We operate in over 80 countries around the world with a portfolio of industry-leading brands.

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