Inspiring innovation through partnerships
Given the growing concerns over raw material and energy scarcity – which are being amplified by the increasing impact of urbanization – the need to innovate and develop less traditional solutions is becoming ever more important.
An effective way of accelerating the development of more sustainable technologies is to form partnerships designed to explore these alternative routes to resource efficiency. This exchange of knowledge and sharing of expertise not only establishes important relationships, but can often produce highly beneficial results.
During 2014, AkzoNobel entered into several strategic partnerships, all focused on replacing non-renewable raw materials, and which could potentially have major environmental benefits. One of the most recent initiatives involves investigating the possibility of producing chemicals from beet-derived sugar feedstock. Working with several partners, the aim is to develop a viability study which will look at developing business cases for commercial production in the Delfzijl chemical cluster in the Netherlands.
We’re also part of a major Dutch consortium exploring the use of waste streams as a feedstock for chemical production. A number of industry and semi-governmental partners are looking to benefit from Canadian company Enerkem’s ongoing research into developing technology that converts waste into synthesis gas – a common starting material for products such as methanol and ammonia.
Another important development saw us expand our agreement with Solazyme Inc. to target an annual supply of up to 10,000 tons of renewable tailored algae-based oils – which would replace both petroleum and palm oil-derived chemicals. We’re also working with cleantech company Photanol to develop a process for harnessing the power of the sun to make chemicals. The aim is to produce “green” chemical building blocks that will eventually replace raw materials we currently obtain from fossil-based production, supporting our Planet Possible agenda of radical resource efficiency.