AkzoNobel is a Dutch chemical company which specialises in commercialising bio-based polymers. The multinational corporation has now signed an agreement to work with Itaconix, a speciality chemicals company to explore new opportunities for the production of bio-based polymers. It is hoped this collaboration will develop bio-based chemistry on a large scale. With this agreement, AkzoNobel will pursue the development and commercialisation of bio-based polymers, whilst Itaconix will contribute a proprietary polymerisation technology to turn their itaconic acid – obtained from sugars through fermentation – into polymers.
AkzoNobel ( @AkzoNobel ) has a track record for successfully commercialising a broad range of paints, coatings and specialty chemicals to customers around the world. As well as providing key functionalities, their products also become vital for the manufacturing process in many other industries. AkzoNobel also owns a broad range of 78 brands from household names like Dulux, to more specialised chemical brands like Ferrazone and GripPro. But Itaconix offers something new; it works for a series of polymers from itaconic acid. This chemical has now advanced through well-staged commercial developments for home care, personal care, industrial, agricultural and surface coating applications. Their extensive range of polymers are used in a growing number of consumer and industrial products to reduce cost, improve performance and reduce the impact on the environment.
“This innovation enables the production of polymers from renewable ingredients, which fits closely with our Planet Possible sustainability agenda of doing more with less,” explained Peter Nieuwenhuizen, RD&I Director for AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business. “These bio-based polymers offer unique properties in applications essential to our everyday lives, ranging from water quality to cleaning and hygiene.”
What is so special about Itaconix’s polymers from from itaconic acid? Polymers are essential and ever-present in our lives in the role of proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids. Itaconic acid is a naturally occurring compound, non-toxic and readily biodegradable. The corporation's polymers and co-polymers have a high functional performance and effective environmental profile.
Itaconix is a US subsidiary of Revolymer, which is also working with AkzoNobel on a marine coatings project. Kevin Matthews, CEO of Revolymer, said: “AkzoNobel has worldwide capabilities to utilise our itaconic acid polymers in many application areas. We believe this agreement is an important step for the further development of bio-based chemistry on a large scale.”
Earlier this month, AkzoNobel also launched Imagine Chemistry, an open innovation challenge aimed at start-ups and chemistry professionals to find new opportunities for innovation and sustainable growth. This is a platform to provide a head start to students, research groups and career scientists from across the wold to exploit the knowledge of chemistry and solve several real-life chemistry-related challenges.
Imagine Chemistry, launched in conjunction with KPMG, aims to address a number of specific societal challenges as well as finding new sustainable opportunities for AkzoNobel businesses.
“Our world is made of molecules and we believe that chemistry, mastering the elements, is essential to making the world a better place,” explained Peter Nieuwenhuizen, RD&I Director for AkzoNobel’s Specialty Chemicals business.
“To get there, we believe open innovation will be vital, seeking ideas both internally and externally to advance our technology and mutually gain from creative thinking. Imagine… with all of our knowledge of chemistry, we can work together to solve some of life’s biggest problems. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get involved.”
It appears AkzoNobel’s cooperation agreement with Itaconix is just the start for the Dutch multinational. Nieuwenhuizen added that the deal is the latest example of AkzoNobel’s commitment to fostering innovation and approaching the topic in an open and collaborative way.
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