The challenge

"The chemical branch industry still relies overwhelmingly on fossil fuels such as crude oil, but that supply is finite. Moreover, in Europe we strongly depend on foreign imports and the associated price fluctuations. To become more sustainable, the industry has to improve its manufacturing processes, recover waste streams, switch to renewable raw materials and create entirely new value chains. This is necessary to counter the lack of raw materials, save on costs and maintain a strong market position."

VITO's role

"VITO develops integrated (bio) chemical processes that combine two steps into one: the conversion reaction itself and the separation of the finished product. The result: better and faster conversion, resulting in less energy and fewer raw materials, less waste and lower emissions.

"Often, industrial waste streams still contain valuable components. Or perhaps a solvent is too heavily contaminated, rendering it unusable. Our membrane technology allows the recovery of expensive solvents or other valuable fractions. We develop membranes for the pharmaceutical industry, in order to concentrate active components from organic solvents.

"VITO is also exploring the possibilities of technologies to extract chemical components from agricultural waste streams and renewable biological raw materials. We focus on extracting valuable materials from algae via bio-refinery, in cooperation with, among others, university college Thomas More in Geel.

"All our solutions lead to higher returns in several industries, including chemicals, pharmaceutical industries, the food and beverage sector and industrial biotechnology. This way, we help the European chemical industry strengthen its competitive position."

We support European chemical companies strengthen their competitive position.
Bert Bouwman
Unit Manager Chemistry