Cabot Aerogel Team Wins 2013 ICIS Innovation Awards

Oct 21, 2013, 04:00 ET from ICIS

LONDON, October 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

ICIS, a leading global provider of news and information for the chemical and energy sectors, today announces the winners in the ICIS Innovation Awards 2013.

These annual awards are supported by Roland Berger Management Consulting as lead sponsor; Roland Berger also sponsors the Best Product Innovation category.

Other category sponsors are chemical distributor U.S. Chemicals, LLC (Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit), Italy's Versalis (Best Innovation for Sustainability) and US distributor Nexeo Solutions (Best Business Innovation).


The panel of six leading industry experts (see below) awarded US-based Cabot Corporation the prize for Best Overall Innovation for its development of aerogel particles for use in energy-saving building insulation products (see below). The entry also won the category for Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit.

Awards confirm growing move to bio-based technologies

John Baker, global editor at ICIS, who manages the ICIS Innovation Awards, commented that: "The Awards continue to highlight the best the chemical industry has to offer in the way of innovation and providing solutions to society's needs.

"This year saw a diverse range of innovations entered, from leading-edge biomaterials and processes to developments in more mature sectors - indicating that innovation is still relevant to all businesses whatever their stage of market development."

"As in previous years, many entries focused around reducing or avoiding adverse impacts on the environment and the public, and maintaining the sustainability of the industry. At the same time they will help customers solve their needs and drive bottom line growth for companies."

ICIS congratulates all the winners and indeed all those companies that reached the short-list. The Awards will be presented at a lunch in London on 7 December.


Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit

Cabot Aerogel

Around 40% of the world's energy is consumed in the buildings in which we work, sleep and play. As a result, Cabot's aerogel products for building and construction are poised to have a dramatic impact, improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon footprint and increasing cost savings. The aerogels are lightweight, hydrophobic silica materials in particulate form, with each particle consisting of 90% air contained in a structure that prevents heat transfer. Five specific Cabot aerogel products make up the current suite of materials for use in commercial and residential buildings and construction projects: plaster, boards, daylighting systems, tensile roofing, and coatings.

Best Product Innovation

Solvay Aroma Performance

SOLVAY Aroma Performance has developed a new generation of vanilla flavours that enables fat and sugar reduction in recipes, providing taste reinsurance, strong cost reductions for industrial producers as well as health improvements for final consumers.

Govanil is a global patented innovation integrating Solvay's expertise in chemical and process engineering (using a new CRF technology), food applications (new advanced functional formulations) and marketing within the growing aroma ingredients business.

Best Innovation for Sustainability


Virent's innovative technology catalytically transforms 100% renewable biomass-derived carbohydrates, into PX. The BioForming® process is based on conventional catalytic processing technologies that convert aqueous carbohydrate solutions derived from either conventional or cellulosic feedstocks into direct replacement hydrocarbons. This further  expands the application of the BioForming process to both fuels and chemicals, fully leveraging catalysts and reactor systems found in standard refineries and petrochemical complexes. In 2011, Virent and Coca-Cola formed a partnership to accelerate production of Virent's BioFormPX[TM].

Best Business Innovation


Archroma has launched a breakthrough sustainability service, ONE WAY, designed to help textile mills and brand owners develop innovative textile solutions that are ecologically and economically more sustainable. Archroma's aim is to provide a fast, measurable and reliable approach to selection of chemical products and process solutions. All ONE WAY dyes and chemicals have been screened by Archroma's product stewardship specialists against more than 15 textile eco-standards and criteria. Data has been integrated in the ONE WAY Selector, which provides instant information on how each ONE WAY product scores in terms of toxicological and ecological profile and standards. The solution selection is then based on a sophisticated software tool that Archroma calls the ONE WAY Calculator, which assesses the cost, performance and environmental profile of potential products and processes almost instantly.

[NOTE: Clariant's textile, paper and emulsions businesses were acquired in September 2013 by SK Capital Partners and have become Archroma.]  

Best Innovation by an SME


Advances in sugar conversion technology: using supercritical hydrolysis to provide an economical bridge between upstream and -biomass and downstream chemicals. Manufacturers are increasingly seeking affordable, sugar-based intermediates as an alternative to petroleum feedstocks. Renmatix takes a fundamentally different approach to producing the lowest-cost cellulosic sugars. Using -supercritical water, Renmatix's Plantrose process deconstructs a wide range of non-food plant material in seconds using no significant chemicals or consumables. In two distinct steps, hemi-hydrolysis and cellulose--hydrolysis, Plantrose produces separate C5 (xylose) and C6 (glucose) sugars and clean lignin, used to provide the majority of the process's thermal energy needs. The process is biomass agnostic, capable of using hardwoods, agricultural residues and -municipal wastes.


The winning companies can be contacted as follows:

Cabot Corporation
Vanessa Craigie
Tel: +1-617-342-6015

Muriel Werle
Tel: +65-6643-1741

Kyla Westphal 
Tel: +1-415-484-6498

Solvay Aroma Performance
Matthieu Helft
Tel: +33-4-37-24-87-03

Megan Weber
Tel: +1-608-210-3368

Notes to Editors:

The six judges that selected the winners were:

  • Dr Neil Checker

Partner at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

  • Gianni Girotti

Manager for all R&D activities and business development in the new green chemistry division of Versalis

  • Eric Witt

Senior vice president of global strategy & business development at Nexeo Solutions

  • Dr Jacques Komornicki

Innovation manager at Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council, and represents the SusChem European Technology Platform for the chemical industry

  • Dr Just Jansz

Founder and managing director of Expertise Beyond Borders, an independent technology management consultancy

  • Dr Klaas Kruithof

Director of research, development and innovation in AkzoNobel's Performance Coatings business area


About ICIS

ICIS is the world's largest petrochemical market information provider and has fast-growing energy and fertilizer divisions. Our aim is to give companies in global commodities markets a competitive advantage by delivering trusted pricing data, high-value news, analysis and independent consulting, enabling our customers to make better-informed trading and planning decisions. We have more than 30 years' experience in providing pricing information, news, analysis and consulting to buyers, sellers and analysts.

With a global staff of more than 800, ICIS has employees based in Houston, Washington, New York, London, Montpellier, Dusseldorf, Karlsruhe, Milan, Mumbai, Singapore, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, Yantai, Tokyo and Perth.

ICIS is a division of Reed Business Information, part of Reed Elsevier Plc.

For further information contact:
John Baker
Global editor, ICIS
Tel: +44-20-8652-3153
Web site:


About this year's sponsors

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants is one of the world's leading strategy consultants, founded in 1967, with 2,700 employees working in over 50 offices in all major international markets. The strategy consultancy is an independent partnership exclusively owned by about 250 partners.

The firm advises leading corporations, non-profit organisations and public institutions on management issues ranging from strategy development to performance improvement. Roland Berger's business is organised into global functional and industry competence centres. Its practice areas include corporate and business unit strategy, marketing and sales, innovation strategy and management , operations strategy, restructuring and corporate finance and M&A advisory.

Industry specialties include energy and chemicals, automotive, consumer goods, retail, engineered products and high-tech, financial services, information communications, pharmaceuticals and health care, public services and transportation.

For further information contact:
Neil Checker
Partner, Roland Berger
Tel: +49-211-4389-2237
Email: neil.checker@
Web site:


U.S. Chemicals, LLC, is a 50-year-old worldwide specialty chemical distributor serving the textiles, paint, flame retardants, plastic, cosmetic, personal care, food and pharmaceutical industries. A woman-owned business based in Darien, Connecticut, US, U.S. Chemicals actively supports environmentally responsible manufacturers and distributors of chemical products and services.

For further information,contact:
Carol Piccaro
U.S. Chemicals, LLC
Tel: +1-203-655-8878
Web site:


Versalis, part of Eni, interfaces with markets through globally oriented strategies and a market-driven product portfolio. It leads the industry in manufacturing intermediates, polyethylene (PE), styrenics and elastomers, a business that positions the company as a worldwide leader and reinforces its optimisation process. Versalis boasts a wide range of proprietary technologies, a wide-reaching distribution network and after-sales assistance. The company is strongly focused on the growing green chemicals sector through Matrica, a joint venture with Novamont, to build a bio-run complex in Sardinia.

For further information, contact:
Teresa Petronelli
Internal communication manager, Versalis
Tel: +39-2520-32265


Nexeo Solutions is the largest global chemical, plastics and composites distributor with a centralised business model. The company provides broad logistics capabilities, in-depth market knowledge, dedicated technical expertise and Environmental Services. As a private company employing approximately 2,300 employees with operations across North America, Europe and Asia, Nexeo Solutions is a leading distributor of chemicals, plastics, composites and environmental services.  

For further information, contact:
Media Relations, Nexeo Solutions
Tel: +1-281-297-0058
Investor Relations, Nexeo Solutions
Tel: +1-281-297-0850