Clariant Wins Top ICIS Innovation Award for 2012

Oct 22, 2012, 05:00 ET from ICIS

LONDON, October 22, 2012 /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 2012.

These annual awards are supported by Dow Corning as lead sponsor, with category sponsorship by management consultancy Roland Berger Strategy Consultants (Best Product Innovation), chemical distributor U.S. Chemicals (Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit), polymer major Bayer MaterialScience (Best Innovation for Sustainability) and Shell Chemicals (Best Business Innovation).

Overall winner for 2012

The panel of six leading industry experts (see below) awarded Clariant of Switzerland the prize for Best Overall Innovation for its development of novel dyes and processes that reduce substantially the amount of water used in producing denim. Clariant's Advanced Denim innovation also won the category for Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit.

The winners of the category awards are:

Best Product Innovation    
Dow Chemical (US)
INFUSE olefin block copolymers

Best Innovation by an SME    
Novomer (US)
Innovative catalyst platform for producing acrylic acid, BDO and polypropiolactone

Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit    
Clariant (Switzerland)    
Advanced Denim

Best Innovation for Sustainability
Rhodia, part of the Solvay Group

The new rare earths "urban mine"

Best Business Innovation    
Not awarded this year

NOTE: In the Best Business Innovation category, the judges agreed after careful consideration that none of the limited number of entries met the criteria of this category as set out by ICIS. Even though the product and process innovations involved were of high quality, they did not represent examples of true business innovation.

Awards confirm growing move to bio-based technologies

John Baker, global editor at ICIS, who manages the ICIS Innovation Awards, commented: "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 continued to see the significant emphasis on bio-based technologies that has been growing over the past 3-5 years as companies seek to replace oil and gas feedstocks in the chemical industry, cut carbon emissions and reduce their and their customers' environmental footprints.

"Indeed, most entries focused around helping the environment and maintaining the sustainability of the industry, while at the same time helping customers and driving bottom line growth for companies."

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

The judges this year were:

  • Dr Gregg Zank, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Dow Corning
  • Dr Neil Checker, partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
  • Hans-Wilhelm Engels, senior vice president, Innovation & Specialties or  Coatings, Adhesives & Specialties, Bayer MaterialScience
  • Alexander Farina, general manager for chemicals strategy, Shell Chemicals
  • Dr Steven Fletcher, director of delivery programmes, Chemistry Innovation
  • Professor James Clark, director, Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York


Overall winner/ Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit

Manel Domingo, Manel Jimenez and Nuria Estape
Advanced Denim
Production of denim, which accounts for 14% of global cotton usage, usually requires large quantities of water - an increasingly scarce commodity. Swiss specialty chemical producer Clariant has developed technology that simplifies the finishing and dyeing of the fabric, reducing water consumption by as much as 92%. In addition, cotton waste is reduced by two-thirds and energy savings by 30%. The two processes, called Denim-Ox and Pad/Sizing Ox, use innovative Diresul RDT sulphur dyes that reduce the number of vat stages needed. Clariant has calculated that if the technology were used for just a quarter of world denim production, water saving would amount to 62m m3/year.

Best Product Innovation

Dow Chemical

Dr Ted Carnahan, Dr Phil Hustad, Karen Fennessy-Ketola, Dr Angela Taha, Dr Colin LiPi Shan, Dr Pradeep Jain, Lisa Madenjian, Susan Gill and Jennifer Carnahan
INFUSE olefin block copolymers - establishing new boundaries of polymer science
Dow Chemical's INFUSE olefin block copolymers (OBCs) have enabled new combinations of property performance in olefinic elastomers thanks to their innovative block architecture. Dow has developed these breakthrough materials using a proprietary catalytic system that allows for more precise control of the polymer microstructure. A chain-shuttling agent transfers growing polymer chains between two distinct catalysts with different monomer selectivities in a single polymerization reactor. Soft blocks of flexible polymer are blended with hard blocks of high melting-point polymer in a continuous process. The result is material with improved high-temperature performance, faster setup in processing and better abrasion resistance.

Best Innovation by an SME


Jim Mahoney
Innovative catalyst platform for producing acrylic acid, BDO and polypropiolactone
US-based Novomer is commercializing a homogeneous catalyst system capable of combining carbon monoxide with ethylene oxide (EO) to produce the versatile intermediate propiolactone. This can be used to produce chemicals such as acrylic acid (AA), acrylate esters, butanediol (BDO), tetrahydrofuran, succinic acid and polypropiolactone (PPL) - a new polymer type with good material properties and biodegradability. The innovative technology promises reduced cost and lower carbon and energy footprints. Novomer says its vision is for low molecular weight (MW) PPL to be shipped globally and converted to AA or acrylate esters, and for high MW PPL to be used as a packaging thermoplastic and for upgrading into glacial AA on recycling.

Best Innovation for Sustainability

Rhodia, part of the Solvay Group

Nicolas Barthel, Jean-Jacques Braconnier, Alain Rollat and Frederic Carencotte
The new rare earths urban mine

With growing usage in hi-tech products and tight supply, a sustainable supply of rare earth elements is a growing concern. Solvay has been looking at innovative ways of recycling rare earth metals from various sources. Its Coleop'Terre project focuses on the recovery of phosphor powders from energy-saving light bulbs. The powder, containing 10-20% rare earths, is processed to recover a range of compounds using liquid-liquid separation technologies. These can then be re-used to prepare new phosphor precursors, thus closing the loop. Solvay expects to treat several thousand tonnes/year initially at its Rhodia plants in Saint Fons (concentration) and La Rochelle (separation and precursor production).


  1. The awards are organised by ICIS, the chemical publishing arm of Reed Business Information, part of global publishing group Reed Elsevier.
  2. ICIS is based in the UK, with offices in Sutton, Surrey. It also has offices in Singapore, Shanghai, China, and New York and Houston in the US.
  3. This is the ninth year of the awards. The originator and organiser of the awards is John Baker, the head of custom publishing at ICIS and a former editor of ICIS Chemical Business (formerly known as European Chemical News).

Contact:; Tel: +44-20-8652-3153.

  1. The awards have been sponsored for all nine years by Dow Corning, which has a strong focus on innovation and R&D as part of its growth strategy.

About ICIS

ICIS, the trusted information provider for the chemical and energy industries, is part of Reed Business Information (RBI), a division of Reed Business and a member of Reed Elsevier plc, the world's leading publisher and information provider.

For more information on ICIS visit

RBI publishes over 100 market leading publications, directories and online services, and organises many industry conferences and awards.

For a full listing visit

For further information please contact:
John Baker
Tel: +44-20-8652-3153
Web site:

About Dow Corning

Dow Corning provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning® and XIAMETER® ( brands.
More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the US. Dow Corning is also the majority shareholder in the Hemlock Semiconductor Group ( joint venture, a leading provider of polycrystalline silicon and other silicon-based products used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices and solar cells and modules.

For further information please contact
Jarrod Erpelding
Dow Corning
Tel: +1-989-496-1582
Web site:

About U.S. Chemicals

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

About Roland Berger Strategy Consultants  

Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, founded in Munich in 1967 is one of the world's leading strategy consultancies. It is our European background that makes the difference. We have a deep understanding of diverse cultures and markets. We combine European roots with pragmatism and entrepreneurial spirit. Our results turn visions into reality. This is how we create real value for our clients.

The chemicals team at Roland Berger provides a comprehensive range of consulting services covering topics from strategy (eg value chain positioning, M&A) to operational excellence (eg pricing, supply chain management, organisation). Roland Berger's exceptional experience with sectors that are clients or suppliers to the chemical industry helps us deliver tangible and sustainable results for chemical companies. This expertise is rounded off by extensive experience in non-core but equally important topics such as corporate social responsibility (CSR).

For further information please contact:
Dr Neil Checker
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Tel: +49-211-4389-2237
Web site:

About Bayer MaterialScience

With 2011 sales of €10.8bn, Bayer MaterialScience is among the world's largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. At the end of 2011, Bayer MaterialScience had 30 production sites and employed approximately 14,800 people around the globe. Bayer MaterialScience is a Bayer Group company.

For further information, please contact
Rachel Owen
Strategic Communications
Bayer MaterialScience EMEA
Tel: +44-1635-563410

Web site:

About Shell Chemicals

Shell Chemicals has been a leading player in the manufacture and sale of bulk petrochemicals to large industrial customers for more than 80 years.  In 2011, it sold more than 18m tonnes of product and achieved record earnings of over $2bn.  As one of the top global petrochemicals producers, Shell Chemicals has world-class manufacturing plants in major markets around the world and a strong product portfolio - they are underpinned by its strong technical heritage and market-leading proprietary technologies, innovation and excellent customer relationships.  The company draws particular strength from being part of an integrated energy company, through which it leverages infrastructure efficiencies, upstream feedstock flexibility, and manufacturing and processing expertise.

For further information, please contact
Yam-Chew Oh
Global External Communications Adviser - Chemicals
Shell International Petroleum Company Limited
Tel: +44-20-7934-2253
Web site:  


The winning companies can be contacted as follows:

Muriel Werle
Communications Business Partner, Textile Chemicals
Tel: +65-6643-1741

Dow Chemical
Kelley Cone
Dow Chemical
Tel: +1-989-638-2663

Mike Slowik
Tel: +1-781-419-9860

Nicolas Barthel
Tel: +33-546-68-33-22