AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals is a leading supplier of nano- and microparticles designed to enhance product or process performance in applications ranging from automotive parts and paints to wine corks and pharmaceuticals. For example, our Expancel Microspheres help make products lighter, leading to better performance and lower emissions from transport. Other products include Levasil Colloidal Silica, which helps make paints and coatings dirt-repellent, and Kromasil, a silica-based material used to purify pharmaceuticals, to the health benefit of many.
Our small particle business is prospering and we are helping our customers achieve significant sustainability improvements, but we think we can have an even bigger impact. We see a growing need in the market for materials that enable more efficient and advanced performance, as well as materials that contribute to sustainability. Given that two of our own brands began as internal startups, we know that we have the experience and resources needed to help a startup bring cutting edge small particle technology to market.
Legislation on energy usage is driving us to reduce our raw material usage while new demands on performance are continuously arising. We want to expand our portfolio to be able to provide new functionalities that our customers are searching for. We would like to build on silica as an inherently safe and non-accumulative nanoparticle technology platform, but if alternative technologies show a similar sustainability profile, we are also interested in their performance features.
We are looking for new materials, technologies, functionalities, and/or hybrids that we do not have in our portfolio today: small particles that make a big impact by making our customers’ products more sustainable, durable, lightweight, and/or functional. Solutions need to either meet a clear market demand or complement or improve our current technologies.
New particle technologies need to be in the nano- to micrometer scale and be safe and sustainable in use.
For this challenge area, we will focus on ideas from startups which already have a proof of concept so that we can start producing on a pilot scale within 3 to 5 years. Small companies that have already commercialized a niche product and are looking for a partner to help them broaden their applications are especially welcome to join.
In this challenge we are not trying to find new processes or new applications for our current products. Nanoparticles with adverse health or safety aspects are out of consideration.
If you have the small particle technology we need to drive performance and/or sustainability improvements in our customers’ products, we welcome you to join our Challenge on our Imagine Chemistry Challenge platform - open from January 10 - for open and collaborative innovation.