AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals has announced the 20 finalists for the 2018 edition of its Imagine Chemistry challenge. Imagine Chemistry was launched to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and uncover sustainable business opportunities. The 2018 edition generated no less than 150 innovative ideas from startups, scale-ups, scientists and others.

“This is the second year of Imagine Chemistry, and if anything, we had upped the challenge for potential partners, putting forward harder-to-solve problems,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Chief Technology Officer at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals. “The number and quality of ideas again surpassed our expectations and we have a list of finalists that we believe hold great potential to address customer needs and contribute to a sustainable future.”

The finalists will now participate in a three-day event in June at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, where they will be supported by RD&I and business development experts to further develop their business ideas and concepts.

The challenge is a key part of AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals’ innovation strategy, Nieuwenhuizen says. “We believe that effective R&D aiming for breakthrough solutions requires collaboration across the value chain. Imagine Chemistry shows the value in that thinking. We look forward to working with the eventual winners to turn their ideas into a commercial reality with real global impact.”

To meet its sustainability and growth ambitions, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals continues to forge an innovation ecosystem around a model of collaborative innovation. This is built on its global network of RD&I centers including its S/park open innovation center in the Netherlands, partnerships with leading universities and institutes, participation in venture capital funding, collaborations across the value chain and the company's Imagine Chemistry challenge, which is organized in partnership with KPMG.

The finalists from the challenge categories are:

Finalists: Sustainable liquid-to-powder technologies