The finals in the international petrochemicals start-up contest took place as part of Skolkovo Startup Village 2017, during 6-7 June 2017, in Russia.
The contest themes covered various areas within the petrochemicals industry, including ‘cutting-edge equipment and technological solutions to increase operational efficiency in chemical-technological processes’; ‘technologies and products for the production of basic monomers and the production and application of special chemicals’; ‘technologies and products in gas processing and transportation’; and ‘technologies and products in the production and application of new plastics and elastomers’.
The judging panel comprised Dmitry Konov, chairman, management board, SIBUR; Dr Joost Waterloos, head, scouting & exploration network ventures and business development, Dow Chemical Company; Simone Arizzi, technical and innovation director, EMEA, DuPont; Kurt Vanden Bussche, director, R&D, UOP; Sergey Dmitrouk, country R&D manager, 3M; Christoph Roerig, head, Russia and CIS, BASF; Andrew Reynolds, CTO, Technip Lyon; Volker Goeke, head, scouting & venturing, EMEA, Linde; and Xu Yuehua, deputy head, chemicals industry department, Sinopec.
This expert jury assessed each of the competing ideas for relevance and technical novelty, how economically attractive the idea is, and its market opportunities.
The winners of the contest are: 1st place – Pyrowave (Canada), using microwave technology for plastics processing; 2nd place – Compact Membrane Systems (USA), innovative membranes for the separation of olefins and paraffins; and New Sky Energy (USA), highly effective technology for cleaning hydrocarbons from sulphur compounds; 3rd place – Rebel Inc (USA / Russia), new synthetic materials based on methacrylate fibres; Qpinch (Belgium), technology of residual heat recovery for energy saving; and the joint Russian-Swiss project on the technology of methanol production from methane.
Konov expressed his hope that the international IQ-CHem platform for petrochemical start-ups, created in 2017, will contribute to the development of co-operation between start-ups and existing corporations, with the aim of improving technological processes in the industry.
“The active support given to this contest by our partners – each of whom is a world leading actor on the petrochemicals market – combined with the quality and quantity of projects received, demonstrates the strong interest for cooperation on both sides,” said Konov.
“Our IQ-CHem contest can become the mechanism that builds efficient international technology partnerships around the world, implementing breakthrough solutions that improve the petrochemicals industry, and creating new products to further develop the industry’s high-tech processes,” added Konov.
Reynolds emphasised just how great an opportunity the IQ-CHem contest is to get your voice heard in the industry: “For me, future projects should be sound, reliable and cost effective. In a word, serious. The platform proposed by IQ-CHem is a great platform to start to demonstrate this. Financial institutions are looking to lower risk and be assured that they have selected the best projects. The IQ-CHem contest is a first step on this long journey.”
In total, 251 teams from 27 countries took part in the international IQ-CHem contest. The largest number of applications came from teams in Russia, India, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States.