The innovation hub at the Blue Gate Antwerp business park officially opened its doors on Thursday 4 May. With the support of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Antwerp City Council, the province of Antwerp and essenscia, the University of Antwerp aims to make BlueApp the reference centre for sustainable chemistry.
‘We want to be a matchmaker between researchers and companies’, Prof. Silvia Lenaerts says, Vice-Rector for Valorisation & Development at UAntwerp. ‘BlueApp wants to build an ecosystem together with its partners to take on the big challenges of the future, such as: climate change and energy transitions.’
We want to be a matchmaker between researchers and companies.
BlueApp, a project in which 20 million euros was invested, focuses on four domains. The reuse of water in industry is a first topic. The other domains include hydrogen storage and distribution, and air purification.
‘Our starting point is a proof of concept, then we build, test and refine’, BlueApp manager Quinten Van Avondt explains. ‘We also offer communal services such as advanced high-end 3D printers and complex, very expensive analytical equipment.’
We also offer communal services such as advanced high-end 3D printers and complex, very expensive analytical equipment.
French scale-up in the pipeline
Several companies are already active in BlueApp today. In autumn, the French company Fairbrics will also arrive there. This scale-up is working on a process to convert captured CO2 into polyester, which can then be used to produce clothing. By 2024, the innovation hub is expected to employ 100–150 people.
PHOTOGRAPHY Bernd Hendrickx