BlueChem Spotlights Antwerp as Innovative Hub for Sustainable Chemistry

In 2020 BlueChem is opening its doors in eco-effective business park Blue Gate Antwerp. The incubator will offer a place to around fifteen young firms and SMEs which focus on sustainable chemistry. After Houston, Antwerp has the largest cluster of chemical firms in the world. The proximity of the Port of Antwerp, the central location in Europe and the large availability of expertise in chemistry in Flanders makes the old Petroleum South an ideal location for BlueChem.

A breeding ground for innovation in chemistry

“We want to put Antwerp on the map as an innovator in sustainable chemistry,” explains Frank Beckx, the Managing Director of essenscia vlaanderen, the sector federation for Chemistry and Life Sciences, and Chair of BlueChem. “Antwerp and the port are known throughout the world as a chemistry production centre. Twelve of the fifteen biggest chemical firms in the world have a production site here. But with the aid of Flemish universities there are more and more young firms, innovative start-ups which specialise in renewable chemicals or the reuse of waste. Sustainable chemistry has grown in importance when it comes to tackling problems such as climate change. The idea of setting up an incubator came about as a means of stimulating this know-how and providing development opportunities. In 2016 we made our first steps towards BlueChem and at the end of 2018 we started constructing it. The first companies will be able to move into the incubator by spring 2020.”

Frank Beckx

BlueChem puts Antwerp on the map as an innovator in sustainable chemistry.

 “We’re offering working space for around fifteen companies. They can hire offices and lab space for shorter or longer terms”, says Leentje Croes, the soon-to-be head of daily operations at BlueChem. “However, BlueChem wants to go further than simply providing an infrastructure. In order to give these young companies the best chance of success, we work alongside partners who can support them. Other than the City of Antwerp, several partners offer financial support: essenscia, the Provincial Development Association (‘Provinciale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappij’ or POM for short) and the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (‘Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek’ or VITO). Finally, companies can call upon the expertise of several service partners as well, like Deloitte, Laga, BNP Paribas Fortis and Port of Antwerp.”

The first companies will be able to move into BlueChem by spring 2020.

BlueChem, state-of-the-art incubator

A state-of-the-art incubator like BlueChem costs a lot of money. BlueChem can count on the support of Europe through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) which has already given BlueChem 3.4 million euros. Flanders has also provided over 860,000 euros of support through the Hermesfonds.

Leentje Croes: “At BlueChem we want to give innovative ideas room for development whilst bringing together expertise in the domain of sustainable chemistry. By creating an ecosystem in which success attracts success. BlueChem will be a prime location as part of Blue Gate, the very first eco-effective, water-bound business park in the country, where foreign investors can also explore promising innovations.”

Leentje Croes

At BlueChem innovative ideas and expertise come together in an international network.

Interested in hiring an office or lab space at BlueChem? Find out more:

Leentje Croes is currently involved in preliminary talks with the first chemical firms to have expressed their interest. If you too would like to be considered for a place at BlueChem, please contact Leentje by phone 0472 88 97 76 or email:

BlueChem, state-of-the-art incubator.