SUTTON, England, October 13 /PRNewswire/ -- ICIS, the leading global publisher of chemicals information, today announces the winners in the ICIS Innovation Awards 2008, sponsored by Dow Corning.

The winner in each of the four categories is:

ExxonMobil Chemical Company (US) and affiliate TonenGeneral (Japan), for best product innovation

Virent Energy Systems (US) for best innovation by an SME

DSM Nutritional Products (Switzerland), for best business innovation

Dow Chemical (Benelux/US), for most innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) project

(See below for full details of the winning innovations.)

These four innovative companies were chosen as the best from the shortlist of 11 entrants, details of which were published earlier this year in the 4 August issue of ICIS Chemical Business (

Full details of the winning entries and an interview on innovation in emerging economies with Tom Cook, president for Greater China at Dow Corning, are published in today's 13 October issue of ICIS Chemical Business (

John Baker, who launched and runs the awards at ICIS, comments:

"The winning innovations illustrate once again the resourcefulness of the chemical industry in meeting the needs of its customers, end consumers and, increasingly, the environment.

"In fact, environmental and social benefits formed a strong theme in this year's entries, regardless of which category was being entered. This is an encouraging trend, highlighting the fact that companies are taking wider issues into account when planning and prioritizing innovation projects.

"When innovations can simultaneously address business and environmental needs then the chemical industry really is a winner and shows itself to be part of the solution, not the problem."


Best product innovation

ExxonMobil Chemical Company and TonenGeneral

Battery separator films

US major ExxonMobil Chemical Company and its Japanese affiliate, TonenGeneral, have significantly improved the performance of lithium-ion batteries through the development of advanced technology battery separator films. Their latest innovation is a tri-layer coextrusion with a core layer combining polyethylene (PE) and ultra-high molecular weight polypropylene (PP).

This, says ExxonMobil, improves both permeability and meltdown temperature while retaining proprietary separator characteristics. The advances are important, as the Li-ion batteries are key to the development of hybrid and electric vehicles and other portable power uses, such as power tools and laptop computers.

Using the coextruded film enables production of Li-ion batteries with two to three times the capacity of nickel metal hydride batteries, enabling the use of smaller and lighter power sources.

Best innovation by an SME

Virent Energy Systems

Production of hydrocarbon fuels and chemicals from plant sugars

Virent claims its BioForming technology for converting sugars to highly functional fuels offers a credible alternative to the existing fermentation, Fischer-Tropsch reactions and pyrolysis routes. Its novel pathway integrates proprietary aqueous-phase reforming technology with established catalytic processing techniques to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules, similar to those produced in a conventional petroleum refinery.

The US fuel technology company says BioForming can be cost-effective in the production of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and chemicals, from a broad range of renewable feedstocks. Founded in 2002, it has proved the process at the pilot stage and has attracted interest from Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell, Japanese carmaker Honda and US agricultural giant Cargill. Development effort is now focusing on improving yield, product composition and cost, as well as scale-up to commercial production.

Best business innovation

DSN Nutritional Products

MixMe home fortification project with the UN World Food Programme

In a joint initiative, Swiss-headquartered fine chemical producer DSM Nutritional Products and the UN World Food Programme have developed MixMe sachets to deliver micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to developing countries. These can be mixed at home with food to fortify it.

This "home fortification" is a novel approach to delivering micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), and DSM and the WFP had to overcome several challenges before the sachets could be put to use.

First was producing a stable and tasteless powder and appropriate packaging to protect the content form the harsh climatic conditions in many developing countries. Second was identifying a suitable packaging facility that could respond with high volumes, and third was understanding and complying with the approval processes of individual governments.

The contents of the sachet (polyethylene terephthalate/aluminium/polyethylene composite foil) are added to food just before consumption, thus avoiding losses.

Contents can be tailored for specific groups of people, and a year's supply of 150 for one person costs just over $4.00.

Most innovative CSR project

Dow Chemical

City wastewater effluent for industrial reuse project

Dow Chemical's 2015 Sustainability Goals are driving it to cut freshwater intake at its Terneuzen site, in the Netherlands, by 35%, compared with 2005. One approach has been to work with Dutch water supplier Evides and the municipal water board to reuse treated wastewater from the 55,000 Terneuzen residents as process water.

Evides produces demineralised water from the household wastewater and the US-based chemical company uses the demi-water twice: to produce high-pressure steam, and as recycled water for its cooling tower.

The project overcame a number of distinct challenges, including the integration of the infrastructure of three organisations, initial prejudice against reusing treated sewage water, and the use of new technology.

Benefits include: sustainable reuse of 450m3/hour of purified wastewater; a 65% reduction in energy use by avoiding desalination at Evides; and reduced effluent discharge to the river.

The approach, says Dow, can be easily extended to other communities and companies worldwide.

About Dow Corning

Dow Corning ( provides performance-enhancing solutions to serve the diverse needs of more than 25,000 customers worldwide. A global leader in silicones, silicon-based technology and innovation, Dow Corning offers more than 7,000 products and services via the company's Dow Corning(R) and Xiameter(R) brands. Dow Corning is a joint venture equally owned by The Dow Chemical Company and Corning, Incorporated. More than half of Dow Corning's annual sales are outside the United States.

About ICIS

ICIS is the world's leading information provider for the chemical and energy industries. It aims to help chemical and energy companies worldwide increase their revenues and profits by providing high-quality, business critical information, sales leads and brand positioning across the globe. For further information about ICIS visit


1. The awards are organised by ICIS, the chemical publishing arm of Reed Business Information, part of global publishing group Reed Elsevier.

2. ICIS is based in the UK, with offices in Sutton, and also in Singapore and New York and Houston, US.

3. This is the fifth year of the awards. The originator and organiser of the awards is John Baker, the head of custom publishing at ICIS and a former editor of ICIS Chemical Business (formerly known as European Chemical News). Contact:; Tel: +44-20-8652-3153.

4. The awards have been sponsored for all five years by Dow Corning, which has a strong focus on innovation and R&D as part of its growth strategy. It is a joint venture between Dow Chemical and Corning and specialises in silicon chemistry. Headquartered in Midland, Ohio

5. The awards this year had four categories: best product innovation, best innovation by an SME, best business innovation and most innovative CSR project

6. The judges this year were:

Monty Alger, vice president and chief technology officer at Air Products And Chemicals Larry Keeley, president and co-founder of innovation strategy firm Doblin Robert Kirschbaum, vice president of innovation at DSM, focusing on performance materials Professor Rodney Townsend, director of science and technology at the Royal Society of Chemistry and chairman of the EU's SusChem sustainable Chemistry platform Dr Gregg Zank, vice president, chief technology officer and executive director of science and technology at Dow Corning CONTACTS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: The winning companies can be contacted as follows: ExxonMobil Chemical Walt Buchholtz, Public Affairs Manager Email:; Tel: +1-281-870-6075 Virent Energy Systems Mary Willoughby Blanchard, Director, Marketing Email: mary_blanchard@virent.coml; Tel: +1-608-237-8615 DSM Nutritional Products Karin Meulenberg, Marketing Communications Officer Email:; Tel: +31-46-477-0430 Dow Chemical Katie Howison, Public Affairs Senior Leader Email:; Tel : +1-989638-0723 The sponsor, Dow Corning, can be contacted through: Leslie Orozco, Corporate communications Email:; Tel: +1-989-496-8689 The organiser: John Baker, Global editor, Custom publishing, ICIS E-mail:; Tel: +44-20-8652-3153

CONTACTS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: The winning companies can be contacted as follows: ExxonMobil Chemical, Walt Buchholtz, Public Affairs Manager, Email:; Tel: +1-281-870-6075; Virent Energy Systems, Mary Willoughby Blanchard, Director, Marketing, Email: mary_blanchard@virent.coml; Tel: +1-608-237-8615; DSM Nutritional Products, Karin Meulenberg, Marketing Communications Officer, Email:; Tel: +31-46-477-0430; Dow Chemical, Katie Howison, Public Affairs Senior Leader, Email:; Tel : +1-989638-0723; The sponsor, Dow Corning, can be contacted through: Leslie Orozco, Corporate communications, Email:; Tel: +1-989-496-8689; The organiser: John Baker, Global editor, Custom publishing, ICIS, E-mail:; Tel: +44-20-8652-3153