An innovative momentum serving the cause of progress and sustainability
The Arkema group views innovation as a way to overcome the challenges of the 21st century. Our organization is designed to encourage the birth of new ideas.
With clean water resources distributed unevenly across the globe, growing demand for energy, diminishing fossil resources and climate change, today’s challenges must be ranked according to priority. Accordingly, Arkema group research revolves around five main areas :
- New energies that will offset the decline in fossil energy resources: the Arkema group is particularly active in the photovoltaics and lithium-ion battery sectors.
- Renewable raw materials that constitute viable substitutes for petroleum-based molecules: the Arkema group is developing bio-based polymers made from glycerol and vegetable oils.
- Water treatment to give more people access to clean drinking water: researchers are developing filtration systems based on fluoropolymer membranes and activated carbon.
- Lightweight materials that help save energy, particularly in the transport sector. Innovative products include nanostructured PMMA as an alternative to glass, and Rilsan® in place of metal. To reduce the weight of vehicles, ships and wind turbine structures, the Group has developed thermoplastic polyamide composites. In civil and military aeronautics, Kepstan® (Poly Ether-Ketone-Ketone) can be used to similar effect in place of aluminum alloys.
- The electronics sector today is reaching the limits of silicon-based technologies. The Arkema group is developing products and processes that will reduce the size, cost and energy consumption of microprocessors. A further theme of our R&D is the etching of electronic arrays on large or bendable substrates. Driven by this technology, packaging, textiles, labels and other substrates will be endowed with new functionalities.
With these priority areas, it is easy to see why innovation is a cornerstone of the Arkema group’s policy on social and environmental responsibility.
A research organization based on entrepreneurship and interaction
The Arkema group has 10 Research and Development centers (R&D):
- 6 in France
- 2 in the United States
- 2 in Asia (Japan and China)
Each center works closely with university research and public laboratories. Numerouspartnerships are also in effect with small- and medium-sized local businesses and industries.
The Arkema group is a prominent player in scientific research, taking part in programs supported by prominent national and international bodies such as:
- The European Commission and its Framework Programme for Research and Development (FPRD)
- The United States Department of Energy (DOE),
- The French National Research Agency (ANR),
- The French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME),
- The French state-run innovation support and funding body, OSEO.
Supporting and stimulating innovation
To facilitate the emergence of disruptive technologies, the Arkema group’s R&D instituted a “New Product Incubator”. Endowed with the necessary human, technical and financial resources, the incubator “nurtures” promising innovative projects until they “hatch.” Once the incubator has served its purpose, the Business Units take over and carry the projects through to commercial development.
Arkema group R&D in figures
2.2% of Group revenues
10 research centers
148 priority patent applications in 2011