BlueApp is an open innovation hub for sustainable chemistry
​​​​​​​and materials.

The University of Antwerp as driving force for innovation ecosystems

Antwerp is the economic driving force of Flanders, thanks to its world port, the second largest chemical cluster, a strong creative sector but above all a shared ambition to grow the region through innovation.

The university's role has broadened to that of driver, i.e. a driving force, for innovation: it will become an innovative regional force in knowledge-intensive ecosystems. On the one hand, by providing well-trained people; on the other hand, by responding to the specific needs of the innovation ecosystem in which the university is embedded..

Based on the University of Antwerp's own strengths combined with the peculiarities of the Antwerp ecosystem, the university will focus on three areas of valorisation. These domains are: sustainable chemistry & materials; metropolitanism, smart city, mobility & logistics; and infectious diseases & environmental health. In order to support and strengthen the valorisation processes within these different domains, a pre-incubation structure will be set up within each of them. This is an open innovation hub where the various actors of the relevant innovation ecosystem can physically meet to work together on innovation projects as well as follow training programmes.

Chemie research
Blue Gate Antwerp

Unique location: Blue Gate Antwerp

The port of Antwerp, as it hosts the second largest chemical cluster in the world, is very important for the region of Antwerp and for Flemish (and Belgian) economy as it is one of the engines of our prosperity. Its central position with easy access to industrial hot spots in neighbouring countries and major local production of chemicals make Antwerp an attractive facilitator for chemical companies worldwide.

The Blue Gate Antwerp site, closely linked to the city, the port, the university and the Maritime Campus (MCA), will form the beating heart of innovation in sustainable chemistry. The pre-incubation structure for sustainable chemistry and materials is named BlueApp.

Specifically, BlueApp is a building equipped with labs for those disciplines involved in sustainable (bio)chemical processes for the production, treatment or analysis of (bio)materials, gases and liquids. On the one hand, the focus is on applied research in cooperation with industrial partners, and on the other on the development of products and processes which result in a license or investment agreement. There will also be one permanent research group in the building that will focus on process intensification of the (bio)chemical processes at a TRL level (Technology Readiness Level) of 3 to 6. Collaboration with other research groups at the University of Antwerp, but also with other (inter)national knowledge institutions will be key.

By establishing BlueApp at the Blue Gate Antwerp site, a unique innovation ecosystem in sustainable chemistry is growing that can help shape the future of both region and society. Hydrogen, for example, is an important link in the sustainable society because it can be injected into mobility applications, chemical processes and the natural gas network. Other examples of innovative and sustainable technologies in which The University of Antwerp is at the forefront: new forms of process energy (electro-, plasma- and photocatalysis), in-line detection and measurement technologies, improved processing and recycling of gaseous, liquid and solid waste streams, sustainable and bio-based raw materials, CO2 as an alternative raw material, probiotics, advanced (nano) material characterisation and modelling, ...

BlueApp in numbers:


promising projects will arrive at BlueApp in 2021


 research groups working on sustainable chemistry and materials


square meters laboratory space for the improvement of innovative ideas


Prof. Patrice Perreault

Associate professor & BlueApp technology developer

Within BlueApp, Prof Patrice Perreault will accompany technology developers in their prototyping and scaling-up/down needs, so to minimize the technological risks associated with their quest for commercial deployment. In order to maximize the performance of the proposed process while keeping its footprint (mass and energy) at a minimum, process intensification principles will guide the design process. Prof Perreault relies on a combination of computational fluid dynamic (CFD), as well as state-of-the-art and innovative experimental characterization tools for reactor design and scale-up.

Quinten Van Avondt

BlueApp Manager

Quinten Van Avondt graduated as bioscience engineer from the University of Antwerp and KULeuven and obtained an additional degree in management at Vlerick Business School. He has built up experience in product management, business development and the do’s and don’ts at a university spinoff. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling followed by good food and a slice of culture. Within BlueApp, Quinten will be answering all your questions concerning possible collaborations and the pre-incubator’s services. He will be in charge of daily operations supporting companies, researchers and investors in their search for innovative solutions in the field of sustainable chemistry. Feel like brainstorming about crazy business models or disruptive financial planning? Please reach out!