Solvay Solexis focuses R&D on low carbon energy sources and fresh water for human consumption

Solvay announces today that its specialty polymers affiliate Solvay Solexis is going to focus a substantial part of its Research & Development efforts on two critical themes for the global challenges facing this planet: developing energy sources with low carbon intensity and fulfill the increasing need for fresh water for human consumption.

This decision reinforces the global position of Solvay’s Strategic Business Unit Specialty Polymers as a developer of innovative solutions for high-performance applications, combining very strong mechanical properties and very high temperature resistance and products with outstanding chemical inertness, high purity and dielectric qualities.

This Strategic Business Unit realized sales of 805 million EUR in 2009 (2008: 998 million EUR). On average Solvay reinvests about 6% of its specialty polymers sales in R&D. Specialty Polymers’ R&D budget was maintained in 2009 despite the unfavorable economic circumstances.
The overall R&D effort of Solvay Solexis in the area of energy and water will amount to a sizeable part of its total R&D budget, while the projected sales growth for these applications are likely to deliver a significant part of Solvay Solexis’ total sales growth in the coming 5 years, estimated over 100 million EUR. In the latest United Nations World Water Development Report (March 2009) fresh water demand is estimated to grow by about 64 billion cubic meters every year due to world population growth. For the same reason global energy demand is set to increase substantially, while the need to mitigate climate change will drive an even stronger demand for low carbon energy sources.

A new dedicated R&D group will consolidate the expertise acquired about these fast moving applications and expand it. It will also create synergy between the current different technology platforms as to enhance the existing products and expand its offering, and will leverage on the research, development & technology centers that Solvay is creating in Asia to boost its development with regional technology leaders. More information about the existing products and their applications is available in the Notes to the editors [EN - FR - NL].

“Achieving sustainable development harbors formidable opportunities, not only in business terms but also as a strong motivator for all our stakeholders. We strongly believe that we have a formidable range of fluoromaterial solutions to help the industry in these areas and that the excellence of our R&D teams will expand the value we can bring to our partners further down in the value chain”, comments Pierre Joris, Managing Director of Solvay Solexis. “By developing and innovating its unique selection of high-performance specialty polymers for the growing basic human needs, Solvay is delivering solutions to its customers to help them taking on the global challenges”, adds Augusto Di Donfrancesco, General Manager of Solvay’s Strategic Business Unit Specialty Polymers.

SOLVAY is an international Chemicals group. It offers a broad range of products and solutions that contribute to improving quality of life. The Group is headquartered in Brussels and employs more than 19,000 people in 50 countries. In 2009, its consolidated sales amounted to EUR 8.5 billion. Solvay is listed on the NYSE Euronext stock exchange in Brussels (NYSE Euronext: SOLB.BE- Bloomberg: SOLB.BB- Reuters: SOLBt.BR). Details are available at



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