Innovating for the Future at Chemours' New Discovery Lab

Kevin Leary (left) and Zeru Tekie (right) look at how collaboration will spur innovation at the new Chemours Discovery Hub on the University of Delaware's STAR campus.

Innovating for the Future

Innovation in the chemical industry doesn't happen in a vacuum.

It's only through collaboration that the industry can develop cutting-edge applications and products.

Everyone Benefits from Collaboration

We rely on our partnerships with customers to develop and enable market breakthroughs—that’s how we uncover and meet their needs. At Chemours, the market, the customer, and our quest for environmental sustainability drive our core research and development, showing us the problems and challenges faced by end users and society.

For example, one thing our customers ask for is new, more efficient ways to generate and store renewable energy. By collaborating with our partners, Chemours has already made progress, reengineering our product Nafion™.

Originally, we developed Nafion™ ion-exchange membrane to help generate energy from fuel cells and to help improve environmental sustainability for the chlor-alkali industry. Now, we’ve adapted Nafion™ for flow batteries, in which it helps store wind and solar energy, giving us a major boost toward green energy adoption. Advanced flow battery energy storage is also expected to help make power grid management more efficient and cost-effective for utilities.

Our customers also demand improved product performance while reducing the footprint associated with manufacturing the product—a challenge Chemours is willing to meet. Today, we enable our customers to create coatings that last longer and use less paint, thus significantly reducing the amount of energy and materials required to protect structures.

Our industry must also partner with universities to develop a deeper understanding of the science behind our work and to provide new sources of ideas and talent. Such an alliance also helps us in other ways. Few academic institutions today focus on fluoropolymers, for instance. By collaborating with universities, we can help train the next generation of fluoropolymer chemists and engineers, who can help grow our company and advance chemistry itself.

For these reasons and more, Chemours plans to build a new, state-of-the-art research and innovation facility at the University of Delaware’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research campus. Scheduled for completion by 2020, the $150 million, 29,000-square-meter facility will employ 330 researchers and help fulfill our quest for innovation.

This content was featured in the Chemical & Engineering News 01/08/18 issue.