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Prize Winners Unveiled for WMF 2018 Start-up Challenge

Published on 2018-07-02. Author : SpecialChem

The WMF Start-up Challenge 2018 was held on June 28th and 29th. The jury had first met at Mines ParisTech in Paris on April 20th and reviewed 30 applications that had been received from all around the world. The jury finally decided to nominate 12 companies and during WMF Gala Dinner on June 28th, the three winners were announced. See below the innovation projects showcased by the winners..

The Winners

Cuberg - Groundbreaking Redesigned Lithium Ion Battery

Cuberg received the WMF Grand Prix Award for its groundbreaking redesigned lithium ion battery. It is made up of non-flammable and thermally stable liquid electrolyte that is compatible with both high voltage metal oxide cathodes and lithium metal anodes and results in high energy density & very safe rechargeable batteries.


Polystyvert - Innovative Polystyrene Recycling Method

Polystyvert won the Coup de Coeur prix for its innovative polystyrene recycling method. It is the combination of two technology breakthroughs:

  • Ability to separate dissolved PS from the solvent for high quality recycled PS 
  • In depth purification process to up cycle and get a final recycled product with the properties of a virgin one


Smallmatek - Chromium-free Technology

Smallmatek won the prestigious EIT Raw Materials Special Award for its longer chromium free technology that greatly increases the metal corrosion resistance while requiring lower consumption of additives due to encapsulated nano corrosion inhibitors into coatings.


SpecialChem and World Materials Forum 2018 Partnership

WMFlogo SpecialChem Logo
SpecialChem teamed up with the World Materials Forum (WMF) to accept applications on their
behalf for their 2018 Start-up Challenge.

SpecialChem teamed up with the World Materials Forum (WMF) to accept applications on their behalf for their 2018 Start-up Challenge. Finalists were selected by an international jury which included SpecialChem's CEO Christophe Cabbary. The winning company CEO was awarded 50,000 euros by the Jury President, Victoire de Margerie.

WMF Winners
Grand Prix winner Richard Wang from Cuberg (left) and SpecialChem’s CEO with the winner of
Coup de Coeur prix - Polystyvert (middle) and the winner of EIT Raw Materials Special Award - Smallmatek (right)

The other nominees are listed below:

  • MALLINDA (Berkeley, California)
  • New material (vitrimer) and technology that enable 1 minute cycle time or less for carbon fiber composite parts used in high volume industries as well as end of product life depolymerization with recovery of resins and woven/full length fibers.


  • BCOMP (Fribourg, Switzerland)
  • Thick flax yarns that can be combined with any type of glass or carbon fibers and create lower weight and cost composites for automotive interior parts.


  • REIN4CED (Leuven, Belgium)
  • Combination of carbon and steel fibers to develop new composite material with properties of carbon (lightweight) and steel (high impact resistant and stiffness) together with production process that guaranties proper orientation of steel fibers.


  • POLYSPECTRA(Berkeley, California)
  • New class of light activated catalysts for ruthenium mediated olefin metathesis in order to make microstructured materials with tailored geometry and chemical functionality (ex SLA) and possibly unlock the direct 3D printing of production grade parts.


  • AJELIS (Orsay, France)
  • Ion exchange fibers for industrial effluent treatment with resulting valorization of high value metal wastes at much lower treatment costs than ion exchange resins thanks to increased surface area.


  • AKRYVIA (Nantes, France)
  • Disruptive metal sheet cutting technology that offers the accuracy of laser while keeping the productivity and cost benefits of plasma.


  • ECONICK (Nancy, France)
  • Leveraging the experience of agromining of natural metal rich soils in Albania and Malaysia towards agromining of industrial wastes (crystal wastes for zinc, nickel and cobalt or bauxite residues for rare earth).


  • IMAGINE (Rosebery, Australia)
  • Graphene coating technology that transforms textile into smart sensors designed to identify leaks during install of dams with demonstrated improved detection of failures in the installation of geosynthetic liners at lower cost.


  • THRUPORE (New Castle, Delaware)
  • Highly porous synthetic carbon used as customized catalysts in order to disperse precious metals more uniformly and hence improve processes of industrial chemicals with resulting higher quality and lower cost while using less precious metals. 

Source: SpecialChem
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