Career News
March 26, 2024

Open Innovation Challenge: Acrylic Acid Effluent Circularity

Submit your innovative ideas for a chance to win €5000 and work with our experts!

The Acrylic Acid Effluent 

A byproduct of our production processes is an aqueous effluent containing about 17 mass% Acrylic Acid, 1 mass% Acetic Acid and 3 mass% Formaldehyde with a total amount of some 10.000 metric tonnes per year. Currently this effluent is treated in a thermal oxidizer and the waste heat is used for other processes. 

Within the scope of our defossilation strategy, we are looking for an alternative usage of this effluent to avoid CO2 formation and emission. 

The Challenge

How can we use this effluent as a precursor for other products with minimum pretreatment effort and in a sustainable way?  

Which products can be generated out of this stream and what is their value?  

What is the most economical treatment or pretreatment for this stream to make it usable as a precursor? 

We want to exclude the following solution: a complete Acrylic Acid purification process, because this is considered to be not economical. 

Who can participate?

Everyone is welcome to participate. The intended target groups are students, PhD students, Postdocs, R&D institutions, Start ups in chemistry, biology, polymers, waste management and engineering. 

Idea Submission

Each submission should cover one or more of the following key points: 

  • Overview of the idea (one page) 
  • Detailed description of the technical idea  
  • Flowsheets, drawings, examples, or references for the proposed solution or for comparable systems 
  • Technical and commercial benefits and limitations of the solution 
  • Potential collaboration concept for development, scaling up, testing and implementation 

Assessment Criteria

  1. Sustainability and circularity: The proposal eliminates the majority of the CO2 emissions of the current process. The proposal fits perfectly into a circular future setup.  
  2. Technical feasibility: There is a high chance of technical success to be expected. 
  3. Commercial viability: The proposed concept is likely to be competitive, compared to other opportunities. 
  4. Quality of idea proposal: The idea is well explained and illustrated  
  5. Creativity: The proposal is new to Evonik (several obvious options and technologies were already evaluated) 

For a potential collaboration, a clear description of what is planned to be done, how and with which resources has to be supplied (for instance: project plan draft, responsibilities, funding, others). 


May, 31st, 2024 

Announcement of the winning concepts: 3 weeks after submission deadline 

Awards: Evonik will award a total of 5T€ between the three most innovative concepts and invite the awarded teams for an idea pitch within the Animal Nutrition R&D team.