Company profile

The largest global paints and coatings company in the world

AkzoNobel is the largest global paints and coatings company and is a leading producer of specialty chemicals.

Innovation Challenge

Make state-of-the-art decorative paints environmentally friendly

The Emission Challenge – No VOC (for Volatile Organic Compounds) was concerned with the discovery of a method to make state-of-the-art decorative paints environmentally friendly beyond any current industry standard.

Paint Industry has focused on reducing unwanted volatile organic compounds in paint formulations for over 20 years without finding a satisfactory solution.

iKnow-Who selected and engaged four university teams from Napoli, Nanjing, Lund and Eindhoven to co-create new solutions.


Breakthrough polymer

A new breakthrough technology was unlocked, which has the potential to revolutionize the way decorative paints are formulated AND set new standards for sustainable decorative paints market worldwide.

Three patent applications were filed upon completion of the project and the winning team is now supporting the global implementation of the solution.


Winning team showed new paint samples at the mid-term review

University research in compounds for low or no emissions is very far from making real paint. Therefore, we allowed for each team to conduct tests together with the locally available manufacturing plants of AkzoNobel in the UK and Shanghai.

As a result, the winning team had test samples of a new paint already at the mid-term review. This paint had better performance properties than the best performing AkzoNobel paint.