Leveraging large talent pool in India, the Centre will support growth of key accounts in India and Southeast Asia
Solvay, a multispecialty science-based global company, is gearing up to develop new formulated solutions for consumer end markets by expanding the presence of its Novecare global business unit (GBU) at the company's Vadodara Research and Innovation (R&I) Centre. With the move, Novecare teams will benefit from the proximity to strategic customers, opening the door for further collaborations in India and Southeast Asia.
The Novecare GBU is a worldwide leader in specialty chemicals, offering a portfolio of customized and sustainable solutions. The GBU's diverse teams combine Novecare's core technologies - surfactants, natural and synthetic polymers, and green solvents - with formulation know-how and application knowledge to deliver high-performing, differentiated solutions across the Agro, Home and Personal Care, Coatings, and Industrial markets. Having a presence on site in Vadodara provides access for Novecare teams to the capabilities of the broader Group, an arrangement which is already facilitating collaboration with Solvay's Corporate R&I teams on common projects.
Novecare's manufacturing and research capabilities are global in reach, with dedicated teams in each region to meet local needs and requirements. Since extending the Novecare's presence at Vadodara, market teams are gaining a better understanding of local requirements, helping them to develop solutions that meet challenges specific to customers in India.
Supporting the growth of our customers
"Leveraging the large talent pool in India, the research center at Vadodara will host R&I projects to support the growth of Novecare's key accounts in India and Southeast Asia. We are happy with this first step and are ready to further invest to build on business momentum in the region," says Jean-Pierre Marchand, Head of Novecare Global R&I.
"The Novecare team is now a part of a bigger research and innovation community in India with many young, bright, and highly motivated minds," explains Ritu Ahuja, Regional Technical Manager for Novecare's Agricultural Specialties R&I, APAC. "This boosts our interactions, collaborations, cross-fertilization of ideas and, at the same time, gives us access to a broad range of analytical facilities, including high-tech characterization and applicative testing, which will play an important role in Novecare's R&I activities."
Vadodara: A world-class Research & Innovation laboratory
Inaugurated in May 2012, the Vadodara R&I Centre is a state-of-the-art facility designed with sustainability at the forefront, from its use of solar power, to rain water harvesting, to its focus on increasing agricultural output, as well as community development efforts to support the Indian chemical and allied industries.
The Vadodara R&I Centre's sustainability initiatives are helping Solvay achieve important milestones as the company strives to create sustainable, shared value for all stakeholders. Specifically, Solvay is working to achieve its new 2030 sustainability roadmap, Solvay One Planet, which aims to bring sustainable solutions to customers and positively impact the entire value chain through collaborations.
The roadmap outlines ten ambitious targets to drive progress across three key pillars: climate, resources, and better life. To meet these goals, Solvay pledges to reallocate investments to promote sustainability within its portfolio, operations, and workplace, with diversity, equity and inclusion targets in areas such as talent attraction and development playing a key role.
Nearly 200 employees in research and support roles can work at the Vadodara Centre. Employees represent more than nine states in India, which underscores the local commitment to diversity and inclusion. The main scientific domains for the Vadodara teams are organic as well as polymer chemistry, with a focus on scouting new molecules, surfactants, and customized solutions for various end applications.
India is an agricultural economy with the second most farm output in the world. Novecare's Agricultural Specialties business continues to seek partnerships with global and local customers to develop sustainable agro solutions by improving crop yields through breakthrough formulations applied to crop protection products, fertilizers, seeds, and soil.
In addition to offering traditional solid and liquid formulation capabilities, the new Agro lab houses facilities for seed care and enhanced efficiency fertilizer tools and techniques. This is perfectly in line with Solvay's recent acquisition of Bayer's PERIDIAM® seed coating materials.
In a world facing an ever-growing population and pursuit for sustainable agricultural solutions, the agro market at Solvay aims to challenge itself and develop novel and sustainable solutions to contribute to the "Farm to Fork" value chain.
Home and Personal Care
Solvay's Home & Personal Care solutions enhance the performance, esthetics and sensorial benefits of consumer products. These solutions improve hair conditioning, deliver texturizing properties, and enable long-lasting surface disinfection.
Novecare's Application Lab in Vadodara hosts experts whose mission is to support the development, evaluation, and commercialization of formulations and new ingredients to answer key unmet needs in the segment of Home and Personal Care products. Solvay's professionals work with the company's broad portfolio of technologies (i.e., surfactants, polymers, and green solvents) to provide a range of functionalities (i.e., cleansing, foam boosting, easy stain removal, germ protection, surface lubrication, deposition of actives, suspension of particles, solubilization, thickening, pearlizing, and opacifying effects).
Solvay's Sustainable Guar Initiative
India is critical to Solvay's ambitions related to guar, a vital, renewable raw material used in Novecare's natural polymer technologies to deliver a unique combination of high functional performance and naturalness in end products such as shampoos and conditioners, in line with consumer expectations for clean products.
The use of guar is linked to Solvay's commitment to the Sustainable Guar Initiative (SGI) aimed at improving the well-being of guar-producing communities in keeping with Solvay's One Planet Sustainability Strategy as the company seeks to establish better lives for all.
In 2015, Solvay pioneered the SGI, which helps improve the standard of living for guar farmers in Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, with a specific focus on empowering women and training farmers on sustainable agricultural practices to enhance guar yields.
The initiative creates a virtuous circle. Not only does it benefit the local community, but for Solvay and its customers, SGI establishes a secure, traceable supply chain for guar. Over the years, Solvay has added new partners, including L'Oreal, Henkel and most recently, Procter & Gamble, which has doubled the program's reach.
In Coatings, Solvay's solutions enhance the sustainability and performance properties of architectural and protective coatings, inks, and adhesives. "We expanded our capabilities to provide innovative solutions in the areas of reactive surfactants, specialty monomers for emulsion polymerization, waterborne resins and functional additives for paint formulations," comments Ahuja.
The Coatings application lab in Vadodara focuses on developing customized solutions based on the needs and technical service of regional customers. Besides regional needs, the lab will deliver innovative technologies to address global megatrends for the Coatings industry tied to improved health and environmental performance, as well as the need for high-performing solutions.
Industrial Process Solutions
Novecare's lab in Vadodara also supports customers in industrial markets through performance additives and lubricants used in metal cleaning and surface treatment, water treatment, and other niche segments.
"Our surfactant-based cleaning additives contribute to the production of low-temperature, low-foam cleaners, and address key industry requirements for carbon footprint reduction," notes Ahuja. "Specifically, our new polymeric pretreatment additives improve the toxicity and ecotoxicity profile of customers' products, reduce resource consumption, waste, and sludge production, while enabling high-efficiency bonding for the automotive and construction industries. The lab is being equipped with state-of-the art equipment for metal cleaning and applicative testing," Ahuja adds.
Novecare's local technology laboratory supports process development for any new products generated from the Vadodara market application laboratories every step of the way, from pilot-phase scale-up to full-scale production. This includes products developed through Novecare's collaboration with the recently launched Renewable Materials & Biotechnology platform, which aims to develop biobased, natural, responsibly sourced and circular solutions, in line with Solvay One Planet goals.
The Vadodara center is also tasked with providing technical support to Solvay plants in India and customer support for business teams. Additionally, it has ties with several leading Indian universities dedicated to organic and polymer science.
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