CORDIS - EU research results

Blockchain Platform to Track Chemicals along the Value Chain

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ChemChain (Blockchain Platform to Track Chemicals along the Value Chain)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2020-01-31

As there is significant market demand for enhanced flow of data and transparency throughout the lifecycle of products, to comply with existing legislative requirements and emerging circular economy challenges, ChemChain supports the industry by creating a trusted and globally accepted open-source blockchain infrastructure to store, exchange, build and track chemical-related information along the supply chain.

ChemChain blockchain technology is a game-changer for decentralizing infrastructure and building a trust layer in the chemicals supply chain. Every time a raw material or product changes owners, presence of specific chemicals and related information could be documented, creating a permanent history of a product’s chemical components, from manufacture to sale and its following life cycle. Our blockchain solution creates an immutable source of information on a product’s chemical components, allowing companies to overcome current supply chain communication constraints.

The use of blockchain is a crucial element to trust the use of a single global infrastructure that can guarantee protection of sensitive and confidential information such as supply chain commercial relationships. This will dramatically reduce time delays, added costs, and human error that plague the chemicals supply chain today.

The feasibility study, as part of the Phase 1 project helped validate the viability of ChemChain’s technology and the future market acceptance. The future EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) Phase 2 promises the finalization of the technology towards TRL 8 to enable the future commercialization of the ChemChain’s solution in line with the internationalisation plan.
During the Phase 1 project, we have spoken to and interviewed industry associations and potential customers to uncover their needs and gain a complete understanding of the solution’s technical acceptance across specific supply chains, including demand, willingness to pay, pricing validation, and expected conversion rates. The results provided a valuable source of information to enhance the solution over the course of various iterations.

Initially, testing our prototype ideas with potential customers has generated relevant technical feedback. The feasibility data and feedback related to the pilots provided us with sufficient data to reach TRL6, and develop a roadmap for the future developments needed to reach TRL8. This has also helped our technical and commercial team to identify and develop mitigation plans for the risks that can potentially arise.

Secondly, we have conducted in-depth analyses of the initial target markets to realistically evaluate market size, growth, competitors/substitutes, clients and partners. This helped us to determine the likelihood of market success, plan next steps, while simultaneously assessing acceptance of our technology among potential customers.

Additionally, during the Phase 1 project, our team realized the business model validation. Also, we have completed an analysis of our internal company resources to ensure our capacity to carry out the project. Furthermore, we have carried out a prior-art-analysis and an analysis of the current and expected IP of our service to understand how to protect our innovation and brand assets. During the EIC Phase 2 project, this analysis will be extended, and is intended to identify potential gaps in the IP landscape that are of strategic importance in our product development and should thus represent a major focus of our development work.
Only few centralised IT systems to facilitate the collection and transfer of such information are currently available, however, they have been developed by specific industry sectors and are tailored to the specific needs of these sectors. While some of these instruments foresee a comprehensive assessment of all substances of an article, others solely focus on substances regulated within the EU or other regions.

The current absence of a single trusted infrastructure to exchange and store info along the value chain has not allowed the development of a chemical traceability system that can also work with companies that have not engaged in bilateral arrangements. This leads to high communication and procedural costs and limits companies in developing a better understanding and know how on chemicals in products that could further boost innovation in chemicals, materials and products development.

ChemChain aims at becoming a secure infrastructure and globally recognized standard to transfer and collect information on substances along the value chain. ChemChain is a disruptive technology that could lead the society to reach a higher level of understanding of chemicals in products.

ChemChain breaks down the existing barriers that currently obstacle communication on chemicals along the value chain, leading to: (i) a reduction of costs and simplification of procedures for demonstrating regulatory compliance, (ii) an enhanced exchange of information among companies and stimulation of new synergies, (iii) an increased awareness on chemicals in products also among consumers together with a better understanding of their functions and risks, (iv) a facilitated access to information on chemicals also to recyclers and waste operators to support a sustainable circular economy, and (v) generation of big data on the flow of chemicals across sector, applications and regions as an unprecedented knowhow for the society, necessary to address emerging environmental and health risks.