Did you know that Belgium is the world leader in chemistry and plastics in terms of turnover per capita? Did you know that our country is a European leader in the development of new drugs, mainly against cancer? And did you know that Belgian biotechnology is world famous? Virtually all chemical and pharmaceutical companies have a production site or research centre in Belgium. The sector also has many SME’s and start-ups.
This unique concentration of knowledge and expertise ensures prosperity and well-being. The sector is responsible for one third of Belgian exports. That’s why chemistry and life sciences are very important to our economy and the social added-value is considerable. Every day, the sector innovates for improved quality of life and more comfort in all aspects of society.
Chemistry and life sciences in our daily lives
Quality of life and health
Chemistry and life sciences enable us to meet our basic needs. Medicine and vaccines, detergents and hygiene products, cosmetics and perfumes ensure better hygiene and better health. The sector also provides essential raw materials for home comfort (insulation materials, plastic pipes, paints, windows and doors), quality food (thanks to fertilizers, plant protection products, water sanitation and food packaging for longer storage) and textiles (from rainwear and sportswear to nylons and other plastic fibres).
When you pick up your smartphone or tablet, you have a whole range of chemical components in your hands. The screen, the battery, the plastic shell, the microchips… our digital world is made up of materials developed by the chemistry sector. The same goes for sustainable transport: carbon bicycles, electric car batteries, ultra-light materials that allow vehicles to consume less fuel whilst being more efficient. The chemical sector also plays a crucial role in the development of hydrogen as a fuel of the future.
Whether you’re a professional sportsperson or play sports for fun, chemistry and life sciences create the best possible conditions for you to perform the best you can, thanks to many innovations that improve materials used in clothing and sports equipment. Sports shoes adapted for synthetic surfaces, plastic resins for golf balls, winter sports equipment and ultra-resistant materials for helmets, and protective clothing for motorcycling. Thanks to chemistry, you can enjoy sports and leisure and stay safe.
Sustainability and climate
Without chemistry, there would be no renewable energy. The sector supplies the essential materials for wind turbines and photovoltaic panels and offers significant energy savings thanks to increasingly efficient insulation materials for household appliances and buildings. Chemistry and life sciences pioneer the circular economy through better recycling of plastics, more frequent re-use of materials and the manufacture of new products from bio-based raw materials such as wood waste, agricultural residues, insects or algae. To meet the challenge of climate change, CO2 is already collected and used as a raw material, for example, in mattress padding.