Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Waste Stream Alchemy

Request Number
Due Date
Jun 6
Program Manager


Technology licensing, product acquisition, contract research, proof of concept leading to scale-up to manufacturing, joint development, supplier agreement

Potential to collaborate with a multi-billion-dollar global company


Phase 1 – Evaluation of proposed technologies: Q3/Q4 2018

Phase 2 – Implementation of functionalized chemistries within 2 - 5 years


All financial details will be determined jointly with the client.


To respond, please access the Response Form.

RFP was closed on
Jun 2018

RFP Title


Waste Stream Alchemy
RFP Description
NineSigma, on behalf of a global specialty chemical manufacturer, invites proposals for the identification of new waste streams that can be converted to source materials for the specialty chemical industry. NineSigma’s client is also interested in learning about innovative technologies that could assist with the conversion of these waste streams into functional chemicals.

NineSigma’s client produces and distributes a multitude of small, specialty molecules for use in consumer products by a broad range of industries. These compounds are commonly sourced from petrochemical-based feedstocks. As part of an internal initiative to reduce the environmental footprint of their production efforts, NineSigma’s client seeks to move away from petrochemical derived raw materials by identifying new potential sources – including new renewable or repurposed non-renewable. Those materials currently deemed as waste streams or by-products from other industries are of interest with a particular focus on waste streams from renewable resources.

Extracting or deriving value-added products from waste streams typically requires:

  • The waste stream be relatively clean or concentrated in certain chemical entities
  • A waste stream that remains reasonably consistent
  • A process (physical, chemical, biochemical, biological) to derive or extract the value-added product(s) that is effective and consistent

Thus, this client seeks to hear from those who can offer

  1. Reasonably clean waste streams as viable primary feedstocks and/or
  2. A process to produce reasonably pure molecules from a particular waste stream.

The eventual targeted specie(s) would preferably have the following general characteristics:

  • Target molecular weight: 100 – 300 g/mol
  • Low oxygenation (< 22% mass from oxygen)
  • Low degree of polarity
  • High hydrocarbon content 

Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Evaluation

  • Q3/Q4 2018

Phase 2 – Implementation

  • Usage in production within 2 - 5 years

Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2

Client will consider for advancement an approach that meets performance criteria with acceptable economics and pathway to commercialization.


NineSigma’s client is interested in all approaches that have, at minimum, been successfully demonstrated at the kilogram scale or will achieve that benchmark within an acceptably brief period.

Key Success Criteria
Waste Stream:
  • Be a source of unfunctionalized compounds free of:
    • Enzymes
    • Metals
    • Peptides
    • Proteins
  • Be available in sufficient quantities to produce 1-10 tons of functionalized chemicals annually
    • Research quantities (minimum 1kg) should be available now
      • Expectation to deliver production-scale quantities within 2-5 years
  • When functionalized, should be able to produce compounds with:
    • a molecular weight no greater than 300 g/mol
    • low oxygenation (< 22% mass from oxygen)
    • low polarity
    • high hydrocarbon content


Processing Technology:

  • Provide the ability to process unfunctionalized compounds into desired chemical additives
  • Processing technology should itself be environmentally friendly
  • Not generating hazardous waste products
  • Not energy intensive
  • Adhere to the generally accepted tenets on green chemistry when possible
  • Be capable of producing 1-10 tons of functionalized chemicals annually 
  • Able to produce research quantities (minimum 1kg) now
  • Expectation to deliver production-scale quantities within 2-5 years
Possible Approaches

NineSigma’s client is interested in waste streams from multiple sources, including (but not limited to):

  • Agricultural production
  • Food production
  • Petrochemical operations
  • Consumer goods production, such as
    • Plastics
    • Nylon
    • Rubber
    • Paper
  • Sidestreams from commodity or specialty chemical production


The processes used to convert the waste stream into molecules of potential interest may be:

  • Physical (e.g. distillation, cracking, filtration etc.)
  • Chemical (preferably non-toxic / non-polluting)
  • Biochemical (e.g. enzymatic depolymerization)
  • Biological (e.g. fermentation)
  • Combinations thereof
Approaches not of Interest

NineSigma’s client is interested in all waste streams or technologies capable of processing waste streams, provided that the Key Success Criteria described above are met.

Items to be Submitted

To respond, please access the Response Form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Availability of technical data including
    • Characteristics of unfunctionalized compounds
      • Molecular weight
      • Hydrocarbon content
      • Typical chemical composition
    • Annual volume available
    • Sustainability
    • Potential contaminants
    • Description of source(s)
    • Availability of samples (if applicable)
    • Availability of technology demonstration (if applicable)
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to commercialize, ready to implement, commercialized)
  • Pathway to commercial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity for manufacture
  • Estimated unit cost of technology
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience



Responses from companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome. For example:


You represent a company or university that has reduced method to practice at lab scale.

You represent a company or university that has developed a method for use at pilot scale.

You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a technology or waste steam ready for implementation at industrial scale.

You represent a technology transfer agency that represents an inventor or technology holder who can demonstrate an approach to address the request.

You represent a university research department that has a bench-scale demonstration ready to adapt.

You represent a university research department that has an undeveloped pathway with a high probability of success.

To respond, please access the Response Form.

Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest