Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Save the date: Economic benefits of Water Innovation workshop

The SusChem-inspired FP7 project ‘Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry’ (E4Water) will be holding a workshop on the Economic benefits of water innovation, on the morning of 11 June 2015, at the Cefic offices in Brussels. The event will focus on the topical issue of water management, and how this can provide challenges and opportunities for the chemical sector. Registration will open soon and the event is free of charge. 

The workshop will take place from 10h30 to 16h30, at the Cefic offices at Avenue E. van Nieuwenhuyse 4, 1160 Brussels. A full programme for the day will be published soon. Among the confirmed speakers are:

  • Pavel Misiga, Head of Water Unit, DG Environment
  • Andrew Farmer, Institute for European Environmental Policy 
  • Uwe Fortkamp, IVL Svenska Milj├Âinstitutet
  • Peter Cauwenberg, Vito
  • Riikka Timonen, Kemira
  • Niels Groot, Dow

What is E4Water?
With the chemical industry providing the highest potential to demonstrate increased eco-efficiency in industrial water management, the FP7 project ‘Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry’ (E4Water) addresses a range of crucial process needs to overcome bottlenecks and barriers to a fully integrated and energy efficient water management system.

The project’s main objective is to develop and test integrated approaches, methodologies and process technologies. There are six industrial case study sites at the core of E4Water that are expected to achieve a reduction of 20-40% in water use, 30-70% in waste water production, 15-40% in energy use and up to 60% in direct economic benefits. In addition to the chemical industry, the project is actively seeking opportunities for cross-fertilisation with other industrial sectors.

The project consortium brings together large chemical companies, leading European water sector companies and innovative research and technology development centres and universities. The partners are also involved in the Water supply and sanitation Platform (WssTP) and SusChem, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry, and actively collaborate with water authorities in different European countries.

For more information about SusChem involvement with water issues, please contact Antonia Morales-Perez at Cefic, or visit the water priority page on the SusChem website.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Chemistry: Building Energy Efficiency into Smart Cities


SusChem's thinking on chemistry's contribution to energy efficiency in buildings and their contribution to Smart Cities initiatives is featured in the latest Nexus Blog: the American Chemical Society (ACS) blog on Green Chemistry. The article was written by SusChem coordinator Jacques Komornicki and is based on the SusChem report "Innovative chemistry for Energy Efficiency of buildings in Smart Cities". The ACS's Nexus Blog aims to connect and expand the global green chemistry and engineering community.

The Nexus blog article covers a range of key chemistry-enabled solutions for Smart Cities initiatives including:

  • High Reflectance Indoor Coatings
  • High Reflectance and Durable Outdoor Coatings
  • High Performance Insulation Foams
  • High Performance Vacuum Insulation Panels
  • Phase Change Materials (PCM)
Today, almost 75% of European citizens live in cities and this trend will continue. To succeed in creating sustainable and healthy cities, the Covenant of Mayors was launched in 2008 and is working to to support Europe’s 20-20-20 objectives of 20% reduction in emissions, 20% renewable energies and 20% improvement in energy efficiency by 2020.

You can learn more about these Key Innovations for Smart Cities in the SusChem report: "Innovative chemistry for Energy efficiency of buildings in smart cities." For more information, please contact Jacques Kormornicki at Cefic directly. 

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

SusChem at PBS 2015

From 8 to 10 April SusChem was active at the third Plant Based Summit (PBS) that took place in Lille, France. This year’s PBS focused on the innovation, co-development and operational implementation necessary for the widespread deployment in the market of biobased products. And SusChem led a session emphasising plant-based chemistry as a contribution to sustainable chemistry.

The SusChem session on the first morning of PBS 2015 (8 April) provided a vision of how biobased chemistry is part of the wider world of sustainable chemistry with a focus on the SusChem vision. SusChem is working to reinforce the links between the mainstream chemistry and the biobased sector.

The session from 11:15 to 12:45 was entitled ‘Plant-based chemistry as a contribution to Sustainable Chemistry’ and was chaired by Ward Mosmuller of DSM. Pierre Barthelemy (pictured below), Executive Director Research and Innovation at Cefic, opened the presentations with a talk entitled ‘Bio-based resources, an opportunity for Sustainable Chemistry’.


He was followed by Andreas Kicherer of BASF talking about ‘Mass balance- an innovative approach for the use of biomass in chemical industry’, Ylwa Alwarsdotter of SEKAB Biofuels & Chemicals presented on ‘Locally Grown Plastics, utilisation of cellulosic feed stock’, and the final presentation of the session was by Thibaud Caulier of Solvay who talked about ‘Epicerol® a new path for Sustainable Chemistry’.

Tradeshow
SusChem was also prominent in the trade exhibition sharing its booth with SusChem inspired projects CRM_InnoNet (see separate blog article), Bio-tic, Recreate and R4R.

The new SusChem SIRA was very much appreciated by visitors to the booth allowing platform representatives to explain clearly what SusChem can offer to stakeholders at PBS 2015 and inviting them to follow the platform's bioeconomy and other related activities. The SPIRE roadmap was also distributed to visitors.

The PBS is organised by the Association Chimie du Vegetal (ACDV) that represents the French plant-based chemistry sector working in partnership with publishing group Infopro Digital. The Plant Based Summit organisers’ strong position in the industrial landscape is key to allow the whole plant-based chemistry value chain to be gathered again in Lille including actors from the agro-industrials, chemical intermediates, chemists and end-users.

CRM_InnoNet at PBS 2015

CRM_InnoNet was active at the third Plant Based Summit (PBS) that took place in Lille, France from 8 to 10 April. The FP7 project was hosted on the Cefic - SusChem stand (see picture below) with fellow SusChem-related projects.

This year’s PBS focused on the innovation, co-development and operational implementation necessary for the widespread deployment in the market of biobased products.

For CRM_InnoNet the objective of attending the event was to make some effective links with key biotechnology players and discuss how bio-based technologies could help in reducing Europe's dependency on key Critical Raw Materials (CRM).

For example, new biobased solutions, such as bio-catalysts, could replace some of the traditional CRM-based products in specific applications.

With a long-term approach and proven track record, PBS 2015 offers a high-quality programme looking at the future for biobased business in Europe. The conference and tradeshow are very well attended and the summit was one of the first European events dedicated to the bioeconomy.



Booth partners
CRM_InnoNet was hosted by Cefic-SusChem in Lille along with fellow SusChem-inspired projects Bio-tic, Recreate and R4R.

The PBS is organised by the Association Chimie du Vegetal (ACDV) that represents the French plant-based chemistry sector working in partnership with publishing group Infopro Digital. The Plant Based Summit organisers’ strong position in the industrial landscape is key to allow the whole plant-based chemistry value chain to be gathered again in Lille including actors from the agro-industrials, chemical intermediates, chemists and end-users.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

SUBSTITUTION means EVOLUTION – Save the date!


On 17 June 2015 the SusChem-supported FP7 project CRM_InnoNet will be signing off with a High Level  Conference ‘SUBSTITUTION means EVOLUTION’ in Brussels. The venue for the event will be the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts on Rue Ducale in Brussels and registration is now open!

The conference marks the final stage of the CRM_InnoNet project that was launched in 2012 with the vision to drive networking, policy and innovation in the field of substitution of critical raw materials.

The conference will be your one-stop shop to find out all you need to know about substitution of critical raw materials (CRMs) in Europe. If you go to only one conference on the subject this year – this is the one! Save the date now!

At the event you can:
  • Learn about the opportunities provided by substitution and how it can solve technological challenges.
  • Witness the state of play of substitution of CRMs in Europe with keynote speeches from companies and government bodies.
  • Meet up with key EU industrial sectors in the area of substitution.
  • Engage in discussions during dedicated panel debates to implement recommendations towards a European circular economy.
  • Discuss with policy makers, industrial players, entrepreneurs and academia during the networking cocktail.
  • Become part of the Innovation Network and meet potential partners for substitution projects in Horizon 2020
  • Explore applications of substitution in the exhibition space.
The conference will be free of charge and you can register here.

More on CRM_InnoNet
The CRM_InnoNet Innovation Network is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) funded under FP7 that is creating an integrated community to drive innovation in the field of critical raw material substitution for the benefit of EU industry. SusChem is a significant supporter of the network.

The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials aims to play a major role in securing a sustainable supply of raw materials for Europe and has set itself an ambitious list of targets to achieve by 2020. CRM_InnoNet’s goals complement those of the EIP on Raw Materials and the project will seek to align its outputs with those of the EIP.

The CRM_InnoNet consortium is comprised of recognised and experienced key actors across the value chain of substitution of CRM representing academic, research and industry bodies of relevant sectors that will ensure a wide European coverage and high potential to engage other necessary players across the ERA.

For more information on CRM_InnoNet and the conference, email the project secretariat at the UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and you can also follow the project on Twitter.


Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Circular Economy: All Eyes On The Juncker Commission's Next Move

Shock waves created by the European Commission’s withdrawal of its circular economy and waste reform package have activated advocates of the initiative far and wide across the political spectrum. Both before and after the Commission’s formal announcement of its intention to remove and redraft its proposal, support poured in from industry, NGOs, the European Parliament and the member states.

In this guest opinion article, SusChem board member Joanna Dupont-Inglis examines the future options for this important sustainable policy initiative.

At a time when the EU is under immense pressure to tackle unemployment, a sluggish Eurozone economy, immigration, energy security and terrorism, the pressure to bump policies perceived as being “soft” or largely “environmental” down the agenda must be immense. But the message has come back loud and clear: this issue is anything but incidental to the EU’s future and to its economic recovery.

The concept of the circular economy is about decoupling growth from resource consumption and maximizing the positive environmental, economic and social effects. It’s about designing products so that they are easier to reuse or recycle and making sure that every product ingredient is biodegradable or fully recyclable. In short, it’s a concept that is perfectly aligned with the development of the bioeconomy and the transition towards biobased rather than fossil based products.

But if further compelling evidence is needed of the need for an EU circular economy strategy the figures are there – initial reports from the Ellen MacArthur foundation, first presented in Davos in 2012, showed an economic opportunity of US$ 630 billion per annum for EU manufacturing.

The foundation reports that consumer goods account for approximately 60% of total consumer spending and 35% of material inputs. Perhaps even more striking, it reports that this sector absorbs more than 90% of our agricultural output, which in terms of potential implications for the system as a whole is staggering. It highlights the considerable amount of value that gets lost or overlooked in the current circular economy model, which fails to realize that an important proportion of what it treats as waste could in fact be potentially useful by-products.

The Foundation’s latest report also highlights the fact that by designing better products from the outset, as well as better processes and collection systems aimed at regeneration, it is possible to implement a model that can work long term, and unlock commercial opportunities along the way. This, in essence, is exemplified by the biobased value chain.

The report goes on to highlight the fact that a tonne of domestic food waste, properly treated, can generate US$ 26 worth of electricity and US$ 6 worth of fertilizer but does not go further to consider the potential higher added material value of such a waste stream in the production of other, higher value, biobased products. However, it does highlight the benefits, both economic and environmental, of the circular model, which has the ability to re-generate rather than simply deplete.

The development of the circular economy should represent the tipping point in the realisation that biobased products and the development of the bioeconomy play a central role in the transition towards a more sustainable future. A circular economy can only be achieved by breaking the linear fossil carbon based model of extraction, use and disposal/emission towards a use of renewable raw materials, increasingly based on residues and wastes.

The European Commission promises to re-issue a new and improved circular economy package towards the end of 2015 with a greater focus on product design as well as recyclability and end of life. Now is the time to ensure that its proposal reflects our need to make the transition towards smarter, more sustainable, renewable and resource efficient feedstocks and processes to develop the circular economy of the future.

About the Author
Joanna Dupont-Inglis specialized in Environmental Sciences at University of Sussex and Nantes. In February 2009 she joined EuropaBio, the European Association of bioindustries, and from April 2011 has been directing the association's activities in the field of industrial biotechnology. She is a member of the SusChem board. You can follow Joanna on Twitter. Below Joanna (and others) describe some the challenges that sustainable chemistry must address, such as improving resource efficiency and energy efficiency, to build the foundations for a circular economy.

This article was originally published in Renewable Matter and on the EFIB2015 website. Title image from WRAP.