Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Chemistry and 3D Printing

Chemical research for the development of 3D printing materials covers a huge range of opportunities including synthesis and discovery of new or mixed material compositions that are amenable to printing techniques, new methods of printing to increase speed while simultaneously reaching higher resolutions, and materials that can provide component properties (such as strength) that are on a par with components produced by conventional methods.

Chemists use 3D printing
Chemists have used 3D printing to manufacture customised lab ware and reaction systems; others are working on a 3D printer that, instead of objects, is able to print molecules. An exciting potential long-term application is printing your own medicine using chemical inks.

What kind of ‘ink’ is used in 3D printing?
3D printers can use metallic powders, polymers, resins, sand, organic materials (for example cells, but also chocolate!), and mixtures amongst many others.

Chemists provide new materials for 3D printing
Chemists developing materials to be used in 3D printing need to take into account variety, composition, strength, and finishing procedures in order to increase the versatility of the technology. Currently, the variety of materials is limited to the ability of the materials to be powder-based or have low enough viscosities to be extruded from the printing head. Many manufacturers require proprietary materials to be used in their 3D printers or risk forfeiting the warranty. This scenario has limited the material pool, and thus, for 3D printing to continue to grow, the quantity and diversity of materials must increase.

Polymers with the right end-use performances and adapted to the specific 3D printing technologies are needed together with suitable metallic or ceramic materials. The chemical industry can deliver these materials - often working on novel derivatives of existing polymer formulations – and the area is a priority topic within the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).


Want to know more?
Visit the Cefic-SusChem booth in the exhibition space at the 6th European Innovation Summit organised by Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) on 17 – 19 November 2014. Or contact the SusChem secretariat.

Monday, 17 November 2014

3-D printing: Additive Manufacturing

It’s the piece of cool technology at the top of every self-confessed geek’s wish list: a 3D printer. Who would not want the possibility to print a range of gadgets on a whim?

But for manufacturing 3D printing innovation could lead to a disruptive change in the way we make things. It could be the key to true mass-customisation as well as truly sustainable manufacturing.

And Cefic - SusChem will be demonstrating the potential for 3-D printing at its booth in the exhibition space at the 6th European Innovation Summit on 17 – 19 November 2014 at the European Parliament.

What is 3D printing?
3D printing (aka Additive Manufacturing) is based on making a three-dimensional object from an electronic data set through an additive process of adding layers of material in successive steps under computer control.

Additive manufacturing is a key technology for fostering European innovation and manufacturing industry – effectively reducing the gap between innovation and manufacturing.

The first 3D printers were developed 30 years ago, but the area experienced rapid growth from 1990 when plastic extrusion technology was commercialized using fused deposition modeling and thermoplastics with high melting point for rapid prototyping and small series production. 3D-printing allowed production of products in small quantities at relatively low cost.

3D printing has a vast array of applications from use in the medical and dental industries and in biotechnology (human tissue replacement), architecture, industrial design, and the aerospace and automotive industries. Consumer applications now include fashion and jewelry products. The global market for materials and services for 3-D printing (not including the printers themselves) is predicted to grow to US$ 10.8 billion by 2018.

Future 3D printing applications will require improved quality in, for example, the surface finish of components. This means that the range of available materials suited for additive manufacturing needs to be extended to cover a full portfolio of consumer products.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Meet ‘Team Juncker’ at the 6th European Innovation Summit


Five Commissioners from ‘Team Juncker’ will be joining the 6th European Innovation Summit that kicks off on Monday 17 November. The four day event will feature 31 conference sessions, attract some 1000 participants, and provide 200 stimulating speakers in the sixth edition of this major innovation event at the European Parliament. And, of course, SusChem will be there!

The 6th European Innovation Summit, organised by Knowledge4innovation (K4I), will take place from 17 to 20 November 2014 in the European Parliament in Brussels. The programme features more than 30 conference sessions and discussions on topics of great importance for everyone working in the area of innovation and speakers from the European Parliament, the European Commission, the educational and the private sector.  Guests of honour are Commissioners Carlos Moedas, Corina Cretu, Phil Hogan, Elzbieta Bienkowska and Günther Öttinger.

The motto of the this year’s edition is ‘A Mandate for Innovation in Europe’ which highlights the strong belief that innovation should be a top strategic priority in the new institutional cycle of the European Union and the centrepiece of a revised Europe 2020 strategy.

Unique event
For a sixth consecutive year the event brings together EU’s political, business, academic and scientific elite and provides a valuable opportunity for networking and sharing experience with other innovative organisations and high level EU policy makers. What is more, the summit is a unique chance to meet the newly elected MEPs and Commissioners and learn about their plans for the future of innovation in Europe.

The programme of the 6th European Innovation Summit features conference sessions on important "horizontal" aspects of innovation such as Framework conditions for innovation, TTIP, Horizon 2020, as well as parallel sessions for specific sectors for which innovation is the major resource to overcome the big challenges ahead including agriculture, energy, transport, health, climate, and IT. You can download the detailed programme for the summit here.

 Exhibition space
During the four days of the event, participants will also have the opportunity to visit the special EIS Exhibition Space where a number of organisations will present concrete cases from their day-to-day experience and demonstrate how their innovative and technological solutions can help solve the pressing challenges facing our European society today.

Examples include, for the first time ever in the European Parliament, a demonstration of a 3D Printer and a 3D Scanner, as well as an ambulance drone (a flying “medical toolbox”) developed by a student. Visit the exhibition area to discover for yourself why there is an intense fascination with 3D printing, also known as additive manufacture, and see the unparalleled promise that technology has to offer to the future of healthcare.

For more information, please visit the K4I website or send an email to the K4I secretariat.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

E4Water study wins at 2014 European Responsible Care Awards

The ‘Saving water through symbiosis’ initiative led by Solvay SA has won the 2014 Responsible Care Environment Award organised by Cefic. The initiative is part of the SusChem-inspired ‘E4-water’ FP7 project, which aims to save large volumes of potable water and virtually eliminate discharges of salt and liquid waste. Solvay’s contribution is based on three units installed at their site within the Port of Antwerp Chemical Cluster. The first two units are already fully operational and are currently saving the company 33 cubic metres of water every hour. 

The first unit involves recycling of wastewater through ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membranes to produce demineralised water that can be used in Solvay’s chemical processes. The second unit can produce this demineralised water from brackish surface water, pumped up from the river and harbour near the plant. Both modules are possible thanks to support from two other companies, Evides Industriewater and Vito nv.

The third module capitalises on the previous two. The aim is to treat an external company’s salted waste water and use the resulting purified water and salt concentrate in Solvay’s manufacturing processes. In this way, the external partner avoids effluent production and Solvay gains additional water savings of 20 cubic metres per hour.

Besides saving water, the project serves as an industrial ‘experimental garden’. Companies are motivated to work symbiotically, and experiments and demonstrations are carried out for external users.

In awarding the prize to the E4Water case study the judges commented: “Water is a key issue for the chemical sector and the Solvay entry is a very good, up-to date project which offers another fine example of industrial ecology.”

Responsible Care® is the global chemical industry’s unique initiative to improve health, environmental performance, enhance security, and to communicate with stakeholders about products and processes.

About E4Water
The chemical industry provides the highest potential for increasing eco-efficiency in industrial water management. The Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry (E4Water) FP7 project addresses crucial process industry needs, to overcome bottlenecks and barriers for an integrated and energy efficient water management.

The main objective of the project is to develop, test and validate new integrated approaches, methodologies and process technologies for a more efficient and sustainable management of water in chemical industry with cross-fertilization possibilities to other industrial sectors.

E4water unites in its consortium large chemical industries, leading European water sector companies and authorities, innovative RTD centres and universities, the European Technology Platforms SusChem and WssTP.

E4Water aims to achieve an expected reduction of 20-40% in water use, 30-70% in wastewater production, 15-40% in energy use and up to 60% direct economic benefits at its industrial case study sites. E4Water builds on state-of-the-art and new basic R&D concepts. Their realization, improvement, utilization and validation, with the compromise of early industrial adaptors, are clearly innovative.

You can download the latest E4Water newsletter here.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Book for final BIO-TIC Workshop on Bioplastics now!

The final Bio-Business workshop organized by SusChem’s FP7 BIO-TIC project will take place in Brussels on 1 December, 2014. The workshop is entitled "Bio-based Plastics – How do we grow the EU Industry?” Today, bio-based plastics have an established market, demonstrating rapid growth both in Europe and globally. But what is the future for this market?

“While Europe is currently the largest producer and user of bio-based plastics, this situation is expected to change in the future with production increasingly being based in countries where feedstocks are cheaper and where production costs are lower,” says Pierre Barthélemy, Innovation Manager at Cefic. “Even with increasing fossil fuel prices expected to make bio-based plastics more competitive compared to fossil-derived plastics, ensuring the cost-competitiveness of EU bio-based plastics production compared to other regions globally is expected to become an increasingly difficult challenge.”

The workshop on 1 December will give participants the opportunity to discuss the main hurdles that impact the use of industrial biotechnology in the bioplastics market segment and propose concrete actions to overcome these hurdles.

The BIO-TIC workshop is organized in connection with the 9th European Bioplastics Conference that is being hosted in Brussels on 2 and 3 December. 

Registration for the BIO-TIC workshop is free of charge and can be accessed via a dedicated website.

Objectives
With this series of five workshops, the BIO-TIC project has brought together industrial biotechnology end users (downstream) with technology providers (upstream), innovation agencies and decision makers to stimulate discussion and knowledge exchange.

The objectives of the workshops are to:
  • identify technological, non-technological and market hurdles for the uptake of industrial biotechnology in these sectors, 
  • develop recommendations and solutions to overcome the identified hurdles, 
  • contribute to the development, testing and fine-tuning of the BIO-TIC roadmaps,
  • bring together industrial biotechnology end users (downstream) with technology providers (upstream), innovation agencies and decision makers to stimulate interconnected discussion and knowledge exchange platforms and processes,
  • collect data to develop draft indicators to measure the socio-economic and environmental impact of Industrial Biotechnology and the use of renewables-based products in the European Union.
More information
For more information on the BIO-TIC project and the business-case workshops visit the project website or contact Pierre Barthélemy at Cefic.

CommNet: Communicating on the Bioeconomy

CommNet is an FP7 project established to communicate results from research on the bioeconomy. The project’s Third Bioeconomy Forum & Final Conference entitled ‘Building the Bioeconomy – Creating Impact through Communication’ takes place on 2 and 3 December at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Brussels.

The event will look ahead to the future of Bioeconomy Communication and to look at what the CommNet network has achieved. With CommNet’s 3rd Bioeconomy Forum and Final Conference in Brussels, the communications network will offer opportunities to learn from the work of a portfolio of bioeconomy projects and discuss how to create greater impact with an emphasis on moving “from dissemination to communication.”

Under the network's motto 'Communicating the Bioeconomy' associated projects will receive prizes for their excellent communication achievements. CommNet’s sound approach to matching business and policy makers with researchers will be demonstrated. Future trends on new Bioeconomy value chains and science communication in Horizon 2020 will also be discussed.

SusChem and the bioeconomy
Industrial biotechnology is a priority for SusChem and the platform is an active participant of research and innovation activities to to promote and support the bioeconomy. These initiatives range from FP7 projects such as BIO-TIC to the EUR 3.7 billion BioBased Industries Joint Undertaking PPP.

You can find more information on the event here.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Sixth European Innovation Summit: A Mandate for Innovation in Europe


The Sixth European Innovation Summit (6EIS), organised by Knowledge4innovation, will take place from 17 to 20 November 2014 at the European Parliament in Brussels and Cefic and SusChem will be there to show how sustainable chemistry can inspire and lead innovation for growth in Europe.

The programme features more than 25 conference sessions and discussions on important topics for innovation in Europe and presents more than 100 speakers from the European parliament, the European Commission, the educational and the private sectors. The motto of this year’s summit is ‘A Mandate for Innovation in Europe’: innovation should be a top strategic priority in the new institutional cycle of the European Union and the centerpiece of a revised Europe 2020 strategy.

Innovation to market
Cefic-SusChem is involved with a number of the events taking place at the 6EIS including a breakfast debate on 'Advanced Manufacturing for a new European Industrial Renaissance' on the morning of 18 November.

“Despite Europe’s strong performance in research, we still lack the ability to bring innovation swiftly and successfully to the market,” comments Gernot Klotz, Executive Director Research and Innovation at Cefic. “Therefore, we need a critical mass to push the market uptake of our innovations by working along the entire value chain. It is only by working together that we can reach the true potential of Europe’s innovation capacity. We shouldn’t design materials and cars, but rather materials for cars.”

Now, more than ever, Europeans need industry and industry needs Europe. To establish the roots of a viable economy for growth and jobs, industrial production is paramount to ensure the future of Europe and a high living standard for its citizens. However, under global competition, a new European Industrial Renaissance can only be achieved through a rejuvenated, and therefore sustainable, advanced manufacturing and processing sector.

Europe must integrate resource and energy efficiency along the full value chains where all input resources (including raw materials, renewable feedstocks, energy and water), all processes, output materials (including products, by-products and waste streams) and all recycle options can be  fully optimised.

“This means opening minds and our business models to new concepts and materials for sustainable and smart construction and urban mobility,” continues Gernot Klotz. “Where self-healing properties, printed electronics, 3D printing can really leap-frog Europe into the 21st century.”

Europe – industry and the public - needs to be enthused by breakthrough key enabling technologies that would make science fiction become reality: such as transforming CO2 into a renewable power engine both for industry and daily life.

“We need to give a chance to “good-old-manufacturing” to become the new, responsible “high-tech-made-in-Europe-driver” of endless possibilities,” concludes Gernot Klotz.

Speakers at the event will include Rudolf Strohmeier,  Deputy Director General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission; Gernot Klotz, Executive Director Research and Innovation, CEFIC; and Henna Virkkunen, Member of the European Parliament.

Innovative programme
For a sixth consecutive year 6EIS brings together EU’s political, business, academic and scientific elite and provides a valuable opportunity for networking and sharing experience with other innovative organisations and high level EU policy makers. What is more, the summit is a unique chance to meet the newly elected MEPs and learn about their plans for the future of innovation in Europe.

Cefic –SusChem will actively participate in a number of events; in particular on 18 November when contributions will be made in two morning sessions (‘Framework conditions and obstacles to innovation in Europe’ and ‘Horizon 2020: First impressions and expressions’ – where new Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas will speak) and one of the afternoon sessions (‘The role of innovation for a secure and affordable energy in Europe’)

The 6EIS programme also features conference sessions on important "horizontal" aspects of innovation such as Framework conditions for innovation, TTIP, Horizon 2020, as well as parallel sessions for specific sectors for which innovation is the major resource to overcome the big challenges ahead: agriculture, energy, transport, health, climate, IT.

The detailed programme for the summit can be found here.

Exhibition space
During the four days of the event, delegates will also have the opportunity to visit the special EIS Exhibition Space where a number of organisations, including Cefic – SusChem, will present concrete case studies from their day-to-day experience and demonstrate their innovative and technological achievements and solutions.

Cefic – SusChem will be highlighting the role of sustainable chemistry in innovation for growth and including how developments in chemistry and materials are fuelling additive manufacturing and potentially revolutionising how we make ‘stuff’: minimising waste and energy use while maximising consumer choice.

K4I
Knowledge4Innovation is an open, independent, nonprofit platform with a wide variety of stakeholders including small and large companies, universities and research centers, regions and cities, trade organisations and think tanks. It is the leading Brussels based innovation platform operating within the environment of the EU Institutions. K4I includes members from the private, academic and public sectors and includes large networks such as EUREKA, COST, Cefic, ECPA and EFPIA as well as universities, regional development organisations, cities, think tanks and small enterprises.

For more information visit the K4I website or email the K4I secretariat.