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’.

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.

Monday, 30 March 2015

SusChem at Malta Water Week!

On 25 March Antonia Morales Perez, Cefic innovation manager responsible for leading SusChem's contribution to the European Innovation Partnerships on Water and on Raw Materials took part in the Malta Water Week Conference where she presented the latest solutions that the chemical industry has to offer towards industrial symbiosis and in particular sustainable water management. The event happened just after World Water Day (22 March)

SusChem supports water conservation, recycling and re-use as an innovation priority and water is featured in the new SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA). Water is a scarce resource and a critical element for the development of our society and economy. The chemical industry is a significant user of water, but also an important solution provider of innovative products, technologies and services which can enable more sustainable water and wastewater management.

Water symbiosis and delivery of ‘fit-for-purpose’ water flows are considered as key elements to ensure and enable optimal and integrated (re)use of water, not only for the chemical industry but for other sectors as well. Antonia's presentation to the conference focused on results coming out of the FP7 project E4Water in which SusChem participates. This includes six industry case studies that are developing new approaches to solve different challenges in water reuse and recycling to achieve a final goal of integration of the industrial-urban and agricultural sectors.

The conference kicked-off with a video message from Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.

Malta Water Week takes the heart of the Mediterranean as its starting point, using a public-private focus to generate business, collaborations and partnerships looking at innovation in water management solutions, technology and practices. In particular, the conference will be addressing a variety of themes with a focus on best practices and innovative solutions to water challenges, highlighting examples and lessons among others, including:
  • Smart Water Infrastructures
  • Innovative Water Technologies
  • Water Reuse
  • Water Education
  • Innovative Financial Solutions
What is Malta Water Week?
Malta Water Week is a leading Mediterranean water event featuring a number of activities centred around innovation in water-management solutions and technology, novel financing ideas in water, expert intervention, the bringing together of international businesses and investors, and the sharing of best practices amongst all participating entities while showcasing the opportunities brought forth by current and future challenges in water.

Malta Water Week is organised by Paragon Europe within the margins of the Water Efficiency in European Urban Areas project. The project is based on the ambition to create an open European platform for EU excellence in water efficiency in urban water management. This platform will enable participating clusters and regions to bring together knowledge and innovation potential through collaboration and mutually learning on a trans-national basis.

For more information about SusChem’s contribution to Malta Water Week, please contact Antonia Morales Perez.

CRM_InnoNet publishes two more Roadmaps for Public Consultation on Substitution

The CRM_InnoNet FP7 project has just published two more Roadmaps for public consultation on Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) Substitution. These new draft roadmaps cover two themes: Photonics including High-end Optics; Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and Electronic Components. The consultation is open until 17 April 2015.

The two new road maps complete the set of five roadmaps for consultation on Substitution of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs). The roadmaps cover areas that CRM_InnoNet considers most likely under threat from CRM related supply bottlenecks. These are:
  • Electric Motor & Drives
  • Batteries & Accumulators
  • High-value Alloys
  • Photonics including High-end Optics
  • Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) and Electronic Components
These roadmaps have been elaborated in consultation with external experts capturing options and timelines for substituting critical raw materials up to the year 2030. 

The first three themes above (Electric motors and drives, batteries and accumulators, and high-value alloys) were subject to consultation earlier in the year. The consultation on the two new roadmap drafts can be accessed via the CRM_InnoNet website

The closing date for feedback is 17 April 2015. If you have any questions on the consultation process, please contact the CRM_InnoNet secretariat.

What is the CRM_InnoNet Innovation Network?
The CRM_InnoNet Innovation Network is a proactive and dynamic network of key stakeholders from industry, academia and other organisations interested in the substitution of critical raw materials. The network provides an identity and focus for researchers and businesses with an interest in substitution, drawing together a community which contains representatives from different disciplines and sectors together with a focus on substitution for the first time.

Register now for the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder Event!

The 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event will take place on 8 and 9 June at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Brussels and registration is already open. Following the recent publication of SusChem’s Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) the main focus of the event will be on SIRA implementation and there will be a brand new feature: an Open Innovation SME workshop!

The theme of the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event will be 'Propelling Sustainable Chemistry to Exciting New Frontiers - Implementing the New Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda' and  the two-day event will include plenty of exciting activities and present important new developments for the SusChem community.

These include:
  • The presentation of the key highlights addressed in the SIRA by SusChem Board members, followed by a stakeholder breakout discussion on how to translate the SIRA into concrete action 
  • Speakers on Materials Technologies and Societal Challenges, Resource Efficiency and the bio-economy, and ICT tools for the chemical industry
  • Conclusions from the breakout session discussions to be addressed in a lively panel debate on day two
  • The latest news and activities from our SusChem National Technology Platforms (NTPs)
  • A new Open Innovation SME workshop that will take place on the afternoon of 9 June followed by a poster session and our ever-popular speed-dating brokerage session.
The SME Innovation workshop will be an ideal opportunity for SMEs to profile their expertise and project concept. For an overview of the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder Event download the draft agenda.

We look forward to meeting you on 8 and 9 June in Brussels! Register and reserve your place today!

Accommodation for delegates is available at Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Brussels for the days of the event. SusChem has arranged for rooms to be blocked at a fixed rate until 15 May. You can book via this link.