Tuesday, 25 August 2015

€106 million Call for Proposals for the BBI JU Published

Today (25 August) a new €106 million call for research and development was unveiled for biobased initiatives to turn renewable resources into useful biobased products. This second call for proposals for the BioBased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) will support research and innovation actions, including demonstration actions, for making the best use of biomass, enabling a functioning bioeconomy in Europe and supporting the establishment of a sustainable circular economy.

The call for proposals is aimed at speeding up the development of new biorefineries. Moreover, it focuses on exploiting synergies across sectors. This means new business models that integrate economic actors all along complete value chains. It also means improving strategic cooperation between the different economic sectors: linking actors involved in biomass supply (breeding and plant production, forestry, farming) to biorefineries and consumers of biobased products. This integration of producers, refineries and consumers will help SMEs as their technologies, equipment and instruments will be needed to assist large enterprises as well as stand-alone projects.

Budget allocation
The budget for the proposals will be split as follows:
€28 million will be allocated for Research and Innovation Actions covering the following topics:

  • Converting the streams of lignin (the complex organic polymers that make wood cells rigid) in biorefineries so they can be eventually used in sectors like chemical, transport, aerospace, textile, energy, and construction industries
  • Pre-treating lignocellulose (plant dry matter) while simultaneously removing contaminants and separating lignin and cellulosic fractions. Solving this challenge will remove a major hurdle to processing biomass into feedstock
  • Developing biobased molecules for coating and surface treatment, a growing market as businesses aim to increase the shelf life of products
  • Separating and extracting technologies to pull added value compounds such as bark and branches from wood and forest-based residues
  • Promoting practices to improve effective forest management, so there is more access to wood resources with less of an environmental impact
  • Developing sustainable cellulose based materials to ensure their strong market prospects as textiles, films and thermoplastics meet tight environmental demands
  • Tailoring tree species to produce wood designed for industrial processes and biorefining purposes. This means engineering and generating wood feedstock with a chemical structure designed for later processing steps
  • Increasing productivity of industrial multi-purpose agricultural crops: with limited natural resources, this means developing more efficient nutrient uptake, water use and land regeneration
  • Making the most of the aquatic biomass: water plants like algae and microalgae have high value applications such as food ingredients, polymers, feed proteins, cosmetics, pharma, etc but the costs of the extraction and conversion need to come down. 

An additional €12 million is assigned for Innovative and efficient biorefinery technologies. The aim is to improve the technologies pioneered by existing biorefineries so they become cost-competitive with respect to fossil counterparts. Most biorefineries today are designed to process only one kind of feedstock, which means most of the important value chains are not exploited.

The bulk of the call funding, €64 million, will be allocated for Demonstration Actions that address the following areas:

  • Showing how lignocellulosic feedstocks can be turned into chemical building blocks and high added value products, with products and processes benchmarked against fossil based alternatives
  • Developing innovative cellulose-based composite packaging solutions, mainly to improve their mechanical properties and address contaminant control (dust, bacteria and other impurities)
  • Producing biobased elastomers from Europe-grown feedstock
  • Developing high purity biobased intermediates and end products from vegetable oils and fats
  • Making the most of agricultural residues and side streams from the agro-food industry
  • Extracting organic acids from municipal solid waste
  • Overcoming low product yields from fermentation processes in the production of industrial products like alcohols, acids, proteins, amino acids, and specialty carbohydrates.

A further €2 million of funding will cover Coordination and Support Actions. Part of this is focused on helping biobased products meet the standards and regulations needed to trade across the EU and expand their market potential. Other actions are aimed at enhancing awareness of biobased products and their benefits in order to get public acceptance and reach the success of a bioeconomy.

About BBI JU
The call for proposals follows the July 2014 launch of the BBI JU, a €3.7 billion public-private partnership aimed at supporting the development of Europe’s emerging bioeconomy. The BBI JU is a public-private partnership (PPP), part of the EU’s plan to move its economy to a post-petroleum era.

BBI JU is expected to help make the EU’s economy more resource-efficient and sustainable, while supporting growth and employment. €3.7 billion will fund the BBI JU between 2014 and 2024, with €975 million coming from the European Commission and €2.7 billion from its private partner, the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). The BBI is responsible for the implementation of open calls for proposals for research and innovation actions, as well as coordination and support actions, in line with the Horizon 2020 rules for participation.

More information on the calls can be found on the Horizon 2020 portal site.

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Economic Benefits of Water Innovation

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 Thursday 5 November 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. With the E4Water project now nearing its end, some of the main experiences and results gathered by the project will be presented.  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:
  • Panos Balabanis, Deputy Head of Unit 'Eco-innovation', DG RTD
  • Edouard Perard, European Investment Bank
  • Uwe Fortkamp, IVL Svenska Milj├Âinstitutet
  • Peter Cauwenberg, Vito
  • Riikka Timonen, Kemira
  • Alexandre Muller, Total
  • Eddy Linclau, P&G
  • Luc Brams, Agfa
Water is an important natural resource on the planet, playing a big role in our sustainability effort. At the corporate level, the value of water is increasingly recognised as a natural resource to be shared between many users.

Cefic’s "The Water Matters!" flagship initiative focuses on water use at operating sites, with particular regard to “water stressed” areas. The main objectives of the initiative are to further support corporate efforts towards sustainable water management and to raise awareness on the importance of water risk assessment and mitigation within the chemical sector.

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.

Friday, 14 August 2015

SusChem introduces: Martin Winter

Cefic Research and Innovation has recently recruited two new Innovation Managers who will be heavily involved with SusChem activities over the next few years. Martin Winter and Flavio Benedito both started their secondment to Cefic in June and many members of the SusChem community will have met them at the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event. In this and a subsequent article we introduce both managers and ask them about what they are expecting to achieve for Sustainable Chemistry in Europe during their time with the platform.

In this article we talk to Martin. You can find the interview article with Flavio here.

Career highlights
Martin is a chemist by education and received his PhD on a nanomaterial science topic in 1998 from the Max Planck Society before leaving for postdoctoral study at the Scripps Research Institute in the U.S.

He has a long term background in the chemical industry joining Clariant in 1999 managing several innovation projects as Research and Development group leader and focusing on innovation and growth of new businesses. This included setting up external innovation activities through venture capital mechanisms, e.g. through screening and investments in start-up companies. In addition a marketing and sales responsibility for one of Clariant’s young start-up businesses brought him to Asia/Japan for a while.

Since June 2015 he has been seconded from Clariant to CEFIC in Brussels as an Innovation Manager responsible for driving the innovation agenda for the Chemical Industry by networking regarding research and innovation priorities and connecting them with the European Commission’s funding instruments under Horizon 2020, for example via the SPIRE Public Private partnership.

He likes to spend his free time with his family and also enjoy flying in the sky being an enthusiastic skydiver, instructor and tandem-master.

What is your view on Sustainable Chemistry?
I consider sustainability not only as a simple ‘trend’, but today not considering its significance means not only risking to stay in the business but also exposing future growth opportunities to risk. The concept of “being and developing sustainable” has to be strongly considered and supported by the innovation agenda of our industry to keep us ahead in the race for competitiveness.

The SusChem ETP and its Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) is an excellent platform to support the transformation of our excellent European research into relevant business opportunities by connecting industry, SMEs, academia and technology organizations with the funding instruments under Horizon 2020. 

How do you see your new role contributing to your view on Sustainable Chemistry? 
I will contribute to the already existing strong momentum with my personal commitment to relevant topics and discussions in the chemical and process industry, including Cefic contributing to Horizon 2020 projects.

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your three years at Cefic? 
To support our European Industry to improve their competitiveness and economic growth and at the same time contributing with concrete innovation actions to the key societal challenges we are facing. In addition, and through my involvement in these activities, I will, of course, also enlarge my own network and be able to support my company Clariant when I return after my time at Cefic. 

What areas are you looking to collaborate with others and how do you prefer to be contacted? 
All topics relevant for the chemical and process industries with an initial focus on ICT aspects. I can be contacted by email or phone and of course lets meet personally at SPIRE, SusChem and other events to exchange our thoughts.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

SusChem introduces: Flavio Benedito

Cefic Research and Innovation has recently recruited two new Innovation Managers who will be heavily involved with SusChem activities over the next few years. Flavio Luiz Benedito and Martin Winter both started their secondment to Cefic in June and many members of the SusChem community will have met them at the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event. In this and a subsequent article we introduce both managers and ask them about what they are expecting to achieve for Sustainable Chemistry in Europe during their time with the platform. 

In this article we talk to Flavio. You can find the interview article with Martin here.

Career highlights
Flavio got his bachelors degree in Chemistry in Brazil and moved to Germany in 2003 to finish his Masters degree at Bayer. There he had the opportunity to be involved in the research and development of new fungicides.

Following this he was awarded a full scholarship to do a PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry. His fascination for interdisciplinary research continued in 2009 when he joined the group of Prof. Ferdi Schueth as a post-doc fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for Coal Research working in the field of nanomaterials and solid state Chemistry.

Seeking broader international experience he moved to Austria in 2010 to work as a research scientist in the field of natural product synthesis at the Innsbruck University. To combine and apply all this acquired know-how, he returned to Germany in 2011 and joined BASF in the Organic Electronics project cluster developing research in organic photovoltaics, OLEDs, as well as other upcoming technologies. This background in very innovative and sustainability-focused topics helped him to join the Cefic Research and Innovation team on secondment from BASF in June 2015.    

In his spare time Flavio likes sports, travels, plays the piano and helps to organize and play in benefit concerts.

What is your view on Sustainable Chemistry?
Sustainable Chemistry enables a better use of natural resources applied to fulfil societal needs for chemicals and services. One of the main key points of Sustainable Chemistry is to enable the development of safe, effective, and eco-efficient chemical processes that have benign environmental impact. 

But in my opinion Sustainable Chemistry goes far beyond this; it stimulates innovative research, opens several opportunities for new value chains favouring economic growth, boosts the chemical sector as a whole, generates new jobs, and is able to offer a better life quality for society.   

How do you see your new role contributing to your view on Sustainable Chemistry? 
The role of a Research & Innovation Manager is to find synergistic pathways that both industry and government can align their interests in order to address societal needs. One good example is the coordination of PPPs (Public-Private-Partnerships) that combines public funding and industrial initiatives to promote projects for the development of new innovative and sustainable technologies and processes. 

What challenges do you foresee? 
Nowadays the majority of chemical production relies on oil and the migration to a more biobased production is seen as an evolution and not a revolution. A significant change in the mind-set is needed. To influence and promote this change, intermediate governmental interests and industry willingness towards sustainability are some of the greatest challenges I foresee.   

What do you hope to achieve by the end of your three years at Cefic? 
After three years at Cefic I hope to have generated solid results, contributed and participated in several projects, helped the chemical industry in representing their interests, expanded my network and enjoyed a great time and experiences with my wonderful colleagues in the team.

What areas are you looking to collaborate with others and how do you prefer to be contacted? 
In the beginning I will mainly be involved in bioeconomy and rare raw materials projects, but I will also have the chance to work on other topics in the future. If you want to contact me please e-mail me directly.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Sustainable Chemistry for Life - The Role of Chemistry in the European Bioeconomy


The Thirteenth Congress of the European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN) brings together decision-makers, industry representatives, researchers and stakeholders to exchange experiences on policies and good practices on sustainability, chemistry and the bioeconomy on 8 and 9 October in Novara and Milan, Italy. The discussions will be enriched by a ‘Market of Ideas’ introducing regional activities, innovative products and projects from chemical regions across Europe. You are invited to join the event, present your activities and be inspired by others!

The ECRN event will be organised in two parts. The first day will be held in Novara and the second day in Milan. The first day will focus on sustainable innovations and technological advancements in the field of biotechnology and bioeconomy and the second day will address policies and future perspectives.

Discussions will be linked to the broad themes of Expo Milan 2015, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and enriched by a “market of ideas” introducing regional experiences, best practices and projects that illustrate the variety of activities taking place across Europe's chemical regions.

The Market of Ideas
The afternoon of the first Congress day (8 October) is dedicated to presenting and exhibiting examples of regional projects and innovative chemical companies and clusters. Representatives from projects and organisations will have a chance share their stories with other participants. The Market of Ideas is an open, interactive session for networking and finding new partners and contacts. It provides regional and industrial actors, SMEs, (inter)regional projects, research institutes, clusters and other organizations with an opportunity to showcase their initiatives and success stories and build bridges across the value chain.

Each presenter will have their own space for networking and meeting other interested participants. Beyond brokerage or matchmaking, participants can learn from each others’ experiences and find new contacts. In addition to networking between individuals, a moderator will draw attention to interesting initiatives in the market with on-the-spot mini-interviews.

Participants should prepare a brief abstract (~ 250 words) on their project, product or organisation for the congress materials and organize any supporting materials you might need for your “market stall” – such as roll-up(s), flyers, brochures, reports, laptop presentations etc. - to promote their activities.

Reasons to participate in the ECRN Congress Market of Ideas include:
  • Benefiting from a platform for networking opportunities and meeting valuable new contacts (decision-makers and stakeholders from authorities, academia and industry)
  • Gaining visibility by having your project or organization presented in the congress materials and on the event website
  • Using the opportunity to participate in the entire Congress programme (in Novara and Milan), the Congress reception, and visit the major EXPO 2015 in Milan.
  • Participating in and presenting your activities is free – all you need to do is register!
Participating and presenting in the Market of Ideas is free of charge, but advance registration is required. Registration is being handled by the ECRN Secretariat in Brussels and the office can also provide additional information to interested potential participants. The secretariat can be contacted via email.

More details on the Conference can be found on the ECRN website and the Congress programme can be downloaded here.

SusChem and the bioeconomy
The opening ECRN session will highlight the ways in which chemistry and chemical innovations can enhance and contribute to the bioeconomy and sustainability. Chemistry is a key source for sustainable solutions and future challenges on issues like sustainable feeding or biobased solutions for a circular economy are very important for the chemical industry.

The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) has a dedicated chapter on ‘A Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy’ and SusChem is an essential link between the chemical industry, industrial biotechnology and stakeholders in the bioeconomy.

The platform is actively involved in two large and relevant PPPs between the European Commission and industry launched in 2014:
SusChem contributes to the alignment of both initiatives. The interface between BBI and SPIRE is the provision and use of biobased platform chemicals. In addition, both PPPs may support projects using biotechnological conversion processes and specific improvements of biotechnology processes may be eligible for funding through either PPP. SusChem will enable the coherence of ongoing and future funding initiatives and the deployment of flagship projects that demonstrate technological leadership and that Europe is a globally competitive location to invest in the bioeconomy.

For more information on SusChem's Bioeconomy activities, contact Cefic Innovation Manager for the Bioeconomy Flavio Benedito.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Carbon Dioxide Utilisation: A Catalyst for European Industrial Renaissance?

Essen will be the “place to be” at the end of September for those working on CO2 recycling and #useCO2 projects in Europe. The city will be the venue for the Fourth Conference on Carbon Dioxide as Feedstock for Fuels, Chemistry and Polymers on 29 and 30 September organised by the Nova Institute. And before the conference the SCOT (Smart CO2 Transformation) FP7 project will hold its mid-term conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilisation (CDU) on 28 September. All the events take place at the same location: Haus der Technik in Essen, Germany.

On 28 September the SCOT team will present its Vision for Carbon Dioxide Utilisation and a Strategic European Research Agenda for Europe. The floor will then be open for the views of high level speakers from politics and industry. Plenty of discussion is expected and you are welcome to take part!

SCOT wants to hear the voices of a wide range of participants. Break-out sessions in smaller groups will also provide opportunities for intense knowledge exchange and discussions on the various aspects of #useCO2 policy and technical issues.

Interactive sessions
This one-day conference will be THE place to hear about the latest developments on Carbon Dioxide Utilisation and help shape the future of CDU/ #useCO2 in Europe. Input from the conference will directly feed into SCOT advisory reports to the European Commission. These reports will cover both the future role of CDU in Europe and future support mechanisms for CDU.

The SCOT conference aims to actively engage academics, politicians and industry to discuss the Vision and business opportunities of CDU up to 2030. The break-out sessions will be in small groups of (20-25 people) and will involve a single presentation and a moderator to guide the discussion. The outcomes can help the SCOT team to further narrow down the project’s Vision, Research Objectives and Action Plan.

The sessions are on:
  • The Potential of Carbon Dioxide Utilization for Mineralization and Waste
  • Availability of low-cost low-carbon electricity for CDU
  • Making chemical building blocks using CO2
  • Working towards better LCA for CDU and System boundary definitions of CDU
  • Power to X: Synthetic fuels from CO2? 
  • Framing Carbon Dioxide Utilisation
  • Bridging the Gap: (Policy) options to get from lab to market
The SCOT project team are certain that there are already many ideas for CDU that only require a good platform and funding to make them happen. At the end of the conference, SCOT is organising a matchmaking event to allow people to find projects and partners to respond successfully to the European research calls of 2016 on Carbon Dioxide Utilisation. Information will be available on next year’s Horizon 2020 calls including those under the SPIRE PPP initiative and the forthcoming Horizon Prize on CO2 utilisation. Come along to pitch your project ideas and expertise!

Participation in the SCOT conference (including the matchmaking event) costs €50 and you can register here. Students have the opportunity of getting a free ticket on a first-come-first-serve basis.
For more information, please contact the project secretariat. You can download the programme here.

CO2 as Feedstock
The SCOT conference takes place back to back with the Fourth Conference on Carbon Dioxide as Feedstock that is hosted by the Nova-Institute on 29 and 30 September at the Haus der Technik in Essen.


Over the last few years, the rise of this topic has developed rapidly from several research projects and industrial applications to become more and more dynamic, especially in the fields of solar fuels (power-to-fuel, power-to-gas) and also in CO2-based chemicals and polymers. At this conference leading players will showcase some enhanced and also new applications using carbon dioxide as feedstock. Representatives from political bodies and research institutes will be on hand at the event to present and discuss the latest national and regional policies, strategies and visions.

You can access the full programme for the event here and registration is here.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Horizon 2020 Brokerage Diary Dates for October


Preparations for the Horizon 2020 2016 calls move into top gear in the Autumn and SusChem and SPIRE will be here to help with both organisations running major Brokerage events in October. 

SusChem Brokerage Event
The SusChem Brokerage event will take place on Tuesday 6 October 2015 from 9:00 at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Brussels.

The event will help participants to prepare their proposals for the next set of Horizon 2020 calls. The 2015 SusChem Brokerage Event follows the success of previous SusChem brokerage events and is the perfect occasion to interact with strategic partners, get key insights on the content of a wide range of calls and take your project proposals to a competitive new level!

More details will be announced after the summer break, but you can already register for the event, which is free, here.

PPP Info day and SPIRE Brokerage Event
This year's Information Day on contractual PPPs covering the Sustainable Process Industry, Factories of the Future, Energy-efficient Buildings, and Green Vehicles Initiative PPPs will take place on 16 October 2015 in Brussels. The event, organised by the European Commission, will cover an overview of ongoing activities, presentation of the 2016 and 2017 calls and brokerage and networking sessions. The venue will be in Brussels within the European Commission’s Charlemagne and Centre Albert Borschette buildings.

The registration form for the PPPs Infoday on October 16 is available here. Please note that participants need to register and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

A specific session dedicated to the SPIRE PPP will take place on the afternoon of 16 October and this will be followed by a brokerage and networking event, supported by the SPIRE Association, during which interested stakeholders will have the opportunity to present their initial project ideas for the 2016-17 SPIRE calls and meet potential partners.

If you are interested in presenting a project idea at the SPIRE brokerage event on 16 October, please send an email to the SPIRE secretariat by October 7 indicating your name, the name of your company, the title of your project and the reference of the call topic to be addressed.