Wednesday, 21 December 2011

SusChem Stakeholder Event 2012 Announced

Save the date! SusChem has just announced that its 10th Annual Stakeholder Event will take place in Brussels on 17 - 18 April 2012. The event takes the theme 'Partnering for Sustainable Innovation through Chemistry' and will be held at the Diamant Business Centre and Conference Complex on the east side of the city.

As usual, the SusChem stakeholder meeting will be a high profile event and offer participants the latest insights on key topics such as water efficiency, sustainable processes, raw materials, smart cities and other areas where chemistry is playing a central role to develop sustainable solutions for society.

The SusChem event will offer plenty of networking opportunities and provide valuable information on European partnership programmes driven from the Innovation Union and Horizon 2020 objectives.

The 2012 stakeholder event will look to build on the game-changing 2011 event and further engage with value chain partners on concrete priority themes where sustainable chemistry has committed to promote partnerships and inspire innovation to achieve real growth in the EU.

Value chain solutions
No single component in today's complex value chain can deliver the comprehensive and timely solutions that society requires alone: we need to engage the whole value chain and SusChem is looking to deliver this. The 10th SusChem Stakeholder event will be a significant, dynamic, inspiring and productive step towards achieving this. Be there!

The preliminary programme and registration will be available soon via the main SusChem website. In the meantime, if you have any questions on the 2012 SusChem stakeholder event please contact the SusChem secretariat.

And don't forget to follow SusChem news via this blog and also via @suschem on Twitter.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Water Efficiency Workshop looks to ETPs for Innovation

Today (15 December), the next step towards the Water Efficiency European Innovation Partnership (EIP) took place at a workshop in Brussels organized by the European Commission. The event held at the EUREKA offices in Woluwe Saint Lambert highlighted possible innovative contributions to the EIP from SusChem and other European Technology Platforms (ETPs).

Under the Innovation Union flagship initiative of the European Union, the Commission’s DG Environment, in cooperation with DG Research and Innovation and other DGs, is developing a proposal for a candidate EIP on Water Efficiency. The objective of the Water Efficiency EIP is to develop innovative solutions for water related challenges and boost innovation to create a global leadership position for European water technology and services.

The 15 December workshop was one of a series of stakeholder consultations to help develop the EIP and was specifically targeted at relevant European Technology Platforms, including SusChem and the Water Supply and Sanitation ETP (WssTP), to discuss existing innovative solutions, develop a prioritization of areas in which innovative solutions need to be developed and identify where the activities of these ETPs and the EIP can support each other. Other topics included discussion of the optimal governance model for such an EIP.

SusChem solutions
The meeting was active, open and free discussion on priorities and possible research and innovation needs in the water sector. SusChem’s input was led by Cefic Innovation Manager Antonia Morales Perez.

“The meeting was very positive and constructive,” commented Antonia. “SusChem is determined to show leadership and to make a significant contribution to solving water issues by working with partners to pursue large-scale projects which can demonstrate real value for society.”

Water is one of four key innovation initiatives for SusChem. SusChem is looking to develop breakthrough technologies and provoke a paradigm shift in integrated water management systems. This essentially involves revaluing water as a precious raw material rather than a utility product: rethinking the traditional approach in order to avoid future competition for water supply between industry and citizens in, for example, urban areas.

Priority for Europe
In June 2011, the Council of the European Union concluded that 'while water availability and water quality are essential for sustainable development and green economy, waters face many threats including increasing trends of global population growth, urbanization, pollution, overexploitation, desertification and climate change.’ Due to these increasing challenges and greater demand for scarce water resources it has been estimated that a global water supply shortage of up to 40% may emerge by 2030.

To achieve water resources protection and sustainable water management the Council highlighted the importance of innovation to find sustainable solutions and invited the Commission to 'investigate an innovation partnership on water in close cooperation with the Member States, with a view to achieving sustainable and efficient use of water.'

The overarching visionary objective of the candidate EIP is that in 2020 Europe will have safe, available and affordable water supply and waste water treatment for all users in place, based on sustainable management of the water resources and the most innovative, competitive and cost effective solutions.

Following the current intense consultation period, it is hoped that a final blueprint for a Water Efficiency EIP could be published in an EC Communication in June 2012. This would be highly appropriate as 2012 has been declared as European Year of Water. Following endorsement by the European Council and European Parliament this could allow the EIP to become operational by early 2013.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Euro-Chemistry Summit in Strasbourg

On December 15 Euro-Chemistry, the new pan-European organisation representing chemistry funding agencies across the continent, is organizing a summit at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to deliver a powerful message on how chemistry can help resolve the grand challenges facing the world today. SusChem will, of course, be there.

The summit will bring together stakeholders including chemistry performers, chemistry funders, chemical industry, policy makers (national & European level), international organizations, and non-European stakeholders such as the US National Science Foundation to discuss how funding for the vital work of chemistry can be improved.

SusChem board member Dr. Louis Vertegaal is President of Euro-Chemistry and will open the summit. He will be followed by Nobel Prize winner Prof Jean-Marie Lehn and Prof George Whitesides of Harvard University who will outline the grand challenges facing society. A policy viewpoint will be given by Catherine Trautmann, MEP.

Gernot Klotz of Cefic and SusChem will chair a round-table discussion on future funding. Further details of the summit programme can be accessed here.

Established in Autumn 2010, Euro-Chemistry brings together national research organizations and funding agencies to establish joint strategies for collaborative research and improved funding mechanisms for European research in chemistry.

Chemistry is one of the key driving forces behind the welfare development of our society and for the global competitiveness of the European economy. It is ready to help meet the grand challenges facing society today including environment, health, energy and materials. These challenges for chemistry go beyond what can be acheived at a national level and demand wider collaboration. European research organizations and funding agencies need to join forces to create the synergy required for such a challenge.

Euro-Chemistry will collaborate with other consortia including industry federations. European networks and technology platforms and scientific societies to help design the future of European chemistry. SusChem has observer status in Euro-Chemistry.

For more information on Euro-Chemistry download their brochure or contact the organization now.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Commission gets Chief Scientific Advisor

Yesterday (December 5) during the first Innovation Union Convention in Brussels, the appointement of Professor Anne Glover as the European Commission's first Chief Scientific Advisor (CSA) was announced. Prof. Glover will provide high-level and independent scientific advice in all stages of EU policy development and delivery. She will also provide advice directly to President Barroso and give regular updates on major scientific and technological developments.

Prior to this appointement Prof. Anne Glover (right) has served as CSA for the devolved Scottish government in Edinburgh since August 2006. She holds a Personal Chair in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Aberdeen, and has honorary positions at the Rowett and Macaulay Institutes. She is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a member of the Natural Environment Research Council, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Most of Prof. Glover's academic career was spent at Aberdeen University where she had an active research group pursuing a variety of areas from microbial diversity to the development and application of biosensors for environmental monitoring and investigating how organisms respond to stress at the cellular level.

While announcing the appointment President Barroso praised Prof. Glover saying: "I believe her outstanding background and calibre will bring invaluable expertise to the Commission. She has a strong track record in leading the Scottish Science Advisory Committee which made her the standout candidate for this post."

Science for policy
The appointment of a CSA to the European Commission is a very welcome move and will hopefully lead to a strengthening of the scientific input to policy-making across the European Commission.

President Barroso announced his intention to appoint a CSA in September 2009. Prof. Anne Glover will report directly to the President with administrative support being provided by the Bureau of European Policy Advisors (BEPA).

The functions of the CSA are:
  • To provide independent expert advice on any aspect of science, technology and innovation as requested by the President
  • On request, to provide analysis and opinion on major policy proposals being submitted to the Commisson touching upon issues of science, technology and innovation; in particular the CSA will provide authoritative guidance on interpretation of scientific evidence in presence of uncertainty, and will be involved in strategic emergency planning
  • To build relationships with high-level advisory groups (e.g. European Research Area Board), the scientific Committees of the Commission, the EU agencies (European Medicine Agency, European Food Safety Authority, the European Chemicals Agency and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies
  • To build relationships with similar structures in Member States and other countries
  • To advise on novel science, technology and innovation issues arising both in the context of the EU and internationally; to serve as an early warning conduct point on issues that might arise when scientific progress entails either opportunity or threat for the EU
  • To communicate the scientific values on which specific Commission proposals are based in order to enhance public confidence in science and technology, and in general to promote European culture of science and technology widely within Europe and abroad

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

SusChem welcomes Horizon 2020 proposals

Today (November 30) the European Commission's proposal for Horizon 2020 - a key component in implementing the Innovation Union flagship under the Europe 2020 strategy - was published. The European Commission communication outlines an ambitious research and innovation programme that reflects much SusChem thinking. SusChem looks forward to supporting and fully engaging with the Horizon 2020 programme.

At the press conference to launch the 350 page programme proposal Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn described the Horizon 2020 as: “A new vision for European research and innovation in a dramatically changed economic environment. Horizon 2020 provides direct stimulus to the economy and secures our science and technology base and industrial competitiveness for the future, promising a smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive society."

She also promised that Horizon 2020 will allow "more research with less bureaucracy" by slashing red tape to reduce time to grant by 100 days compared current EU programmes.

SusChem response
Responding to the communication Gernot Klotz Executive (right) Director of R&I at Cefic and SusChem board member said: “SusChem and the chemical industry fully support this EU-wide approach to research and innovation. The significant increase in the proposed budget in comparison to FP7 is particularly welcome, especially in the area of innovation.”

“Horizon 2020 has a focus on output rather than being over prescriptive,” Klotz continued. “We support the use of bridging actions to coordinate programmes and the inclusion of pilot plant and scale-up activities that are vital to moving ideas into the market quickly.”

Such Horizon 2020 initiatives include European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) and Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) that incorporate both research and innovation activities. SusChem is involved with the development of four proposed innovation initiatives namely, water-efficiency, resource efficiency, critical raw materials, smart cities and is especially pleased to see references in the Horizon 2020 communication in these areas that strongly reflect SusChem thinking in these areas.

SusChem is also very happy to see the strong commitment in Horizon 2020 to develop and support the concept of Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and will contribute strongly to this area especially on advanced materials, biotechnology and nanotechnologies.

Fit for innovation
To accelerate the EU out of economic crisis SusChem believes that the whole value chain (from advanced materials and processes to consumer-focused industries) needs to be stimulated simultaneously. Horizon 2020 must support and catalyse this innovation process.

The proposals for a single set of rules for participation and dissemination are attractive, but often drivers for research and innovation are different. “We need to make sure that the research-orientated instruments used in Horizon 2020 are fit-for purpose,” says Klotz. “They also need to pass a ‘fitness-check for innovation’ and, if necessary, be adapted to ensure they address issues such as value chain inclusion and speed of implementation.”

“European Technology Platforms (ETPs), such as SusChem, could help here,” says Klotz. “The formation of advisory groups involving relevant ETPs and other stakeholder could ensure funding is most appropriately and beneficially allocated. We also think that ETPs should now function as EU Technology and Innovation Platforms covering research and innovation and education – all three components are vital for future economic success.”

SusChem is already heavily involved in establishing cross platform and cross sector research and innovation initiatives. For example it has worked closely with others to build the basis for a proposed EIP on a ‘Water Efficient Europe’ that will offer both technological solutions and the opportunity to rethink water use in Europe. The aim being to ensure water quality that is appropriate to its use is available and make sure that for this increasingly scarce resource in Europe ‘every drop counts’.

Horizon 2020
Horizon 2020 promises to be a radical departure from current EU research funding. It aims to modernise and simplify support for research and innovation around three major objectives: excellent science, competitive industries and better society.

It will focus its investments on addressing major concerns shared by all European citizens such as climate change, affordable renewable energy and ensuring a sustainable future. The proposed budget for Horizon 2020 is €80 billion and the programme will run from 2014 to 2020.

The European Commission and European Parliament members are supporting or looking to increase Horizon 2020’s proposed budget, however a number of Member States are advocating lower expenditure. An extended negotiation will now take place before programme budgets are finalised.

More information
A press summary of the Horizon 2020 proposal can be found here and a more detailed memo summary found here. The full European Commission communications on Horizon 2020 proposal communication can be downloaded here from the revamped Horizon 2020 website. To view a recording of the Commission press launch click on the embedded video link below or on the EBS website here. This video link may not be functional after December 6.

A powerpoint presentation on the Horizon 2020 proposal is also available.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Innovation for Europe. Ready? Steady? Go!

Innovation is key to future economic and ecological sustainability in Europe. And the chemical industry is a key driver of innovation. Now, more than ever, Europe needs innovative industries and they need Europe. On 22 November, as part of Cefic’s major public exhibition ‘Tomorrow Starts with Chemistry’ at the Palais des Academies in Brussels, a workshop involving policy makers, media and young students discussed how a new European model of innovation could be constructed and what it could achieve for society.

From the presentations and discussion it is clear that a new European model of innovation is possible, but requires increased levels of communication, collaboration and creativity to complement technological change. Fortunately, Europe has a history of collaboration and a track record of engaging with complexity at technical, cultural and human levels. With the right support and framework the new model can tackle our societal challenges in a smart and inclusive manner for the benefit of all.

Speakers from Cefic and SusChem outlined a number of proposed innovation programmes. The debate was moderated by SusChem Newsblog editor Tim Reynolds of Inta Communication (right below). First Gernot Klotz, Executive Director for Research & Innovation at Cefic (left below) explained what innovation means to the industry and the need for change in technologies and mind set, from both private and public partners, to face many societal challenges faced by Europe.

Chemistry innovation
Compelling examples that demonstrated the leading role of the chemical sector in driving innovation in the four priority areas chosen by SusChem, and how some of the challenges can be addressed were provided by the next speakers. Patrick Francoisse of Solvay (second left below) talked about the ‘Smart Cities’ initiative, while Mike Pitts of the UK’s Chemical Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (third from left below) described how we can satisfy the needs of 9.5 billion people on one planet through better use and reuse of critical raw materials.

Felix Mueller of Evonik Industries (third from right above) outlined the potential for the process industries to further improve resource efficiency and effectively “do more with less” through the proposed major Public Private Partnership (PPP) (SPIRE). Finally Antonia Morales Perez from Cefic (second from right above) described the chemical industry as simultaneously one of the biggest water-consuming industries, and one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies. The “Water Efficient Europe” European Innovation Partnership (EIP) has to adopt a symbiotic approach reusing and recycling water, and improving water treatment methods to recover raw materials and achieve sustainable production of appropriate qualities of water for appropriate use.

Communicate, collaborate, create
A subsequent interactive panel discussion featured Herbert von Bose, Director of Industrial Technologies at the European Commission DG Research (second right below), journalist Laura Shields of The Media Coach (second left)and chemistry student David Dupont from Leuven University (left).

All contributors agreed that there was a need to have a clear innovation agenda and to communicate widely: communication was the first step towards collaboration – and without collaboration there could be no opening of minds, no implementation and no creativity – no matter how wonderful the new technology was. Bringing different players together is very important and innovation must be driven by needs. High hopes were put on the chemical industry in Europe, as a global leader that interacts with virtually all other sectors and value chains, to provide solutions. It was therefore well placed to inspire and lead innovation.

For European innovation to be more successful and adopted by society, we need to focus not so much on techniques and technologies, but more on the outcome - the end-result - from a user point of view. To achieve this needs new ways of communication, collaboration and a cultural change of mind set is essential to give Europe a real sustainable advantage in global competition.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Horizon 2020: Proposal Next Week

On November 30, the European Commission's proposal for Horizon 2020 - a key component in implementing the Innovation Union flagship under the Europe 2020 strategy - will be published. And SusChem News will be reporting on its launch.

Horizon 2020 promises to be a radical departure from current EU research funding. It aims to modernise and simplify support for research and innovation around three major objectives: excellent science, competitive industries and better society.

It will focus its investments on addressing major concerns shared by all European citizens such as climate change, affordable renewable energy and ensuring a sustainable future. The proposed budget for Horizon 2020 is €80 billion and the programme will run from 2014 to 2020.

SusChem News will bring you the highlights of the new programme and reaction on 30 November and will provide details of how to access live press launch coverage when that becomes available. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Smart Cities: Cefic supports Covenant of Mayors

As part of its work in support of the ‘Smart Cities’ policy area, Cefic has become an associated member of the Covenant of Mayors . The Covenant of Mayors is the mainstream European movement involving local and regional authorities that are voluntarily committed to increasing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources in their urban areas.

The vast majority of Europe’s citizens live in cities and policy issues in urban areas represent a microcosm of the general issues facing society, but intensified and accelerated. These issues include reducing energy consumption, encouraging greater use of renewable energy sources, adaptations of transport and other infrastructure to meet changing needs whilst improving mobility of the population, amongst other objectives on health and education. And all achieved at competitive cost and in an environmentally sustainable manner.

To achieve true ‘smart living’ in the future will require major joint public and private efforts to tackle the significant technical and societal issues. To help address these issues a Smart Cities European Innovation Partnership (EIP) has been proposed that Cefic and SusChem have a strong interest to participate in.

What are ‘Smart Cities’?
Smart cities go beyond the EU’s “20-20-20” objectives (20% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 20% share of energy from low carbon sources and a 20% reduction in the use of primary energy through energy efficiency measures) for the deployment of cost-effective low carbon technologies.

Many cities across Europe are already committed to building tomorrow’s cities today - in particular the Covenant of Mayors. This group of city authorities is developing a sustainable development framework that will allow them to voluntarily go beyond the 2020 targets. To achieve this, the group works closely with the EU to drive innovation across a variety of sectors. In many ways city authorities have more power and opportunity to implement the Kyoto agreement than national governments.

SusChem has already been involved with ‘smart living’ projects that connect research and industrial groups along the value chain such as its Smart Energy Home initiative, the Energy Efficient Buildings PPP and the Building UP Coordination Support Action (CSA). Chemical research and innovation are essential to achieving smart living and smart cities will benefit from the early and in-depth involvement of the chemicals sector. Essentially chemistry’s contribution to smart living is to enable “doing more with less”.

The Smart Cities EIP was one of the topics discussed at Cefic’s public workshop on European innovation at the ‘Tomorrow Starts with Chemistry’ event at Palais des Academies, Brussels on 22 November.

For more information on Cefic/ SusChem’s involvement with Smart Cities contact Ed d’Hooghe at Cefic.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Innovation for Europe: Ready? Steady? Go?

At a time when our society is facing many challenges, now, more than ever, Europe needs industry and industry needs Europe. Innovation will be instrumental if we are to reach the ambitious objectives of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. As part of the major ‘Tomorrow Starts With Chemistry' event (see details below) at the Palais des Académies in Brussels, Cefic Research & Innovation is organising an open discussion on European innovation, its potential and practical achievement.

The discussion takes place from 13:30 to 16:00 on Tuesday 22 November, is free, and open to everyone with an interest in Europe’s future prosperity and growth.
The road from new ideas (“invention”) to their market uptake and their broad availability (“innovation”) is not easy. A series of policy and funding instruments such as the Innovation Union, Horizon 2020 and Key Enabling Technologies, have been and are being articulated by the European institutions with the objective of providing a stimulating framework for innovation in Europe.

It is therefore essential to understand and discuss how the various actors, such as the public and private sectors (at EU, national, regional and local levels), academia and civil society, could put this framework into practice for the benefit of all. We all have a responsibility and a role to play in enabling the huge European innovation potential to create greater value in and from Europe.

Join us!
So join us for an exciting and interactive discussion on 22 November on 'Innovation for Europe: Ready? Steady? Go?' The debate will be spiced with concrete examples from four societal priorities: water efficiency, resource efficiency, raw materials and smart cities.

The discussion will be both informative and challenging - voicing innovative and practical ways forward for Europe.

Talking innovation and chemistry
The debate will be kicked off by Gernot Klotz of Cefic who will tell us ‘What does innovation mean to the chemical industry?’ He will then be followed by four speakers who will briefly outline the potential for chemical innovation in four key areas:
  • Smart cities - Patrick Francoisse (Solvay)
  • Raw materials - Mike Pitts (CIKTN)
  • Resource efficiency - Felix Mueller (Evonik)
  • Water efficiency – Antonia Morales (Cefic)
This will set the stage for a panel discussion moderated by Tim Reynolds of Inta Communication Ltd followed by an open discussion where questions from the audience will be encouraged.

The panel discussion will feature:
  • Herbert von Bose (European Commission, DG RTD)
  • William Neale (Cabinet of Commissioner Potocnik) (tbc)
  • Edit Herczog (MEP) (tbc)
  • Laura Shields (media)
  • David Dupont (young student)
Before and after the debate, you can enjoy the exhibition “Tomorrow starts with Chemistry” showing some great chemistry innovations for today and tomorrow!#TSWC
The future starts tomorrow – and it begins with you. Come and join us as we celebrate the International Year of Chemistry 2011! From 21 to 23 November, the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) welcomes you to Tomorrow starts with Chemistry, an exciting three-day event and interactive exhibition in the Palais des Académies in Brussels. For twitter aficionados #TSWC is the hashtag for this event, if you want to keep up with the latest news.

A highlight of the International Year of Chemistry, #TSWC will demonstrate to you the endless possibilities of chemistry and its creative versatility. Visitors will be able to explore the breadth of the chemical industry’s achievements and it’s forward looking thoughts.

At the heart of the event is an eye-catching exhibition highlighting three societal challenges: mobility, housing and water. #TSWC will emphasise the role that chemistry plays in providing all the necessary answers. The centrepiece will be a large see-through platform built from a series of transparent display boxes, each containing daily life objects or materials associated with high-tech development that shape our lifestyle now and in the future.

The spectacular Solar Impulse plane, countless demonstrations and breath-taking experiments such as the quick dry paint demonstration and 3D holograms describing mobility in the future guarantee an unforgettable experience. Chemistry students from local universities will be present throughout the event to act as guides. The future starts tomorrow – and it begins with you.

The exhibition is open from 9.00 to 17.00 from Monday 21 November to Wednesday 23 November and is free to enter. To find out more visit the #TSWC blog site at

Monday, 14 November 2011

Biorefinery Study Bridging Gap Between Research and Market

A study released at the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bio-based Economy (EFIB) event in Amsterdam in October shows that Europe is well positioned to spearhead the development of a bio-based economy but must invest in demonstration activities to gain a competitive edge.

The “Biorefinery Feasibility Study” was launched by EuropaBio and nine partners, including DSM, Evonik, Genencor, Novozymes and Sud-Chemie, and undertaken by Dalberg Global Development Advisors. The study provides a blueprint for establishing integrated, demonstration scale biorefineries in the EU and recommends co-investments from public and private stakeholders to overcome the gap from research to market.

The “Integrated Biorefinery” concept was one of the original visionary projects described in SusChem’s Vision and Strategic Research Agenda. A cluster of FP7 projects are laying the knowledge-basis for such future bio-based facilities.

Vision, Value
Nathalie Moll, Secretary General of EuropaBio said: “The results present a vision, value chains and required capital investments, funding options, governance and implementation paths for demonstration biorefineries in the EU. These facilities are essential if we are to translate the full potential of our excellence in industrial biotech into smart, sustainable, marketable bio-based products and processes.”

The study provides a fact base on options and funding needs for demonstration biorefineries. It focuses on biotechnological conversion of agricultural residue, hard wood and energy crops into chemicals, materials and energy.

Biorefinery PPP?
According to the Dalberg study, diverse private sector interests mean competing sub-consortia of private and public stakeholders are likely to be most effective. The SPIRE PPP proposal that has been launched by the Resource and Energy Efficiency Partnership has included the topic of industrial biotechnology and biorefineries in their proposal and would provide excellent facilitation to access funding – including through Horizon 2020.

Other findings in the study include recommendations on the preferred location for biorefineries linked to synergies in co-location and feedstock availability. The study also outlines the need to focus on products with the highest added value, such as fuels and chemicals over heat and power, and to focus on funding for first-of-their-kind production plants and accessing funding to reduce risks to investors.

To find out more on the study and to access the full report contact EuropaBio either via Joanna Dupont-Inglis (Director, Industrial Biotechnology) or Rosalind Travers (Communications and Associations Liaison Officer).

Sunday, 13 November 2011

SusChem España Stakeholders in Barcelona

SusChem España will be holding its Annual Stakeholder event on 16 November during Expoquimia - Spain’s premier International Chemistry Trade Show that is taking place from 14 to 18 November in Barcelona. The day before the Spanish national platform is also involved with a major cross technology platform event at the same venue.

On 15 November, SusChem España is organising a major workshop with other Spanish national technology platforms entitled "Searching for Innovation at the Knowledge Crossroads". The aim of the workshop is to try and identify areas in which there are opportunities to cooperate, that in turn could lead into new innovative projects.

The following day the SusChem España stakeholder event takes place. The programme includes presentations on the next European Commission Framework Programme (Horizon 2020) and activities carried out both by the European and Spanish technology platforms. Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic, will present SusChem Europe’s current activities and prospects for the forthcoming Horizon 2020 programme.

Attendees will also receive information about the various activities and initiatives developed over the last year by the Spanish platform's groups working to define the “Sustainable Chemistry after 2012” roadmap. The stakeholder event will close with an award ceremony for the SusChem Young Chemist Prizes, under the categories of “Innova” and “Futura”

CDTI Forum
Antonia Morales Perez will also be presenting at the III Forum CDTI on 18 November in Madrid where she will outline SusChem’s proposal for a European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials that is specifically looking at the development of new innovative materials by design and solutions for the substitution of critical materials. Ms Pilar Aguar, Deputy Head of Unit of the Operational Unit Materials at the European Commission DG Research & Innovation will also be talking on this topic.

CDTI is the Centre for Industrial Technological Development an agency of the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation and organised the forum to discuss the EU 2020 agenda and the general concepts behind the proposed EIPs.

For more information on SusChem España activities please contact Cristina Gonzalez or visit the SusChem España website.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Rare Earth Shortages can hamper Low-carbon Technologies

A new report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) highlights the threat to successful deployment of low-carbon energy technologies due to a potential shortage of five elemental raw materials. The report recommends a set of actions to prevent shortages and allow a smooth implementation of the Commission's Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan.

Scientists from the JRC’s Institute for Energy and Transport (IET) have carried out an in-depth analysis of the use of raw materials, especially metals, in the six priority low-carbon energy technologies of the Commission's SET-Plan: nuclear, solar, wind, bio-energy, carbon capture and storage and electricity grids.

The study 'Critical Metals in Strategic Energy Technologies' reveals that five metals commonly used in these technologies – neodymium, dysprosium, indium, tellurium and gallium – show a high risk of shortage. Europe depends on imports for many of these, for which there is rapidly increasing global demand and limited supply, often concentrated in a few countries with associated political risks. Furthermore, these materials are not easily recyclable or substitutable.

Deployment issue
A large-scale deployment of solar energy technologies, for example, will require half the current world supply of tellurium and 25% of the supply of indium. At the same time, the envisaged deployment of wind energy technology in Europe will require large amounts of neodymium and dysprosium, (about 4% of the current global supply each) for permanent magnet generators, which could only be eased if the supply of such metals in the future is increased, which may not be simple. Virtually the whole European supply of these metals comes from China.

The report considers possible strategies to avoid or mitigate shortage of these metals, including promoting recycling and reuse and looking into substitution by other less critical materials. Further measures could be the development of alternative technologies. These are all issues that are addressed in the proposed European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials for a Modern Society being developed with significant SusChem involvement.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Chemistry for a Better Life at European Parliament

Chemistry takes centre stage at the European Parliament in Brussels tomorrow (November 9) where the European Parliament's Science and Technology Options Assessment Panel (STOA) is holding a workshop on 'Chemistry for a Better Life'.

The workshop will be chaired by Teresa Riera Madurell, MEP and starts at 3pm. The event has been organised by STOA, in cooperation with the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS) and the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and aims to highlight the crucial contribution of chemistry to achieving a better quality of life and welfare for humanity. The event takes place within the framework of the IUPAC/ UNESCO International Year of Chemistry 2011.

The workshop will be televised 'live' via a web video link. The main workshop session will be preceeded by a poster exhibition between 12:30 and 14:00.

Speakers at the workshop include:
  • Prof. Avelino Corma, Instituto de Technología Química, Valencia
  • Prof. Ulrich Schubert, EuCheMS
  • Prof. Dr. Dieter Jahn, BASF
  • Prof. Dr. Nicola Armaroli, CNR Bologna
  • Richard Allan, Scottish Water Horizons
  • Prof. Luis A. Oro, EuCheMS
Chemistry for solutions
Chemistry is fully committed to developing sustainable solutions to Europe’s pressing problems, including fostering resource efficiency (such as the proposed SPIRE PPP), developing alternative energy portfolios, redressing the consequences of climate change, improving our health conditions and assuring an adequate food supply for a growing population.

Chemistry is central to progress in many scientific and technological fields. Working with a wide range of experts EuCheMS has published a Roadmap where a number of key areas have been identified in which advances in chemistry can tackle some of the ‘Grand Challenges’ underlined by the Lund Declaration of 2009.

Chemistry, both as an industry and a science, will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the European Union is able to realise its vision of an ‘Innovation Union'. A strong partnership between academic, research and industry will ensure that research is transferred to sustainable economic solutions that contribute to the improved welfare of our society.

The workshop will be opened by a key note speech from Prof. Avelino Corma, Instituto de Technología Química, Valencia, followed by three Panel Sessions. Discussions between the panel members, MEPs and participants will provide an open discussion on the role of and expectations for chemistry in the forthcoming European Commission Common Strategic Framework for Research & Innovation - aka Horizon 2020.

Monday, 7 November 2011

SPIRE proposes Process Efficient Europe

A big step closer to a sustainable, smart and inclusive Europe has been made with the publication of the SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) proposal for a major Public Private Partnership (PPP) for Horizon 2020 - the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

The SPIRE proposal was developed and is driven by the Resource and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REP) involving more than 10 major process industry sectors which together represent 20% of the European economy. The high-tech process industry is a significant part of advanced manufacturing.

The main objective of SPIRE will be to bring to life, for the first time, a European innovation agenda that would look into new technologies, business models and solutions along the value chain for improved European industry competitiveness, resource efficiency and employment. SusChem has played a leading role in the development of the SPIRE proposal.

Innovative process industry for a prosperous Europe
"The SPIRE initiative is key to the rejuvenation of the EU's industrial base and to its future. It will provide the technological and non-technological tools as well as focus public-private efforts necessary to decouple economic growth from increasing use of resources," said Dr Klaus Sommer, Chair of the SusChem Board.

The consortium behind SPIRE is addressing for the first time, in addition to research, the innovation opportunities for resource efficiency from a full value chain perspective. This value chain goes from raw material suppliers, to transformative industries, such as the chemical (including industrial biotechnology) industries, to intermediate and end-user products.

"The proposal is targeted to be high impact," says Ed D'Hooghe, Innovation Manager at Cefic. "Therefore, along with technological innovation, SPIRE covers novel business models, design and branding services in a comprehensive innovation concept. It looks to include also public sector and social innovation."

SPIRE ambitions
SPIRE will bring together large corporate industry and high-tech SMEs as well as academic centres of excellence to develop innovative materials and breakthrough technologies to modernise the EU's industrial landscape.

"SPIRE can boost enterprise in Europe and create more jobs in the process and related industries including in high-tech SMEs by stimulating existing and new global markets that Europe can lead," concludes Dr. Klaus Sommer. "At the same time, citizens’ quality of life will improve as a greener, more efficient and smarter industry is built in Europe."

For more information on SPIRE and related SusChem activities contact Ed D'Hooghe at Cefic. The SPIRE proposal brochure can be downloaded here and the Executive Summary from the document can be accessed here.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

First Steps to a Water Efficient Europe

SusChem attended the first Stakeholder consultation on the candidate European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water Efficiency on October 20. More than 100 stakeholders had registered for the event in Brussels and SusChem had the opportunity to talk with representatives from interested organisations such as the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), European Water Partnership, the agricultural sector and SMEs organisations.

For each of the EU2020 targets, water is, without doubt, an essential resource element be it in terms of competitiveness of industry or in terms of sustainable development. So far, European citizens have not been confronted with severe water shortages, but as the demand on water increases and the global climate changes, Europe is becoming increasingly susceptible. The balance between water demand and availability has already reached a critical level in many areas of Europe.

The key water challenges in Europe are:
  • Scarcity of water as a resource
  • The water / energy nexus
  • Unsustainable waste water treatment (including pollution)
  • The need for water for making the bio-based economy and the development of eco-industries happen in Europe
Chemical industry
The Chemical Industry plays an important role in the whole water cycle due to its position being, on one hand, one of the biggest water-consuming industries, and, on the other hand, one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies. The industry’s commitment to the water topic and efforts to address its challenges are clear through its track record of supporting projects through SusChem and the WssTP.

These projects include the FP7 Coordination and Support Action ‘Coordinating European Strategies on Sustainable Materials, Processes and Emerging Technologies Development in Chemical Process and Water Industry across Technology Platforms’ (ChemWater) launched in May 2011 and the FP7 project ‘Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry’ (E4Water). This project to be finalised soon aims to create a breakthrough in industrial water treatment by enhancing its reuse, recycling and valorisation.

Water is used intensively by many different sectors: Agriculture-Urban-Industry, which makes water management, on the one hand, a challenging subject that cannot be tackled by one sector alone, and on the other hand an opportunity for Europe to establish a leadership position in this domain.

Symbiotic approach
There is a need for a symbiotic approach with two axes. Water quality and water quantity. The symbiotic approach includes reuse, waste water treatment, and recovery of raw materials from water that can be used as feedstock for other processes/ industries.

The Water Quality axis includes sustainable water production of the “right quality” for the “right use” (i.e. urban, industry and agriculture) and Sustainable waste water management. In this area examples of chemical industry contributions include more performing/ efficient chemically-enabled technologies with reduced environmental and energy impact such as:
  • Products for water purification technologies including new membrane technologies
  • Chemical and physical treatments, including seawater desalination
  • Elimination of water pollutants like phosphates and nitrates
The Water Quantity axis focuses on reducing the consumption of water. In the chemical industry this includes:
  • Reducing water consumption through new design of processes that demand less water
  • New sustainable cooling systems without water
  • Internal recycling and reuse (Resource Efficiency PPP- REP)
  • Reducing the use of fresh/drinking water resources (sustainable use of alternative sources such as desalination, waste water from urban areas, etc.)
  • Waste water treatment and management.
Underlying innovation
Underlying the whole approach is improved innovation. In times of major challenges for our economies and societies, innovation is highlighted as one of the efficient tools to achieve the ambitious targets of a smart, sustainable, competitive and inclusive Europe. As captured by the Innovation Union, Innovation is much more than research. It is about exploiting knowledge and ideas into solutions for the whole of society. This is the reason why the chemical and process industry noted with great interest the change in European policy to complement research policies with the European Innovation Partnerships that are supposed to embody this new understanding for the European initiatives and will bring it back in the global competitiveness and sustainable development race.

More information
To find out more on SusChem's work on 'Rethinking Water' contact Antonia Morales Perez at Cefic.

SusChem FP7 Success Stories

Creating economic value through effective collaboration

SusChem Europe and the Polish National Technology Platform SusChem organised a workshop in Warsaw on October 18, under the patronage of the Polish Presidency of the EU. The meeting brought together European policy-makers, politicians, industry and academia to share the benefits and impacts that have resulted through collaborative research and discuss best practices for successful EU projects, including impacts for scientific and commercial partners.

During the event at Warsaw University, speakers presented three FP7 projects involving significant Polish contributions (EUMET, EFECTS and INTENANT) and with great scientific and commercial potential. Dr Keith Simons, who worked as an EC-appointed advisor with these project teams, also described key generic learning points to ensure success in EU projects.

Polish perspective
Speaking at the panel discussion , Mr. Wojciech Lubiewa-Wielezynski, President of the Board of the Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry, described the challenges for major Polish industries to successfully work, in collaboration framework projects, with academic colleagues and the importance of SusChem national platform in Poland. However it is necessary to:
  • encourage chemical industry in Poland to be much more involved in research and innovation
  • increase of practical use of the Polish science potential in chemistry by industry
  • organize awareness workshop for the stakeholders with participation of EU-15 chemical industry. An opportunity for such as event could be during the Chemical Technology Congress in Krakow on 8-12 July 2012 or before through the Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry.
In this context, the good opportunities in the new EC framework programme, Horizon 2020, were discussed. For energy and resource intensive industries, SusChem is positioning the importance of the process industries in Europe in overall EU 2020 policy objectives. The concrete Public Private Partnership proposal in this area, which is currently under EC evaluation, would give excellent opportunities both for Polish industries and related academic partners.

Horizon 2020
Mr. Lubiewa-Wielezynski looked forward to future European research and innovation programmes saying: “Horizon 2020 will create significant targets on energy and resource efficiency improvements and Poland has a good hand of cards to play in these areas.”

Supporting this statement Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic said that: “The chemical industry’s participation will be of critical importance for these targets within the Horizon 2020 programme.”

Søren Bøwadt, Programme Officer for DG Research and Innovation commented that he was impressed by the quality of the projects presented and how well they fitted with the SusChem strategic directions. From the panel discussion he sought to encourage the chemical industry and academia in Poland to get further involved with collaborative participation in EC projects, as clearly in the new Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, some good opportunities could be expected on themes important for the SusChem Poland partners.

Patent success
All three projects demonstrated the importance of academia and industries working together to accelerate knowledge creation and build business opportunities. Industrial Biotechnology, Materials Technology and Reaction and Process Design, all key aspects of the Suschem Research Agenda were targeted by the projects. In addition to commercial success, the project outcomes are also impacting upon the challenges facing European society. To date, the projects have already filed 10 patents, and more are anticipated in the near future.

For example EUMET (Design, Development, Utilization and Commercialization of Olefin Metathesis Catalysts) developed a range of novel olefin metathesis catalysts. The first example has already been scaled-up by industrial partner Umicore. Improved olefin metathesis catalysts have also been discovered and approved for the synthesis of the Janssen Pharmaceuticals anti-hepatitis drug, TM435 currently in Phase III clinical trials.

In total over 50 new complexes were created and some 100 reactions tested. In addition to the direct benefit for the project partners, one catalyst is already available from research catalogues, and further selected catalysts are also to be brought to the market.

INTENANT (Integrated Synthesis and Purification of Enantiomers) has developed methodologies for improving the chemical yields (significantly reducing the cost of goods) during the manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). AstraZeneca is training over 100 chemists on the use of these new approaches which has been found to significantly improve process yields for a drug currently in Phase II clinical trials. The project has also benefited the German SME Molisa GmbH which has been able to develop an efficient synthetic route to the anti-tusive (cough-suppressing) Noscaspine. The molecule is also under investigation for its anti-cancer properties. In addition, a new company, FGEN has been created as a spin-out from the ETH, Zurich which will be supplying contract research services on the high-throughput racemisation approaches developed within the INTENAT project.

Finally EFECTS (Efficient Environmental-Friendly Electro-Ceramics Coating Technology and Synthesis) reported on the novel functional inks and ink-jet printing techniques developed during the project. The Greek SME Nanophos reported how they were able to rapidly commercialise the formulations developed during the project and offer self-cleaning and water-repellent surface coatings which are being incorporated into various building materials. The German SME Zenergy Power GmbH also reported it development of high-temperature superconducting tapes that could see application in turbines for wind and marine power generation.

Pictures from the meeting show (above from left to right): Johannes Spork - Cefic, Prof B A. Glowacki - University of Cambridge, Prof. Dr. Habil Karol Grela - Warsaw University, Dr. Søren Bøwadt - European Commission DG Research and Innovation, Wojciech Lubiewa-Wielezynski - President of the Board at Polish Chamber of Chemical Industry and Mr. Zbigniew Kamienski - Deputy Director, Ministry of Economy Poland.

Pictured below (from left to right) are: Dr Martin Hedberg - Astra Zeneca, Dr. Angelino Doppiu - Umicore, Prof. Dr. Habil Karol Grela - Warsaw University, Dr. Andras Horvath - Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

Monday, 24 October 2011

SusChem at Wetsus

SusChem was present at the seventh annual Wetsus Congress held in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, on October 3 and 4. Wetsus is a centre of excellence for sustainable water technology.

More than 300 people participated in the convention and on the first day, the topic addressed was “Cooperation in innovation, a global requirement?” and speakers from diverse backgrounds presented their views on this subject. On the second day, the topic was focused on “International scientific developments in water treatment technology”. In addition, a number of parallel sessions were organised around water science and technology.

Several of the world’s leading scientists in this field including Prof. Eilon Adar, Director of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Israel and Prof. Dr. Benny Freeman, Professor of Chemical Engineering at University of Texas at Austin, discussed the latest developments in water management and water related technologies.

During the Wetsus event, SusChem was represented in the exhibition area. The technology platform reiterated its commitment to addressing the challenges facing water management and supply, and its important role in bringing together academia and industry to speed up knowledge and business opportunity creation in the face of this crucial challenge.

SusChem is actively involved in European initiatives, such as the ChemWater FP7 project, that is contributing to the essential planning required for a future European Innovation Partnership on water efficiency. ChemWater is based on the long-standing, sucessful collaboration between the European Water Platform (WssTP) and SusChem.

ChemWater will outline how a more efficient use of water can be achieved to avoid the anticipated impacts of water shortages driven by climate change and other factors. The process industry, especially chemistry, plays an essential role as both a major water user and a key solution provider for the development of future water technologies.

BIOCHEM Milan Success, Frankfurt Next

BIOCHEM held its first “Accelerator Forum” in Milan from 5 to 7 October. The event, which was run alongside the LIFE_MED 2011 conference, attracted over 90 attendees, including SMEs, investors and representatives from national and regional innovation agencies.

As well as hearing about the BIOCHEM project and getting an opportunity to try out the new toolbox, there were a number of general talks outlining some of the European and national initiatives aimed at stimulating the bio-based products market. Over the second and third days a variety of SMEs had the opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors and get constructive feedback on their business plans and market focus.

The event provided an excellent opportunity to assemble companies, private investors and innovation agencies in one place and many fruitful discussions took place outside the main sessions. The next Accelerator Forum will take place alongside the huge ACHEMA 2012 meeting, which will be held in Frankfurt between 18 and 22 June. By this time BIOCHEM will have identified many more SMEs to take part in the project and benefit from a BIOCHEM boost to their business.

SMEs that have an interest in developing their activities in the bio-based product market are very welcome to take part in BIOCHEM. It costs nothing, apart a few hours of your time, and could have a major impact on your success in this growing market. You can contact any of the partners through the BIOCHEM website. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Water Efficient EIP starts consultation

SusChem wil be participating at the Stakeholder consultation for the candidate European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water Efficiency that takes place in Brussels tomorrow (October 20). During the consultation stakeholders will discuss the proposal and its concrete objectives and targets, focus areas, structure, governance and implementation.

Under the Innovation Union flagship initiative of the European Union, DG Environment, in close cooperation with DG Research and Innovation and other DG's, is developing a proposal for a candidate EIP on Water Efficiency.

Water scarcity and droughts already affect one third of the EU territory, floods across Europe have caused enormous human and economic costs, while water pollution remains an issue across Europe, posing threats to public health. These are major societal challenges with links to many sectors. Innovative solutions, bringing together all involved actors and different disciplines can provide effective and sustainable solutions and can contribute to realizing a global leadership position for European innovative solutions to water challenges.

SusChem is already involved in initiatives, such as the ChemWater FP7 project, that can support the proposed EIP.

This general meeting at the Centre Borchette will be first of a number of stakeholder consultations. Further, more specific stakeholder consultations on particular elements of the proposal will be organised until the end of February 2012.

It is hoped that a Commission Communication will then be developed for June 2012 with subsequent endorsment by the European Council and the European Parliament later in the year.

SusChem at 'Entrée en matière'

The SusChem exhibits on the Smart Energy Home (SEH) and F3 Factory (see below) are amongst a multitude of attractions featuring advanced materials and material science at the 'Entrée en matière' exhibition organised by Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) in Paris.

This major exhibition runs from today (19 October) to 31 October in the Trocadéro Gardens close to the Eiffel Tower in the French capital.

The SusChem exhibits were organised via the Union des Industries Chimiques who have more images from the exhibition on their Facebook page.

The exhibition covers all types of matter from the elements to galaxies, cells to neutrinos showing the beauty of nature and the excitment of science.

Entry to 'Entrée en matière' is free and the exhibition is designed to be accessible to all ages from 8 to 80 and beyond. Attractions include films, documentaries and debates with specialists.

The major themes of the event are: 'Exploring Materials', 'Transforming Materials', 'Materials for Life', and 'Dream Materials'. A number of special event days are scheduled including a 'Chemistry' Day on Saturday 29 October from 10h00 to 19h00.

In addition two conferences are being organised. On 21 October a conference on "Chemical Careers" is being held at 14h30, while the conference on 27 October at 14h30 the topic is "Decoding chemicals labels".

Not to be missed!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Star-COLIBRI issues Biorefinery Vision, Roadmap

The final event of the FP7 Star-COLIBRI project in Brussels last week (7 October) marked the official publication the project's Joint European Biorefinery Vision for 2030 and Joint European Research Roadmap 2020. The High-level Policy-maker Conference on Biorefineries saw a discussion of key policy priorities in the context of the future bio-economy strategy. Special emphasis was given to the important role of biorefineries in achieving the ambitious goals set out in this strategy, including resource-efficiency, sustainability and greenhouse gas reduction.

The Joint European Biorefinery Vision for 2030 predicts that the Biobased Economy is expected to grow significantly in Europe in the next 20 years. One of its core pillars is biorefining: the sustainable processing of biomass such as food, fuel and paper into a spectrum of marketable products and energy. In 2030, it is estimated that biorefineries will use a wider range of feedstocks and will produce an even greater variety of end-products than today.

Biorefinery goals
Achieving the goals set out in the report will require future biorefineries to be better integrated, more flexible and operating more sustainably. This will only be possible if crucial bottlenecks along the entire value-chain can be removed.

To address these challenges, several strategic research areas must be addressed by 2020. These are:
  • Biomass production and supply (including logistics)
  • Processing (both pre-treatment and conversion)
  • Programme integration (cross-sector, value-chain optimisation, process integration and overall sustainability assessments), and
  • Market development (from research to markets).

Invaluable tools
“The new reports on Biorefineries as well as the key strategic research areas discussed at [the] conference have provided invaluable information and tools to enable policy-makers to build a framework for the development of a sustainable European bioeconomy, with a network of biorefineries playing an essential role,“ said Johan Elvnert, coordinator of the project.

Commenting at the event, Dutch MEP Judith Merkies said: “Policy-makers in Europe have identified three key challenges that will affect Europe before the rest of the world. These are an ageing society, stability and equity in the economy and resource efficiency. Because our consumption grid is the highest per person in the world, it is our responsibility in Europe to turn these challenges into benefits. The issues and solutions identified through the Star-COLIBRI project are exactly the kind of responses intended under the EU Innovation Partnerships and it is of critical importance to resource efficiency in Europe and to the economy as a whole that we initiate these solutions as soon as possible”

More information
The Joint European Biorefinery Vision for 2030 and the European Biorefinery Joint Strategic Research Roadmap for 2020 are available to download on the Star-COLIBRI website.

To obtain more information on the Star-COLIBRI project contact project co-ordinator Johan Elvnert of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform, or Christophe Luguel from the IAR Cluster.

Star-COLIBRI (Strategic Research Targets for 2020 – Collaboration Initiative on Biorefineries) is a two-year Coordination and Support Action funded under FP7. The project involves five European Technology Platforms (including SusChem) and five major European Research organisations.

Star-COLIBRI's main objectives are to overcome fragmentation and promote cross-fertilization in the area of biorefineries research, support innovation by speeding up and facilitating industrial exploitation of research results in the biorefinery field, promote coordination in the field of future R&D funding, and facilitate the creation of Public-Private Partnerships.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Klaus Sommer, new SusChem Chairman

At the SusChem Board meeting on 22 September Dr. Klaus Sommer, Head of Business Management at Bayer Technology Services was appointed as the new Chairman of the board. He succeeded Dr Paul-Joël Derian who has recently moved from Rhodia to a new position with Suez Environnement.

Klaus has been intimately involved in the founding and evolution of SusChem – in particular through leading the Reaction and Process Engineering workgroup and working to realize the SusChem F3 Factory visionary project and several other strategic initiatives for SusChem.

SusChem News caught up with Dr. Sommer after the board meeting to find out his thoughts on the future direction of SusChem and his immediate goals for the technology platform.

SN: What are your plans for SusChem as its new chairman?

KS: As you know SusChem is a multi-stakeholder organization and relies on the work of many committed members, including the board members, from industry, academia and other research institutions. Over the years SusChem has managed to increase its visibility and its effectiveness by defining positions for the Chemical and Biotechnology Industry with respect to programmes and projects based on European Commission funding.

The ultimate aim for SusChem is to contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of Europe. Innovation and Technology are the two key elements in maintaining and improving competitiveness and SusChem has highlighted the critical role of sustainable chemistry and industrial biotechnology in delivering new technological solutions and innovations along the value chain.

We are now at a crucial point since the new Common Strategic Framework for research and Innovation – Horizon 2020 - is currently being defined by the European Commission and the European Parliament. SusChem has two main focus points in this context.

First, to continuously give input for the content and the calls of the Common Strategic Framework and, secondly, to launch significant programmes such as Public Private Partnerships (PPP) or make a significant contribution to European Innovation Partnerships (EIP) in collaboration with other European Technology Platforms. It is my priority to support SusChem in both focus areas.

SN: Do you have some specific programmes in mind?

KS: As I already indicated SusChem will have to develop a strategic plan for Horizon 2020. This would be similar in spirit to the original SusChem Strategic Research Agenda but adapted to recognise the new Societal Challenges like resource and energy efficiency

SusChem is strongly supporting PPPs and EIPs, such as “Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency”, “Water Efficient Europe”, “Critical Raw Materials” and “Smart Cities”. These set our priorities for the near- and mid-term.

SN: Do you have any specific expectations from the policy makers?

KS: I can say that SusChem has – over the years – established a very effective dialogue with the policy makers. This goes right back to the original reason why this European Technology Platform was set up namely to establish a body that can coordinate, align and deliver positions in Research, Development and Innovation for the Chemical and Biotechnology Industry. Our expectation is that the dialogue continues and that our positions, together with that of others, are recognized and considered in shaping future policies.

One additional specific point is that tools and workflows need to be continuously simplified so that it becomes even easier to have access to the European Commission Programmes. The formal requirements to engage with European programmes are still often considered to be too high and this acts as a barrier to participation. We have recently seen some encouraging communication and commitments; Horizon 2020 is a great opportunity to implement steps in the right direction.

SusChem has raised the profile of the sustainable chemistry, biotechnology and process engineering over the past few years. It has had a tremendous success in developing a specific research agenda and initiating a range of related projects. I believe that it has even greater opportunities ahead with the innovation agenda and I look forward to leading our technology platform, jointly with the SusChem board members, in these challenging times.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


The SusChem inspired F3 Factory project took a major step forward recently with the opening of the INVITE research centre at the Bayer Technology Services (BTS) Chempark in Leverkusen, Germany.

The INVITE (INnovations, VIsions and Technologies) research facility (pictured left) is a joint venture between Bayer Technology Services and TU Dortmund University and was formally opened on September 21. The facility is dedicated to the development and testing of flexible and efficient production concepts for the “Factory of the Future”.

The SusChem F3 Factory project will be one of the first projects to take advantage of the INVITE infrastructure. F3 stands for Fast, Flexible, Future and this project marks the first time that 25 partners, including seven of the leading European chemical companies, have put aside their own competing interests to combine the advantages of larger, better optimized plants with those of smaller, more flexible plants with the aim of conserving resources.

Ambitious goals
“INVITE will provide a major part of the infrastructure required to achieve the F3 Factory projects ambitious goals,” said Dr. Klaus Sommer of Bayer Technology Services, a SusChem board member and a leading figure in the F3 project. “The F3 Factory project was originally launched as a “Visionary Project” inspired by the strategic work within SusChem and is an example of how industry and academic partners can collaborate to push technology along in a very relevant area.”

The principle idea is to build chemical factories according to a modular principle. Modular standard apparatus are consolidated into containers, which can then be connected in series to form a complete plant. Both stakeholders in INVITE GmbH (BTS and TU Dortmund) are participants in F3 Factory, a €30 million research project coordinated by Bayer Technology Services.

INVITE’s Managing Director Dr. Thomas Bieringer is pictured above holding a modular micro-reactor component that can be used to construct highly optimized process configurations in the facility.

INVITE funding
Construction of the INVITE facility began in October 2010 and was partially funded by the German federal government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with contributions also from Bayer and TU Dortmund University. The centre will eventually employ more than 20 people in the 800m2 facility that comprises a technical centre, laboratories and office space.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Warsaw to showcase SusChem FP7 success

When the European Commission’s FP7 Programme was launched in 2007 its aim was to increase productivity and economic growth through innovation. SusChem had already developed its Strategic Research Agenda to promote collaborative Research, Development and Innovation between European industry and academia in the fields of Industrial Biotechnology, Materials Technology and Reaction and Process Design and many of its ideas and concepts were incorporated into the initial calls for FP7. Now these initial FP7 projects are being competed.

To celebrate the successful conclusion of these initial ‘SusChem inspired’ projects, SusChem is organising an event in collaboration with SusChem Poland under the patronage of the Polish Presidency of the EU to share the outcomes of three successful SusChem FP7 projects that all included Polish participants.

The event, which takes place at Warsaw University on 18 October is entitled ‘SusChem’s FP7 Success Stories: Creating economic value through effective collaboration’ and will feature FP7 projects: EUMET, EFECTS and INTENANT.

The projects
EUMET (Design, Development, Utilization and Commercialization Of Olefin Metathesis Catalysts). Led by St Andrews University in the UK, EUMET has developed a range of novel olefin metathesis catalysts which exceed the state of the art. The first example has already been scaled-up by industrial partner Umicore and is available from chemical research catalogues. Improved olefin metathesis catalysts have also been discovered and approved for the synthesis of a Janssen Pharmaceuticals drug currently in Phase III clinical trials.

INTENANT (Integrated synthesis and purification of single enantiomers). Coorodinated by Max Planck Institute, Magdeburg in Germany the project has looked to simplify the synthesis, purification and yields of enantiomeric substances for the pharmaceutical industry. In partnership with AstraZeneca, Bayer Technical Services and Molisa improved process technologies have been developed and applied to the development each of the company’s development pipelines. Training in the application of the methodologies is being rolled-out across the companies and is changing how they perform their candidate drug pipeline development. A spin-out company FGEN has also been formed which uses the technology developed in INTENANT to develop optimized biocatalysts.

EFECTS (Efficient Environmental-Friendly Electro-Ceramics Coating Technology and Synthesis) was coordinated by the University of Ghent in Belgium and has advanced the use of ink-jet printing technology to develop functional electro-ceramic coatings which have been incorporated into commercial products as diverse as high-temperature superconductors for Zenergy Power’s wind turbines and Nanophos’s self-cleaning ceramic tiles.

The SusChem Newsblog will be featuring case studies from further ‘SusChem inspired’ collaborative projects over the next few months.

SusChem – key to chemistry
This event will bring together European policy-makers, politicians, industry and academia to discuss to share the benefits and impacts that have resulted though collaboration in these and other FP7 projects and discuss best practice for maximising commercial impact from collaboration.

In addition speakers from the European Commission will outline the FP7’s successor programme: Horizon 2020. And SusChem representatives, including Prof Rodney Townsend, will describe the vision and strategy that the technology platform will be taking to maximise the benefits of sustainable chemistry for the chemical community, the European Union and its citizens.

More information
For more information on the Warsaw SusChem Success event take a look at the SusChem website. In particular you can find the agenda for the event here and can register directly for the event here.

For further information and specific queries please contact the SusChem secretariat.