Wednesday, 28 March 2012

ChemWater at Green Week 2012

A ChemWater event has just been officially labeled as a 'Green Week 2012 satellite event' by the European Commission’s DG Environment. The event – jointly organised by SusChem and the European Water Technology Platform (WssTP) – will take place on 24 May at the Hotel Silken Berlaymont.

The ChemWater event is entitled ‘ChemWater: Efficient and Sustainable Management of Water in the Process Industry’. Clearly, Europe must use its water resources more effectively to avoid future shortages driven by climate change and other factors. The process industries, especially the chemical industry, will play an essential role, both as a major user of water and a key solution provider to the sector.

ChemWater is a European Commission funded FP7 project launched in May 2011 that is working to define, coordinate and implement joint European strategies on sustainable materials, processes and emerging technology development relevant to water issues. It will work to enhance and optimise the industrial water management cycle across relevant European Technology Platforms and connect with other existing initiatives at European, national and regional level.

The project was initiated by SusChem and WssTP and will last 30 months. The partners in the project are all stakeholders in one or both of the technology platforms and are drawn from industry and academia. ChemWater will provide significant support for the proposed European Innovation Partnership on Water.

Green Week 2012
The 12th edition of Green Week, Europe’s biggest annual conference on environmental policy, takes place from 22 to 25 May in Brussels and this year the theme is ‘Water’.

Under the banner ‘Every Drop Counts – The Water Challenge’ Green Week 2012 will use over 40 separate conference sessions to address global and European environmental issues around water.

Water is a valuable resource that needs to be used properly and sparingly. We must make sure that we have enough for all of its uses and we must avoid polluting our rivers, seas and oceans. Along with all other natural resources, water is one of the most vital for our continued existence on this planet. Green Week 2012 offers a unique opportunity for debate and exchanges of experience and best practice.

Green Week 2012 is expected to attract several thousands participants from government, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and the media.

For more information on the ChemWater event at Green Week 2012 contact Antonia Morales Perez at Cefic.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

SusChem salutes WWD 2012

Today (March 22) is World Water Day 2012 and SusChem salutes all participants in this annual international event that highlights the importance of freshwater and advocates the sustainable management of freshwater resources: two objectives that SusChem fully supports. This international day to celebrate fresh water was first considered at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and 22 March 1993 was designated as the first World Water Day by the United Nations General Assembly. The theme for 2012 is 'Water and Food Security'.

With over seven billion people to feed on the planet today and another two billion expected to join us by 2050 ensuring there is freshwater for all is a grand global challenge. We all need two to four litres of water to drink every day, however on top of this we also ‘drink’ significantly more through water used to produce the food we eat: for example it is estimated that to produce one kilo of beef consumes 15 000 litres of water, while one kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1 500 litres.

With one billion people in the world already living in chronic hunger and water resources under pressure, this is clearly a global problem. Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food for everyone calls for a series of actions we can all help with, including:
  • follow a healthier, sustainable diet
  • consume less water-intensive products
  • reduce food wastage (30% of the food produced worldwide goes to waste!)
  • produce more food, of better quality, with less water
At all steps of the supply chain, from producers to consumers, actions can be taken to save water and ensure food for all.

To find out more on the World Water Day 2012 campaign “Water and Food Security” you can visit the campaign website, become friends with WWD2012 on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or see event images on Flickr or watch their video stream on Youtube!

What is SusChem doing?
The chemical industry as one of the biggest water consumers can lead the development of integrated water strategies through technologies that reduce water consumption, reduce use of fresh water resources (through cascade use of urban, industrial and rural areas), and optimise waste water management.

The industry is also one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies. Our experience will allow us to develop new approaches to improve other sectors’ water management and public sector water requirements. But no one sector can tackle this challenge alone. Water is used intensively in agricultural and industrial sectors and for public use, so there is a need for integrated solutions within a symbiotic approach.

SusChem is working to boost innovation in water related topics to contribute to improved use and treatment of water and further develop a sustainable water policy.

To achieve these solutions SusChem is working with partners, including the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), to develop the proposed European Innovation Partnership on Water. The Partnership has some ambitious objectives including reducing private water consumption and increasing water efficiency in irrigation.

SusChem is contributing to a new website on the chemical industry and sustainable water resources that is due to launch in early April. The launch will be covered by SusChem News.

For more information on SusChem activities and initiatives on water efficiency contact Antonia Morales Perez at Cefic.

Friday, 16 March 2012

SPIRE, F3 show Sustainable ‘Cleantech’ Solutions

Both the SPIRE and the SusChem inspired F3 Factory project will feature at a lunchtime event at the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) office in Brussels on 21 March. The theme of the event is ‘Resource Efficiency. Novel Approaches – Products and Processes for a Sustainable Society’.

Global chemicals and manufacturing industries consume large quantities of non-renewable fossil-based raw materials and energy, but are at the core of our modern industrial society, developing and producing the key chemicals, materials, medicines and products that allow us to achieve ever better standards of living.

Current research and innovation trends offer significant opportunities to transform these industries into eco-efficient high-tech solution providers, by, for example, switching to bio-based feedstock, improving efficiency, recycling and reusing waste materials and looking at the industry as an integrated system.

Finding sustainable “cleantech” solutions requires a strong commitment between research and industry to establish a new paradigm in sustainable production methodology for the European chemical- and bio-industry.

SusChem inspired solutions
The event will be opened by Rainer Steffens, Head of the NRW representation to the EU, Svenja Schulze, Minister for Innovation, Science and Research in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and Dr. Rudolf W. Strohmeier European Commission, Deputy Director-General, DG Research.

The F³-Factory (fast, flexible, future) is a FP7 project success story and an exemplary industrial case study. This original Suschem visionary project can allow the flexible, continuous production of chemical intermediates. The story will be presented by Dr. Frank Stenger of Evonik Industries and Dr. Sigurd Buchholz of Bayer Technology Services

Within the F3 project is a backbone facility: the INVITE research centre(pictured above). A joint venture with TU Dormund University its development and realisation will be told by Prof. Dr. Sebastian Engell.

Ed d‘Hooghe, Innovation Manager at Cefic will describe the Research and Innovation Public and Private Partnership (PPP) proposal, Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE). SPIRE aims to realise European competitiveness through improved resource and energy efficiency.

To achieve this SPIRE has the objective to develop enabling technologies and solutions along the value chain. These solutions are required to reach long term sustainability for Europe in terms of global competitiveness, ecology and employment.

The driving force behind SPIRE is the Resource and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REP) that brings together the collective expertise of more than 10 major industry sectors with strong connections to process manufacturing.

To find out more about the event contact the Representation of North Rhine-Westphalia to the European Union.

Environmental research
SPIRE, and other SusChem initiatives, will also be presented at the 20th anniversary seminar and workshop for the European Network of Environmental Research Organisations (ENERO). This all day event takes place on 29 March in Brussels.

The theme of the seminar is ‘Boosting and Securing Eco-innovations through new Partnerships’. The event will bring together key players to reflect on research organisations' role in producing sustainable innovations for the global market, and the links between environmental research and innovation.

Ed D’Hooghe will present SPIRE and other presentations will cover other areas of interest to SusChem including the bio-based chemical industry and improving water efficiency. For more information visit the ENERO website.

New Reports Highlight Need for Water Innovation Partnership

Reports from the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and the European Environment Agency (EEA) published reports during the 6th World Water Forum, taking place from 12 – 17 March in Marseille, France, highlight the urgent need for improving the efficient use of water in Europe. This is an area in which SusChem is very active.

The new assessment of available water resources published by JRC reveals that large areas in Spain and Eastern Europe have on average less than 200 mm of freshwater available every year while the demand for water is three to ten times higher. The report 'Current Water Resources in Europe and Africa' (download here - 12MB+) shows variations in yearly freshwater generation from 10 mm to over 500 mm for Europe (see map). The report outlines existing uncertainties and points to further research efforts needed for improved water management.

EEA seeks efficiency
Europe needs to redouble efforts in using water more efficiently to avoid undermining its economy, according to the report from the EEA. Inefficient water has a significant impact on the resources needed by ecosystems and people, both vital assets for European productivity and security. The report 'Towards Efficient use of water resources in Europe’ makes the case for an integrated water management, starting with better implementation of existing legislation.

"Water resources are under pressure in many parts of Europe, and it is getting worse," said EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade. "Agriculture, energy production, industry, public water supply and ecosystems are all important, and all competing for this limited resource. With climate change making water supply less predictable, it is extremely important that Europe uses water more efficiently for the benefit of all its users. Water resources should be managed as effectively as any other natural asset owned by countries."

Inefficient use of water also leads to higher energy use, with extra financial and environmental costs, according to the report. While the energy needed to pump and treat freshwater into drinking water is typically around 0.6 kWh/m3, desalination of seawater adds approximately 4 kWh/m3. Several European countries use desalination technology, most notably Spain, which is among the highest users of desalination globally.

What is SusChem doing?
The chemical industry as one of the biggest water consumers can lead the development of integrated water strategies through technologies that reduce water consumption, reduce use of fresh water resources (through cascade use of urban, industrial and rural areas), and optimise waste water management.

The industry is also one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies. Our experience will allow us to develop new approaches to improve other sectors’ water management and public sector water requirements. But no one sector can tackle this challenge alone. Water is used intensively in agricultural and industrial sectors and for public use, so there is a need for integrated solutions within a symbiotic approach.

SusChem is working to boost innovation in water related topics to contribute to improved use and treatment of water and further develop a sustainable water policy.

To achieve these solutions SusChem is working with partners, including the Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP), to develop the proposed European Innovation Partnership on Water.

The European Innovation Partnership on Water has ambitious objectives including:
  • reducing private water consumption
  • increasing water efficiency in irrigation
  • decreasing the water footprint of all industries
  • minimising water loss in distribution systems and
  • reducing the energy used in the water sector
The innovation initiative also aims to increase the reuse of water, introduce low water consumption processes into industry and promote new techniques such as nanofiltration. In addition it will examine eco-systems, land-use management and adaptations to climate change.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

BIOCHEM Business Videos

The SusChem inspired bio-based innovation project BIOCHEM is producing a series of video lectures to support enterprises looking to considering entering the bio-based products market. The first series on business basic has just been published as part of the BIOCHEM toolbox.

The first set of videos will consist of seven business orientated presentations. A general introduction video is followed by six further videos that explain the mysteries of putting together sound Business Models and Plans and give advice on how to attract investor capital. Each video is between five and ten minutes long allowing viewers to get information in easily digestible parts.

The six main video topics are:
  • Module 1: What is a Business Model?
  • Module 2: How to build Business Model
  • Module 3: The Business Plan "Puzzle"
  • Module 4: Who are the investors?
  • Module 5: The "deal funnel"
  • Module 6: On-line tool to check your Business Plan
Further videos are planned for upload during March:
  • BIOCHEM Market update
  • Carbon Foot Print
  • Sustainable design guide
BIOCHEM is a Europe-wide project co-funded by the European Commission to support SMEs wishing to innovate in the emerging market of bio-based products. Find out more here.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

SPIRE Road Mapping Under Way

SusChem, together with the other sector partners involved in the Resource and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REP), have started a significant technology road mapping exercise with support from major European Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs). This process will build an initial set of technology road maps covering opportunities and priorities across both energy and resource efficiency. The results will feed into preparations for future major research and innovation initiatives under the proposed Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE).

Two workshops have already been held, with a third scheduled for mid-March. The mapping is organised around four workgroups that have been formed to cover all aspects of the value chain:
  • Raw materials / feedstock
  • Process
  • Products
  • Waste and recycling
“The results from this initial road mapping exercise will be published and disseminated for a wider consultation with REP stakeholders and other interested parties,” says Ed D’Hooghe, Innovation Manager at Cefic. “We hope to have initial reports available for a first review on or around the SusChem Stakeholder event in April.”

The SusChem Stakeholder event will feature a dedicated session on Resource Efficiency on the afternoon of 17 April and a workshop on the morning of 18 April. The full event programme can be consulted here.

The REP brings together more than 10 major industrial sectors in Europe that aim to promote co-operation between industrial sectors and seek sustainable solutions in industry processes that promote resource and energy efficiency.

The partnership comprises a broad range of major European Industry Associations with two European Technology Platforms directly involved: SusChem and the European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP). In addition the European Water Platform (WssTP) and the European Technology Platform on Sustainable Mineral resources (SMR) are associated with the partnership.

More information
For more information on SusChem activities in REP and the technology road mapping consultation, please contact Ed D’Hooghe at Cefic.

Monday, 5 March 2012

SusChem Stakeholder Speaker: Prof. Jerzy Buzek

Polish MEP Prof. Jerzy Buzek will address the opening session of the 10th Annual SusChem Stakeholder event on 17 April. The former President of the European Parliament and former Polish Prime Minister is one of a handful of MEPs with a scientific background and has been influential in shaping European research and innovation policy. His talk will cover the status of EU innovation policy, the role of technology platforms and sustainable chemistry in achieving sustainable growth, and how industry can become more engaged in European innovation initiatives.

Jerzy Buzek was born in 1940 in Śmiłowice, a town in south-eastern Silesia which is now part of the Czech Republic. His science career started in the mechanical and energy engineering department at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice graduating in 1963. He then started work at the Institute of Chemical Engineering in the Polish Academy of Sciences in Gliwice gaining his doctorate in 1969. Jerzy Buzek continued his scientific work throughout the 1970s including a research placement at the University of Cambridge in 1971.

His research work was largely in the field of environmental protection and he was a highly regarded lecturer at the Silesian University of Technology, and later at the Opole University of Technology. In the early to mid 90s Buzek was Poland’s representative at the International Energy Agency programme on the Greenhouse Gas effect. Jerzy Buzek's achievements in scientific research and in teaching were recognised when he was appointed Professor of Engineering.

Polish politics
In late 1980 Jerzy Buzek became a member of Solidarność and in summer 1981 he was a delegate to the First National Congress of Solidarność and became an increasingly important member of the movement. By February 1997 Buzek was coordinator of the panel of economics experts within the Solidarity Electoral Action (AWS) party and was elected to the Polish parliament. The AWS’s success in this election was largely due to its economic policies and the party nominated him for the office of Prime Minister.

Jerzy Buzek's government was sworn in at the end of October 1997 and continued until October 2001, during which time Buzek took Poland into NATO and negotiated the term's of Poland's accession to the European Union. When the AWS lost the parliamentary elections in the autumn of 2001, Jerzy Buzek withdrew from active politics for a few years.

EP President
However, following Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004 Jerzy Buzek was elected to the European Parliament with the largest majority in Poland. Once in Brussels, he threw himself into the parliament's work. In particular from a research and innovation view point he was the European Parliament's rapporteur for the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7) legislative package, and for the European Strategic Energy Technology Plan. Between 2004 and 2009 he was a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

Jerzy Buzek's personality and skills, combined with his professional approach to politics led to his election to the office of President of the European Parliament on 14 July 2009. He obtained the biggest majority of any EP President since the first direct elections in 1979 and he was the first President to hail from one of the EU's new Member States. His two and a half year term ended in January 2012.

Prof. Buzek remains an MEP and is actively participates in ITRE activities and the EP's Committee of Foreign Affairs (AFET).

Event registration
Registration for the Stakeholder event on 17-18 April is open now on the new SusChem website. Click here to find out more about the stakeholder event! We are expecting a record attendance and registration will close on 6 April. So don't delay - register today!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

ERA-IB seeks innovative R&D proposals

Today (March 1) the ERA-NET ‘Towards an ERA in Industrial Biotechnology’ (ERA-IB) opened its call for proposals for innovative industrially-relevant research and development and applied research projects, and is offering grant funding of up to €300,000 per company, per project.

The topic area of the new ERA-IB call, its third, is ‘Industrial biotechnology for Europe: An Integrated Approach’.

Funding is available for projects covering one or more of the following topics:
  • Improved enzyme systems for new and more efficient bioprocesses
  • Improvement of microorganisms by metabolic engineering and synthetic and systems biology approaches
  • Innovative down-stream processing
  • Innovative fermentation and bio-catalytic processes, e.g. for platform chemicals, including bio-monomers, oligomers and polymers
  • Biological processing (including separation and conversion) of biomass, including from side streams, and other renewable carbon sources into value added products
  • New valuable products by plant and animal cell cultures
Project pre-proposal documentation must be submitted by 30 April with full proposals ready by 31 July. Projects, which are expected to start in early 2013, must have a minimum of three and a maximum of eight participants from a minimum of three ERA-IB partner countries.

For further information and details of how to apply please visit the call pages of the ERA-IB website or contact the ERA-IB secretariat.

Complementary collaboration
ERA-IB is a network of organisations from 16 countries working to reduce the fragmentation of national research in the area of industrial biotechnology. ERA-IB closely collaborates with SusChem and advocates using the SusChem Brokerage Database to find potential partners for project collaboration.

The two organisations are highly complementary with SusChem taking the lead in defining the strategic research priorities relevant for the European industry, while ERA-IB focuses on enhanced synergy and cooperation between national research programmes and strategies. The initiatives complement each other in objectives and activities and both are essential for the development of a strong European Research Area in Industrial Biotechnology.