Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Sustainable Surfactants and the Bioeconomy

CESIO 2013 - the 9th World Surfactant Congress and Business Convention – has convened in Barcelona from 10 to 12 June and Pádraig Naughton Innovation Manager - Resource and Energy Efficiency at Cefic is participating today (12 June) in a panel discussion entitled: ‘BioEconomy – Opportunities and Challenges'. SusChem News caught up with Pádraig before he be departed for Barcelona.

The bio-economy and the use of bio-based feedstocks and energy are seen by many as major contributing solutions to societal challenges such as climate change, availability of fossil-based resources and the competitiveness of Europe for the future. And the surfactant sector is no exception.

Europe has a strong research and development tradition and Pádraig is confident that the development of the technology and knowledge to meet these expectations will be forthcoming and Europe can play a leading role in the world.

However, Europe's recent track record on commercialisation of new technology does not instill confidence that we can convert newly developed expertise in the bioeconomy into local growth and jobs. Other regions are also working hard in this field and are ramping up their investment. Pádraig’s contribution addresses concerns in this area and is entitled ‘BioEconomy: Growth and jobs for Europe or elsewhere?’

Balanced approach
An integrated, balanced approach is needed, building on Europe’s strengths and identifying and addressing the gaps to reach a long-term vision for the future of this region argues Pádraig.

“In order to create growth and jobs in the European economy, it is essential to ensure sustainable business through market pull, rather than technology push,” he says. “Past EU developments have a good track record in research and development and technology development, but too often we have not been able to reap the benefits locally.”

Pádraig’s talk will address the consequences of this weakness and the barriers that need to be addressed to cross the “innovation valley of death” to a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe.

He is hopeful that Europe can rise to the challenge in a united manner and that large-scale collaborative research and innovation has a role to play in this. “Conducting innovation and creating long-term value from these efforts is a primary goal of Horizon 2020,” concluded Pádraig.

What is CESIO 2013?
CESIO 2013 is organised on behalf of the European Committee of Organic Surfactants and their Intermediates (CESIO) a sector group of Cefic, the European Chemical Industry Council.

The Congress offers a one-of-a-kind location to meet the relevant actors in the global surfactant industry, its suppliers and customers, and service companies to share expertise, discuss market trends, learn about new developments and to network within the supply chain, consultants and academia.

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