Thursday, 31 October 2013

Watch EFIB 2013 Highlights!

The European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology 2013 (EFIB 2013) took place from 30 September to 2 October in Brussels. This sixth edition of EFIB, organised by SusChem founding partner EuropaBio, was by far the biggest yet and underlined the remarkable expansion of interest in industrial biotechnology across Europe and globally in recent years.

EFIB 2013 took place in The Square conference facility in central Brussels and was one of the highlights of the first ever European Biotech week. Over 700 delegates attended and an extensive biotech market place saw more than 45 exhibitors and 20 technology showcase presentations. And, of course, two whole days of conference sessions.

EuropaBio has produced a video highlights of the EFIB2013 conference. Enjoy!

EFIB 2014
Why not join this important EU bioeconomy event next year? EFIB2014 will be held in Reims, France. To get an insight into this exciting and rapidly evolving landscape and be part of the process of building a stronger more sustainable biobased economy be in Reims, Champagne-Ardenne France from 7 to 9 October 2014.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

SPIRE speaks at MANUFUTURE 2013

MANUFUTURE 2013 View on Horizon 2020: Sustainable Re-industrialisation of Europe’ organised by the European Technology Platform on Future Manufacturing (Manufuture) in Vilnius from 6 – 8 October saw a major presentation on the SusChem inspired SPIRE PPP.

Resource efficiency
In a plenary session on the morning of October 7 devoted to Horizon 2020 and roadmaps for manufacturing, Dr. Klaus Sommer, the President of the A.Spire Board of Directors, presented the strategic SPIRE Roadmap and described what SPIRE will do in practice to create a world-leading, resource and energy efficient process industry for Europe.

You can watch Dr Sommer's speech below and also access the presentation as given.

Special focus
A special focus of the conference was given to increasing the efficiency of EU regional and national RTD support tools through their mutual synergy and national / regional smart specialization.

The conference saw MANUFUTURE stakeholders from industry, academia and the public sector exchanging views on how to implement Horizon 2020 and related national programmes in a coherent and flexible manner. Horizon 2020 investments must translate into tangible wealth, growth and jobs. To achieve this requires better support of the entire innovation cycle, promoting better alignment with national and regional policies and funding programmes, and creating framework conditions for growth and jobs to help Europe stay globally competitive.

For more information on the conference, please visit the MANUFUTURE 2013 website. More information on SPIRE can be found here.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

SusChem starts Horizon 2020 project prep!

SusChem started its preparations for Horizon 2020 with a brokerage event that attracted almost 200 participants to the Crown Plaza Le Palace Hotel, Brussels yesterday (October 23). Horizon 2020 is scheduled to kick-off on 1 January 2014 and SusChem, as the most prominent European Technology Platform (ETP), is ready to support the programme and ensure it achieves its goals of boosting competitiveness, jobs and growth in Europe.

Following on from briefings on the scope of the new European Commission programme, delegates spent the brokerage day outlining project proposals, describing their skills and experience, and meeting in 150 scheduled one-to-one meeting plus more informal and spontaneous networking.

Commenting on the event Jacques Kormornicki, SusChem Programme Manager at Cefic (left) said: "I want to thank all the participants for their involvement in this active participation from the industry which is key in the future success of Horizon 2020."

"We are now focusing on turning this success into the building of consortia to submit proposals when the calls come out in December 2013," he continued. "We will be organizing either webinars or another brokerage event in January 2014.

The final decision on this will be taken when the calls are out and based on the feed-back from participants. The new Grant-iT tool, which is designed to help SusChem stakeholders to participate to the calls and find partners will also be ready end 2013."

The event continued the atmosphere of intense collaboration and innovative zeal that had been evident at the SPIRE PPP brokerage event on 22 October and is typical of the vision and innovation leadership that SusChem has shown since its foundation in mid-2004.

SusChem success
SusChem board member Prof Rodney Townsend got things started with an outline of SusChem’s achievements. He praised the dedicated support work of SusChem’s national technology platforms (NTPs) that have mobilised stakeholders in 12 Member States and he welcomed SusChem Switzerland as our latest NTP.

He noted the success that SusChem had achieved in FP7 with an estimated €300 million of EU public funding per annum for projects that aligned with the SusChem strategic roadmap. He looked for similar achievements in Horizon 2020. He said that SusChem had been actively engaged in discussions on Horizon2020 since 2011 to ensure that sustainable chemistry and industrial biotechnology remain a major part of it, to successfully work with key European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs), and in particular to help launch two public-private-partnerships in Horizon 2020: SPIRE and the BioBased Industries JTI.

SusChem was also actively involved in identifying areas in the Future Emerging Technologies theme for sustainable chemistry and biotechnology. The full scope of SusChem activities is illustrated below.

The starting point for the brokerage activities was the draft Horizon 2020 work programme for the first two years. With the first calls to be published in December it was now time to start preparations! And there was also a need to think about calls for 2015. Rodney wished everyone a fruitful meeting and indicated that, if stakeholders required it, SusChem will organise another brokerage event early in 2014.

Prominent ETP
Soren Bowadt of the European Commission DG Research and Innovation also praised SusChem for its success with major projects such as the F3 factory project and its ability to set up two PPPs for Horizon 2020 describing SusChem as “the most prominent of the ETPs.”

He then outlined the Horizon 2020 programme with its emphasis on innovation and demonstration activities. A key part was the deployment of Key Enabling Technologies (KETS) that were strategic technologies that could drive competitiveness and growth based on knowledge.

He described the Commission’s wish for an impact orientated approach and their likely focus on Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) in the range 3 - 8 for projects to be funded under Horizon 2020. A set of definitions of TRLs to be used under Horizon 2020 is given below.

In Horizon 2020 KETs would be used to address the whole innovation chain from research to TRLs preceding commercialisation. He said that the PPPs would be important. It was important to promote the involvement of industry and also ensure synergies between research and industry. The PPPs would be used to implement KETs in many areas.

He concluded by thanking SusChem for its contributions to the development of the work programme saying: “this would not have been possible without the vision of SusChem and your intense and constructive collaboration with the Commission.”

The plenary briefing session was completed by Jacques Kormornicki. He also praised SusChem’s impact, for example, SusChem priorities were found in 30% of the NMP calls in FP7 and SusChem also had significant impact in two other fields: KBBE and Energy.

In addition to SusChem’s energetic direct activity in EIPs (Water, Smart-Cities and Communities, Raw Materials) and the SPIRE PPP, it was supporting the Bio-Based Industries JTI and the Energy Efficient Buildings PPP. There was also strong activity in Materials Technology along the “value chain” including membership of the umbrella Alliance for Materials (A4M). SusChem had also taken up the role of promoting innovation early on and had been heavily involved in the formulation of the KET concept that is the basis of the Horizon 2020 pillar on Industrial leadership.

Jacques showed an analysis of the draft Horizon 2020 work packages from its societal challenges and industrial leadership pillars (see below). Some 200 work packages already mapped onto SusChem priority areas.

This showed the opportunity in Horizon 2020 said. Jacques. Delegates had the full analysis ‘matrix’ of the Horizon 2020 work programmes versus SusChem priorities and a full list of participants and presentations in today’s meeting – it was now up to participants to identify relevant topics and find partners for fruitful collaborative work.

Brokerage bonanza
Esther Agyeman-Budu of Cefic outlined how the various brokerage activities during the day. A first plenary set of project presentation was made before lunch and then three parallel sessions were organised after lunch on Materials, Resource and Energy Efficiency, and Water and Biotechnology.

In total 45 Project Idea or Areas of Interest presentations were made including 12 presentations from the chemical industry including two made via through SusChem NTPs.

After project presentations an intense session of ‘speed-dating’, one-to-one meetings and other networking opportunities took place.

To complete the day and wrap up proceedings Jacques Komornicki described the likely process and the tools available to SusChem stakeholders to assist project formation.

He highlighted the SusChem – PNO ‘matrix’ tool to check for relevant Horizon 2020 call topics and the revised GRANT-IT service for Horizon 2020 that would be launched at the end of 2013. This would be freely available for the whole SusChem community following registration.

The GRANT-IT tool will provide a searchable database of relevant funding programmes, project searching for partners, the ability to search for past and present European projects, and the opportunity to ask for personalised advice on a project idea. There will also be a facility for interaction via forums and comments as part of a brokerage process to develop some sound project ideas and consortia.

Further details of the GRANT-IT tool and how to access it will be covered by the SusChem newsblog when it is ready for launch.

Jacques reiterated that a second brokerage event could be organised in January 2014 if there was demand and in addition, again if there was a perceived need, SusChem could also organise webinars on specific programme areas.

Get involved!
SusChem stakeholder who wanted to get more involved with the brokerage activities around Horizon 2020 should contact either Jacques Komornicki and Pádraig Naughton at Cefic or Ron Weerdmeester at PNO Consultants. And watch out for announcements on the SusChem website and SusChem News!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

SPIRE > be more

A new video for the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) PPP was premiered at the cocktail event on the eve of the SPIRE brokerage event earlier in the week in Brussels. 'SPIRE > be more' is now uploaded on the web and embedded below. Please feel free to share with colleagues and research partners.

SPIRE is a proposal for a European Public-Private Partnership (PPP) dedicated to innovation in resource and energy efficiency and enabled by the process industries. It is supported by eight European process industry sectors: cement, ceramics, chemical, engineering, minerals, non-ferrous metals, steel and water.

Find out more about SPIRE
To find out more about SPIRE visit the website or contact the SPIRE secretariat.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

SPIRE ready to go for Horizon 2020

On the eve (October 21) of its first brokerage workshop, SPIRE, the proposed Horizon 2020 Public Private Partnership (PPP) on Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency, celebrated the first anniversary of A.SPIRE aisbl, the legal entity established to manage and implement the initiative, at a sparkling cocktail event at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Brussels.

Members of A.SPIRE gathered to celebrate the achievements of the organisation so far and prepare for the brokerage event that took place today (22 October) at the same venue. The SusChem Horizon 2020 brokerage event also takes place at this venue on Wednesday 23 October.

Dr Klaus Sommer, President of A.SPIRE aisbl (below, left) announced that: "SPIRE was ready to go for Horizon 2020!" He looked forward to the ideas that the Brokerage session would bring. He praised SPIRE members for the hard work that they had undertaken in almost three years of preparation and looked forward to seven years of achievement for the PPP in Horizon 2020.

Soren Bowadt of the European Commission (above, right) also praised the strong support shown for SPIRE by so many industry sectors and Member States. In particular he praised the technical strength of the SPIRE roadmap

A new and inspirational SPIRE promotional video was premiered at the cocktail event to great appreciation from members. The video is now also available on the SusChem blog.

Earlier in the day an A.SPIRE aisbl board meeting had taken place followed by a General Meeting of the association. At the meeting new organisations were approved as members of the consortium bringing the total membership to 90 entities that include companies (large and small), trade and academic associations, and research institutions from eight process sectors and over 14 countries.

Brokerage buzz
The morning of 22 October saw a capacity crowd at the Brokerage session with attendance estimated at over 200 participants. Attendance at the Brokerage meeting was restricted to members of A.SPIRE.

Klaus Sommer opened proceedings outlining the way ahead for SPIRE. "Europe has excellent R&D but had not shown such a great ability to convert this into commercial success." he said. "SPIRE will focus on projects with high TRLs (technology readiness levels) undertaking demonstration initiatives to turn research into market innovation."

And he also praised the SPIRE roadmap saying: "We have good reason to be proud of the SPIRE roadmap; it is not a political document but a tool that outlines the technical challenges for the next seven years. It is a document that is trustworthy and high quality."

Dr. Sommer outlined the immediate timetable for SPIRE. He anticipated the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commission in mid December and publication of the first calls would happen very soon after that. Project proposal responses would need to be submitted by the end of Q1 of 2014 - which was why brokerage needed to start now! "SPIRE is part of H2020!" he declared.

Horizon 2020 outlook
Soren Bowadt led the Commission's presentations on the initial potential SPIRE calls in Horizon 2020 in the manufacturing and environmental areas. "It is a real pleasure for me to stand here today and see so many people here," he said. "We still need to get a signature - but we are well on the way!"

He praised SusChem success in FP7 with projects such as the F3 factory that were lighthouse projects and had inspired a new view on the role of the process industries in EU industrial policy. He also stressed the important role in Horizon 2020 for PPPs , such as SPIRE, to implement key enabling technology strategy especially in a cross-sectoral context.

Jeroen Schuppers of the European Commission DG Research described the potential calls of interest to SPIRE in the area of energy. Most of the relevant topics will be under support for transition to a reliable sustainable and competitive energy system including CO2 capture, storage and utilisation, solar heating, and geothermal energy for process use amongst others.

Rolf Riemenschneider of DG Connect outlined potential call opportunities in ICT topics including themes that will be managed under the Factory of the Future PPP. He saw ICT as a key enabler for modernising EU's manufacturing capabilities and areas such as process monitoring and control had clear overlap with the SPIRE roadmap.

Ignacio Calleja of Tecnalia (above) and SPIRE's R&D Chair completed the formal plenary presentations. With so many people at the brokerage he already hailed it as a real success. He also thanked the Commission experts for the very clear descriptions of possible SPIRE topics in Horizon 2020 and outlined the process to develop topics from SPIRE's roadmap and their transition into potential calls. Seven SPIRE calls could be  anticipated in the first Horizon 2020 calls.

Following the formal plenary presentation there were four breakout workshops covering the SPIRE roadmap Key Components: WASTE2RESOURCE, FEED, PROCESS, and a combined session on APLICATIONS and HORIZONTAL. In total 73 individual project proposal presentations were made over two sessions either side of lunch in these workshops.

This was followed by some short verbal presentations covering Expressions of Interest from industrial members in SPIRE-related topics before a final wrap-up session.

Clearly SPIRE is ready to take on the challenges of Horizon 2020 and make a clear and considerable impact to boost EU competitiveness by ensuring that our talent for research reaches its full potential for delivering innovations to the marketplace. SPIRE - be more!

More information
Membership of this important initiative is open to all and new members are always welcome. For more information on the SPIRE initiative and how to get involved, please visit the SPIRE website or email the SPIRE secretariat.

Monday, 21 October 2013

SusChem: real innovation for growth

One of the highlights of the Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) Fifth European Innovation Summit held at the beginning of October was the Cefic and SusChem organised lunchtime debate on Innovation for Growth. Entitled ‘Think Big, Think Possible, Think Tomorrow’ the session explored what sustainable chemical innovation can bring featuring the SPIRE public private partnership (PPP) and novel concepts to exploit an untapped European resources: carbon dioxide (CO2).

The host of the session was Edit Herczog, MEP and K4I Governing Board Member. She opened the session saying: “That change is important for Europe and that we cannot talk about change without talking about chemistry: this is a key enabler for change across so many sectors.”

Dr Klaus Sommer of Bayer Technology Services and Chairman of A.SPIRE described the proposed PPP. He stressed that SPIRE represented a very large part of EU industry and would enable a focus on areas where Europe has real globally competitive strength.

An important element of SPIRE’s proposed programme will be demonstration activities and the initiative was attracting a lot of attention in the process community across Europe. Large-scale collaboration between competitor companies would be a feature of SPIRE’s programme. He did not see that this would be a problem due to the success of SusChem FP7 project: The F3 Factory.

In this €30 million initiative competitors had united around a single project and also the infrastructure for the project had been enabled through a German regional PPP. Some of the results from this project included reduction in capital expenditure of up to 40% for processes and production operation costs reduced by up to 20%.

SPIRE commitment
The SPIRE PPP was a commitment for open innovation he said and the financial input from industry would beat least € 200million industry per annum. “This is really about ‘Thinking Big’ and thinking what is possible,” he said. “The SPIRE roadmap is only the beginning – we need to achieve projects and we are ready to go!”

Rudolf Strohmeier, Deputy Director-General of DG Research and Innovation at the European Commission said that for growth “research and innovation are not sufficient by themselves. There was also a need for a market and the need for strong collaboration between public and private partners.”

He said that PPPs can make the research and innovation cycle more efficient. He felt that the chemical industry was uniquely positioned as it represents the economic roots of the EU and that SPIRE includes key parts of the manufacturing base in Europe and therefore was key to enabling progress in resource efficiency. He also saw CO2 as a potentially interesting feedstock. He concluded by saying that the Commission was ready to support SPIRE.

CO2 for Growth
The final presentation was by Prof Gabriele Centi from the University of Messina, who gave a technical overview of the potential of CO2 as a feedstock. He said that “CO2 is neither a polluter nor a waste” and that it could be “a raw material that enabled change for society.”

He sees CO2 as a valuable carbon source and a key element to realise energy and resource efficiency and introduce new renewable energy concepts. The carbon-based economy would provide a new scenario for sustainable chemicals production that integrated biomass and CO2 as feedstocks for a “new chemistry for the future”.

Prof Centi described a variety of CO2 using processes that were already developed or would be in the short to medium term. He also looked at a long term vision of developing artificial leaves that would remove ambient CO2 foe the air to make fuel or materials.

The (re)use of CO2 could be a massive opportunity for Europe he concluded. It could exploit a currently untapped resource and contribute to reducing GHG emissions and be a major driver of innovation and growth.

Earlier Jos Keurentjes of Akzo Nobel described some of the smart and green chemistry that was being used and developed at his company. The main focus was on areas such as energy and resource efficiency, products and services based on renewable and biobased raw materials, and looking at how to close loops in materials supply through recycling and reuse. He saw the use of CO2 as potential feedstock for a variety of processes (see image above). He concluded by emphasising that: “Speeding up growth is about value chain innovation.”

Don’t bury CO2
In questions at the end of the session Gernot Klotz of Cefic said that the concept of a ‘CO2 economy’ was a big beast that required vision.

Paraphrasing Shakespeare he said: “I come here to praise CO2, not to bury it.” Utilisation of CO2 as a feedstock will be part of the SPIRE project portfolio, but there needs to be a discussion about where it might be placed within the Horizon 2020 programme.

EIP Water Conference – Innovating Water

The first conference of the European Innovation Partnership on Water (EIP Water) entitled “Networking and Interacting – Innovating Water” will be held in the European Parliament building in Brussels on 21 November 2013. The meeting will bring together EIP Water stakeholders, take stock of the current status of the EIP and help shape its future progress and further increase the opportunities for collaborating on water innovation in Europe and globally.

The one-day conference will showcase innovations from both within and outside the water sector through keynote addresses, panel discussions and moderated plenary sessions. The nine initial EIP Water Action Groups established in May 2013 will showcase their emerging work; interactive sessions will assist new ideas to be taken forward, and the next steps of the EIP Water will be presented and discussed. The conference also aims to help establish new links and partnerships as well as facilitate networking between participants from water innovation supply and demand.

The conference will be opened by a plenary address from European Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik.

Innovation and growth
The EIP Water conference is part of the EIP Water’s efforts to engage with stakeholders from water innovation supply and demand in Europe and globally. The overall aim of the EIP is to stimulate creative and innovative solutions that contribute significantly to tackling water challenges at the European and global level.

The EIP Water aims to create market opportunities for these innovations, and by doing so stimulate sustainable economic growth and job creation.

The objectives of the conference itself are:

  • To build awareness, particularly in Europe, of the necessity and potential of innovation within the water sector and EIP Water.
  • To facilitate the creation of market opportunities by establishing new links, networks and partnerships between water innovation supply and demand.
  • To take stock of progress made so far in EIP Water.
  • To receive detailed feedback and input on a draft EIP Water activity agenda for 2014.

EIP Water expects up to 400 participants at its first annual conference and aims to attract participation from all stakeholders from EU and non-EU countries. Participation in the conference is free of charge.

For environmental reasons, no conference documents will be printed, but all relevant papers will be made available for download prior to the conference.

Due to the security regulations of the European Parliament, participants need to register before 12 November. Registration is open now and you can register here.

Further information
For questions relating to the content of the conference , please contact Robert Schroeder. For any organisational issues, please contact Michaela Matauschek. And for media enquiries contact Sören Bauer.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Additional Cefic-LRI Grants for 2013 Announced

The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) is a major voluntary initiative of the European chemical industry to support its competitiveness and innovation potential. The LRI programme aims to identify and fill gaps in the understanding of the hazards posed by chemical substances and to improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks. Requests for proposals in a range of research areas were published in June and now two further topics have been published for research commencing in 2014.

LRI sponsors high-quality research, published in peer-reviewed journals, and seeks to provide sound scientific advice on which industry and regulatory bodies can draw to respond more quickly and accurately to society’s concerns.

In addition to the LRI programme for 2013 announced in June, the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) is now accepting further grant applications to carry out research in the following areas:

Further details of each research area can be found by following the links on each topic.

The submission deadline for these two extra research areas is 10 January 2014. Project specifications, budget details and application forms can be found on the Cefic LRI website. Only proposals that fit the project specifications and are submitted via the official LRI application form will be considered.

The scientific evaluation and selection of applications for funding are managed by a scientific committee provided by ECETOC. In particular, within LRI, ECETOC has the responsibility of maintaining three “core teams”: health effects, human exposure & risk assessment and environment.

LRI events
Dr. Bruno Hubesch, Cefic-LRI Manager  will be chairing the session on low dose toxicity at the 34th Annual European Meeting of the Toxicology Forum (ToxForum) that takes place on 22 to 24 October in Brussels.

ToxForum aims to be recognised as the leading international toxicological organisation promoting and encouraging dialogue amongst all stakeholders on public health issues.

And don’t forget the 15th Cefic-LRI Annual Workshop that takes place on 20 to 21 November 2013, also in Brussels. The 2013 workshop will discuss how a science-informed approach to decision-making can contribute to relevant policy initiatives. The event will showcase the results and outcomes of several LRI projects completed in 2012-2013. The key areas of discussion will be thresholds of concern, bio-monitoring, domestic exposure, endocrine disrupters, nanomaterials, toxicogenomics and sediment testing.

You can find more information on the workshop here or go straight to registration here.

More information on LRi
For further information, please contact Dr. Bruno Hubesch, Cefic-LRI Manager, or the LRI Secretariat or visit the Cefic-LRI website.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Chemical Innovation to play a critical role in Smart Cities

Today (October 14) the High-level Group (HLG) of the Smart Cities and Communities (SCC) European Innovation Partnership (EIP) presented its Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) to the European Commission. Chemical innovation can provide a range of concrete solutions to the challenges of improving our urban built environment and infrastructure and enable the realization of the truly Smart Cities of tomorrow.

With about three-quarters of European citizens living in or around cities, it is essential that Europe gets this right. “We need more structured EU dialogue on how to balance the diversity and complexity of city requirements with the industrial needs for a broader market scale of integrated technological concepts, from the retrofitting of buildings to ICT-enabled buildings to create a European market of affordable solutions,” said Dr. Gernot Klotz, Executive Director for Research and Innovation at Cefic and a SusChem board member. “A potential 50 000 individual solutions for the needs of 50 000 individual cities is an unsustainable path. There is a clear need to bring cities together to enable industry to supply broader affordable solutions.”

Strategic plan
The Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) marks a major milestone achievement for the Smart Cities and Communities High-level Group. The group brings together cities, industries and stakeholders across Europe to discuss ways to improve the standardization of innovative new solutions for urban districts and to accelerate their deployment across European cities.

The meeting (above) was hosted by Commissioner Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) and statements were made by Commissioners Siim Kallas (Transport), Günther H. Oettinger (Energy) and Johannes Hahn (Regional Policy). The chemical industry is represented on this important policy group by Giorgio Squinzi, CEO of Maipei and recent past president of Cefic.

The SIP outlines eleven ambitious targets in three specific areas that are expected to contribute to the broader development of sustainable mobility, sustainable districts and built environments, and integrated infrastructures and processes across Energy, information and communication technologies (ICT) and Transport.

“We appreciate the efforts and the result of the High Level Group in having a strategic implementation plan delivered within six months, on an extremely diverse and complex topic such as the future of cities in Europe” continued Dr. Klotz.

Chemistry: concrete contributions
Chemistry lies at the very heart of the built environment in every city and provides the fundamental building blocks for ICT, Energy and Transport. For example, new advanced materials for housing such as smart coatings and insulations are making houses more energy efficient, while advanced light-weight materials and printed electronics for mobility are making cars more connected, safer and more energy efficient.

These applications are expected to make a significant contribution towards the EIP’s goals. It is hoped that the SIP proposals will be implemented in full to address the full scale of “smart” city enabling technologies and to prioritize the creation of jobs and growth in Europe.

The Chemical Industry is ready to engage longer-term in the work of the EIP and has offered five concrete solutions for Chemistry-based initiatives for energy efficiency in buildings, which were selected as top key innovation by city officials at the last Smart Cities and Communities Stakeholder Platform conference.

The five key chemistry-based products proposed by SusChem to help improve building efficiency and help reach the EU 20-20-20 targets are:

  • High-reflectance indoor coatings
  • High-reflectance and durable outdoor coatings
  • High-performance insulation foams 
  • High-performance vacuum insulation panels
  • Phase-change materials (PCM)

These five key chemistry-based products have been adopted as a Key Innovation by the Smart Cities and Communities Stakeholder Platform. Combined these products can offer substantial energy savings of up to 40% at an acceptable investment.

“All these solutions are assessed for technical feasibility and impact. What remains is the real life testing of these technologies in European cities and the chemical Industry is ready for this next step,” said Dr. Klotz.

Urban opportunity 
This Smart Cities and Communities EIP offers a great opportunity to reduce the complexity of city requirements and creates a market pull along industrial value chains as well as accelerating the creation of jobs and growth in Europe.

“It is only by working together that we can bridge the innovation gaps and stimulate the convergence of industrial value chains in the Energy, Transport and ICT sectors to find and implement the best solutions for smart cities. This is Europe’s unique strength and competitive edge over other regions of the world” concluded Dr. Klotz.

The EIP still has to improve its potential by including manufacturing as well as services in order to stimulate innovation for a broader European economy. This can happen through creating market pull and improvement to the SIP by giving manufacturing a more prominent role.

A public launch event for the SIP is being planned for 26 November in Brussels that will outline European funding and business commitments.

This is just the beginning of a large scale programme of work by all the partners and many others. An important part of that work will be the "Lighthouse Projects" - cities which will demonstrate and deliver Smart City solutions on a large scale. These Projects will be partly financed by the European Commission's Horizon 2002 Research Funds. Further business and public funding will help to spread these new solutions to other cities and economies of scale will help to make these "innovative" and "high tech" solutions the norm and available more easily to all cities and neighbourhoods.

The Commission is expected to invest around €200 million to create Smart Cities projects in the next two years.

Smart Cities
The Smart Cities and Communities EIP (SCC) is a partnership across the areas of energy, transport, and ICT with the objective of catalyzing progress in areas where energy production, distribution and use; mobility and transport; and ICT are intimately linked and offer new interdisciplinary opportunities to improve services while reducing energy and resource consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) and other polluting emissions.

The HLG acts in an advisory role to the Commission and consists of senior representatives of industry, cities, civil society, relevant EU initiatives in this area and member s of the European Commission as members. The group is led by the three European Commissioners for Energy, Transport and the Digital Agenda.

For more information on SusChem activities in support of the Smart Cities and Communities initiative, or to discuss potential collaborations in this area, please contact SusChem Coordinator Jacques Komornicki at Cefic. The new SusChem report can be downloaded here.

Friday, 11 October 2013

CO2 is a Resource for the Future of Europe

The Second Conference on CO2 as Feedstock for Chemistry and Polymers took place in Essen, Germany on 7 – 9 October 2013. The conference discussed a new paradigm for industrial chemical production: the CO2 (carbon dioxide) economy with CO2 no longer seen as a waste product but increasingly as a renewable feedstock for chemicals, fuels or polymers. In the longer term new CO2 chemistry can enable artificial photosynthesis to produce chemical products from ambient CO2. This is an increasingly important area of interest for both SusChem and the SPIRE PPP.

Dr. Gernot Klotz, Executive Director for Research and Innovation at CEFIC (the European Chemical Industry Council) and Member of the SusChem Board, spoke in the opening panel of the conference, together with representatives of the National Energy Agency and of the German government, to describe the importance of CO2 as a potential renewable feedstock for the chemical industry in Europe.

Dr. Klotz stressed the need for a change in our mentality towards CO2: “Europe can no longer afford to look at CO2 as waste to be disposed of, for example by burying it underground, but we must recognize CO2 as a renewable source for the future.” CO2 as feedstock for chemistry can be used in many different ways, such as renewable energy storage and as an ingredient to make polymers and new materials.  The next step will be to make CO2 a key enabler for artificial photosynthesis via chemical processes.

Resource innovation
“Innovation is about change,” said Dr. Klotz. “If Europe wants to be competitive on the world scene it must urgently change its approach to innovation. Other regions of the world, such as the United States and Asia, are racing to develop a competitive economy based on renewable resources. CO2 is the only renewable resource Europe has in abundance, and can play a vital a role in ensuring Europe’s future as a competitive economy.”

“European countries must cooperate now to ensure that a broader vision for a CO2 economy in Europe is born and implemented. This would enable us to design and produce new, innovative technologies and products in the coming years and to immediately use its advantages by bringing together economy, goods, growth and social welfare.”

Dr. Klotz argued that this new approach requires all players in society to align to support the initiative. New European initiatives can create a space for a new mind-set for resources, efficiency and innovation in Europe, including new uses for CO2. For example, the Public Private Partnership for Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) aims to enable new technologies and best practices in important stages of existing, large-scale value chains that will contribute to a resource efficient process industry. CO2 could play a breakthrough role in this context.

Typically in the EU there are many efforts made to advance the innovative capacity of industry, but they are often fragmented. CEFIC has brought together all relevant stakeholders to jointly create a roadmap that will help Europe to achieve global leadership in innovation.

“If Europe aims to achieve global leadership in sustainable technologies together with jobs and growth the progress we make in the next 10 years will be of critical importance,” concluded Dr Klotz.

Dr. Klotz will also be speaking at a forthcoming conference on this topic at the end of October. The Carbon Dioxide Utilization Summit takes place from 30 to 31 October at the Hotel Marivaux Brussels and will feature the use of CO2 as a feedstock for fuels and chemicals.

More information
To get more information on the potential role of CO2 in the future of Europe’s economy, competitiveness and energy efficiency, please contact Dr Gernot Klotz, Executive Director for Research and Innovation at CEFIC, or Sophie Wilmet, Innovation Counsellor at CEFIC.

The SusChem Newsblog and Twitter feed (@suschem) uses the hashtag #useCO2 to highlight news and information on CO2 utilization technology and innovation that crosses our desk.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

EU Week of Regions and Cities

The eleventh European Week of Regions and Cities is taking place this week (from 7 to 11 October) across Brussels. Jointly organised by the EU's Committee of the Regions and the European Commission’s DG for Regional and Urban Policy, the week highlights many areas of interest for SusChem – in particular Smart Cities and Mobility.

At the heart of European Week of Regions and Cities are the Open Days 2013 a series of events that takes place at venues around Brussels and feature examples of innovative initiatives to boost sustainability and competitiveness in regions and cities across the EU.

To coincide with the week a special issue of European Parliament Magazine’s Regional Review has been published with many articles focusing on regional policy from the Commission and parliamentary figures.

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn has invited all regions and cities to use this year's event to "learn more about the priorities of the next phase of the structural and investment funds". He underlined the aim to "ensure that the EU invests in key areas of growth to stay competitive in an ever more globalised economy".

The chair of the European Parliament's Regional Development Committee, former regional policy Commissioner Danuta Hübner, MEP, also called for the EU's regions to "be placed at the heart of the industrial renaissance process".

SusChem: innovation for growth
With the closer integration of structural and regional funds with research and innovation funding via Horizon 2020 it is clear that the opportunity for increased innovation –led growth in the EU regions will become a reality. And SusChem is willing to take a leading role in this exciting development.

In particular SusChem and the chemical sector have a portfolio of current and future solutions for the challenges of developing Smart Cities and the regeneration of the urban environment.

Coinciding with the EU Week of Regions and Cities our new website on Innovation-for-Growth has been launched. Within this website there are specific mini-sites on major societal challenges including Smart Cities for Europe and mobility.

The websites outline the challenges facing society in urban environments and regions and then describes the variety of solutions that chemistry and the chemical sector can or will be able to provide in the near future to boost EU citizen’s quality of life while also providing jobs and growth.

There is also a SusChem Smart Cities flier available.

More information
For more information on SusChem activities in the built environment take a look at the Innovation for Growth website or contact the SusChem secretariat.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

BioBased Industries Initiative at EFIB 2013

The European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology 2013 (EFIB 2013) took place last week from 30 September to 2 October in Brussels and the SusChem inspired Bioeconomy PPP was centre stage. This sixth edition of EFIB, organised by SusChem founding partner EuropaBio, was by far the biggest yet and underlined the remarkable expansion of interest in industrial biotechnology across Europe and globally in recent years.

EFIB 2013 took place in The Square conference facility in central Brussels and was one of the highlights of European Biotech week. Over 600 delegates attended and an extensive biotech market place saw more than 45 exhibitors and 20 technology showcase presentations. And, of course, two whole days of conference sessions.

Biobased Initiative
The BioBased Industries Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) is seen as a major opportunity for European biobased industries and an essential element to achieve a sustainable chemical sector. The initiative is one of the new JTIs that will be established under Horizon 2020 and was explicitly mentioned in the Communication on the Industrial Innovation Package published in July.

The Biobased Industries JTI, previously known as the BRIDGE 2020 public-private-partnership (PPP) proposal, has the primary aim of developing new and competitive biobased value chains that can replace the need for fossil fuels and also have a strong impact on rural development in Europe.

A dedicated session on the BioBased Industries JTI at EFIB 2013 was chaired and introduced by Marcel Wubbolts of DSM and a SusChem board member (on left of photo below). He described a biobased market that could be as large €200 billion by 2020 with the potential to create one million new jobs in Europe on the same timescale.

The role of the JTI is to demonstrate the production of innovative and sustainable biobased chemicals and materials that would be made using locally sourced biomass. The JTI will examine five value chains with each using a flagship project to provide validation at at least demonstration level.

The Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) is the body that will be tasked with establishing the JTI once the formal go-ahead is given by the European Commission. Membership of the BIC is growing with 48 full members (mostly industrial), 57 associate members (including research and technology organisations and universities), 8 EU trade or sector associations and 3 European Technology Platform members including SusChem.

Wubbolts explained that the BioBased Industries JTI was currently presenting its strategic innovation roadmap to Member States and preparing initial research and innovation calls. If all goes to plan, the JTI will formally start in 2014 with the first calls out in mid 2014 and initial projects commencing in Q3/ Q4 2014.

Barend Verachtert, acting Head of the Biotechnologies Unit at the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation (in centre of photo) gave the Commission’s perspective on the Biobased Industries JTI declaring that: “Worldwide the bioeconomy race is on!”

But while third country investments had largely focused on food the EU focus was on integrated biorefineries – one of SusChem’s original visionary projects from 2004. The target was to produce at least 30% of EU chemicals from renewable sources by 2030, compared to around 10% today, Verachtert stated.

He also emphasised the strong regional potential for biobased industries and this raised a significant challenge to organise at both EU and national / regional level.

BBE Concept

The BioBased Industries JTI was needed as a catalyser to create new value chains involving cross-sectorial collaborations between previously unrelated sectors. Verachtert highlighted the need for large-scale demonstration facilities and activities to help market uptake of biobased innovations and the notion of establishing a circular economy where waste (for example from agriculture) was transformed into value (such as chemical products).

He also was hopeful of final decisions on the JTI before end of 2013. Horizon 2020 should be officially adopted 10 December and this will allow the BioBased Industries JTI to start for real on 1 January 2014.

The view of a Member State was given by Jose Manuel Gonzalez of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (on right in photo). He indicated that the JTI was extremely well aligned with Spanish national biorefinery objectives: a sector with huge industrial potential.

In a question and answer session Marcel Wubbolts reiterated that the Consortium was looking for the JTI to be realised as soon as possible. But at the same time there was a need to manage the portfolio of proposed projects to ensure synergy and maximum impact.

BIC information
For more information on the BioBased Industries JTI visit the website or contact the BioBased Industries Consortium secretariat.