Saturday, 7 June 2014

Enabling the Circular Economy: an essential role for Chemistry

On 28 and 29 May in Tarragona, Spain the III ForumSusChem - Sustainable Chemistry, innovative and competitive companies (3SCICC) presented industry trends and advances showing the essential role of chemistry as a driving force for the circular economy. The circular economy is an economic model based on eco-efficient product design that enables end-of-life component separation and maximises reuse to minimise waste.

Organized by SusChem España, the Spanish SusChem NTP, 3SCICC was an official satellite event for the European Union Green Week 2014 that also focused on the circular economy.

The circular economy champions a major change from a ‘take-make-dispose’ linear economy to a circular – more natural – model and has an increasing number of supporters as the model needed to face the needs and challenges of the 21st century such as reduced availability of resources and an increasing global population.

Sustainable Chemistry innovation provides the fundamentals for a circular economy such as new materials, new production systems (including use of CO2 as a feedstock), and sustainable water management and SusChem and 'SusChem thinking' was well represented in the presentations made at the event.

SusChem commitment
The forum opened with speeches from the Mayor of Tarragona, Josep Fèlix Ballesteros; the Chancellor of the Rovira i Virgili University, Josep Antón Ferré; the President of the Spanish Chemical Industry Federation (FEIQUE), Luis Serrano; Mª Ángeles Ferre from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness; and SusChem España president, Javier Brañas (see below).

“SusChem España and the 300 companies and organizations that participate in the Sustainable Chemistry Technology Platform, as well as this SusChem Forum, prove that the chemical sector is convinced that in a situation as intensively competitive as the present one, its future depends on being ever more efficient and sustainable, on keeping to provide solutions to all productive activities” remarked FEIQUE president Luis Serrano at the opening. “Our commitment is not only on ever improving, but on contributing to global improvement”.

“Circular Economy is an economic model based on eco-design and by products valorisation, making use of them and creating auto-regenerative systems that allow for obtaining high added-value products” said SusChem España president Javier Brañas. “Circular Economy also aims to improve energy and resource efficiency, these changes having an impact on all industrial sectors, so the real achievement is the multiplier effect generated. Chemical industry is the main supplier of many industrial sectors, so its embracing circular economy will favour change in other sectors as well.”

SPIRE and SusChem
In the opening plenary session Gernot Klotz, Executive Director of Research & Innovation at the European Council for Chemical Industry (CEFIC) presented the role of the chemical industry as the basis for sustainable growth.

He was followed by Jose Lorenzo Vallés from DG Research and Innovation Area at the European Commission who outlined the role that the SusChem inspired SPIRE Public Private Partnership will be playing to deliver increased energy efficiency and sustainable resources.

Closing remarks at the event were made by Dr. Klaus Sommer, Chairman of the Board of SusChem. He praised the work done by SusChem España in its nearly 10 years of operation and stressed that the areas addressed in the Forum 3SCICC underline SusChem’s approach and the Horizon 2020 strategy of the European Union.

Working groups show the way
Forum 3SCICC was structured around four areas representing the different approaches from which chemistry can contribute to the new economic model and that significantly coincide with the working groups that form SusChem España.

The four areas were: Efficiency and Design; Resource Efficiency; Energy Efficiency and Process Intensification; and By-Products Valorisation.

Efficiency and Design included presentations by Ignasi Cubiñá of Eco Intelligence Growth; Juan Miguel Moreno from Repsol; Rinske van Hainingen at Akzo Nobel; and Juan Ruiz, of Plastics Europe. They addressed issues such as the significance of acquiring a global vision of the whole life cycle when designing a product, the use of biotechnology and nanotechnology in the development of more eco-efficient and sustainable products, and the use of plastics in housing rehabilitation and progress towards Smart Cities.

The Resource Efficiency session included the participation of Vincent Jamblin from Tractebel Engineering; Claudia Niewersch of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland; Veronica Garcia of Dow Chemical Ibérica and Prof. Frank Hollmann of TU Delft. Aspects such as the development of processes and recent progress in implementing phosphorus recovery were addressed. Possible uses of water in chemical reactions, the various options open to close the water cycle; and the promotion and support of resource efficiency for industrial development, were also approached.

Energy Efficiency and Process Intensification included presentations by David Velázquez of DVA Global Energy Services; Peter Cox from Emerson Process Management; and Amalio Garrido of the Federation of High Energy Products Industries (FIPAE). The way automation can enable new ways of operating chemical plants in future markets with limited resources, higher energy costs and limited available expertise; advanced energy management; and the use of chemical reactions for clean energy generation and storage, were addressed.

By-Products Valorisation addressed aspects such as value creative combination applications to the end of life PVC recycling value chain; CO2 based polymer production; reduction of carbon dioxide to methanol and methanol-derived products; or obtaining glycerol from biodiesel.

Participating in the By-products valorisation area was Christoph Gürtler from Bayer Material Science who is currently investing in the construction of a production line that will use CO2 as raw material for producing polyurethane foams. Also participating were José Ramón Ochoa-Gómez of Tecnalia who presented the great potential of glycerol as platform molecule for obtaining commercially valuable compounds. Atsushi Urakawa from the Institute of Chemical research in Catalonia (ICIQ), presented the state of the art in CO2 reduction to methanol and methanol-derived products. Finally Joan Martí of Sita SPE Ibérica spoke on value creation from plastics recycling.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please post your comment here. Please note that this newsblog is not moderated.