Tuesday, 16 June 2015

ACHEMA 2015 - Global Summit of Innovation!

With over 3,800 exhibitors and a huge exhibition space ACHEMA opened on 15 June in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The growing international reputation of Europe’s premier event for the process industries was underlined by the fact that, for the first time, the majority of exhibitors come from outside Germany. With well over 160,000 participants anticipated to attend from 15 - 19 June one focus of interest for SusChem amongst the varied technical programme are three sessions on CO2 utilisation.

ACHEMA is the world forum for chemical engineering and the process industry providing an international platform for new chemical process innovations and technologies. And innovation was the main focus of the first day of ACHEMA. At the opening press conference Prof. Dr. Rainer Diercks, Chairman of the Board of organiser DECHEMA e.V. described ACHEMA as: “the global summit of innovation.” Being interdisciplinary and highly international, ACHEMA is a “melting pot of ideas.” Diercks also pointed out that the significant contribution of chemistry and process engineering to the solution of global challenges such as water supply, food or health is not well-known to the general public. ACHEMA is therefore aiming to increase its activities directed towards engaging with the public on these subjects.

The importance of the chemical industry for overall innovation should be brought much more strongly to the attention of the general public DECHEMA believes. All speakers in the press conference panel warned that Europe could fall back as a place for innovation if the political and societal framework was not improved.

Innovation in terms of CO2 utilisation technology is of growing interest to SusChem and the chemical industry generally. At ACHEMA DECHEMA has organised a special stand on the German #useCO2 funding programme in the Exhibition area in  Hall 9.2, stand E46 (link text in German). If you are at ACHEMA go visit!

In addition two ACHEMA conference sessions and a workshop are of direct interest in this field.

Energy and alternatives
Energy, water and feedstock are essential for any chemical or biotechnology conversion. As these resources become scarcer, new methods for efficient use are being introduced. This includes energy efficient transformations and operations as well as the temporary storage of energy in the form of electricity or heat. Renewable energy resources that produce electricity depending on weather conditions rather than in response to demand may create a temporary and regional surplus of energy. This can be usefully employed for the production of basic chemicals as well as for conversion of unconventional feedstock such as CO2.

The ‘Power to chemicals’ conference session majors on this latter theme and takes place on the morning of Thursday, 18 June from 10:30. The session will describe  a number of interesting processes in this field including the use of ammonia as a storage medium for fluctuating (renewable) energy sources; synthetic fuels from a sustainable pathway; storage of power as chemicals using gasification plants; tailored foams as catalyst support for highly exothermic processes; and comparison of biological and catalytic methanation for power-to-gas applications.

You can find more information, including downloadable abstracts of all the presentations, here.

On the following morning (19 June) a dedicated session on Industrial carbon dioxide utilisation covers topics including: Materials for the 21st century - can carbon come from CO2?; CO2-based polyurethanes on the way to commercial scale (the Bayer DREAM process); an evaluation of the economic and environmental potentials of using CO2 in chemical processes; Combinatorial screening of catalyst materials for electrochemical CO2 reduction; and Environmentally sustainable syngas production from carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

Again you can find more information, including downloadable abstracts of all the presentations, here.

SCOT workshop
Also on the afternoon of 18 June from 15:00 the EU FP7 project Smart CO2 Utilisation (SCOT) is organising a workshop at ACHEMA entitled: ‘PtX: A new paradigm for energy and gas networks?’

The event will present the draft of the SCOT Project’s Vision for Power to Gas and Power to Liquids and open a discussion on  the potential of these technologies in Europe.
The workshop will address the following questions:

  • In which fields will PtX provide added value?
  • What needs to happen for the technologies to be viable (policy, technical progress, etc)?
  • What impact will PtX have on electricity and gas network operators and industries in Europe?

To guide the discussion, three high-level experts will lead the exchanges with the audience that will consist of people from industry, research institutes as well as policy makers.

A joint Cefic-European Commission Workshop on the Chemistry and Processes of CO2 Utilisation was recently held and the outcomes will be published soon.

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