Tuesday, 20 October 2015

EFIB 2015: The Chemical Industry and ‘Biobased’

The European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB) 2015 takes place on 27-29 October at the Square in Brussels and the eighth EFIB promises to be bigger than ever. SusChem and Cefic are organising a dedicated session on biobased chemical value chains as part of the conference on 29 October. In advance of the session Cefic’s Executive Director Research and Innovation Pierre Barthélemy and Dr. Henrike Gebhardt of Evonik Industries AG have been interviewed by EFIB organisers.

With major chemical players looking to move into biobased products and processes the interview focuses on key questions surrounding the session: ‘Is the chemical industry catching up with biobased’. The interview covers changing attitudes and approaches by the chemical sector to biobased, the measures needed to accelerate uptake of renewable feedstocks, views on the most significant recent developments in the biobased industry sector and what they hope the EFIB session will achieve.

Pierre (right) says: “It is important to keep looking at success stories and achievements in the chemical industry, but it is even more important to highlight the challenges faced by the chemical industry to embrace the bio-based approach more widely.  Switching to different feedstock is not just a technical challenge.  It creates new value chains with different stakeholders that have to understand each other.  It is essential for the chemical industry to explain its expectations and challenges in order to make progress in building the connections between stakeholders in these new value chains.”

“EFIB is an excellent platform to network with stakeholders from academia, finance, governments, industry, and NGOs,” comments Henrike (left). “This year I am especially looking forward to getting a insight into the approach of several brand owners to bio-based products, because they are closest to customers’ needs.”

Joining Pierre and Heinrike at the EFIB session will be Reinhard Buescher, Head of Unit for Chemicals Industry at DG Grow giving the view of the European Commission. Further insights from industry will be presented by François Monnet, Exec VP for Renewable Chemistry at Solvay, Dr. Stefan Lundmark of Perstorp AB, and Dr Marcel Wubbolts from DSM who was recently awarded CTO of the Year 2015. The presentations will be followed by a group discussion.

The session will cover topics such as differentiation in times of barrel price volatility, meeting changing consumer needs and connecting uncommon partners in new biobased value chains.

Industrial Biotechnology is currently worth €23 billion – this represents just 6% of sales in the overall worldwide chemicals market. However, the sector is significantly out-performing the overall chemicals market at an impressive 20% annual growth rate and has the potential to become the dominant technology of tomorrow’s chemicals industry - and represents a huge future opportunity.

SusChem and the bioeconomy
The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) includes has a dedicated chapter on ‘A Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy’ and SusChem is an essential link between the chemical industry, industrial biotechnology and stakeholders in the bioeconomy.

The platform is actively involved in two large and relevant PPPs between the European Commission and industry launched in 2014:


SusChem contributes to the alignment of both initiatives. The interface between BBI and SPIRE is the provision and use of biobased platform chemicals. In addition, both PPPs may support projects using biotechnological conversion processes and specific improvements of biotechnology processes may be eligible for funding through either PPP. SusChem will enable the coherence of on-going and future funding initiatives and the deployment of flagship projects that demonstrate technological leadership and that Europe is a globally competitive location to invest in the bioeconomy.

More information on EFIB
The conference kicks off with a set of pre-conference Workshops on 27 October with the full conference programmes on 28 October and 29 October.

Register your place today here!

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