Monday, 9 November 2015

Sustainable chemistry solving the innovation puzzle

Innovation – a simple concept and an essential one for the chemical industry is the message of a recent special report in ICIS Chemical Business that featured SusChem and the SPIRE PPP.  Both Cefic’s Executive Director, Research and Innovation Pierre Barthélemy and Loredana Ghinea, executive director of SPIRE are interviewed in the article by ICIS editor John Baker.

In his interview Pierre Barthélemy (right) emphasises the commitment of the chemical industry to innovation to increase industry’s contribution to GDP and address global societal challenges like climate change and an ageing population. “Addressing these issues is something we can do only if we innovate,” he says.

Pierre also talked about the chemical industry’s role in improving resource efficiency through developing better materials and processes and stimulating collaboration along value chains.

Pierre points out that the industry’s recognition of the need to invest more in innovation collectively was a major driver behind the SusChem initiative. In particular the platform has helped to identify and develop major public-private-partnerships (PPPs) – specifically the SPIRE PPP (see below) and the BioBased Industries Joint Undertaking.

He also highlights SusChem’s work in progressing initiatives for the use and valorisation of carbon dioxide. These innovations have the potential to provide opportunities for new chemical feedstocks and for chemical energy storage, he explains.

The two key goals for the PPP ‘Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency’ (SPIRE) are spelled out in its title and also require innovation. As well as delivering environmental benefits energy and resource intensity are two prime costs in the process industries. “There is a drive to innovate with new technologies that deal with these costs,” says Loredana Ghinea.

SPIRE aims to address three fundamental challenges in Europe:

  • The urgency to create growth and increase competitiveness in a global market
  • The need to rejuvenate the European process industry
  • The imperative to reduce resource and energy inefficiency and the environmental impact of industrial activity

SPIRE has its own strategy for research and innovation. “We are already attracting high interest and the first very promising projects have begun this year, with 18 now agreed and up and running,” says Loredana (left).

The SPIRE PPP is clearly of importance to the chemical sector with 27 chemical companies already involved. “We are bringing companies together to discuss and identify strategic innovation priorities and actions,” she states.

You can read the full article here.

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