Friday, 30 December 2016

SusChem Greece kick-off ends 2016 on a high

SusChem Greece, the Greek National Technology Platform (NTP) for Sustainable Chemistry, whose Secretariat is operated by IPSEN, scored its first success on Friday 16 December with a successful inaugural Kick-off event in central Athens.

SusChem Greece Founding Members, most of whom are industrial associations, sustainable chemistry professionals or consumers, were present en masse, together with individual company delegates.  Also represented were non-member associations, whose sectors are related to sustainable chemistry.

The enthusiastic crowd came to listen to Ms Anne-Chloe Devic, Innovation Manager at Cefic and representing the European Technology Platform SusChem (pictured below second from the right), Ms Cristina Gonzalez, chief of the Spanish NTP SusChem Espana (on the left below)and Ms Leda Ampatzi, a specialist in EU-funded projects. Also pictured below (on the right) is Prof. Antonis Kokossis from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).

The Greek industry had its voice heard in a round table discussion, moderated by experienced journalist John Rizopoulos.  The event was addressed by supportive politicians, including Messrs Tsironis, Alternate Minister for Rural Development and Food, Mr. Zafeiris, General Secretary for Industry, Mr. Kostopoulos, Secretary of the opposition party New Democracy for Scientific Organisations and Ms Kafantari, Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Production and Trade.

You can find further details and more photos from the kick-off event here.

SusChem Greece aspires to leverage EU research and development funds and alliances in aid of Greek-originated sustainable chemistry priorities. More information on the event and the SusChem Greece can be found here:

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

2016 SusChem End of Year Message

Dear colleagues and members of the SusChem community,

The year 2016 represented a significant milestone for SusChem. Together we defined five main priority areas for our research and innovation activities in sustainable chemistry -  Sustainable bio-economy, ICT for processes, Water, Catalysis and Processes, and Materials for Energy  -  and developed a comprehensive plan for following up other important topics.

During the year a number of SusChem inspired projects delivered significant results, most notably the E4Water project, that demonstrated the very tangible impact of our research and innovation agenda. 2016 also saw SusChem act to facilitate enhanced collaboration and cooperation between the two SusChem inspired Public Private Partnerships: the BBI Joint Undertaking and SPIRE.

We successfully held our annual Stakeholder event in June, as usual in Brussels, and a very successful Brokerage event in Seville in September during the 6th European Chemical Congress. New Working Groups were created and substantial and significant input, based on the needs of our sector, was gathered, delivered to the European Commission and well received by them. Moreover, our network of National Technology Platforms expanded to include a record number of fourteen Member States.

Towards the end of the year we launched our new SusChem identity at a reception in the European Parliament. This rebranding campaign will continue into 2017 including a revision of the SusChem website.

But above all, the greatest success factor for SusChem in 2016 was YOU! Your commitment, trust and involvement strengthened SusChem and motivated the platform in its mission to represent the significant sustainable chemistry research and innovation efforts of the Chemical Industry within the chemical science community, to the European Institutions, and beyond.

On behalf of the SusChem Board and the SusChem secretariat, I would like to thank you for your continuing engagement and we wish you all very happy and relaxing holidays and a healthy, happy and “sustainable” New Year. 2017 will be another important year for SusChem and we look forward to working with you on new SusChem inspired initiatives over the next 12 months.

Best wishes,

Dr Klaus H. Sommer
Chairman of the SusChem Board

Friday, 2 December 2016

SusChem Greece Kicks Off

SusChem Greece, the Greek National Technological Platform (NTP) for Sustainable Chemistry, will hold its kick-off event in Athens on 16 December 2016. The event, which will be held at NJV Athens Plaza Hotel will introduce this brand new initiative that aspires to steer Greek sustainable chemistry stakeholders towards a collective journey to innovation for the benefit of industry and society.

SusChem Greece looks to tap into the valuable and pragmatic insights, experience and knowledge of the Greek sustainable chemical community and explore the strategic expectations for a prosperous Greek industry endowed with prowess and social responsibility through sustainable chemistry.

Prior to the kick-off event a board meeting of SusChem Greece will be held. The launch event itself will start at 15:00 with presentations from SusChem Greece representatives Dr. Stelios Bikos and Prof. Antonis Kokossis both from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Anne-Chloe Devic, CEFIC Innovation Manager for Materials and SusChem NTPs, and Cristina Gonzalez Alonso of SusChem Spain.

This will be followed by a round table discussion on Sustainable Chemistry in Greece with representatives from SusChem Industrial Associations and a session on Funded Innovation in Sustainable Chemistry with speakers including Leda Ampatzi, an EU Co-Funding Specialist and representatives of the European Investment Bank and Pireaus Bank.

If you wish to attend the event please notify the SusChem Greece secretariat, Dr Stelios Bikos, by 14 December at the latest. More information on the event and the SusChem Greece can be found here:

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

New SusChem Branding launched at 8EIS

The new SusChem branding and logo were unveiled at an evening reception at the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday (15 November). The event was part of the Eighth European Innovation Summit (8EIS) organised by Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) and featured SusChem’s forward strategy plus a networking prize competition! Look out for the new SusChem clouds!

SusChem’s branding launch event was hosted by Lambert van Nistelrooij, MEP, Chair of the K4I Forum Governing Board (left), who praised SusChem for its commitment to collaboration and cooperation in research and innovation at the European and National level.

He looked forward to further contributions to address Europe’s common societal challenges combining sustainability and competitiveness.

Together for sustainability
Dr. Klaus Sommer of Bayer and Chair of the SusChem board introduced the new branding and logo. He stated that SusChem had been conceived in 2004 to shape one voice on innovation for the European chemical industry and had been very successful in promoting the chemical sciences and biotechnology in European research and innovation programmes.

“Sustainability and competitiveness are strategic priorities for SusChem,” he said. “Progress on sustainability, competitiveness and environmental protection are intimately linked; and chemical products and chemistry-driven technological advances provide critical answers to ensure the sustainable development of modern societies.”

Dr. Sommer described SusChem’s vision of “a competitive and innovative Europe where sustainable chemistry and biotechnology together provide solutions for future generations” and its mission is “to initiate and inspire European chemical and biochemical innovation to respond effectively to society’s challenges by providing sustainable solutions.”

There are three elements to the SusChem mission: 
  • Developing strategies and providing a coherent business-focused analysis of research and innovation bottlenecks and opportunities related to societal challenges and industrial leadership 
  • Mobilising industry and other stakeholders within the EU to work in partnership and deliver on agreed innovation priorities
  • Disseminating information and enabling knowledge transfer to a wide range of stake-holders across the Europe

Dr Sommer highlighted that “the breakthrough technologies needed to transform our society to a more sustainable future will be enabled through chemistry.” The work to achieve this is already underway in several domains including the development of:
  • Advanced materials for the sustainable production of renewable electricity,
  • Energy storage solutions, 
  • Energy efficiency solutions for buildings,  
  • More sustainable water management, 
  • More sustainable transport systems and mobility options
  • More efficient processes
The new logo was then launched via a short video (see below).

Scratch card prizes
After the formal presentation SusChem Secretary, Flavio Benedito, introduced a fun networking activity with the chance to win an iWatch prize! All the attendees at the event had been given scratch cards on arrival and each revealed a ‘sustainable motto’. Ten phrases matched the chosen criteria and from these two were drawn as prize winners!

Our two winners were Susan Robertson of Innovators magazine (above right) and Tatiana Ivanciuc a student from Hanze University. 

Attendees were also given SusChem cloud stress busters. These blue clouds will also be distributed to SusChem National Technology Platforms and will be the subject of a further promotional prize competition in the near future. More details soon!

Monday, 31 October 2016

LRI Innovative Science Award 2016 to be revealed at Red Carpet Gala Dinner

Join us at a Red Carpet Gala Dinner organised by Cefic-LRI on 16 November 2016 to find out the winner of the 2016 LRI Innovative Science Award. The 2016 awardee will be officially revealed at the glamorous Cefic-LRI Annual Workshop dinner during the first day of the 18th Annual Cefic-LRI Workshop. The Cefic-LRI Red Carpet Gala Dinner will start with a networking poster session at 17:30 followed by the Gala Dinner at 19:30 at Le Plaza Hotel in Brussels.

The LRI Innovative Science Award is an initiative of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic), in conjunction with the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), the Association of European Toxicologists and European Societies of Toxicology (EUROTOX), the International Society of Exposure Sciences (ISES) and Chemical Week. It offers a €100 000 award to support promising new research in the field of novel approaches to the characterisation of molecular initiating events (MIEs), or other key events, in pathways of human and environmental toxicity.

The 2016 award winner will be presented by Dr Nicolas Cudre-Mauroux, Group Head of Research and Innovation at Solvay.

Out of the box
The objective of the LRI Award is to stimulate innovative research, ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and new approaches, which will advance the development and application of new and existing data in the assessment of chemical safety. The initiative seeks to foster inventive research, focused either on human health or environmental safety that is pioneering new approaches to identifying and characterising MIEs and other key events/biomarkers relevant for important new Adverse Outcome Pathways (AOPs).

Places are filling quickly so if you would like to be part of this special evening on 16 November, please register for the Red Carpet Gala Dinner now here or by 4 November at the latest.

Please note that separate registrations are required for both the Gala Dinner and the Annual Workshop.

If you haven't registered yet for the 18th Annual Cefic-LRI Workshop, click here. On 17 November, the 18th Annual LRI Workshop will be held at The Square, in Brussels – you can find the programme here. For enquiries related to the workshop, please contact Dr. Bruno Hubesch, LRI Programme Manager, or the LRI Secretariat.

Join us to launch the new SusChem logo and brand at 8EIS

SusChem will be launching its new logo and branding at a cocktail reception on Tuesday 15 November. The event takes place during the Eighth European Innovation Summit (8EIS) organised by Knowledge4Innovation. The theme for the evening event is ‘Together for sustainability’ and the launch takes place from 18:00 to 19:30 in the Members´ Restaurant of the European Parliament in Brussels. 

Please come and join us to learn how sustainable chemistry is inspiring the change of pace and mind-set needed to make a sustainable, smart and inclusive society real. Get first-hand insights of SusChem’s vision for a competitive and innovative Europe where sustainable chemistry and biotechnology together provide solutions for future generations.

This launch event is an excellent opportunity to begin the dialogue and engagement needed to tackle the most significant global challenges we face through the co-creation of sustainable chemistry solutions.  This is at the heart of SusChem’s work.

The event is hosted by Lambert van Nistelrooij, MEP and the main speaker will be Dr Klaus H. Sommer, Chair of the SusChem board (left). The 8EIS event will feature the launch of SusChem's new brand identity and logo.

You can find a detailed agenda and list of speakers on the 8EIS webpage. The event is free, but registration is required. The event will also include a number of exciting activities and present important new developments for the SusChem community. If you are interested in attending please register here no later than Friday, 4 November. We will update you with further details closer to the date - stay tuned via our twitter feed @SusChem!

8EIS programme - innovation for business
On the 8EIS webpage you can also register for other events during the 8th European Innovation Summit including the Opening and Closing events, as well as 8th EIS Conference and Parallel sessions.

The 8th European Innovation Summit comes at a time of major challenges and opportunities requiring bold decisions. Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things; innovative business models for the sharing economy; disruptive technologies such as autonomous driving or genetic engineering – are some of the big game changers that have a profound impact on the way we live and work.

Innovation as the response to major societal challenges is not only about technological developments executed by researchers in their labs. It requires the involvement of the users from the beginning and equally important a better connection and communication between science and society.

This year’s EIS debates cover a great variety of hot topics such as:
  • The mid-term review and post 2020 discussions: Next Framework Programme, European Innovation Council, Structural Funds, etc. 
  • People: STEM education, next generation innovators and entrepreneurs
  • Disruptive technologies and business models
  • Circular economy
  • The effect of digitisation on society
  • Bi-annual INPACT meeting - Pact for Innovation initial working groups
SusChem interest
Of particular interest to SusChem stakeholders will be a debate on the Mid-term review and post-2020 preparations on Tuesday 15 November from 9:00 to 11:00. In context of the midterm evaluation of Horizon 2020 and the planning for the upcoming Framework Programme 9, the debate will cover key questions on how to assess the success of EU research funding and its instruments, and what lessons to draw for the future.

The objectives of this plenary session are to gain insights in existing models and tools for measuring science and innovation impact, share experiences, identify lessons learnt and make recommendations for research and innovation policy and future programme design. The session will be moderated by Gernot Klotz President, K4I with contributions from Ronald de Bruin, Director, COST Association, Bert De Colvenaer, Director, Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, Pedro de Sampaio Nunes, Head of Secretariat, Eureka, Andreas Klossek, COO, EIT KIC Raw Materials and Pierre Barthelemy, Executive Director, Research & Innovation, CEFIC

Also on Tuesday 15 November from 16:00 to 18:00 there is a conference on the Circular Economy with speakers including Dr Detlef Maennig, from Evonik Degussa, Sira Saccani, Director of Sustainable Production Systems, Climate KIC, and Andreas Klossek, COO, EIT KIC.

And Cefic and Knowledge4Innovation are holding an invitation-only EIS Lunch Debate on Wednesday, 16 November, from 12:30 to 14:30 with the topic 'Turning CO2 into value for Europe: Opportunities and challenges'.  During this session a range of opportunities will be discussed, such as renewable hydrogen and CO2 utilisation, which can help Europe towards its objective of a more sustainable economy, and the steps we have to take to insure investments and industrial deployment right here in Europe. Speakers include Alexis Bazzanella, Head of Research & Project Coordination, Dechema, Pierre Barthelemy, Executive Director Research and Innovation, Cefic, and Philippe Tulkens, Deputy Head of Unit, DG RTD, European Commission.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

SSERR facilitates move from Research to Business

A new Support Services for Exploitation of Research Results (SSERR) initiative for completed and ongoing research projects in the field of energy has been launched by the European Commission. SSERR offers on-demand services to FP7 and Horizon 2020 energy projects to help maximise their value added and impact and to support and advise project partners in the exploitation of results.

Project partners can request support for project risk analysis, exploitation strategy seminars, business plan development, getting assistance for patenting and organising brokerage events, as well as ad hoc assistance. SSERR’s aim is to bridge the gap between research and business.

The aim of the service is to support exploitation of research results. This might result in the creation of a product, process or service; it might mean the establishment of new standards; or the delivery of new training courses or curricula.  Appropriate exploitation leads to innovation, new business, jobs and growth. Exploitation is a crucial element of EU research programmes and SSERR is here to help!

SusChem also supports its stakeholders to exploit the results of SusChem inspired projects through our brokerage events that help consortia building for Commission calls, our support to SMEs through SME workshops and our  Guide to Innovation Funding for SMEs in Europe and our dedication to help bridge the ‘innovation valley of death’ in general and for Key Enabling Technologies in particular.

Who and what of SSERR
There are many reasons to contact SSERR:

  • If you have your potentially exploitable results but don’t know how to protect them
  • If you need to develop a viable plan for the exploitation and dissemination the research results
  • If you want to develop a business plan but don’t know all the items to be considered
  • If you are you looking for businesses and investors

SSERR can provide the answers you need using a series of tailored, on demand, free services including:

  • Project Risk Analysis to identify the risks and potential obstacles to the future exploitation of project results
  • Exploitation Strategy Seminars to brainstorm on key results, and how to address the risks and obstacles associated with exploitation
  • Business Plan Development service to assist project partners in commercialisation of results
  • Assistance for Patenting and the protection of intellectual property rights
  • Brokerage Events to allow projects to present their exploitable results to key investment actors

SSERR services can be accessed at any time during a project life cycle, even after the project has been completed. All that is required is an email from the Project Coordinator to requesting SSERR assistance. The Project Coordinator and relevant Commission department then agree on the services and the Commission proposes a consultant who will deliver the service(s). The details are agreed between the Project Coordinator and the consultant under a confidentiality agreement. And all for free!

More information
For further information download the initiative's leaflet, visit the SSERR website, or contact the Commission via email.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Commission launches public survey on Horizon 2020

The European Commission is inviting researchers, entrepreneurs and innovators to share their views on the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme via a new public consultation launched today (20 October). The public survey will run until mid-January 2017 and there is also a separate consultation on Euratom, the nuclear research and training programme funded under Horizon 2020. In addition some early hints on the orientation for the next EU research and innovation programme have been made.

The consultation, which should take no more than 20 minutes to complete, is part of a broad Commission initiative on the Horizon 2020 mid-term review that will evaluate the achievements of the €72 billion, seven-year Horizon 2020 programme so far and recommend any “course corrections” that could increase its impact through the last calls.

The results of the consultation will also feed into planning for Horizon 2020’s successor programme (aka ‘FP9’) for 2021 and beyond. The Commission will publish a summary of views from the consultation by mid-2017.

The Commission is also gathering views on the European Institute of Innovation and Technology until 20 November and a consultation on public-public and public-private partnerships under Horizon 2020 will also be launched in the near future.

Bohemia for FP9
The European Commission has launched the Bohemia Study, a foresight exercise aiming to ensure the next EU research programme (FP9) is equal to the challenges of the 2030s. The study taskforce will consult with stakeholders and sketch out which emerging technologies and new fields of research should be funded.

“We have asked experts to do a stock take of the different foresight studies by the likes of the OECD and the World Bank,” Robert Jan-Smits, Director-General for Research at the European Commission last week.

The foresight exercise, which will be completed in the second part of 2017 is led by Matthias Weber of the Austrian Institute of Technology. The group has started to work on two scenarios, which are based on a “broad review” of forward-looking reports and analyses.  One scenario sees Europe and its research and innovation investment as one of the key global drivers of change in climate and energy policy, urbanisation, digital healthcare and disease prevention, and security and resilience, while the second scenario is slightly more pessimistic tone and foresees the “perseverance” of current trends and the intensification of existing challenges.

The Commission’s foresight exercise will look at how key individual sectors will evolve by 2030, to identify potential and challenges ahead. These sectors include healthcare, mobility, energy, and controversially the future of security and defence. One cross-cutting area for focus could be autonomous systems.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

E4Water report demonstrates EU Chemical Industry's water eco-efficiency

Today (18 October 2016), the results of the 'SusChem inspired' E4Water project - a ground-breaking water sustainability initiative - were presented by Cefic during a joint task force meeting with the European Commission in Madrid. The project, which was sponsored jointly by the European Commission under the FP7 Research Framework programme and industry stakeholders, produced real-world outcomes in industrial contexts where companies used less energy, less freshwater, and produced less waste water.

Designed to give a major boost to the water efficiency of the European chemical industry, the E4Water project aimed to demonstrate the benefits of integrated, cost and energy efficient water management. Including 19 partners across nine EU countries, and with six pilot sites the total project investment was € 19 million and the project ran from 2012 to 2016.

“Although the European chemical industry is a standard-bearer for eco-friendly measures like cutting greenhouse gas and increasing energy efficiency, this project identifies important new potential for increased water efficiency. This not only helps safeguard the planet by saving water and energy but also costs for industry”, said William Garcia, Cefic Executive Director. “We hope to see the model this project demonstrates scaled up in other industries to make important gains for the climate.”

Pilot examples
Six pilot cases were conducted to demonstrate what is possible if the recommendations from this project are taken up by other industry stakeholders and integrated into their processes. The potential benefits shown in the pilot studies included:
  • Reduction of 3 million m3 of freshwater per year
  • Reduction of 2.5 million m3 of produced wastewater per year
  • Reduced wastewater discharge by 4 million m3 per year
  • Reduced resource use through more efficient processes
  • 20% less energy used by implementing low energy technology
  • A drop in operating expenditure of 30% for every m3 of saved freshwater/year
  • Eliminating need for incineration (5,000 tonnes/annum/plant)
More information on the project and its outcomes can be found in the E4Water brochure with a more detailed report available on the project's website.

Water efficiency is a huge part of tackling climate change. The EU chemical industry – Europe’s fifth largest manufacturing sector – relies on water for many industrial processes. For example, processing, washing, heating, cooling and transporting products. To cut the amount of water required for these processes, the E4 Water project applied new research and development concepts to boost its eco-efficiency and sustainability.

The ‘Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry’ (E4Water) project addressed crucial process industry needs to overcome bottlenecks and barriers for an integrated and energy efficient water management. The main objective was to enable more efficient and sustainable management of water in chemical industry sector and identify possibilities to share the models developed with other industrial sectors.

The E4Water project consortium united large chemical industries, leading European water sector companies and innovative RTD centres and universities active in the area of water management with and collaborators from national and regional water authorities. The project received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Monday, 17 October 2016

Join ClubCO2 on 21 October

The technical and economic issues around #useCO2 projects will also be the subject of the second CO2 reuse seminar organised by ClubCO2 with the support of ADEME and the CO2Forum. This event takes place on 21 October 2016 in Lyon, France and will focus on the question: What are the economic and environmental benefits of CO2 reuse? The first ClubCO2 seminar was organised in Le Havre in May 2015, Club CO2.

The morning session (to be conducted in English) will present the current position and prospects for the policy-making, regulatory and economic aspects of CO2 reuse and analyses of the economic and environmental benefits of different CO2 conversion processes, based on industrial applications.

The afternoon parallel expert sessions will be organised in English and French speaking workshops with the aim of discussing and highlighting the conditions for the successful emergence of CO2 transformation technologies.

You can find more information about the Club CO2 seminar here and registration for the event can be found here.

The ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) founded Club CO2 in 2002 with the support of the IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN - formerly French Petroleum Institute) and BRGM (Bureau of Geological and Mineral Research). Since 19 March 2016, Club CO2 has been a non-profit association registered under French law to bring together industry and research organisations in this area.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Mini Chemical Machines win 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry

A tiny lift, artificial muscles and miniscule motors. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize inChemistry 2016 to Jean-Pierre Sauvage of the University of Strasbourg in, France, Sir Fraser Stoddart at the Northwestern University in the USA, and Ben Feringa of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands "for the design and synthesis of molecular machines”; molecules with controllable movements, which can perform a task when energy is added. The development of computing demonstrates how the miniaturisation of technology can lead to a revolution. 

The three 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have miniaturised machines and taken sustainable chemistry to a new dimension.

The first step towards a molecular machine was taken by Jean-Pierre Sauvage in 1983, when he succeeded in linking two ring-shaped molecules together to form a chain, called a catenane. Normally, molecules are joined by strong covalent bonds in which the atoms share electrons, but in the chain they were instead linked by a freer mechanical bond. For a machine to be able to perform a task it must consist of parts that can move relative to each other. The two interlocked rings fulfilled exactly this requirement.

The second step was taken by Fraser Stoddart in 1991, when he developed arotaxane. He threaded a molecular ring onto a thin molecular axle and demonstrated that the ring was able to move along the axle. Among his developments based on rotaxanes are a molecular lift, a molecular muscle and a molecule-based computer chip.

Ben Feringa was the first person to develop a molecular motor. In 1999 he got a molecular rotor blade to spin continually in the same direction. Using molecular motors, he has rotated a glass cylinder that is 10 000 times bigger than the motor and also designed a nanocar (below).

The 2016 Nobel Laureates in Chemistry have taken molecular systems out of equilibrium's stalemate and into energy-filled states in which their movements can be controlled. In terms of development, the molecular motor is at the same stage as the electric motor was in the 1830s, when scientists displayed various spinning cranks and wheels, unaware that they would lead to washing machines, fans and food processors.

Molecular machines are part of the sustainable chemistry tool kit that will be used to develop future new materials, sensors and energy storage systems. To learn more about their collective achievement a collection of their research papers, drawn from Nature Research journals, can be found here.

Feringa in Brussels
2016 Nobel laureate Prof Ben Feringa will feature at the International Solvay Institutes’ annual public event on Sunday 23 October 2016 at the Flagey Studios in Brussels. He will be one of the main speakers on the theme of ‘‘Chemistry for the World of Tomorrow’’ and will highlight research at the frontiers of sustainable chemistry.

The event will feature three Nobel Chemistry laureates – two as its main speakers

The lectures will be followed by a panel discussion of distinguished scientists led by Professor Kurt Wüthrich (ETH and Scripps Institute), 2002 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry. The audience will also have the opportunity to ask questions to the panel on the most pressing issues facing today’s chemistry.

The lectures and debate will be delivered in English with simultaneous translations to Dutch and French. The event is free, but participants must register in advance here.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Top Innovators needed to shape European Innovation Council

The European Commission is looking for top innovative people to help shape the new European Innovation Council (EIC). If you think you could help strengthen Europe's capacity to generate and scale up breakthrough innovations then the Commission is inviting you to join a High Level Group (HLG) that will advise on the design of the new EIC.

It is hoped that the High Level Group will start its work by early 2017 with an initial duration of 24 months, which may be renewable. The High Level Group will consist of have up to 12 members who would need to be available to work with the group by the end of 2016.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, set out his ambition to create a European Innovation Council in June 2015. Its aim is to boost the impact of EU research and innovation programmes by stimulating innovative start-ups and SMEs with the potential to grow into world-beating businesses.

The EIC will focus on support for innovative firms and entrepreneurs with the potential to scale up rapidly to become the game-changers of the future, helping spur growth and new jobs in Europe.

Commenting on the EIC HLG Commissioner Moedas (above) said: "Europe can do more for innovators, especially those with the ambition and capability to create new markets. EU support for innovation must be open to start ups and innovators with the potential to scale up, and reflect their needs. That is why I am setting up this High Level Group, and invite our leading innovators to put their names forward."

How to apply
The full call for applications for the EIC HLG can be found on the Horizon 2020 Participant Portal and the deadline for applications is 27 October 2016. Applications are invited from individuals acting in a personal capacity, who are already active in different parts of the innovation ecosystem, such as:
  • Entrepreneurs who have started and scaled up innovative enterprises at European/global level 
  • Investor and start-up communities (including banks, Venture Capitalists, Business Angels, crowd funders etc.), and 
  • Those involved in the wider innovation ecosystem (knowledge transfer, business schools, innovation hubs, accelerators, etc.).
The Commission will assess applicants against the following factors and criteria:
  • Their track record in the start-up and/or scale up of innovative firm(s) at EU/international level 
  • Their Commitment and passion for innovation
  • Their contributions to the development of the broader innovation ecosystem at EU/national/regional level 
  • Any recognition by authorities and/or achievements, for example in the form of prizes and awards obtained at national, European or international level 
  • The balance of members within the group in terms of skills, experience, gender, age and geographical origin.
EIC background
The European Commission ran a public call for ideas between 16 February and 29 April 2016 to gather stakeholders' views on disruptive, market-creating innovation, on gaps in the current innovation support landscape and on the potential remit of a European Innovation Council. As the SusChem blog reported Cefic submitted a position paper to this call. A report on the results of the call was published in July 2016.

The HLG will be another step towards the establishment of a European Innovation Council. A number of pilot actions for the EIC could be launched during 2017 under Horizon 2020 with a full-fledged EIC rolled out in the successor ‘FP9’ programme.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

RESYNTEX: A New Circular Economy Concept for Textiles and Chemicals

On 14 September 2016, the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX) organised an Experts Workshop on Textile Waste Situation & Textile Waste-to-Chemicals Scenarios. The event, held in Brussels, brought together European textile waste and chemical industry experts to discuss the current situation and trends in textile waste collection and valorisation in Europe, and to validate textile waste-to-chemicals symbiosis scenarios developed by the RESYNTEX project

RESYNTEX, a research projected funded by the European Commission’s HORIZON 2020 Programme, aims to create a new circular economy concept for the textile and chemical industries. The project started work in June 2015. Through an innovative recycling approach and industrial symbiosis, RESYNTEX will transform textile waste into secondary raw materials, creating circularity and reducing environmental impact. The project objectives and current status were presented by the project coordinator SOEX Group. RESYNTEX has 20 project partners from across 10 different EU member states, including industrial associations, businesses, SMEs and research institutes.

During the workshop (above), the experts reported that, currently, many valuable materials contained in textile products are still disposed of as waste after use, and much of the waste is sent to landfill or incinerated with high environmental impact. Not enough post-consumer textile waste is separately collected in Europe and a significant residual part of the non-reusable waste does not get recycled. The purpose of RESYNTEX is to change that reality, designing a complete value chain from textile waste collection to new feedstock for chemicals and textiles. The project aims to enable traceability of waste using data aggregation, to develop innovative business models for the chemical and textile industries, to demonstrate a complete reprocessing line for basic textile components, as well as increasing public awareness of textile waste and boosting social involvement. Participants highlighted that citizens should receive more information in order to be involved in new ways of thinking and behaving towards textile waste, with a focus on sustainability.

Textile waste
An overview of the textile waste situation in Europe was provided by EURATEX and Oakdene Hollins. First, textile waste for the purposes of RESYNTEX was defined as “non-hazardous textile waste and is focused on residual waste currently sent for landfill or incineration, after all re-usable and easily recyclable fractions have been sorted out.” This material is accessible to the project from a range of different textile waste streams: production waste, post-use industrial/professional and post-consumer textile waste. According to the Eurostat waste generation data; there is approximately one million tonnes of textile waste collected separately from households in the 28 countries of the EU every year. However, collection rates vary extremely widely across Europe from rates of 30-50% in Western and Northern Europe to virtually 0% in some Eastern European countries.

A first estimate provided by Oakdene Hollins, based on an extrapolation of data provided by nine textile sorters in different EU countries, shows a total volume of 80 000 tonnes of residual waste generated by the EU-28 sorters per year.  Out from that volume and the composition of the residual material, which consists of 60% textile fibres, the total volume of textiles that is accessible to RESYNTEX from that waste stream is 50 000 tonnes per year. More detailed information on the composition of such waste will be evaluated during the project by the partners and contacts in regional textile sorters.

An overview of the French experience on textile waste and recycling was provided by Eco TLC, a not-for-profit private company directed by a board of industrial companies that aims to tend towards 100% reuse and recycling for used clothing, household linen and footwear (TLC in French).  Every company that introduces clothing, household linen, and footwear items on the French market to sell under their own brands, must either set up its own internal collection and recycling programme or pay a contribution to Eco TLC (accredited by the French Public Authorities to manage the sector’s waste) to provide it for them. The funds collected support research and development (R&D) projects that are selected by a scientific committee to find new outlets and solutions to recycle used TLC, and are used to publicise campaigns organised by local authorities to change consumers’ waste sorting habits. Every year, 600 000 tonnes of TLC are placed on the French market; however, only 32.5 % of used TLC is collected for reuse or recycling. TLC reported that up to 7% of the collected post-consumer textile quantity is currently incinerated, partly in cement production, or even sent to landfill.

The Netherlands has a goal of increasing the collection of post-consumer textiles by 50% by 2020.Today, the waste collection is about 90 000 tonnes per year. The low quality materials and non-reusable waste are the main challenge to waste textile usage. ECAP (LIFE) and REMO were mentioned by Alcon Advies/ Texperium as good examples of projects on textile recycling initiatives.  Belgium has an exceptionally high rate of separate textile waste collection due to a dense network of containers and other collection options across the country. The new report from COBEREC shows that, in 2015, 120 000 tonnes of old clothes were recycled in Belgium equivalent to 500 million pieces. Lower quality textiles are reused as rags (20%) or their fibres are recycled (17%). And about 8% of textile post-consumer waste is not reusable. An overview of Czech Republic textile waste scenario was provided by INOTEX Ltd: only 3 000 tonnes of textile waste is separately collected per year and only 3% of all textile waste seems to be recycled at present.

Recycling business
Cefic described existing polymer recycling business practices in other segments and summarised existing initiatives, pilots, commercial activities and other major research projects in the field of textile polymer recycling. For the RESYNTEX relevant types of fibres in the textile waste, Cefic discussed the relevant market environment. Potential business models suitable for such textile/chemical symbiosis were discussed by the workshop participants, for example scenarios describing regional delocalised sorting and pre-treatment of the textile waste and transportation to central chemical conversion plants to achieve economy-of-scale.

The RESYNTEX expert workshop provided an excellent platform to exchange valuable information between the participants, and challenge and validate Textile Waste-to-Chemicals Scenarios as Circular Economy concepts. The discussions and conclusions highlighted the enormous value such future symbiosis could create for both sustainability and the economic benefit of the sectors involved and society as a whole.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Register now for 18th Annual LRI Workshop!

The 18th Annual Cefic-LRI Workshop will take place in Brussels from 16-17 November 2016. The event is organised by the Long-Range Research Initiative Programme (LRI) of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and it's main focus this year will be on ‘AOPs (Adverse Outcome Pathways) and Genomics: how useful, how to address risk, and where next?’

The event kicks off on the evening of Wednesday 16 November 2016 at the Le Plaza Hotel with an invited poster session and networking cocktail followed by the Workshop Dinner and the 2016 LRI Innovative Science Award ceremony.

This evening session will be chaired by Nicolas Cudre-Mauroux from Solvay Award. He will introduce 2015 LRI award winner Dr Alice Limonciel of Innsbruck Medical University who will present the results of her study to establish thresholds of activation for stress response pathways and ligand-activated receptors for chemical classification.

This will be followed by the presentation of the €100,000 2016 LRI Innovative Science Award to the winning research concept who will outline the work they intend to undertake thanks to the award funding.

On Thursday, 17 November the workshop venue will be The Square in Brussels. This main workshop session will consist of a morning plenary session covering the impact of LRI research in the following key project areas:
  • Environmental methodology of mixtures and residues
  • Grouping of nanomaterials
  • Dust and workers exposure
  • Dermal absorption modelling
  • Eye irritation alternatives
  • Epidemiological evidence of Endocrine Disruption
  • Epigenetics normality
After Lunch a thematic panel discussion on ‘AOP and Genomics: how useful, how to address risk, and where next?’ will be chaired and moderated by Prof Ian Kimber of the University of Manchester.

You can download the programme for the event here and registration is now open and free!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

SusChem: Opinion on Green and Sustainable Chemistry

The first issue of Elsevier's Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry contains an article from SusChem on the 'European chemical industry's contribution to sustainable development' by Pierre Barthelemy and Esther Agyeman-Budu. The paper was presented at the inaugural Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference that took place in Berlin on 3 to 6 April. SusChem board member Prof Klaus Kümmerer, Director of the Institute for Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry at Leuphana University Lüneburg was the chair of the conference organising committee.

The paper examines the role of chemical research and innovation as a key enabling factor in achieving a sustainable and equitable global society and shows how the European chemical sector is a key player in the global chemical and pharmaceutical market and has been working to improve its own sustainability for many decades.

The paper features how initiatives such as SusChem are developing new solutions that will further reduce the environmental impact of the sector, while boosting its energy and resource efficiency, and introducing new materials and processes based on renewable resources for use by society. Moreover these innovative solutions catalyse sustainability in other sectors and value chains and will help realise concepts such as a truly circular economy. Finally the paper shows how effective implementation of such solutions requires close cooperation between government, industry and research bodies.

SusChem blog readers can access the full article for free here until 9 October 2016. The link will take you to the article on ScienceDirect. No sign up or registration should be needed - just click and read!

Current opinion
Elsevier’s Current Opinion series of journals were developed out of the recognition that it is increasingly difficult for specialists to keep up to date with the expanding volume of information published in their subject.

Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry covers:
  • The views of experts on current advances in Green and Sustainable Chemistry in a clear and readable form.
  • Evaluations of the most interesting papers, annotated by experts, from the great wealth of original publications.
  • All chemical aspects along the life cycle of chemicals as well chemical products and materials, for example resources, synthesis, use and after life issues.
Full article title: European chemical industry's contribution to sustainable development. Article reference: COGSC10 Journal title: Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry Corresponding author: Dr. Pierre Barthelemy. Full bibliographic details: Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry  (2016), pp. 28-32 DOI information: 10.1016/j.cogsc.2016.08.002

Monday, 26 September 2016

SusChem 2016 Brokerage in Seville breaks records!

The SusChem 2016 Brokerage event took place in Seville on 13 September and was attended by some 100 participants including SusChem Board Member Fernando Moreno who presented the introduction to the event and Soren Bowadt Programme Officer at DG Research and Innovation who is SusChem’s primary contact in the Commission. At the start of the Project Ideas Session Anne Chloe Devic, the Coordinator for SusChem National Technology Platforms, welcomed the speakers to the first SusChem European brokerage event ever organised outside of Brussels

The Brokerage event was hosted in Spain thanks to SusChem Spain, in conjunction with one of the biggest events of the year for the chemical community: the Sixth European Chemistry Congress. Our thanks to Cristina Gonzalez, the secretary of SusChem Spain, who was the prime mover in organising the event and acted as the chair of the meeting.

In the opening presentation, Fernando Moreno stressed the importance of such brokerage events and recalled the essential role that SMEs are playing in the formation of new projects. Soren Bowadt reviewed the policy context for the Nanotechnologies, Advanced Materials, Advanced Manufacturing and Processing, and Biotechnology (NMBP) programme in Horizon 2020 and stressed the importance of the SPIRE and BBI PPPs, with which SusChem is very much aligned.

He made an overview of those projects that succeeded in obtaining grants in the 2014-2015 calls, gave an indicative overview of funding by the Commission for the last remaining years of Horizon 2020 and then detailed the 2017 calls, which were the main subject of the event. Soren also gave some hints on how to prepare a good project proposal.

The event continued with the presentation of 22 proposals, out of which 19 were from companies - including from 13 SMEs. This is a record in terms of the proportion of industrial participation and specifically participation by SMEs.

Another record that was broken at the event was the number of bilateral meetings requested on the Connexme application, which reached 100!

And last but not least, a lively speed-dating session took place that continued right up to the closing of the event. We hope that the event will lead to the birth of many new and successful projects!

You can now download all the authorised presentations from the event, including the ideas presentations, here.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

#useCO2: Economics and Valorisation

Carbon Dioxide Utilisation (CDU) is a topic of growing interest around the world and as reported earlier a CO2 Forum panel on 'Impacts, Policies and Strategies of CDU' took place on September 15 in conjunction with the four-day International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilisation (ICCDU) in Sheffield, UK.  The ICCDU is now organised as an annual event in response to the growing interest CDU in the academic community. ICCDU 2017 will take place in Shanghai. The CO2 Forum enjoyed a high level of representation from industry with presentations and participation in the debates from companies including Covestro, Carbon8, Total, 3M, and Sunfire.

The high level of debate was reinforced by the presence of delegates from the IEA and IASS Postdam. In addition several partners from the SusChem supported SCOT project were also present and discussed the conclusions and recommendations of their project.

This year, the CO2 Forum was truly international with the participation of a some US delegates sharing views and highlighting additional and currently less known up scaling projects such as Skyonic in the US and CarbFix in Iceland.

CDU (or #useCO2) approaches are a medium to long-term research and innovation priority of SusChem and are featured in the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA). SusChem inspired #useCO2 calls have been included in Horizon 2020 work programmes including those developed through the SPIRE PPP such as SPIRE calls 05-2016 and 08-2017.

Economic issues
Although more #useCO2 projects are being announced, the economics of CO2 valorisation remains a significant issue in the current conditions. More incentives and support schemes are needed to support technology development and demonstration of CDU technologies at the large scale.

Pierre Barthelemy, Executive Director Research and Innovation at Cefic participated in a panel debate at the CO2 Forum and highlighted the need for support across all Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs), in particular financial support is needed beyond TRL 7 (defined as 'system prototype demonstration in operational environment' under Horizon 2020). He also called for an appropriate regulatory framework that supports #useCO2 business cases.

Inevitably the discussion at the CO2 Forum also included the potential for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), however the slow development of this technology was highlighted. By 2025, CCS projects currently in the pipeline could capture only 10% of what is required to support the two degree scenario (2DS) discussed at COP21 in Paris. Clearly no technological option should be rejected and more innovation is needed to meet the challenge of climate change.

Club CO2 seminar
The technical and economic issues around #useCO2 projects will also be the subject of the second CO2 reuse seminar organised by ClubCO2 with the support of ADEME and the CO2Forum. This event takes place on 21 October 2016 in Lyon, France and will focus on the question: What are the economic and environmental benefits of CO2 reuse? The first ClubCO2 seminar was organised in Le Havre in May 2015, Club CO2.

The morning session (to be conducted in English) will present the current position and prospects for the policy-making, regulatory and economic aspects of CO2 reuse and analyses of the economic and environmental benefits of different CO2 conversion processes, based on industrial applications.

The afternoon parallel expert sessions will be organised in English and French speaking workshops with the aim of discussing and highlighting the conditions for the successful emergence of CO2 transformation technologies.

You can find more information about the Club CO2 seminar here and registration for the event can be found here.

The ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency) founded Club CO2 in 2002 with the support of the IFP Energies Nouvelles (IFPEN - formerly French Petroleum Institute) and BRGM (Bureau of Geological and Mineral Research). Since 19 March 2016, Club CO2 has been a non-profit association registered under French law to bring together industry and research organisations in this area.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Solar-Driven Chemistry: A New Paradigm?

At present, despite advances in the production and diversity of biobased products and the increasing use of renewable energy sources, the chemical industry depends largely on fossil carbon resources for its main energy source and feedstock. A new White Paper launched by EuCheMS and DFG on 12 September at the 6th European Chemical Congress shows how it could be possible to drive chemical reactions using the energy of the sun and help guarantee a sustainable future.

This vision of solar-driven chemistry offers a long-term innovative scientific and technological endeavour to achieve sustainable chemical production through “recycling” carbon by converting CO2 into chemicals, materials and fuels.

Such #useCO2 approaches are also a medium to long-term research and innovation priority of SusChem and are featured in the SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA). SusChem inspired #useCO2 calls have been included in Horizon 2020 work programmes including those developed through the SPIRE PPP such as SPIRE calls 05-2016 and 08-2017.

The report was published in the same week as the 14th International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization (CDU) was being held at the University of Sheffield in the UK. Today (15 September) on the final day of the conference Pierre Barthélemy, Executive Director, Research and Innovation at Cefic, will contribute to a CO2 Forum panel on 'Impacts, Policies And Strategies of CDU'. He will argue that beyond research and innovation challenges successful industrial deployment of #useCO2 technologies will require high levels of industrial symbiosis, significant investment and the right policy framework to deliver the desired impact.

Solar vision
The 'Solar-Driven Chemistry: A Vision for Sustainable Chemistry Production' paper describes how the primary feedstocks for solar-driven chemistry are water, nitrogen and carbon dioxide, while the main products would be molecular hydrogen and a series of carbon-based chemical compounds obtained through the simultaneous reduction of CO2.

Such solar-driven chemistry is a visionary concept, for which many scientific and technical problems remain to be solved. Technology transfer from fundamental chemical research to industrial applications can take decades, however, intermediate short- and medium-term objectives, which are necessary to enable the long-term goal, can also generate new knowledge, which will provide wider benefits to society and an improvement to industrial competitiveness, claims the paper.

From EuCheMS / DFG report

Radical paradigm
The paper claims that solar-driven chemistry could be a radical paradigm shift in chemical production, which could have a high, positive impact on the competitiveness and sustainability of European industry. It has the potential to contribute significantly to a fossil-independent supply of feedstock for the chemical industry and to greener fuels for all applications. Solar-driven chemistry can create knowledge-driven competitiveness for Europe’s industrial production, while preserving jobs and the environment.

In order to accomplish this ambitious goal, a broad and inclusive action driven by the chemical science community is needed that requires a large integrated and synergistic approach covering catalysis, electrochemistry, photochemistry, nanosciences, in concert with semiconductor physics, engineering, biosciences and social sciences. Implementation of solar-driven chemistry is a big challenge, but one that could have a high impact for future generations, not only in science, industry and economy, but also within society as a whole, the paper concludes.

More information
The document is based on the presentations from a brainstorming workshop on ‘Solar-driven Chemistry’ that took place on 9 October 2015 in Berlin jointly organised by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the European Association of Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS).

DFG is the self-governing organisation for funding science and research in Germany whose membership includes German research universities, non-university research institutions, scientific associations and the Academies of Science and the Humanities.

EuCheMS aims to nurture a platform for scientific discussion and to provide a single, unbiased European voice on key policy issues in chemistry and related fields.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

G20 backs Innovation for Sustainable Growth

At the recent G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China the world’s leading nations adopted the G20 2016 Innovation ActionPlan. The ambitious plan underlines the recognition by G20 leaders of the need to “further advance innovation and assist member countries to create innovative ecosystems” in order to foster innovation-driven growth. This approach is broadly welcomed by SusChem as a long-time advocate of the need for innovation to drive sustainable development. “Sustainable chemistry is a major driving force for innovation in Europe and beyond and essential for smart and sustainable growth across all sectors,” said Pierre Barthélemy, Executive Director, Research and Innovation at Cefic.

In their
issued at the end of the summit, the G20 leaders highlight that “in the long run, innovation is a key driver of growth for both individual countries and the global economy as a whole” and commit to pursue pro-innovation strategies, policies and measures supporting investment in science, technology and innovation.

The G20 communique noted that “To achieve innovation-driven growth and the creation of innovative ecosystems, we support dialogue and cooperation on innovation, which covers a wide range of domains with science and technology innovation at its core” and “commit to pursue pro-innovation strategies and policies, support investment in science, technology and innovation (STI), and support skills training for STI - including support for the entry of more women into these fields - and mobility of STI human resources”.

Pierre Barthélemy Executive Director R&I, Cefic
Commenting on the communique Pierre Barthélemy (left) said: “To truly tackle and solve our current societal challenges, Europe’s innovation landscape needs to be driven by a holistic approach. Innovation is not only about new technology development, it’s also about new ways of working together, having a workforce with the necessary skill-set, the integration of technology and working along value chains. This is the European chemical sector’s view on innovation.”

“Through its products and processes, innovation from the chemical industry is a major driving force for innovation as a whole in Europe and is essential for smart and sustainable growth across all sectors,” he continued.

The G20 also stressed that “growth, to be strong, sustainable and balanced, must also be inclusive… we place sustainable development high on the G20 agenda” and “reaffirm our commitment to further align our work with the universal implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

A 2016 G20 Innovation Report will also be produced and released. As well as the Innovation Action Plan the G20 also published a G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth at the Summit.