The SusChem News Blog is now hosted on the SusChem website in the News Room. You will be redirected there in 10 seconds

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

ENF2011 - a Snapshot on EU nano innovation

EuroNanoForum 2011 (ENF2011) saw some 1200 members of the nanotechnology community from over 50 countries gather in Budapest at the end of May. Presentations over three days (including various satellite events) showed how nanotechnology is already addressing the grand challenges that face Europe and the whole world. Numerous examples of cross-disciplinary, cross-sector, and of course cross-border research and collaboration were shown. In European nanotechnology - cooperation and collaboration is the order of the day.

It is clear that nanotechnology is the key enabling technology that underpins a wide range of other enabling technologies and processes. In fact the term nanotechnology covers a wide and diverse family of technologies and processes that will and are already making an impact on industry and society at large.

This family of technologies continues to grow. For example the opportunities that are emerging from research into applications for graphene are quite remarkable – and could usher in the end of the silicon age and open a new age of carbon-based electronics.

In fact it is easy to be carried away at a conference like ENF2011. Presentations at this conference have shown that nanotechnology can enable the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and bring cheap, sustainable power amongst many other miraculous possibilities in fields from medicine to the environment.

Innovative, safe
However to ensure that this European investment in research yields a European dividend in terms of growth and competitiveness requires successfully transfer to industrial level – selling nano-enabled products to the mass market. This is the real challenge and a vital challenge for our continuing prosperity.

I could worry about the fact that many presentations showed excellent examples of EU research outcomes but – for example – Japanese examples of near – or in the market products. Europe must do better on commercialisation and retention of IPR. This is our most important challenge going forward. Hopefully the instruments being developed for the Common Strategic Framework, and other policy initiatives, will assist this process.

We also need to ensure that nano is safe and seen to be safe. The meetings of the Nanosafety cluster projects at Budapest showed how important this is and that all aspects are being addressed.

The number of nanotech products that are in - or about to enter the market – increase almost daily and this means that conclusions on international regulatory and standardisation issues are becoming increasingly urgent.

And of course effective communication of the benefits and risks of nanotechnology is necessary. Fortunately the numerous Nanotechnology communication initiatives at ENF2011 show that this area is also being fully addressed and making an effective impact. Of particular interst was the OpenLabs concept pioneered in the NanoToTouch project. This brought working nano scientists and their laboratories into a public space in three science museums across Europe and allowed direct interaction with interested citizen 'on the job'.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Pictures from Budapest

The EuroNanoForum 2011 event is in full swing. The weather in Budapest is glorious but with four parallel conference sessions plus other workshops and events delegates have not had any much time to appreciate the weather.

The event is taking place at the Budapest Congress and World Trade Centre.

In parallel with the conference there is an extensive exhibition area.

After a hard day at the conference on Monday delegates were able to relax at the Budapest Palace of Miracles - a major new science centre in the centre of town - in the evening.

SusChem.Be has the answers

SusChem Flanders and Essenscia have launched a website dedicated to promote sustainable chemistry and help companies with their questions on sustainable chemistry.

The '' site has just gone live in Belgium!

Essenscia, the industrial federation for chemistry and life sciences in Belgium, is committed to sustainable chemistry and wants to help Belgian organisations that use or produce chemicals with their transition to sustainable chemistry.

SUSCHEManswers is a joint initiative of Essenscia and SUSCHEM Flanders to enable cooperation between external partners with expertise in different complementary aspects of sustainable chemistry. The aim being to help organisations with their sustainable chemistry questions.

As well as promoting interesting links and events the platform allows users to pose questions related to sustainable chemistry, free of charge and anonymously.

Knowledge organisations that want to cooperate as a partner with this intitiative should contact Dr. Saskia Walraedt at SusChem Flanders.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

SusChem at EuroNanoForum 2011

SusChem will be reporting from the EuroNanoForum 2011 taking place in Budapest 30-31 May and also take a look at the NanoFutures session on Wednesday morning (June 1).

Over 1000 participants are expected at this biannual event. The 2011 event promises to be the biggest so far and the European nanotechnology event this year. It will reveal how nanotechnology can contribute to addressing the grand societal challenges of our time. The event covers research breakthroughs, industrial innovations and societal aspects of nanotechnology.

In addition to plenary sessions, four parallel conference sessions will cover the impact of nanotechnology on energy, health, electronics, the evironment and biotechnology amongst very many more sessions in an extensive programme. A large exhibition is also part of ENF2011.

The NanoFutures initiative brings together an number of technology platforms (including SusChem) to assess how nanotechnologies can support sustainable development.

You can follow SusChem reports from ENF2011 via the SusChem twitter stream and we will also post blogs from Budapest.

Friday, 27 May 2011

SusChem in the Sunday Times

Chemical innovation and SusChem are highlighted in a special supplement that is being published and distributed with The Sunday Times this weekend (29 May). The chemical innovation article features an interview with SusChem board member Gernot Klotz of Cefic.

The Sunday Times is one of the UK’s leading quality newspapers with a weekly circulation of around 1.2 million copies. The supplement looks at UK and European innovation under the title Ingenious Britain.

The special magazine is introduced by Vince Cable MP, UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and contains interviews with a variety of personalities from the innovation scene including Martin Shuurmans of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and Andrew Wyckoff of the OECD amongst many others.

The future of science-business cooperation and knowledge transfer are subjects that are also covered through contributions from leading European organisations in this area. And there are case studies of companies using innovative approaches to improve healthcare, manufacturing, IT and communications, financial and other services. Further case studies cover universities and research institutes making dramatic improvements in many research areas.

If you cannot get a copy of the Sunday Times – or your local international newspaper seller doesn’t get the supplements – Ingenious Britain should be available online from Sunday, 29 May at its dedicated website:

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Amsterdam videos on SusChem YouTube

During the recent Amsterdam SusChem Stakeholder meeting our media partners for the event, ICIS Chemical Business, made video interviews with many of the participants. Three of these videos have now been uploaded onto the SusChem YouTube channel for wider distribution.

The three videos available on the SusChem YouTube channel are:

SusChem board members Peter Nagler of Evonik and Gernot Klotz from Cefic discussing the role SusChem can play in EIPs.

Marcel Wubbolts of DSM talking about the importance of the bio-economy to Europe.

Klaus Sommer of Bayer describing how work on one of the SusChem inspired EIPs/PPPs on resource efficiency in the process industry is progressing.

The videos are also accessible via the YouTube sidebar on this blog.

Further coverage of the event can be found via the special issue of ICIS Interactive published earlier in the week.

We hope you enjoy our coverage of the Amsterdam event! You can keep up to date on all SusChem activities by:

• Following this news blog
• Visiting the SusChem website
• Following @SusChem on Twitter

The Suschem Amsterdam Stakeholder event was an offical event of the International Year of Chemistry 2011.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Green Week 2011 - Resource Efficiency

The 11th edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, kicks off today (24 May) and runs until Friday (27 May) at the Charlemagne building in Brussels. The 2011 theme is “Resource Efficiency – Using less, living better”.

Resource efficiency is, of course, a topic of major interest to SusChem and the technology platform will be contributing to a Green Week session on "Green Chemistry finding Green Solutions" organised by The European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS). The session takes place on Thursday 26 May from 11:30 to 13:00 in the Salon Rouge

One of the goals of the International Year of Chemistry 2011 (IYC2011) is to underline the critical role chemistry plays in a sustainable future. Resource efficiency in Europe means not only making production as sustainable as possible, it means making consumption as sustainable as possible.

EuCheMS is preparing a Roadmap for the Chemical Sciences, the roadmap identifies major societal challenges and outlines critical gaps in knowledge that are limiting technological progress. The Roadmap then identifies where the chemical sciences have a role to play in meeting these challenges. The event will look at the positive contribution of green chemistry to improving resource efficiency and innovation in Europe.

Prof Michael Roeper of BASF will describe EuCheMS's Roadmap for the Chemical Sciences, with an emphasis on the section dedicated to Resource Efficiency and will highlight how SusChem is contributing to a more sustainable future - in particular through its proposals for European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs).

Other speakers include Dr Wim Thielemans of the University of Nottingham who will present the principles of Green Chemistry and Dr Mike Pitts from the UK's Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network (CIKTN) and a member of SusChem UK, who will focus on how product and process innovation can deliver sustainable growth.

In parallel to the four-day conference Green Week hosts an extensive exhibition. SusChem partner organsiations taking stands this year include Cefic, EuropaBio and the Water Technology Platform (WssTP).

Cefic will also highlight resource efficiency from the perspective of the chemical industry during Green Week, describing the challenges and opportunities presented by the global need for a more efficient use of energy and natural resources.

The Green Week conference and exhibition is organised by the European Commission and is open to the public. Full programme details can be found on the conference website and over 5000 participants have registered for the week.

Monday, 23 May 2011

ICIS Interactive - SusChem Special

A special issue of ICIS Interactive hosted and edited by John Baker, one of ICIS Chemical Business' most experienced editors, has just been published. This digital newsletter features images and viewpoints from the SusChem Stakeholder event in Amsterdam.

The publication covers all aspects of the SusChem Stakeholder event from 17 May and encompasses articles on the how, why and when of European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs), SusChem's goals and current work in this area, and gives insights on many other aspects of SusChem's programme.

A series of video interviews are featured including:

  • Waldemar Kütt from Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn’s cabinet explaining European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs).

  • SusChem board members Peter Nagler and Gernot Klotz discussing the role SusChem can play in EIPs.

  • Gerard van Harten from Dow outlining why industry needs to get involved.

  • Marcel Wubbolts of DSM talking about the importance of the bio-economy to Europe.

  • Nelo Emerencia of VNCI and SusChem Nederland explaining why SusChem national platforms have a key role to play.

  • Klaus Sommer of Bayer describing how work on one of the SusChem inspired EIPs on resource efficiency in the process industry is progressing.

The Amsterdam event panel discussion and closing remarks are also covered by photo features.

To access this ICIS Interactive Special either click on the cover image above or click here. The ICIS Interactive will then open in a new window.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Amsterdam Event in Pictures

A small selection of images from the SusChem Amsterdam event.

SusChem board members and event organisers relax during the evening before the main event on a trip around Amsterdam's famous canals.

Waldemar Kütt from Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's cabinet makes a point on EIPs during his plenary speech.

Renée Bergkamp, Director-General of Enterprise & Innovation, in the Netherlands Economic Affairs ministry, described how the Dutch government supports chemical innovation.

Gerard van Harten, CEO of Dow Benelux, being interviewed by John Baker of ICIS for ICIS Interactive.

During lunch delegates could view the exhibition 'Our Children on Water' organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The Resource Efficiency in the Process Industry workshop gets under way in the afternoon.

Many more photos will be available via the ICIS Interactive report available soon.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Amsterdam EIP Workshop Outcomes

The four European Innovation Partnership (EIP) workshops that took place at the Amsterdam SusChem event each evaluated the status of an individual EIP proposal, looked at possible targets and held an open and dynamic discussion on the approach and content required. The outcomes of the workshops will be incorporated into initial draft programme proposals.

SusChem coordinator Ger Spork described the workshops as “excellent dialogue sessions” and said that initial drafting of a position paper on the four EIP proposals should now be completed by the beginning of June.

Brief outcomes from the four workshops are given below with contact emails for the relevant SusChem Programme Manager. Use the links to jump to your area of interest. The four EIP areas discussed were:
Brief descriptions of the EIP areas can also be found on this previous blog posting.

Smart Cities
Initial discussion in this workshop focused on some fundamental questions: What is a Smart City? Are we talking EU cities or global cities? What are specific areas for R&I for cities? Targets for CO2 emissions/ energy have already been set by politicians. Perhaps we need to step back from societal challenges to evaluate what the societal needs of big cities are? There is a clear need to better understand and define what a Smart City is and therefore what its innovation needs might be.

In addition, there are already many ongoing projects in this area that we need to learn from. Some 2000 cities in the EU have produced a written agenda or plan to curb emissions and/ or reduce energy use etc. What would be the unique selling point for an EIP: to change public (and private) mentalities?

It was felt that the Smart City proposal is microcosm of all the other challenges facing society. The Energy Efficiency in Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) already had ~50% industrial membership. Likely technical issues were similar to those in EeB – such as energy storage and refurbishment – but the main challenges are not just technical they were also societal.

It was felt that the chemical industry would not sustain a significant lasting effect in this area without a defined potential to demonstrate technology. This meant working with a small number of cities that want to host demonstration projects. A final issue was the idea that not all steps in the value chain may be profitable in this area. This meant that a new ‘holistic’ profit sharing business plan would be needed that looked at the value chain from an integrated perspective – not an isolated link-by-link approach.

SusChem contact: Ed D’Hooghe
Back to top

Raw Materials for a Modern Society
Five work packages have already been determined for the Raw Materials EIP proposal; two of which are technical areas and three are largely policy action areas. The three mainly policy areas are Regulatory, knowledge, and infrastructure; Regulatory aspects recycling and excellence; and international cooperation.

The first technical work package covers new technologies for supply, extraction and recycling. A list of critical raw materials had been drawn up and a proposed chapter structure for the positioning paper drawn up. The second technical area/ work package is innovative technologies and solutions for substitution of critical raw materials. Both technical areas called for substantial input from the chemical and process industries.

The position paper should cover the case for raw materials substitution highlighting where substitution is necessary versus where substitution is possible. In terms of substitution there was a need to focus on areas where recycling was not a viable option. Principles for developing substitution material were needed to ensure principles no competition for supply, over demand on building blocks and identifying bottlenecks. One outcome was the need for additional input from industry to the recycling work package.

The workshop concluded that there was a need to focus on criteria for prioritisation. Criteria included scale and urgency (i.e. critical materials with few possible alternatives), the timeliness for delivery of new materials (to market), and the EU competitiveness position in terms of any technical lead and the market need for the material. Two initial potential priority candidates were noted: gallium and indium.

SusChem contact: Antonia Morales Perez
Back to top

Resource Efficiency in the Process Industry
This workshop was clearly the most popular at the SusChem event claiming well over 50% of the registered delegates. The proposed EIP has four themes: Feedstock; processing; products that enable better efficiency downstream; and recycling. Major topics debated in the workshop included what was the best methodology to measure sustainability in order to select appropriate projects? Was life cycle analysis (LCA) appropriate? It was concluded that a review of all current methods was needed with attention given to availability of good quality data and standardisation.

Raw materials sources were considered in terms of material cascades, biomass, and alternative renewable feedstocks (such as CO2). It was noted that it is difficult to achieve balance volumes in cascades and in some cases recycle is a viable alternative to a cascade approach. There is a need to consider optimal resource use: not just a biomass/ biorefinery approach.

A big question was ‘How to prioritise?’ There are many topics that could be covered in the programme. There was a need to develop a broad appealing programme but with a focus on areas and governance structure to set and avoid overlap with other initiatives. Another big question was how to involve SMEs. This could be difficult but the PPP instrument can offer opportunities. Industry can tailor opportunities that are more appropriate to SMEs and/ or streamline tendering and look at current best practise – for example the SusChem inspired BIOCHEM project. Also SusChem national platforms offered routes to engage with the SME community and that special attention should be given to entrepreneurs.

Other conclusions were that the EIP programme needed to show completeness and coherence. Targets needed to be measurable and should be therefore use aggregated results that were publicly available. One target should be to increase the fraction of bio-based feedstock used in the EU to 20%. It was noted that no additional stakeholder engagement was required for this EIP proposal at present.

SusChem contact: Ed D’Hooghe
Back to top

Water-efficient Europe
The objective of this proposed EIP is to boost innovation in the water sector? And why water? Because industrial water use (at 55%) is the major user of this increasingly scarce resource compared to urban use (16%) and agriculture (29%). A primary objective would be to integrate water management in these three use areas. At the heart of the Water-efficient Europe EIP would be cooperation with different sectors, and a comprehensive look within regions to find best practices for reuse of water.

Delegates thought that the EIP needed to be aware of too broad an approach and to focus on those areas in which the chemical sector is clearly already engaged. There was also a need to be aware of sustainable, multi-disciplinary, focussed solutions that are based on efficiency indicators. It was felt that the role of sectors outside the chemical industry was extremely important especially in terms of concepts of cascade use of water.

Regulation and standardisation had potential roles as stimulators of innovation and change in this area. It was important to stress targets and goals where the sector can be challenged, but bring its expertise as a global technology leader to the issue. SME involvement was important but problematic.

SusChem contact: Antonia Morales Perez
Back to top

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

An Excellent Stakeholder Dialogue

The 9th SusChem Stakeholder in Amsterdam was a dynamic event that again showed SusChem to be the European network for sustainable chemistry in Europe. Delegates discussed and contributed to SusChem's plans for European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs - see separate report) and caught up on other SusChem developments.

SusChem board member Peter Nagler (right) of Evonik summed up the event saying "We have had a good and interesting day, a lively discussion and good ideas on how to drive things forward."

With respect to the EIPs he noted a key word: Simplicity. "It is a challenge to all of us to build a saleable story, to get better understanding by all stakeholders - indeed all Europeans to actively support these critically important initiatives," Nagler said.

Nagler also stated that the chemical industry is fully engaged with the EIP task as are the European Commission. He sensed differing opinions in the various EU Member States on detail, but all welcomed the EU2020 Agenda where it engaged with national priorities. It was likely that each country would assess their commitment to each EIP on a case-by-case basis.

But there was a need for speed and focus to achieve the ambitions of the EU2020 Agenda. The initial task was to build a common understanding of the challenges in order to build common targets. Nagler speculated if technology platform can change mentalities? In particular to promote entrepreneurship in Europe - is it a mindset or can we educate people to be entrepreneurs? "In any case SusChem must promote further dialogue with stakeholders and the wider society," he stated.

EIPs: work in progress
The Commission's EU2020 implementation process was evolving and the four SusChem work groups' activities were ongoing. The aim to achieve concrete plans by mid-2011 had been pushed forward by the workshops in Amsterdam.

The key messages that chemistry and the chemical industry are solution provider was loud and clear. The essential role of SusChem in EIPs was to align stakeholders and drive deliverables.

A further key message was that the value chain approach championed by SusChem was the way forward. "Within the workgroups this afternoon it became clear that there is no one component in the value chain that can deliver comprehensive solutions alone: we need to engage the whole value chain," Nagler emphasised.

Over the next year SusChem had plenty or work to do and would look forward to the first substantial steps forward for EIPs in its areas of interest.

EIP viewpoints
Earlier delegates were welcomed by Gerard van Harten (left) CEO of Dow Beneluxand Chair of the SusChem national platform in the Netherlands. He wished everyone an "inspiring day". He believed that the SusChem national platforms provided a vital link between EU and national R&I activities. The day's programme was outlined by Peter Nagler who encouraged the audience to "think big". He compared SusChem to the event venue - the Beurs van Berlage. "Both were created to create value and improve competitiveness," he stated. "Sustainability is a comprehensive innovation opportunity."

Following a video message from Cefic president Giorgio Squinzi, Waldemar Kütt from Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's cabinet described the evolution of the EIP concept. He said that EIP proposals should not cover too broad a policy area, needed to "focus on a few 'killer' activities" and must be targeted to aligning existing R&I tools. He anticipated announcements on the next "wave" of EIPs in September or October following evaluation of the initial EIP on Healthy Aging.

Dutch civil servant Renée Bergkamp, Director -General of Enterprise and Innovation in the Economics ministry, described the R&I policy landscape in the Netherlands. Chemistry had been identified as one of the country's top nine sectors. Each of the "top sectors" had a "top team" including industry, SMEs, science and government to plan national priority programmes. Netherlands would consider engagement with EIPs on a case-by-case basis in terms of how they fitted with national policy.

Following a coffee break a lively panel discussion led by EU journalist Willy de Backer (above far right) saw Waldemar Kütt (right) and Gerard van Harten joined by Janneke Timmerman - a government member of the Dutch "top team" for the chemistry sector - that really opened up discussion on EIPs to stakeholder questions.

ICIS Interactive reports
ICIS - the SusChem media partner for the Amstersdam event was active videoing interviews with speakers and SusChem leaders during the day and will be producing a special edition of the digital publication 'ICIS Interactive' on the event and SusChem developments in the very near future.

The SusChem 9th Stakeholder event was proud to be an official event of the International Year of Chemistry 2011.

SusChem and EU2020

Cefic President Giorgio Squinzi, CEO of Mapei, delivered a video message welcoming delegates at the SusChem Stakeholder event in Amsterdam this morning (17 May). The message underlined the chemical industry's commitement to support the EU2020 initiative and efforts to progress European Innovation Partnerships.

See the video below.

Follow the SusChem event on Twitter

SusChem News is tweeting 'live' from the stakeholder event in Amsterdam. Comments and images from the event are being posted at the SusChem twitter page. Blogs to follow later today.

SusChem twitter account can be accessed at

Monday, 16 May 2011

Chem industry uniquely placed to deliver EIPs

In a news release today (17 May) at its Amsterdam Stakeholder event, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) announced the next steps in its plan to play a leading role in four critical societal challenges for Europe. These steps, unveiled at the SusChem annual event in Amsterdam, aim to further demonstrate the chemical and biotechnology industry as an essential partner in the EU Innovation Union.

There is a way to bring innovative ideas to market in much shorter timescales. However, speeding up delivery depends on a radically new approach to innovation, i.e. through wide-scale collaboration that stimulates innovation simultaneously at various stages of the value chain.

The chemical industry, one of the few European industries that still retains world leadership, is acknowledged as a principle source of innovation for other sectors in Europe.

“The chemical and biotechnology industry is uniquely positioned to be an active value chain captain in Europe,” commented Peter Nagler (right), of Evonik and SusChem Board member responsible for innovation. “SusChem builds on its excellent track record of cooperation with a whole range of industry sectors across national borders – by doing so, it is already putting the Innovation Union into practice.”

SusChem has developed proposals in four areas where sustainable chemistry has a leading role to play:

Resource efficiency - Bringing energy savings in a demonstration plant that allows reduction of CO2 emissions by 50% and increasing the use of renewable feedstocks by 20% beyond 2020 along the value chain

Water efficient Europe - Reducing competition between the public and private sectors for scarce water resources.

Smart cities - Improving energy storage and renovating housing

Raw materials for a modern society - Addressing scarce resource issues through new materials initiatives and improved recycling / reuse efficiency

“Neither the public or private sector can do it alone. These partnership proposals have the potential to improve the quality of life in Europe and deliver key gains for society as a whole,” concludes Nagler. “They can also drive new markets and make a major impact on various business sectors. The time is right therefore to give our stakeholders a clear-cut proposal of what our industry can achieve in the Innovation Partnerships.”

More background on the proposed EIPs can be found on this blog posting.

SusChem is a European Technology Platform that brings together stakeholders from many different backgrounds to boost sustainable chemistry with a focus on technology, research and innovation issues. It was founded in 2004 by Cefic and EuropaBio.

Visit the SusChem website at:

SusChem, innovation, EIPs

SusChem will discuss four proposals for potential European Innovation Partnerships (EIPs) at its SusChem Stakeholder event in Amsterdam tomorrow (17 May). EIPs are major instruments developed under the Innovation Union and EU 2020 Agenda to accelerate innovation and promote growth in the EU.

EIPs are large-scale multi-year programmes that involve the EU, Member States, industry and academia that could involve multiple funding structures from public funds to venture capital. All EIPs will aim to show proof of concept and demonstrate innovation on the large–scale and all should address one or more of the significant social challenges facing the EU today.

The SusChem approach to EIPs is based on the acknowledged leadership of chemistry and the molecular sciences in driving innovation along many value chains in Europe. SusChem believes that simultaneous innovation along defined value chains can accelerate innovation and competitiveness. SusChem knows that the close working relationship between industry and academia that it has developed and its established collaborative work with other technology platforms and other transnational organizations can stimulate and lead the successful value chain initiatives.

Resource efficiency
Improving the resource efficiency of the process industry is an EIP proposal developed ‘bottom-up’ by SusChem to address a perceived need / opportunity identified within the industry. The chemical industry has a central role along many value chains in the process industry from feedstock to finished consumer products and then in enabling and managing recycling/ reuse.

SusChem is establishing a Resource and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REP) to pursue a cross-sectorial approach that can improve the use and reuse of scarce resources and maximize resource efficiency along the value chain. The aim is to “do much more with a lot less”.

A smarter city
The Smart Cities EIP proposal from the Commission aims to support a number of larger European cities to achieve a 20% reduction in carbon emissions, a 20% increase in the use of renewable energy, and a 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020. The idea is to demonstrate tangible progress towards the EU’s energy and climate objectives at a local level, to improve urban quality of life and boost local economies. Many of the concepts involved in the SusChem Smart Energy Home and related initiatives are applicable here to address urban construction and mobility needs.

Within this EIP area there is an already-existing public-private partnership – the Energy Efficient Building (EeB) initiative launched as part of the EU Recovery Plan. SusChem has a bilateral relationship with the European Construction Technology Platform (ECTP) on a proposed joint EC project: Building Up. And a working group on the Smart Cities proposal was formed in early 2011 with work on an initial positioning paper already completed.

Water efficient Europe
Making the best use of water resources is a significant social challenge. There is a need to reduce competition between water users, make better use of waste water and reduce leakage in supply systems amongst many other issues. A cascade usage vision is a key part of the strategy with a need for research and innovation in sustainable separation technologies, re-use processing and new materials.

There are already joint programming initiatives between Spain and the Netherlands in this area as well as the formal collaborative agreement between SusChem and the Water sanitation and supply Technology Platform (WssTP) which is working on a number of potential EC projects. An EIP working group was established in early 2011. SusChem is featuring water issues at the 17 May Amsterdam event, but will hold a second event exclusively focused on water issues in the second half of 2011 as part of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011).

Raw materials
The EIP on Raw Materials for a Modern Society has been proposed by the European Commission and supports an integrated EU strategy to ensure access to raw materials from international markets, boost resource efficiency and the rate of recycling, and set the right framework conditions within the EU. Two of the proposed work packages are of particular interest to SusChem: the development of new innovative technologies and solutions for sustainable raw materials supply and the development substitute materials to replace critical materials.

Within the scope of this EIP SusChem is already working with a number of other European Technology Platforms on a joint approach. These ETPs are Eumat, Manufuture, the Textile Technology Platform, the Sustainable Mineral Resources (SMR) platform and the European Steel Technology Platform (ESTEP).

The workshops on May 17 will discuss the opportunities that these potential EIPs bring and start to make concrete plans. To find out more about getting involved email the SusChem secretariat.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

What does SusChem mean to you?

Defining sustainability is an ongoing global discussion in many sectors. In the context of chemistry, biotechnology and innovation what do we really mean by sustainability? And how can SusChem design criteria to evaluate projects and programmes that it inspires or engages with? These are fundamental questions and we would like to know what the wider SusChem community thinks. So, what does sustainable chemistry and/ or SusChem mean to you? You can tweet your view to @suschem on Twitter.

In its 2005 Vision document SusChem referenced the Brundtland Commission definition of sustainable development as one of its founding principles. That definition is:

“Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

SusChem has built its thinking on the three pillars of sustainable development : environment, society and economy – or people, planet and profit. Essentially this means that SusChem thinking should promote activities and support projects that are economically viable and environmentally sound and address societal needs.

As SusChem moves from sustainable research to encompass sustainable innovation a clear communicable definition of sustainable chemistry is needed together with a set of guiding principles.

Screening criteria
These qualitative principles need to be given a quantitative basis to develop an iterative screening process for project assessment in SusChem. Such a system must be able to be applied to the diverse portfolio of SusChem projects in different technologies and regions. A small group lead by SusChem board members Martina Bianchini (Dow) and Marcel Wubbolts (DSM) is working to develop such a process using a Life Cycle Conceptual Approach.

Some tools already exit that could be of help. For example, the iSUSTAINTM Green Chemistry Index links green chemistry and sustainability based on the 12 principles of green chemistry proposed by Paul Anasta and John Warner in their ground-breaking book ‘Green Chemistry. Theory and Practice’. While the FP7 PROSUITE project is looking to produce a standardised methodology in Europe and is employing case studies that are very relevant to SusChem.

Tweet your ideas
This is work in progress and SusChem News would like to gather a range of views on what sustainable chemistry means to the SusChem community. So why not add your vision to the debate? As mentioned above you can tweet @suschem or email SusChem News with your take on sustainable chemistry. We look forward to hearing from you.