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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Raw Materials EIP Launched

Today (29 February) the European Commission has launched a proposal for a new European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Raw Materials. SusChem welcomes this initiative and is well placed to play a leading role in its development and implementation. The supply of raw materials is the lifeblood of today's high-tech industries and is increasingly under pressure. Our modern society is dependant on a range of raw materials, including industrial minerals and metals, that support our lifestyle and infrastructures. But many of these raw materials are not easily available or only found in geographically remote areas. All are an essentially finite elemental resource.

Commenting on the EIP Vice-President Antonio Tajani, European Commissioner responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, highlighted the need for improved access to minerals to enhance the development of low carbon products, such as thin photovoltaic layers, energy-efficient lighting, and electric cars. He said: "We need to join forces to tap Europe's enormous own potential of raw materials. Intensified action is required to make Europe the world leader in the capabilities related to exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution by 2020. It will be the key to Europe’s ability to develop today the technologies of tomorrow. Such innovation is decisive for Europe's competitiveness, sustainable growth and new jobs."

Innovation for material solutions
Four sustainable solution strategies can contribute to improving the future security of supply for these raw materials. The activities are collectively known as the ‘4Rs’:
  • Reduce – use less of the material to deliver the same product effect
  • Reuse – enable the recovery of a material to deliver the same effect repeatedly
  • Recycle – enable the recovery if a material to be reprocessed with no loss in value
  • Replace – substitute with a material, process, technology or business model that delivers the same (or better) effect.
Any new solution should also reduce the overall environmental impact and be safe to users and consumers.

“All these solutions will require sustainable chemistry to achieve them and will contribute to the medium to long term security of supply for raw materials in Europe,” commented Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic. “They will also boost resource efficiency and develop new business areas such as advanced recycling processes.”

“The chemical industry is developing new technologies for more efficient extraction of raw materials and works for the most efficient use and recycling of materials. It will also develop substitute materials and alternative technologies for its own and other industrial sectors.” He continued.

SusChem role
The new EIP on Raw Materials aims to provide Europe with enough flexibility and alternatives in the supply of important raw materials, whilst taking into account the importance of mitigating the negative environmental impacts of some materials during their life cycle. Its objective will be to make Europe the world leader in the capabilities related to exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution by 2020.

The main areas covered by the EIP will tackle the entire value chain of raw materials regardless of whether they are of primary (virgin materials) or secondary (recycled materials) origin and of whether they are hosted on land or on the seabed. As such the EIP addresses all aspects including exploration, extraction, refining and processing, sorting, collecting and recycling, as well as substitution.

The Partnership will help develop technologically driven solutions as well as non-technological options including the use of demand-side instruments including public procurement, standards etc.

Raw materials is one of SusChem's priorities and the platform has been part of a consortium developing proposals for an EIP in this areas. In particular SusChem is leading development of the work on substitution of raw materials and has a clear interest in the extraction and recycling activities.

SusChem is also a member of the Alliance 4 Materials (A4M) organisation that brings together a number of European Technology Platforms with a strong materials agenda to collaborate and coordinate activities in this area.

EIP material priorities
In preparing the proposal to launch this Partnership, the Commission has organised several workshops and a public consultation. This provided valuable input to the drafting process.

Once the Partnership becomes operational, a Strategic Implementation Plan will be developed. This plan is foreseen to be adopted by early 2013.

For more information visit the European Commission Raw Materials website. The EC Communication on the new EIP (COM(2012) 82 Final) can be accessed here.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Welcome to the SusChem Stakeholder Event!

Ger Spork, Innovation Manager at Cefic, talks about the 10th SusChem Stakeholder Conference that is taking place on 17 - 18 April in Brussels.

Registration for the Stakeholder event is open now on the new SusChem website. Click here to find out more about the stakeholder event! We are expecting a record attendance and registration will close on 6 April. So don't delay - register today!

A revised draft programme for the event is also available.

In the build-up to the event, SusChem News will be profiling speakers and highlighting the issues to be discussed.

If you have any questions on the 10th SusChem Stakeholder event, please contact the SusChem Secretariat. We look forward to seeing you in Brussels in April!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

European Sustainable Chemistry Award

Nominations for the second EuCheMS European Sustainable Chemistry Award are open until 1 March 2012. The award is an initiative of EuCheMS (the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences) and is supported by SusChem, Cefic and the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The Award, which includes a €10 000 prize, will be presented to the winner at the 4th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress that takes place in Prague, Czech Republic from 26 – 30 August.

SusChem board member Prof Matthias Beller (right) was the first ever recipient of the European Sustainable Chemistry Award in 2010. He was recognised for his exceptional research in the field of homogeneous catalysis for the environmentally sustainable conversion of small molecules into recyclable or reusable materials.

The European Sustainable Chemistry Award is designed to:
  • Recognise individuals or small research groups which make an outstanding contribution to sustainable development by applying green and sustainable chemistry
  • Promote innovation in chemistry and chemicals that will deliver clear improvements in the sustainable production and use of chemicals and chemical products
  • Demonstrate that chemistry and chemicals can play a central role in delivering society’s needs, while minimizing and solving environmental problems
Successful national green and sustainable chemistry award schemes have been in place for some years in several European countries and outside Europe and a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit points to the value of awards as demand side solutions as a key element in pushing the EU further up the global innovation rankings. The European Sustainable Chemistry Award is intended to be a prestigious scheme that will raise the profile of sustainable chemistry and be a spur to innovation and competitiveness.

More information
The Award is open to individuals or teams of up to three persons working at an institution in a country where there is a EuCheMS member society. For more information and the application forms visit the EuCheMS website or contact Nineta Majcen, EuCheMS General Secretary.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Register now for 10th SusChem Stakeholder Celebration

Registration for the 10th Annual SusChem Stakeholder event is now open. This celebration of sustainable chemistry and innovation will take place in Brussels on 17 and 18 April 2012. It will be a high profile event and we anticipate a record attendance from stakeholders in the sustainable chemistry community in Europe and beyond.
The event will focus on providing the latest insights on key topics such as: water efficiency, sustainable process, raw materials, smart cities and other areas where chemistry is playing a central role in deleivering a smart, sustainable and inclusive future.

As usual the stakeholder event will offer plenty of networking opportunities and the ideal chance to pick up valuable information on the European partnership programmes being driven by the European Commission's Innovation Union initiative and the Horizon 2020 objectives.

Bigger than Amsterdam
The 2011 Stakeholder event in Amsterdam was a real game-changer for the chemical and biotech industry with its message that there is no one component in the value chain that can deliver comprehensive and timely solutions alone - we need to engage the whole value chain.

This year's stakeholder event will again engage value chain partners on concrete priority themes where sustainable chemistry commits to promote partnerships and inspire innovation to achieve sustainable growth in Europe.

Where and when
The SusChem 10th Stakeholder event takes place at the Diamant Conference Centre in Brussels, Belgium from 12:00 on April 17 to 17:30 on April 18.

You can find a location map for the Diamant Conference centre here.

The two-day meeting will kick off on April 17 with an afternoon session featuring resource and energy efficiency and a specific focus on the proposed SPIRE PPP with elements including:
  • Presentation: 'The Future is based on Chemistry' by SusChem Chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer
  • SusChem strategy and workprogramme development
  • Panel discussion: 'Chemistry impact on societal challenges - Resource and Energy Efficiency'
  • Presentation: 'Resource Efficiency and Energy Efficiency - Vision for 2050' by Dr. Mike Pitts (CIKTN)
In the evening there will be a networking cocktail and a Stakeholder dinner debate on SPIRE.

Role of ETPs
On April 18 we start with parallel morning workshop sessions and stakeholder consultations on the SusChem priority topics of resource efficiency, water efficiency, raw materials and smart cities.

After lunch the conclusions of the four morning sessions will be presented in a plenary session and this will be followed by a panel discussion on the 'Role of European Technology and Innovation Platforms in Horizon 2020'

A final closing session, bringing together the learning and conclusions for SusChem's programme over 2012 and beyond, will be presented by SusChem Chairman Dr. Klaus Sommer. The event will be followed by a networking cocktail.

Registration is open now on the new SusChem website. Click here to find out more!

If you have any questions on the 10th SusChem Stakeholder event, please contact the SusChem Secretariat. We look forward to seeing you in Brussels in April!

Monday, 13 February 2012

New SusChem Website on-line

Improving communication with its stakeholder members is a top priority for SusChem in 2012. As a first step a new SusChem website has been under development over the past few months and launches today. Check it out now!

The new site is not merely a redesign but also puts enhanced functionality and new systems in place to ensure easier updating of content and better integration with social media. As well as better communication tools the site offers a new relationship management environment to enable SusChem members to access information and get more easily involved with SusChem activities.

Register today
To get the most out of the SusChem website we are asking all stakeholders to register with the site. If you have already registered with SusChem in the past - for example to attend the SusChem Stakeholder event or access the Brokerage Database - you should be able to use your existing email address and password. If you haven't registered before then the process takes only a minute or so. You can register here.

"Registration is open to anyone who has an interest in sustainable chemistry research and innovation, the societal challenges that SusChem is helping to address and everyone working for a smart, sustainable, competitive future for Europe," says Ger Spork, SusChem coordinator at Cefic. "We look forward to welcoming you to our new website!"

Once registered for the site, you can access the information and SusChem services relevant to you. The registration process will also enable SusChem to renew and 'clean' its stakeholder membership lists. In turn this will help with services such as the launch of a new regular SusChem Newsletter during 2012.

Feedback please
SusChem is very much a collaborative and cooperative platform that wants to encourage the widest possible participation from its stakeholders in the sustainable chemistry community in Europe and beyond.

If you have any comments on the new site, need to find out more about the platform, or require information on joining workgroups etc, please contact the SusChem secretariat.

Why not bookmark the SusChem website at: now.

Strategy for a EU Bio-based Economy

Today (13 February 2012) the European Commission published its new strategy on the Bioeconomy entitled ‘Innovating for Sustainable Growth: a Bioeconomy for Europe'. As a key component implementing two of the EU2020 flagships, the Innovation Union and Resource Efficient Europe, the new plan will contribute to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

Europe needs renewable biological resources for secure and healthy food and feed, as well as for materials, energy, and other products. The strategy and action plan will help drive the transition from a fossil-based economy to a sustainable bioeconomy in Europe, with research and innovation at its core. The bio-based economy is an area in which the European Union cannot risk being left behind in this area.

And SusChem is already playing its part in building a coherent, cross-sectoral and inter-disciplinary approach to a more innovative and low carbon society including the sustainable use of renewable biological resources for industrial purposes.

SusChem action
The EU process and chemical industry has been working hard to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the past decades. But the industry recognizes the need to develop and implement improved resource efficient and environmentally friendly processes to replace carbon, energy and water intensive production. This includes the use of bio-based feedstock.

The proposed Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE) Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) has exactly these targets; aiming to reduce fossil energy use in the process industries in Europe by 30% by 2030 and reduce non-renewable, primary raw material consumption by 20%. Together these objectives will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of process industry.

A prime objective of the EU Action Pan is to promote competitiveness and foster world-class entrepreneurship in EU bioeconomy sectors, including enhanced innovation roles for SMEs. The SusChem INNOVA project BIOCHEM is already working to help SMEs across Europe assess their capabilities and potential in bio-based markets and presents a unique opportunity for SMEs to enter and engage with opportunities in the emerging bio-based economy.

The EU Action Plan calls for the creation of stakeholder platforms at Member State level to facilitate action within countries and also coordination on between states. SusChem has pioneered a network of 11 national Technology platforms that contribute effectively to sustainable chemistry and bio-tech activities in just this way at both Member State and European level.

These and many other actions that SusChem is involved in to support the developing European Bioeconomy will be discussed at the 10th SusChem Stakeholder event – Partnering for Sustainable Innovation through Chemistry - to be held on 17 to 18 April 2012 in Brussels.

Commission initiative
The development of the Sustainable Bio-based Economy Strategy was led by Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn (RTD) with the support of Vice-President Tajani (ENTR), and Commissioners Cioloş (AGRI), Damanaki (MARE) and Potočnik (ENV). It will be presented to Member States at the Competitiveness Council on 21 February 2012.

The need to increase public funding for bioeconomy research and innovation is recognised under Horizon 2020: €4.7 billion has been proposed for the Challenge “Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research, and the bioeconomy”.

More information on this initiative, including the Communication, can be found here.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Spanish Forum on Water EIP

At the end of January the Spanish Centre for Industrial Technology Development (CDTI) hosted a forum to gather contributions to the proposed European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water from more than 30 European Technology Platforms (ETPs) and other stakeholders involved in water management with a particular focus on innovative solutions.

“Spanish stakeholders are very interested in the water challenge and the Water EIP,” said Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic, representing SusChem at the meeting. “Spain, due to its geographical situation, is one of the most exposed European countries in terms of drought and this has a significant impact on the agricultural and industrial sectors.”

EIP status
Robert Schroder, from the European Commission DG Environment updated the meeting on the 'European Innovation Partnership on Water'. The Communication to the European Parliament and the Council is now expected on April 12 and should be endorsed by June.

The Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) developed under the EIP should start at the end of the year, and the priorities defined in the SIP will be the basis for the calls and 'Innovation Activities' selection in 2013. A variety of different funding mechanisms will be used for the EIP calls including FP7, Life, Structural and Cohesion funds, European Investment Bank, and others.

The Water EIP will:
  • Join up knowledge and actions at European level to improve competitiveness through cooperation via a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral approach

  • Be focused on Innovation: not necessarily breakthroughs, but bringing ideas or technologies into the market and creating business opportunities

  • Help to remove barriers (technological and non-technological) to water innovation

  • Facilitate demonstration or pilots to test the value of the innovative solutions and dissemination
Innovative initiatives
The current status of the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) ‘Water Challenges for a Changing World’ was presented. The JPI, coordinated by Spain, is a Public - Public initiative focused on the preparation of a Strategic Research Agenda. It is led jointly by The Netherlands and Spain and now includes some 14 States as partners and 8 as observers

The European Water Platform (WssTP) outlined a list of pilot projects, located in several European Countries, with the aim of tackling a variety of topics to achieve more sustainable water management systems.

Antonia Morales discussed SusChem’s ‘Symbiotic approach model’. This is based on the integration of the Urban-Agricultural/bio-based economy and industrial areas, to implement innovative solutions that will allow: Reduced use of fresh water, Recycling of water, Reuse of water, Recovery of valuable material from waste water and optimisation of the Water-Energy nexus.

Other presentations included:
  • Renewable energies applied to water treatment and desalination

  • Cost reduction (water treatments and supply)

  • Advanced water treatment technologies (nanotechnology, biotechnology)

  • ICT solutions for water management

  • Participation of SMEs in the development and implementation of innovative solutions
The forum also highlighted the importance of education and public awareness for the water challenge. All the presentations at the CDTI Forum on 27 January can be accessed from the CDTI website (15 MB zip/ rar file).

For more information on activities in SusChem’s Water priority, please contact Antonia Morales Perez at Cefic.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Alfred Oberholz 1952 - 2012

It is with great sadness that SusChem News has learnt of the sudden death of Dr. Alfred Oberholz.

Dr. Oberholz was a chairman of the SusChem board from 2005 to 2008 and was influential in the success of the platform. He was personally committed to the success of SusChem and a great champion for sustainable chemistry and industrial biotechnology.

He remained a strong supporter of 'SusChem thinking' when he stepped down from the chairmanship and retired from Evonik.

He will be greatly missed by the chemical community in Europe. Our thoughts are with Dr. Oberholz's wife and family at this time.