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Friday, 31 May 2013

Got ideas for a Sustainable Future? – the Sustainability blogging platform - is running a great new competition: “Your ideas for a sustainable future”. The competition aims to encourage young people living in the EU to share their views on how chemistry can ensure that the way we live on our planet and use its resources becomes more sustainable. The best entry wins an iPad!

The competition is aimed at students and young professionals and is all about “chemistry for a sustainable future” – so we hope to see some creative “SusChem-style thinking”!

In 2050, more than 9 billion people will live on our planet. If we don’t change our behaviours, we will need the resources of three of our planets to meet the demands of this soaring population.

Through innovation based on chemistry, we can provide solutions to this shortfall in key areas such as food production, energy, water, health and climate change.

Interested!? Then check out: “What is chemistry’s role in building a sustainable future?” and get thinking about what contribution sustainable chemistry will be making to a better future for everyone. Why not take a look at the SusChem website for some ideas and inspiration?

YourFormula is looking for original and creative thinking and your opinions. Entries can be submitted as:

  • A Youtube video;
  • A slideshow presentation, or
  • An image (such as a poster, an infographic or an advertisement).

Entries are sought from students and young professionals aged between 18 to 30 from the EU. You can submit entries directly onto the site and the contest runs until 15 July.

The best entry will be selected via a combination of a judging panel and the number of times entries are ‘liked’. ‘retweeted’ and otherwise shared via social media. The winner gets an iPad Mini.

To know more about YourFormula visit the website. You can also follow YourForumula on Twitter and on Facebook.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Smart Chemistry at Smart Cities Stakeholder

SusChem will be at the Smart Cities Stakeholder event in Budapest on 5 and 6 June demonstrating how chemistry can provide Key Innovations for improving energy efficiency in the urban environment and addressing other Smart Cities issues. SusChem has just published a new report - ‘Innovative Chemistry for Energy Efficiency of Buildings in Smart Cities’ - outlining where Key Innovations in chemistry can make an immediate impact to improve energy efficiency during the refurbishment of buildings.

SusChem coordinator and Innovation Manager at Cefic Jacques Komornicki will be attending the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform Annual Conference in the Hungarian capital with a clear message on how chemistry can provide a range of sustainable solutions for Smart Cities.

“The Chemical Industry is a leading provider of innovative solutions for energy efficiency and construction in Europe,” says Jacques. “And these Key Innovations are available right now providing substantial savings for building owners and users.”

Efficient innovation
The Key Innovations described in the new SusChem report are:
  • High Performance Insulation Foams and Vacuum Insulation Panels that can reduce energy heating costs from 30% up to 80%.
  • Phase Change Materials (PCM) that enable walls and ceilings to absorb and store excess heat during the day and dissipate it at night, enabling further savings of energy on heating and cooling.
  • High Reflectance and Durable Outdoor Coatings that if applied to roofs and walls reflect radiation from sunlight and reduce roof and wall temperatures, leading to energy savings on cooling.
  • High Reflectance Indoor Coatings that reflect light better than normal paints and maximize the feeling of space and illumination.
“Overall using these tested energy efficiency solutions can reduce primary energy use in buildings by up to 70%,” claims Jacques.  Today 40% of primary energy n Europe is used for heating and cooling buildings.

These innovative solutions from chemistry combined with an annual urban building refurbishment rate of around 3% could result in direct savings for building owners and users, make a significant contribution to achieving EU energy targets, and generate jobs.

Tool-box, ballot box
“Clearly the chemical industry has a tool-box of solutions that can contribute to drastically decreasing the energy consumption of buildings,” continues Jacques. “These innovations are particularly suited to the renovation market and this market in turn has the potential to create growth and jobs in Smart Cities that adopt them whilst also contributing significantly to their emissions reduction goals - a double win!”

The conference is the first in a series of Annual Conferences of the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform and follows a ‘bottom-up’ process conceived to allow matchmaking and active exchange between industry and city partners as well as other stakeholders on the best Key Innovations, which have emerged from the Platform’s stakeholders.

Key Innovations are right at the core of debate as these are what interest the cities as well as the solution providers. The first day is fully devoted to discuss all Key Innovations following which delegates will vote for a ‘Top Three’ to be presented at the plenary session on day two. Day two will also provide stakeholder perspectives on the achievements of the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform.

The chemistry industry’s Key Innovations will be presented at the stakeholder event by Rinske van Heiningen of Akzo Nobel in his presentation on Advanced Materials for Energy Services on day one.

We are confident that the Chemistry Key Innovations will contribute to reach the Smart Cities targets,” concludes Jacques.

What are ‘Smart Cities’?
Smart cities go beyond the EU’s “20-20-20” objectives (20% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 20% share of energy from low carbon sources and a 20% reduction in the use of primary energy through energy efficiency measures) for the deployment of cost-effective low carbon technologies with a particular focus on energy, ICT and transport sectors.

Many cities across Europe are already committed to building tomorrow’s cities today - in particular those involved with the Covenant of Mayors organisation to which Cefic and SusChem are affiliated . This group of city authorities is developing a sustainable development framework that will allow them to voluntarily go beyond the 2020 targets.

The chemistry industry is represented on the European Commission’s High Level Group for Smart Cities and Communities (HLG) by GiorgioSquinzi, CEO of Maipei and recent past president of Cefic. The HLG acts as an advisory body for the Commission on the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform and the European Innovation Partnership. The Commission has recently launched its own website for the EIP on Smart Cities and Communities.

For more information on SusChem activities in support of the Smart Cities and Communities initiative, or to discuss potential collaborations in this area, please contact SusChem Coordinator Jacques Komornicki at Cefic.

SusChem Stakeholder: Presentations are online now!

The presentations from this year’s SusChem Stakeholder event are now online! The event which took place in Brussels on 14 and 15 May was the Technology Platform’s eleventh stakeholder event and demonstrated how SusChem is already working hard to engage with Horizon 2020 – the European Commission’s next major Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

The theme of this year’s SusChem Stakeholder event was ‘The root of EU Growth and Jobs: Innovative Materials and Processes’ and the meeting was held at the Sofitel Europe Hotel on Place Jourdan at the heart of Brussels’ European Quarter.

The presentations available include those given in the main plenary session as well as contributions to the parallel workshops on:
  • Material Technologies / Smart Cities
  • Resource Efficiency (SPIRE and BRIDGE PPPs)
  • Critical Raw Materials
  • Water

A selection of photos from the event are also posted on the website.

Next events
Over the rest of 2013 SusChem will be building on this work to be ready for the launch and first calls of Horizon 2020 in 2014. To support brokerage for the initial Horizon 2020 calls SusChem will look to provide a three step process:
  • Defining strategic SusChem innovations via SPIRE and BRIDGE PPPs and other road mapping initiatives
  • Stimulating project generation including the use of SusChem webinars to inform stakeholders on call content and possible areas of interest
  • Full brokerage and proactive project follow-up. 

A first SusChem Horizon 2020 Brokerage event will be organised during Q4 2013 when the final timetable for the launch and initial calls is known.

Keep an eye on the SusChem website, news blog or follow SusChem on Twitter for announcements on these forthcoming events. For more information you can always contact the SusChem Secretariat by email.

Monday, 27 May 2013

SusChem: ready and set for Horizon 2020

The clear message from the SusChem Stakeholder event that took place in Brussels on 14 and 15 May is that the Technology Platform is already working to engage with Horizon 2020 – the European Commission’s next major Research and Innovation Framework Programme. Over the past year SusChem stakeholders have been contributing to the development and launch of a range of exciting European initiatives that can help stimulate competitiveness, growth and jobs in the European Union. SusChem looks forward to continuing to support the European chemical, industrial biotechnology and process communities in pursuit of sustainability and competitiveness as a ‘model’ ETP 2020.

The theme of this year’s SusChem Stakeholderevent was ‘The root of EU Growth and Jobs: Innovative Materials and Processes’. The meeting was held at the Sofitel Europe Hotel in Brussels.

Welcoming almost 200 delegates on the first day Dr Klaus Sommer of Bayer Technology Services and Chairman of the SusChem Board outlined SusChem’s achievements over the year and the challenges it faced in the near future.

He stated that SusChem is vital for promoting competitiveness and growth in Europe – and cited the F3 Factory results as clear proof. SusChem is also leading the two Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs) - SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) and BRIDGE (Biobased and Renewable Industries for Development and Growth in Europe) and is heavily involved with the European Innovation Platform (EIP) on Raw Materials, the Smart Cities and Communities EIP, and the EIP on Water.

This widespread involvement not only showed the critical role of sustainable chemistry in many key areas but also the value of SusChem to the successful implementation of Horizon 2020. Dr. Sommer noted that added value proposals from SusChem were found in 30% of NMP calls in 2007-2011 for FP7 and there was a very high participation in FP7 from SusChem members.

F3 - creating the future of production
Just prior to the SusChem Stakeholder meeting the F3 Factory project held an event to mark the end of this important FP7 project. A report of this event is here and more details of the project itself can be found on the F3 Factory website.

The methodology and outcomes of the F3 Factory is of great interest to the SusChem community and the wider chemical and process industries as we enter Horizon 2020. In essence the project demonstrated that large-scale collaborative projects involving multiple large industrial enterprises can be successfully run in a pre-competitive environment and demonstrated that ideas can be quickly moved from laboratory to demonstration stage.

Further details of specific case studies will be released over the summer but the potential impact of the project is clearly huge. For example analysis of preliminary results show that capital expenditure can be reduced by up to 40% by implementing F3 Factory results. According to Cefic facts and figures capital expenditure in the chemical industry in western Europe (EU-15 plus Norway and Switzerland) alone was US$ 50.4 billion (€39 billion) in 2011.

EU Industrial Policy
A series of presentations relating to EU industrial and research policies followed Klaus Sommer’s opening presentation. Bonifacio García-Porras from the European Commission DG Industry and Entrepreneurship gave an overview of Industrial Policy in particular the Task Force on Advanced Manufacturing. The priorities of the task force were chosen in terms of the impact they could have on the current economic crisis.

Paul Rübig MEP (above) made the case for growing the manufacturing base in Europe. He stated that an additional target should be added to the EU 20-20-20 target – to boost the industrial manufacturing contribution to the EU’s GDP to 20%. He called for new ideas from business to stimulate policy and politicians to create jobs and growth as well as protect our environment.

Waldemar Kütt from the Cabinet of MáireGeoghegan-Quinn Commissioner for Research,Innovation and Science also talked about the economic crisis, Horizon 2020 and the need to invest, reform, and transform to maintain and enhance the EU’s competitive position. He argued that the need to produce more with less required innovation – and SPIRE would be a great help here.

Some of the research policy priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU were outlined by Osvaldas Šmitas from the Permanent Representation of Lithuania to the EU. Lithuania will hold the presidency of EU in the second half of 2013 and the work of the Competitiveness Council will be an essential priority.

The view of a successful SME was given by SusChem board member Fernando Moreno of Solutex. Fernando believes that there is an urgent need for a policy of reindustrialisation based on knowledge in Europe. He stated that a strong SusChem ETP can help as an extraordinary tool to enable SMEs to rise to a high innovation level.

Debate in the Valley of Death
The afternoon was concluded by a panel debate involving figures from the European Commission, Industry and Academia moderated by Tim Reynolds of Inta Communication Ltd. Tim is editor of the SusChem News blog.

The panellists were Jose-Lorenzo Valles of DG Research, Prof. Ulrich Schubert from the Technical University of Vienna and President of EuCheMS, Frederique Backaert from Ghent University and leader of the European Young ChemistsNetwork, Jose Cubillo Capuz of construction materials group AccionaInfraestructuras, and Paul-Joel Derian from Suez Environnement and former chair of the SusChem board.

The debate ranged widely over issues such as perceived skills gaps, our perceptions of the innovation problem and society’s view of risk and benefit balance in terms of innovation. A range of views and inputs came from the audience too.

Networking cocktails
An evening cocktail reception concluded the first day of the stakeholder event. Over drinks and canapés delegates heard from Edit Herczog, MEP, (pictured below) who praised the economic and environmental record of the chemical and process industries in the European Parliament but called on the chemistry community to put more “fizz” in their communications and engage more with society and citizens.

Andreas Förster, Managing Director Process Net DECHEMA and a representative of SusChem National Technology Platforms (NTPs) concluded the formal presentations with a discussion of the role of NTPs into the future.

Day 2: Horizon 2020, PPPs, Education
At the start of day two Ron Weerdmeester of PNO Consultants took the audience through what is known about Horizon 2020, the likely timetable to the launch of the programme in January 2014 and how SusChem would be supporting consortium building.

To support brokerage for the initial Horizon 2020 calls SusChem will look to provide a three step process: Defining strategic SusChem innovations via SPIRE and BRIDGE PPPs and other road mapping initiatives, stimulating project generation including the use of SusChem webinars to inform stakeholders on calls and possible areas of interest, and full brokerage and proactive project follow-up. A first SusChem Horizon 2020 Brokerage event would be organised during Q4 2013 when the final timetable for the launch and initial calls was known.

A joint presentation by the two SusChem-inspired PPPs: SPIRE and BRIDGE highlighted the complementary nature of these important innovation initiatives and their synergies.

Joanna Dupont-Inglis from EuropaBio (pictured below left with fellow presenters Christophe Luguel of IARLoredana Ghinea of A.SPIRE and Pádraig Naughton from Cefic) stated that the main objective of BRIDGE was to effectively create value from waste and to develop a competitive biobased economy that has clear benefits for rural and underdeveloped areas of Europe.

A number of the value chain programmes would benefit from SPIRE activities and, similarly, developments in the availability of biobased feedstock was a key outcome from BRIDGE that would influence SPIRE. The PPPs have areas of common interest that may even result in joint calls and both have synergies with other EIPs and PPP initiatives in the SusChem portfolio and beyond.

Clearly the two PPPs are working closely together for mutual benefit. Developments pioneered by SusChem like the modular, low impact process systems coming out of the F3 Factory project are providing common foundations for success for SPIRE and BRIDGE.

EIP initiatives
Parallel sessions on other European initiatives also showed the tremendous amount of work going on across a range of societal challenge areas in preparation for Horizon 2020.

The session on Water was let by Gernot Klotz of Cefic and focused on advances in the ChemWater and E4Water FP7 projects that are contributing to fulfilling a number of the EIP on Water’s objectives. A key issue is how to replicate and deploy best practise and most appropriate technologies in water management across European manufacturing. There is a need to combat risk adversity and ensure that a clear direction is established to ensure actions now.

Robert Schröder from the European Commission discussed progress in the EIP. Its main aims are to identify barriers and develop policy recommendations while developing concrete and useful tools such as an online market place to be launched in August. Proposals for some 64 actions groups had been received and were being analysed. The EIP will hold its annual conference in November.

Renata Koerfer described the ChemWater FP7 project that is creating synergies between process industry and water industry. Its fifth workshop will be held on September 3 in Stockholm during World Water Week. Christina Jungfer described the E4Water project that is looking at six case studies in the chemical process industry with the overall idea to link tools and expected impact.

The session on Raw Materials was led by Antonia Morales of Cefic. This is a critical area for Europe as the EU is very dependent on raw materials. SusChem is working with the EIP on Raw Materials with the aim of removing barriers to innovation in this last area. The EIP seeks to reduce the import dependency of the EU on raw materials and a Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP) will be finalised in June and should be approved by the end of the year.

The session on Materials Technologies and Smart Cities was led by Jacques Komornicki of Cefic. The workshop discussed the revised priorities for Materials Technology in Horizon 2020 and the EIP on Smart Cities and Communities. The focus of discussion was on two recent reports: a SusChem Materials Working Group document proposing a number of priority topics for early Horizon 2020 calls and a SusChem / Cefic report highlighting currently available ‘Innovative Chemistry for Energy Efficiency of Buildings in SmartCities’.

Education: key factor
Concluding this year’s stakeholder event presentations, the Educate to Innovate project described progress in this initiative to use outcomes from FP7 projects – in particular the F3 Factory – to inform higher education.

Michaël Matlosz of University of Lorraine talked about the need to ensure students obtained a skill set that was appropriate for a more innovative and entrepreneurial work force. A pilot project was being undertaken with the F3 Factory project. This was a very bottom-up approach working with selected teaching staff from European universities to ‘show and tell’ the sort of knowledge and experience coming out of an FP7 project and see what they thought could be usefully adapted for student content.

Sue Fleet of Britest Ltd gave an overview of a recent two-day industry / academic meeting and workshop at the INVITE facility in Leverkusen with twenty “hand picked” teaching academics. The exercise had been very fruitful with the academics evaluating F3 Factory innovation themes and identifying suitable targets for translation into learning resources for specific academic outcomes. The project was now developing flexible and exciting learning resources that will be rich in content and easily accessible.

Summing up the Eleventh SusChem Stakeholder event Gernot Klotz of Cefic described SusChem as the “best technology platform in Europe” and looking at what has already been achieved and what the platform is planned for the future it would be hard to disagree!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Stories from the Biobased Economy

SusChem founding partner EuropaBio has recently launched a collection of short films that ‘show and tell’ how biobased innovation is contributing to a more sustainable, competitive and prosperous Europe. The short films show how we can successfully tackle issues such as food and energy security, climate change and resource efficiency, whilst creating jobs, regenerating industries and reviving rural communities through the application of industrial biotechnology and sustainable chemistry.

The introductory video to the biobased economy is embedded below and you can find it and five other videos on the dedicated biobasedindustries website.

BIO-TIC – your bioeconomy gateway 
The BIO-TIC FP7 project is the largest network dedicated to industrial biotechnology and the bioeconomy.

Launched in September 2012, BIO-TIC is a three-year project offering “a solutions approach” centred on a solid road mapping exercise involving a broad stakeholder base from industry, knowledge organisations, governments and civil society.

A series of stakeholder workshops will take place at national and European level to reach a comprehensive view on the solutions BIO-TIC can offer to accelerate market uptake of industrial biotechnology and the development of the bioeconomy. The final aim of the project will be to draw up a blueprint document with a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for overcoming the identified innovation hurdles within a selection of European business and societal opportunities.

You can find out more about the project at the BIO-TIC website and there is an active BIO-TIC Linked-In group that is open to anyone interested in the transformative potential of industrial biotechnology.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Video outlines ICIS Innovation Awards 2013

ICIS Chemical Business has just published a video (see below) covering the ICIS Innovation Awards for 2013. The video is hosted by ICIS editor and Awards Coordinator John Baker. John outlines the history of the awards and the process for 2013. The ICIS Innovation Awards were launched in 2004 by European Chemical News and are celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. The awards have grown in popularity with each succeeding year and SusChem has been proud to have contributed to the competition’s judging panels on many occasions. This year SusChem coordinator Jacques Komornicki is part of the panel.

SusChem believes that innovation is a key driver for growth and profitability in the chemical sector. And the ICIS Innovation Awards are designed to recognise the best in chemical innovation.

The awards are open to any chemical company or collaborative effort between industry and academia anywhere in the World. The judging panel will be looking for innovative projects that solve problems or provide solutions for the company or its customers or that demonstrate an innovative approach to business, the environment and sustainability. Watch the video to find out more.

How to enter?
Past ICIS awards winners have included the largest multinational and the smallest ‘micro’ SME – but the common denominator for success has always been the quality of the innovation.

This year there are five prize categories to choose from:
  • Best Product Innovation
  • Best Innovation by a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME)
  • Best Business Innovation
  • Best Innovation for Sustainability
  • Innovation with Best Environmental Benefit

An overall winner will be picked from the winners of the five individual categories.

To get involved this year just visit to the ICIS Awards website, select the award category you want to enter, complete the simple online application form, upload any supporting materials and click ‘submit’.

A confirmation of receipt of your entry will be sent to you by email and the closing date for entries is 3 July. A short list of entries will be published on 12 August and the winners revealed on 21 October. Good luck!

For more information about the ICIS Chemical Business Innovation Awards or for specific queries contact John Baker at ICIS.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

F3: the Future for Process is Fast and Flexible!

Today (May 14) the SusChem-inspired F3 Factory project presented some of the results from this FP7 funded collaborative research on fast, flexible, modular production technology for the future chemical industry and beyond. The presentations made in Brussels show that the project can provide a tangible platform for future manufacturing-led growth in Europe.

Launched in 2009 the €30 million F3 Factory project is a major public-private sector initiative that sought to define and demonstrate a new paradigm in modular sustainable chemical production technology. The results of the project could have a major impact on the competitiveness of the European process industries.

The project’s overarching objective was to strengthen the European chemical industry’s global technology leadership through implementation of faster, more flexible production methods. Crossing country and company borders, interdisciplinary teams from 26 partner organisations in nine EU member states have collaborated successfully to:
  • deliver radically new ‘plug and play’ modular chemical production technology, capable of widespread implementation throughout the chemical industry and beyond
  • deliver holistic process design methodologies, applying process intensification concepts and innovative decision tools
Case studies
Based on seven industrial case studies spanning a broad range of process industry sectors including pharmaceuticals, chemical intermediates, specialty polymers and consumer products, the project has successfully proved the fast, flexible production concept through:
  • demonstration of the F3 Factory modular concept at industrial scale for commercial applications 
  • realisation of an open access backbone plant for modular continuous production 
  • validation of new intensified and simplified continuous processes 
  • design and validation of new/enhanced reactor technologies 
  • establishment of design guidelines and standards for modular, container based production units.
Positive for profit and planet
Details of the results from the seven individual case studies will be disseminated widely during the summer when data collection is fully completed for all. However, SusChem stakeholders were given an early overview of the overall potential of the project estimated in terms of business and environmental impacts.

For business the project has demonstrated increased investment flexibility, potential capital expenditure reduction up to 40%, potential operating expenditure reduction up to 20% and enabling a much faster 'time to market' for new products - a major competitive advantage.

From an environmental and resource efficiency point of view the project has demonstrated reduced energy consumption up to 30%, solvent reduction up to 100%, footprint reduction up to 50% and the potential to reduce or eliminate transportation by enabling local or point of use production.

In addition the project has successfully validated new intensified and simplified continuous processes that have demonstrated process intensification up to a factor of 500, increased space-time-yield up to a factor >100, increased capacity >20%, increased production yield >20%, reduced equipment need >60%, reduction of reaction/processing time by a factor of 10 and through these simplified processes achieved reduced reaction and processing steps up to 30%.

Successful design and validation of new or enhanced reactor technologies has been achieved and the F3 Factory has established design guidelines and standards for modular, container based production units that have been defined and implemented in different process equipment containers.

The project has realised an innovative open access backbone plant (INVITE) facility for modular continuous production – a resource for European process development that will have continuing value for many years to come.

There is already tangible evidence of exploitation of the project’s results in terms of new, improved scientific knowledge, new decision methodologies, improved production processes and technologies, new standards and design guidelines with more than 15 patents submitted or in progress.

Wide dissemination of F3 Factory learning has seen more than 150 conference presentations, papers or posters already given, more than 30 peer reviewed technical papers submitted or in preparation and open engagement with EU academia and industry through regular Interest Group meetings.

SusChem vision
The event heralded the opening of the SusChem annual stakeholder event 2013. SusChem is pleased to have hosted the official F3 Factory closing session as the project was one of SusChem’s original three visionary projects on future concepts for a sustainable chemical industry.

SusChem Chairman Dr Klaus Sommer said: "It was a privilege and an honour to be involved with this project that has not only produced excellent new scientific knowledge, but also shown how to bridge the innovation gap and with a consortium including many major companies working very effectively together."

Seven major European Chemical Companies (Arkema, Astra Zeneca, BASF, Bayer, Evonik, Procter & Gamble and Rhodia-Solvay) worked collaboratively in the project demonstrating that large scale, pre-competitive collaborative research is both manageable and potentially highly fruitful.

It is hoped that the fruits of the ground-breaking F3 Factory project will feed into future major SusChem programmes such as the SPIRE and BRIDGE 2020 public-private initiatives during Horizon 2020.

Smart Cities need Smart Chemistry

The European Commission’s High Level Group for Smart Cities and Communities (HLG) has convened for the first time on 14 May in Brussels. The chemical industry was represented on this important policy group by Giorgio Squinzi, CEO of Maipei and recent past president of Cefic. Chemistry-based products and services are key enablers for improving energy efficiency in the urban environment and addressing other Smart Cities issues. SusChem is working hard to maximize chemical innovation in this area and has just published a new report outlining where chemistry can make an immediate impact.

About three-quarters of the EU’s citizens live in or around cities and the trend is for increasing urbanization. Cities are therefore crucial for the social, economic and entrepreneurial development of the EU. From an energy perspective urban areas consume 70% of energy output and account for 75% of the EU's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Policy issues in urban areas represent a microcosm of the general issues facing society, but intensified and accelerated. These issues include reducing energy consumption, encouraging greater use of renewable energy sources, adaptations of transport and other infrastructure such as ICT to meet changing needs whilst improving mobility of the population, amongst other objectives on health and education. And this must be achieved at competitive cost and in an environmentally sustainable manner.

To achieve true ‘smart living’ in the future will require major joint public and private efforts to tackle the significant technical and societal issues. To help address these issues a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (EIP) has been proposed by the European Commission. The initiative is supported by a Smart Cities Stakeholder platform. Cefic will be participating in the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform Annual Conference that takes place in Budapest on 5 and 6 June.

Truly smart and innovative cities will need to make the best use of Europe's great capacity for research and innovation to improve the urban environment. The HLG consists of a selected group of senior CEOs, mayors and finance experts (see photo below). Their role is to formulate a technological transformation agenda that can be implemented via the new EIP during Horizon 2020. And chemistry has a key role to play.

What are ‘Smart Cities’?
Smart cities go beyond the EU’s “20-20-20” objectives (20% reduction in CO2 emissions, a 20% share of energy from low carbon sources and a 20% reduction in the use of primary energy through energy efficiency measures) for the deployment of cost-effective low carbon technologies with a particular focus on energy, ICT and transport sectors.

Many cities across Europe are already committed to building tomorrow’s cities today - in particular those involved with the Covenant of Mayors organisation to which Cefic and SusChem are affiliated . This group of city authorities is developing a sustainable development framework that will allow them to voluntarily go beyond the 2020 targets.

Chemical innovation
The role of chemical innovation in realizing Smart Cities challenges may not be well recognized but it is a key innovation area. This is highlighted in a new SusChem report: ‘Innovative Chemistry for Energy Efficiency of Buildings in Smart Cities’.

SusChem’s wide stakeholder representation from the chemical sector and associated value chains make it well placed to identify currently available chemistry-enabled products that can make an immediate impact on energy efficiency – in particular in terms of refurbishing the current building stock – at an affordable cost.

The report analyses the nature of Europe’s building stock – comprising some 1.6 million structures in the EU-27 – and concludes that substantial gains in energy efficiency can be gained through refurbishment solutions.

The report highlights five solutions that together represent a Key Innovation area for Smart Cities and Communities:

  • Reflective Indoor Coatings to reduce energy for lighting 
  • High Reflectance and durable outdoor coatings to reduce air conditioning costs 
  • Phase Change Materials (PCM) for temperature control
  • New Insulation foams for significant heating savings
  • Other insulation modules such as Vacuum Insulation

All these solutions are assessed for technical feasibility and impact. What is required to deploy the solutions, the infrastructure required and possible interfaces with other Smart Cities technologies are considered. Financial requirements and possible funding sources are also discussed.

SusChem has a substantial track record with ‘smart living’ projects that connect research and industrial groups along relevant value chains. These include its Smart Energy Home initiative, the Energy Efficient Buildings PPP and the Building UP FP7 project. Chemical research and innovation are essential to achieving smart living and smart cities will benefit from the early and in-depth involvement of the chemicals sector.

For more information on SusChem activities in support of the Smart Cities and Communities initiative, or to discuss potential collaborations in this area, please contact SusChem Coordinator Jacques Komornicki at Cefic. The new SusChem report can be downloaded here.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

SusChem Stakeholder 2013 to be bigger than ever!

With registration closed and less than one week to go to the 2013 SusChem Stakeholder event it looks like once again the annual SusChem meeting will be the biggest and best yet! With over 190 delegates set to attend, it is important that those that have registered make the most of the two-day event on 14 and 15 May at the Hotel Sofitel Europe.

The Stakeholder event itself will kick off at from 12:00 on 14 May with high level speakers from SusChem, the European Commission, the European Council and European Parliament debating the role of SusChem and European Technology Platforms in Horizon 2020, innovation and the new EU Industrial Policy, improving competitiveness and much, much more. The first day concludes with a networking cocktail.

SusChem News editor Tim Reynolds will be facilitating a panel debate on day one on aspects of the innovation 'valley of death'.

The second day includes parallel sessions on the European Innovation Partnerships (Water Efficiency, Raw Materials, Energy materials and Smart Cities) and the two Public-Private-Partnerships (SPIRE and BRIDGE 2020) that SusChem is involved with. Delegates will also be updated on progress in the SusChem ‘Educate to Innovate’ initiative.

For more details about our speakers see the event programme.

If you are registered for the event but have not yet selected your preferences for the parallel sessions on day two, please contact Rebecca Hilltout in the SusChem secretariat as soon as possible.

Live Blog and Twitter coverage
Both days of the event will be covered live on Twitter and on the SusChem newsblog. Both these SusChem social media tools will allow all stakeholders, both at the event and those unable to attend, to follow and comment on the topics covered at the Stakeholder Event.

To access the live coverage keep an eye on the SusChem newsblog during the event and on Twitter follow our tweets at @suschem. If you want to make a specific comment on the 2013 SusChem Stakeholder event, please tweet with the hashtag #suschem2013.

Flexible future
The theme of the main SusChem event is ‘Essential elements for EU Growth and Jobs: Innovative Materials and Processes’ and the meeting will primarily address the benefits of innovation partnerships and joint public-private initiatives to boost EU growth and improve competitiveness and how SusChem and sustainable chemistry will play a role in this.

Just prior to the main SusChem event (14 May) a separate session on the SusChem-inspired F³ Factory modular manufacturing platform and FP7 project will be held. This €30 million collaborative research project worked to strengthen the European chemical industry’s global technological leadership through faster, more flexible production methods. It is one of the leading projects in the Nanotechnologies, Materials and Production research priority of the European Community’s FP7 research programme.

The  F³ Factory project is a excellent example of collaborative research in Europe and a springboard for significant innovation in the process industries. Within the project 26 partners worked together across company and national borders shaping a modular, container-based manufacturing platform. The F³ Factory session will run from 9:30 to 12:00 on 14 May.

See you there!
The SusChem team is looking forward to welcoming you to the 11th Stakeholder Event on May 14 and 15 in Brussels! For more information on any aspect of the event, please contact the SusChem Secretariat. See you there!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

CRM_InnoNet Newsletter published

The recently launched SusChem-supported Critical Raw Materials Innovation Network (CRM_InnoNet) FP7 project, has just published its latest newsletter. The project aims to support Europe’s strategic objective to ensure security of supply for the vast range of critical raw materials required by European industries. Its partners aim to achieve this by aligning research, development and innovation efforts towards substitution of critical raw materials that will secure existing value chains and lead to new applications and markets.

A main feature of the newsletter is a report on the formal launch of the Innovation Network at a workshop on April 15 in Brussels. This event brought together relevant actors from various parts of the value chain to establish an open, fruitful and enduring dialogue. The greatest challenge for Europe was identified right from the beginning of the workshop: The demand for materials is so intense that 20- 30% of the resources we use in Europe are now imported.

Key note speaker Renzo Tomellini, Head of Unit for Materials in DG Research & Innovation, drew attention to the fact that we are living ahead of our possibilities: “We need to redefine the parameters of our industrial economy and be more intelligent in the use and management of raw materials”.

Claire Claessen, CRM_InnoNet project coordinator, acknowledged that, in order to overcome Europe’s dependency on import of critical raw materials, “a multi-faceted approach is required, including increased resource extraction where appropriate, recycling, reusing, reducing the amount of material used and replacement or substitution”.

Sector specific
During the workshop interactive sector-specific sessions in the areas of Electronics and ICT, Energy, Transport and Cross-cutting initiatives were organized. The participants supported unanimously the need for establishing an Innovation Network in the field of substitution of Critical Raw Materials.

The Innovation Network will have four main objectives:

  • to catalyse the European innovation community in the area of substitution and create synergies
  • share information
  • promote best practices 
  • identify innovation pathways

A second Workshop for the Innovation Network is planned for May 2014, where the Innovation Network will have the opportunity to review the progress of the work and provide further input.

To register your interest to the Innovation Network, please visit the project website and for more information about the project, contact Antonia Morales Perez at Cefic. You can also contact the network by email and follow the project on Twitter via @CRM_InnNet.

RSC evening lecture
Critical raw materials will be featured at the SusChem Stakeholder meeting on May 14 and 15 with a dedicated workshop session on the second day.

Also on the evening of May 15 the Belgium section of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) will be hosting Dr Mike Pitts of the UK’s  Technology Strategy Board (TSB) for a public evening lecture on Critical Raw Materials at the British School of Brussels. For more information on this event contact RSC Belgium secretary Tim Reynolds.

Monday, 6 May 2013

BIO-TIC launches Partnering Platform

The BIO-TIC FP7 project has launched its own partnering platform. BIO-TIC is the largest network dedicated to industrial biotechnology and the bioeconomy. The BIO-TIC partnering platform forms an integral part of this important EU-funded project that can help you build and enlarge your personal network of contacts within the European bioeconomy scene.

The BIO-TIC partnering platform gives you the opportunity to join the largest international community of bio-based industry experts.

By joining the platform you will get comprehensive information on several thousand organisations in the European bioeconomy, details on experts and their fields of expertise, current funding programmes and projects, new offers , requests, products and services, relevant events in the bioeconomy sector, bioeconomy job opportunities and much, much more.

You can also make use of the BIO-TIC platform to present your expertise to the international bioeconomy community, promote your products, services, offers and requests to their best advantage, publish a comprehensive and attractive presentation of your organisation and take part in the discussions and consultations within BIO-TIC that are leading to the development of an action plan for industrial biotechnology in Europe.

Networking +
Above all, through joining the BIO-TIC partnering platform, you can build up and maintain your own personal network of experts. With the platform’s user-friendly search engine you can quickly and simply identify potential business and cooperation partners and the platform has a variety of diverse features for establishing contacts, such as personal networks and bookmarks, that you can set to your personal preference.

Other features allow users to display of lists of participants (consisting of other BIO-TIC users) who are going to attend events that you also plan to attend and the “Meet me at” function enables you to selectively invite BIO-TIC users to meetings at events you are attending.

The earlier you start your BIO-TIC activities online, the earlier you will benefit from potential cooperation and business partners and the sooner you can be contacted by other BIO-TIC users.

So register now - both registration and use of the BIO-TIC partnering platform is completely free!

If you have any questions about the platform, please visit the BIO-TIC website or contact Dr. Andreas Scriba.

The Industrial Biotech Research and Innovation Platforms Centre – towards Technological Innovation and solid foundations for a growing industrial biotech sector in Europe’ project (BIO-TIC) was launched in September 2012 and is a three-year project offering “a solutions approach” centred on a solid road mapping exercise that will involve a broad stakeholder base from industry, knowledge organisations, governments and civil society. Three intermediary roadmaps will focus on market assessments and projections, research and innovation as well as non-technological barriers such as feedstock.

A series of stakeholder workshops will take place at national and European level to reach a comprehensive view on solutions BIO-TIC can offer to accelerate market uptake of industrial biotechnology. The project has already identified five biobased product groups that could boost European competitiveness.

The final aim of the project will be to draw up a blueprint document with a comprehensive set of policy recommendations for overcoming the identified innovation hurdles within a selection of European business and societal opportunities.

You can find out more about the project at the BIO-TIC website and there is an active BIO-TIC Linked-In group that is open to anyone interested in the transformative potential of industrial biotechnology.

The project is coordinated by EuropaBio. More information can be found on the BIO-TIC website or by contacting Antoine Peeters, BIO-TIC Project Manager at EuropaBio.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

E4Water Newsletter out!

To celebrate its initial year of work SusChem supported FP7 project E4Water has just published its first newsletter. The publication describes progress in the project’s quest to improve water management in the European chemical industry by making it economically and ecologically more efficient.

The newsletter reports on the work done during the first twelve months of the project and gives an overview of E4Water’s main objectives.

E4Water is a very applied project that gets strong input from both industry and research organisations to provide solutions for a more “eco-efficient” approach to industrial water management. This and subsequent editions of the E4Water newsletter will feature the E4Water cases studies that are at the heart of the project and highlight best practise.

Case studies
In this first newsletter two case studies are presented: the Dow case in Terneuzen, Netherlands, and the Solvic case in Antwerp, Belgium. These cases give a good insight on how strongly the partners in E4Water work together.

The Dow Case involves a large-scale symbiotic reuse concept: mild desalination of water streams for optimum reuse in industry or agriculture at affordable costs at the Dow Benelux Terneuzen site.

The Solvic Case – described as an ‘industrial experimental garden’ – aims to enhance water reuse by global management and synergy identification on a multi-company site. Here Solvic is looking to enable synergy effects with neighbourhood industries in the Port of Antwerp Chemical Cluster.

The Dow and Solvic NV case studies are two of six case studies that are at the heart of the E4Water project and are the result of an extensive stakeholder dialogue during the preparation of the project to ensure high relevance to the E4Water approach for the chemical industry. The four other case studies involve sites in Spain, France and Denmark plus another Belgian example.

What is E4Water?
The E4Water project is a European Commission-funded FP7 project jointly developed by SusChem and the European Water Platform (WssTP). E4Water was launched in May 2012 and will continue for four years. The project is coordinated by Dechema.

The E4Water project aims to develop, test and validate new integrated approaches, methodologies and process technologies for a more efficient and sustainable management of water in the chemical industry (see schematic below). The results of the project will also be applicable to other industrial sectors.

E4Water unites in its consortium large chemical industries, leading European water sector companies and innovative RTD centres and universities active in the area of water management. E4Water aims to reduce water use by 20-40%, decrease waste water production by 30-70%, and cut energy use by 15-40% in the sector.

You can find out more about the E4Water project on their website. where you can also download the newsletter.