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Monday, 21 December 2015

FP7 KYROBIO Biocatalyst Project Results Webinar

EU FP7 project ‘KYROBIO' have produced an end of project webinar titled 'The Discovery, Development and Demonstration of Biocatalysis for use in the Industrial Synthesis of Chiral Chemicals'. The webinar gives a brief overview of the four year project whose main objective was to broaden the toolbox of single enantiomer chiral chemicals manufactured in Europe using biotechnological routes. Its specific focus was to enable the industrial application of the lyase class of enzymes which can selectively synthesise molecules with multiple chiral centres.

The KYROBIO project used an SME-focused approach to address industrially identified needs for chiral synthesis using biocatalysis with partners that have the potential to exploit the project results. The overarching challenge was that multiple chiral centres form a significant feature in several chosen industrially useful chemicals.

The control of reaction stereochemistry was targeted for added value in the KYROBIO technology. This leads to challenges in molecular biology, enzymology and process engineering to name but a few. All these areas are covered in the webinar that is embedded below. The project ran from 1 Dec 2011 to 30 November 2015.

The objective of KYROBIO project was to broaden the toolbox of single enantiomer chiral chemicals that are produced by industry in Europe using biotechnological routes. The main target is applications of lyase enzymes to selectively synthesize molecules with multiple chiral centres applying enzymatic carbon-carbon and carbon-nitrogen bond formation as the key technical platforms. Synthetic biological techniques were then applied to improve fermentation processes in order to generate better enzymes.

Chiral compounds are an important class of chemicals that have great potential to compete with chemocatalysts in their production processes with associated benefits from reduction in use of organic solvents, toxic metals and energy. However their application has been relatively limited so far. KYROBIO addressed the main challenges to moving forward to the next generation of added value industrial applications of white biotechnology for high value chemical synthesis.

Using a supradisciplinary approach ranging from enzyme development, chemistry, molecular biology, fermentation and innovative isolation techniques the bottlenecks to applying this new technology have been addressed.

KYROBIO has emphasised the dissemination of green sustainable chemistry to a broad audience of industry leaders, academics, policymakers and the public. Researchers have conducted a vigorous public outreach campaign including networking events, webinars, and public science education and training events.

The novel biocatalysts developed in the project are targeted for commercialisation within three years of the project completion. KYROBIO expects to put the EU at the forefront of efficient, sustainable and eco-friendly chemical production that benefits industry, consumers and the environment.

You can find more information about KYROBIO activities and results on its CORDIS information page (that includes links to some research papers reporting project results), or on the KYROBIO website or by contacting project coordinator Ed Jones.

Friday, 18 December 2015

2015 Season's Greetings from SusChem

Dear colleagues and avid SusChem supporters,

2015 was an important year for SusChem: Early in the year we published the new SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) which is the result of intensive discussions with you and our other stakeholders. It focuses on the solutions that the chemical industry and its customers and partners in industrial value-chains can bring to tackle the societal challenges that Europe is facing. As such SusChem is an important contributor to the European innovation landscape.

When analysing the first round of Horizon 2020 calls that were issued for the 2014-2015 period, we found that more than 100 calls are connected to technologies described in the SusChem SIRA. We see a similar trend for the 2016-2017 calls. This emphasises in a very tangible way the central role that the chemical industry plays in carrying out Research and Innovation actions that have a significant impact for Europe.

More importantly, SusChem is committed to mobilise its stakeholders to participate in the European innovation effort. We do not only do this through our yearly brokerage event but also through special efforts e.g. dedicated to SMEs. During our stakeholder event in June 2015 we conducted a special brokerage session for SMEs. Here we created an opportunity for SMEs to link with other companies, creating room for companies to get to know the special innovations and business propositions of the SMEs.

Looking forward, SusChem is now engaged in establishing its roadmap for the five years to come, geared towards the implementation of the SIRA. After the kick-off during the Stakeholder event in June we are now working hard on identifying priorities that will be translated into specific initiatives and lighthouse projects. We are looking forward to discussing the outcome with you, soon.

The end of 2015 has also seen a successful conclusion to the COP 21 discussions in Paris. Beyond the global negotiation between states, we all know that the world will need technology solutions to support the transition towards an economy with substantially reduced CO2 emissions. Here, SusChem is uniquely positioned with sustainability as our fundamental theme and the SIRA clearly focused on the many contributions that the chemical and industrial biotechnology sectors can make.

On behalf of the SusChem Board and the SusChem secretariat, we wish you all very happy and relaxing holidays and a healthy, happy and “sustainable” New Year. 2016 will be another important year for SusChem and we expect to see the first results from the SusChem inspired projects that were launched in the first two years of Horizon 2020 and in which many of you are participating.

Best wishes

Dr Klaus H. Sommer
Chairman of the SusChem Board
Head Consumer and Product Management Bayer Technology Services

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Save the date: E4Water Final Conference

The SusChem-inspired FP7 project ‘Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry’ (E4Water) will be holding its final conference on ‘Integrated Industrial Water Management: Solutions for Practise’ on 19 and 20 April 2016 at the offices of the Representation of the State of Hessen to the EU in Brussels.

The event will focus on the results obtained during the E4Water project in terms of best practise for industrial water management and how this can provide challenges and opportunities for the chemical sector in particular the lessons learnt from the six case studies that form the core of the E4Water activities. Registration will open soon and the event will be free of charge. 

A full programme for the conference will be available soon. To catch up with the latest news from the E4Water project download their latest newsletter.

What is E4Water?
With the chemical industry providing the highest potential to demonstrate increased eco-efficiency in industrial water management, the FP7 project ‘Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry’ (E4Water) addresses a range of crucial process needs to overcome bottlenecks and barriers to a fully integrated and energy efficient water management system.

The project’s main objective is to develop and test integrated approaches, methodologies and process technologies. There are six industrial case study sites at the core of E4Water that are expected to achieve a reduction of 20-40% in water use, 30-70% in waste water production, 15-40% in energy use and up to 60% in direct economic benefits. In addition to the chemical industry, the project is actively seeking opportunities for cross-fertilisation with other industrial sectors.

The project consortium brings together large chemical companies, leading European water sector companies and innovative research and technology development centres and universities. The partners are also involved in the Water supply and sanitation Platform (WssTP) and SusChem, the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry, and actively collaborate with water authorities in different European countries.

For more information about SusChem involvement with water issues, please contact Antonia Morales-Perez at Cefic, or visit the water priority page on the SusChem website.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

LRI AMBIT Workshop

Cefic’s Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI) is organising a training workshop on the AMBIT tool on 21 January at Cefic’s Brussels offices. AMBIT tool is a predictive toxicity model based on read-across and categorisation. The tool is a web-based application freely available to all and could prove very useful for companies for both R&D and regulatory purposes – in particular for REACH.

The AMBIT tool is described on the LRI website and in more detail on its own website and in this presentation from the LRI 2015 programme workshop.

The workshop is entitled ‘Linking LRI AMBIT Chemo informatics system with the IUCLID Substance database to support Read across of Substance endpoint data and Category formation.’
AMBIT is an essential component of the LRI toolbox of methods and instruments, while IUCLID (International Uniform Chemical Information Database) is a key tool for the chemical community to fulfil data submission obligations under REACH. The linking of the two systems was undertaken in LRI project EEM9.3.

The inclusion of high quality substance data will enhance the predictive power of the AMBIT in-silico tool. The new version of AMBIT also implements workflows for assessments and should minimise overall animal testing needs and resource costs.

Another important new feature is the automatic assignment of chemical structures from the AMBIT structure pool to all the constituents, impurities and additives defined in an IUCLID substance. A search for a defined structure yields relevant substances and endpoint data that could be filtered as required by the user.

In addition AMBIT has several output options including the generation of an assessment report as a Word document that itemises justification/ validation of the approach taken.

AMBIT is an open source application with many functions that can be further developed or customised. The EEM9.3 project ended this month (December 2015) and the new version of AMBIT will become a free, open, publicly available tool.

The AMBIT workshop on 21 January will allow users to gain “hands on” experience of the new system.

Free registration
There is no charge for attendance at the AMBIT workshop but places are restricted to a maximum of 50 participants – so reserve you seat now! You can view the programme of the workshop here.

To register, please send an email to Andreea Udrea withh cc to LRI Programme Manager Bruno Hubesch. Places will be allocated on a ‘first come first served basis’.

For more information on LRI activities, please contact Dr. Bruno Hubesch, LRI Programme Manager or the LRI Secretariat.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Catching up with biobased at EFIB 2015

The European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB) 2015 took place on 27-29 October at the Square in Brussels and the eighth EFIB was the biggest yet. SusChem and Cefic organised a dedicated session on biobased chemical value chains as part of the conference on 29 October entitled: ‘Is the chemical industry catching up with biobased.’

The session covered changing attitudes and approaches by the chemical sector to biobased, the measures needed to accelerate uptake of renewable feedstocks, and views on the most significant recent developments in the biobased industry sector.

The SusChem session highlighted the transformative nature of the bioeconomy and its strong impact on the chemical industry. This goes beyond mere adoption of new feedstock; the emergence of the bioeconomy can lead to entirely new value chains, products with new or enhanced functionality, new markets and new business models.

The panelists in the session shared optimistic perspectives on its theme of the ‘chemical industry catching up with biobased’ including several highly relevant success stories. But they also expressed an array of motivations for considering biobased feedstock ranging from an opportunistic approach (the new properties and improved competitiveness that certain biobased products could provide) to strong consumer demand for some segments of the industry and longer term sustainability objectives.

The rational choice of raw materials and their smart use is a key factor for better resource and energy efficiency - indeed the bioeconomy is one option for the chemical industry to reach its challenging sustainability objectives. Therefore the chemical industry needs to be prepared to foster industrial symbiosis combining different technologies in a truly sustainable approach. For example, the combination of chemical and biotechnological processes can provide the tools to maximize the full potential of biomass.
“A Biorefinery is a good example of Industrial Symbiosis as it requires multiple partners”
Considering upstream aspects of the biobased value chain, raw material availability and feedstock price are major drivers that influence directly the development of new biobased products. On the other hand, consumer needs must be taken into consideration since the conception phase of new products and markets, as well as transparency via product labelling, are important to increase the acceptance of biobased products in society.

Cultural barriers and skills
The discussion covered the need to overcome cultural barriers with new or unusual partners and the necessity for the chemical industry to deal more closely with upstream partners in the biobased value chains. Looking at the challenge for another perspective an interesting question was: “Is biobased prepared to be part of the chemical industry?”

Panelists also stressed the need to communicate more and better to society/ the general public about the benefits of biobased products and services.

An interesting discussion within the panel and with the audience touched upon the skills required to develop the bioeconomy. New skills, including ways to work across different disciplines, are strongly required for the development of biobased value chains. However “the borders between disciplines are blurred” and this is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

The session was hosted by Cefic’s Executive Director Research and Innovation Pierre Barthélemy with Dr. Henrike Gebhardt of Evonik Industries, Reinhard Buescher of DG Grow, European Commission, François Monnet from Solvay, Dr. Stefan Lundmark of Perstorp AB, and Dr Marcel Wubbolts from DSM on the discussion panel (see above).

SusChem and the bioeconomy
Industrial Biotechnology is currently worth €23 billion representing just 6% of sales in the overall worldwide chemicals market. However, the sector is significantly out-performing the overall chemicals market at an impressive 20% annual growth rate and has the potential to become the dominant technology of tomorrow’s chemicals industry.

The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) includes a dedicated chapter on ‘A Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy’ and SusChem is an essential link between the chemical industry, industrial biotechnology and stakeholders in the bioeconomy.

The platform is actively involved in two large and relevant PPPs between the European Commission and industry launched in 2014:
SusChem contributes to the alignment of both initiatives. The interface between BBI and
SPIRE is the provision and use of biobased platform chemicals. In addition, both PPPs may support projects using biotechnological conversion processes and specific improvements of biotechnology processes may be eligible for funding through either PPP. SusChem will enable the coherence of on-going and future funding initiatives and the deployment of flagship projects that demonstrate technological leadership and that Europe is a globally competitive location to invest in the bioeconomy.

EFIB 2015 Highlights
Further reporting on the activities at EFIB2015 and preliminary details on EFIB2016 to be held in Glasgow from 18 to 20 October 2016 can be accessed via the EFIB website.

A short video featuring highlights from the EFIB2015 conference and exhibition is embedded below.

Friday, 11 December 2015

EU Finance for SMEs to embrace Circular Economy

On 10 December at the European Investment Bank's conference 'Financing the Circular Economy', EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, presented some instruments to facilitate access to credit for businesses, in particular for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to help them shift towards the circular economy model.

At the conference in Luxembourg the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the Ministry of Economy of Luxembourg signed an amendment to the InnovFin Delegation Agreement that will enable higher-risk, yet innovative sustainable business models to access credit through InnovFin - an EU finance support programme under Horizon 2020.

At the conference Commissioner Vella highlighted that: "Today's event is all about making real changes on the ground. We want to give businesses more certainties when they innovate. New ideas also mean taking risks. The EU will help companies take the innovative risks needed to make real breakthroughs with more durable, repairable and more resource-efficient products".

You can access more details of the conference here, including the agenda. The full text of Commissioner Vella’s speech can be found here and you can watch a video recording of the conference here.

Under Horizon 2020 the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB and EIF) launched a new generation of financial instruments and advisory services in 2014 to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Until 2020, "InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators" will offer a range of tailored products which will make available over EUR 24 billion of financing support for research and innovation (R&I) by small, medium-sized and large companies and the promoters of research infrastructures. This finance is expected to support up to EUR 48 billion of final R&I investments.

Backed by funds set aside under Horizon 2020 and by the EIB Group, InnovFin financial products support R&I activities, which by their nature are riskier and harder to assess than traditional investments, and therefore often face difficulties in accessing finance. All are demand-driven instruments, with no prior allocations between sectors, countries or regions.

SusChem, Finance and SMEs
Coinciding with the #SusChem2015 stakeholder event earlier this year, SusChem published a new Guide to Innovation Funding for SMEs in Europe (left). The publication outlines five dedicated SME funding schemes (including InnovFinn) and describes how SusChem can help SMEs get involved with collaborative research and innovation projects.

The platform also ran a dedicated SME Open Innovation and brokerage workshop as part of the 2015 Stakeholder event.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Lightweight Construction for Advanced Manufacturing

The European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN) is organising an event on lightweight manufacturing on Wednesday 16 December 2015 in Brussels. Entitled 'Lightweight Strategies and their Contribution to Added Value Manufacturing - A Heavy Topic?' the workshop will give an overview of state of play and recent developments in advanced manufacturing with a clearly defined thematic focus on lightweight construction and also look to identify the key future challenges and opportunities. This is an area of great interest to SusChem and highlighted in our recent Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA).

The concept of 'lightweighting' refers to a means of construction with respect to materials and manufacturing that aims to reduce the mass and increase the quality of a product and all its component elements. The available data suggests that achieving a 10% decrease in weight within the broadly defined area of mobility (including cars, trucks, transport and machinery) would contribute to a reduction in emissions of some 100 million tonnes of CO2 in Germany alone - and about three billion tonnes worldwide.

For advanced manufacturing lightweight construction is a crucial factor. However, it is not just enough to integrate a small number of lightweight parts into the process of manufacturing. Lightweight design needs a holistic approach from the choice of appropriate materials and the manufacturing process itself to consideration of the efficient and low-cost recycling of the product after its use.

The ERRIN workshop aims to give an overview of state of play and recent developments in advanced manufacturing and to attempt to answer a range of questions including:

  • How do we prevent too much waste of lightweight components when it comes to mass production? Are there limits to lightweighting in construction?
  • How will changes in weight affect the driving behaviour of an extremely lightweight car?
  • How can we recycle to the maximum components of a lightweight product after use?

The workshop will take place on 16 December from 09:00 to 13:30 at the Saxony Liaison Office in Brussels at Avenue d’Auderghem 67, 1040 Brussels. The event is organised by ERRIN's Advanced Manufacturing and Nanotech working group.

The workshop will include presentations from Prof. Dr. Lothar Kroll of the Technical University of Chemnitz, Laszlo Bax of Bax and Willems Consulting and Prof. David Bailey of the Aston Business School in Birmingham.

The workshop will conclude with a panel discussion: 'Lightweight in Europe: Where are we? Where do we want to go to? What has to be  done?' with representatives from industry, academia and the European Commission.

A programme for the event can be downloaded here and you can register via this link.

Founded in 2001, ERRIN is a unique Brussels-based platform of more than 120 regional stakeholder organisations most of whom are represented by their Brussels offices. ERRIN promotes knowledge exchange between its members, focusing on joint actions and project partnerships to strengthen regional research and innovation capacities. Through these actions ERRIN seeks to contribute to the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Innovation Union flagship initiative and Smart Specialisation strategies.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Taking a Leaf out of Nature’s Book

Mimicking photosynthesis may be the key to unlocking a future energy scene dominated by renewables. But nature’s simple process still holds many secrets. In light of the high-level Cefic breakfast debate on advanced materials and energy challenges that took place at the 7th European Innovation Summit, we asked science writer Ben Skuse to delve into how breakthroughs in materials may help resign fossil fuels to the past through the development of novel technologies and perhaps – eventually – artificial leaves.

The development of novel processes using waste carbon dioxide - up to and including the ultimate goal of artificial photosynthesis - feature in the SusChem Innovation and Research Agenda

Photosynthesis is a wonder of nature. It transforms energy from the light that the Sun bathes the Earth in to energy‐rich sugars. Simply put, it takes carbon dioxide and water, and converts them to glucose and oxygen.
There are two stages to this process. The first – water splitting – converts water into oxygen and a protein. In the next step, the protein reacts with CO2 to produce biomass. So far, scientists have only managed to master the former, splitting water using electrolytic processes to create hydrogen gas instead of biomass. But even on its own this feat was a huge achievement, paving the way for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles being actively commercialised today by the likes of Daimler and Toyota, and for the power industry taking hydrogen energy storage seriously as an option to deal with intermittent renewable power generation.

Hydrogen has some limitations
While hydrogen has one of the highest energy densities of any fuel, it is also the lightest of all elements. This means its storage requires very large volumes or very high pressures, resulting in issues of safety. Furthermore, the high cost of developing infrastructure and the energy intensity of the water splitting process offer sceptics a strong argument that hydrogen may not be the future for energy storage or the automotive industry.

“Hydrogen has some limitations,” confirms Sophie Wilmet, Cefic Innovation Manager. Sophie believes CO2 conversion technologies might provide a good alternative for large-scale storage of renewable energy using existing infrastructure. “CO2 can be used to address the energy storage challenge brought about by the rise in renewables, as well as for alternative fuels for transport.”

Carbon as a resource
Although not using direct photoconversion of CO2, a number of technologies are being actively explored to transform CO2 from a reviled waste product to a useful resource, as Sophie explains: “From CO2 you can produce basic and added-value chemicals”.

For example, a process co-developed by RWTH Aachen University and Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has led to the construction of a plant that will be opened in 2016 in Dormagen, Germany, capable of producing up to 5000 metric tons per year of polyols, a polyurethane intermediate. About 20% of the content of the polyols will be from waste CO2 captured from a nearby ammonia plant, with the final material a flexible foam for mattresses.

Another innovator is Icelandic company Carbon Recycling International (CRI), whose renewable methanol reduces carbon emissions by more than 90% compared to fossil fuels. The fuel is produced from CO2 and hydrogen that comes from renewable sources of electricity. The world's first liquid renewable transport fuel production facility from non-biological sources of energy, CRI has a 4000 metric ton per year production capacity.

Further novel ideas include using large volumes of waste CO2 from industrial processes to produce syngas (BASF);  converting waste gases from iron and steel mills into ethanol and other important chemicals, such as acetic acid, acetone, isopropanol, n-butanol or 2,3 butanediol (Siemens/LanzaTech); and creating a closed carbon cycle using renewable energy, CO2 and water to provide sustainable fuels for vehicles and decentralised electricity generation (sunfire).

Mimicking nature
Capable of absorbing CO2 at the very low concentrations (400 parts per million) found in the air, absorbing energy from low-photon count sunlight, and photosynthetic cell self-repair, the ‘technology’ within plants is far more advanced than anything devised by humankind so far.
However, with aeons to perfect the technique, it comes as something of a surprise that energy conversion in plants is not actually particularly efficient: “For most plants the photosynthetic and storage efficiency is an average of 1%,” explains Dr Junwang Tang, Reader in Energy from University College London, UK.  Why is photosynthesis so inefficient? “The natural process is capable of utilising 100% of photons but green plants give up that potential to protect themselves – nature doesn’t need so much energy.”

As a result, if society were to mimic photosynthesis unaltered, there would not be enough land on Earth to cycle the carbon required for a sustainable future. Instead, researchers are aiming to enhance the process from a number of angles. “We have learnt how nature stores CO2 and we have realised that we can probably do better,” exclaims Junwang.

Direct photoconversion
A major roadblock in developing such technology is finding photocatalysts that can absorb as much of the solar spectrum as possible while still being efficient. As plants only use a fraction of the visible range, great potential lies in the untapped electromagnetic spectrum, so photocatalysts that respond to different regions are being investigated. Other researchers are exploring doping, nanomaterials and co-catalyst surface-loading to improve the photocatalytic response of promising materials.

However, with numerous other hurdles to climb before real-world application, Sophie expects there to be a long wait before artificial leaves are realised: “It still requires development in terms of new concepts, designs of photoelectrodes and integration of the system,” she explains. “For Cefic, it’s part of our overall long-term strategy, but more like a second- or third-generation technology that will not have impact by 2020.”

Even though tangible impact from direct photoconversion seems a long way off, Europe’s competitors are keen to advance the state of the art now, with a number of multi-million Euro projects funded in Japan, a Joint Centre for Artificial Photosynthesis set up in the US and well-funded initiatives in many other parts of the world.

As a result, Junwang believes Europe’s highly able yet currently fragmented and small community of scientists working in the area needs to be brought together: “Europe is very strong in fundamental understanding of artificial and natural photosynthesis, but countries like Japan, USA and China are investing heavily in this technology through well-funded projects. If we don’t invest more – just like has happened with graphene – other countries will heavily patent the field.”

The Cefic breakfast debate
The Cefic breakfast debate took place at the 7th European Innovation Summit in the European Parliament on 8 December. The event was hosted by Jerzy Buzek, MEP and covered the wide-ranging topic of 'Advanced Materials and breakthrough opportunities for the energy transition’.

Super SusChem Contest at 7EIS

This year at the Seventh European Innovation Summit (#7EIS) the SusChem exhibition area will not only feature the latest advances in European sustainable chemistry but also electronically enhanced magic and the chance to win a brand new Apple Watch! But don't worry if you can't get to Brussels by 10 December SusChem is also opening the #iwatch4me #suschemcontest to our blog and twitter followers.

SusChem has an Apple Watch to give away during #7EIS. To get a chance to win you need to take one (or more) of the quiz contests on the Cefic-SusChem Innovation for Growth website. The site covers innovation for Smart Cities, Resource Efficiency and Water - and each section hosts one or more short quiz contests. Completing any one of the contests will enter you in a draw for an Apple Watch!

The quiz contests are fun ways to learn how sustainable chemistry innovation helps society. Why not share the fun with your friends and colleagues using the hashtag #iwatch4me?
If you haven’t already taken our entire set of contests, we invite you to take the rest by going to one of the contest pages above and increase your chances of winning! The competition will close at 14:00 (Brussels time) on Wednesday 9 December.

Don’t forget to tweet your participation using the hashtag #iwatch4me. The lucky winner will be announced at 15:00 on Wednesday 9 December 2015 at the SusChem booth in the 7th European Innovation Summit exhibition area and we will be announcing the winners via the SusChem twitter channel (@suschem) too of course.

To learn more about the wonderful solutions that chemistry has for the significant facing our society today, please explore our Innovation4Growth portal.

Click here to download the full rules of our Innovation4Growth Flash Twitter Contest here!

Organised by Knowledge4Innovation, the four-day event is taking place from 7 to 10 December 2015 in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The programme of 7EIS focuses on key-challenges and opportunities in the field of innovation. The summit will host numerous sessions and events on Europe’s grand challenges in the innovation sector ranging from energy to industry, environment and agriculture, the bio-economy, health, transport, safety and security, quantum computing, and the role of regions and cities. It will provide a platform for leaders in various sectors to discuss the policies and instruments required to promote innovation throughout the economy.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Pact for Innovation launched at European Innovation Summit

The Seventh European Innovation Summit (#7EIS) opened today (7 December) at the European Parliament with the signing of the ‘Pact for Innovation’ (INPACT). The objective of INPACT is to create a space for close collaboration between key innovation stakeholders and the European Institutions resulting in concrete solutions addressing the multiple barriers that currently prevent a strong and globally competitive innovation performance in Europe. The Pact was signed and handed-over to Carlos Meodas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation at the #7EIS ceremony.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Innovation Summit, Commissioner Moedas welcomed the Pact for Innovation initiative saying he recognised four key words in the document's priorities that aligned with Commission innovation strategy: coherence, refocus, citizens, and future. He said it was necessary to "acknowledge that innovation is tough - it takes you out of your comfort zone."

In his speech he also called for an innovation equivalent of the European Research Council to be established that could find the great innovators in Europe and "cherish them". He observed that it was often those outside the formal research and innovation system that are doing the most important work.

Opening the summit Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP, President of the Knowledge4Innovation Forum called for greater integration of European funds to stimulate further the implementation of innovation.

Following the speeches, the INPACT document was signed by Lambert van Nistelrooij MEP, Chair of the K4I Forum Governing Board (second left above), Prof. Jerzy Buzek MEP, Vice-Chair, K4I Forum Governing Board (second right), Dr. Gernot Klotz, President of K4I (left) and Dr. Roland Strauss, Managing Director, K4I (right) and handed to Commissioner Moedas (centre above).

Why Europe needs INPACT 
The objectives of INPACT reflect SusChem thinking on innovation and the need to promote collaboration across industrial sectors and along value chains to ensure Europe’s innovation performance is optimised and globally competitive.

INPACT will help to overcome barriers to innovation that prevent a strong and globally competitive innovation performance in Europe at all levels: national, regional and local. Close cooperation both at the level of the different Commission DGs as well as the stakeholder community will help strengthen Europe’s innovation performance.

INPACT calls for a joint effort to create pro-innovation conditions to overcome well-known weaknesses in turning knowledge created by research and invention into innovation that can provide jobs and growth for Europe. The signatories of INPACT share the vision that a globally competitive and successful Europe needs stakeholders and institutions to work together in an integrated approach to ensure that innovation can deliver solutions to major societal challenges Europe.

To move quickly from research and invention to innovation and accelerate the market uptake of innovations, Europe must build on its existing strengths but also address shortcomings by creating a favourable environment and encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs to take risk. The signatories of the pact believe that it is imperative that Europe seizes the opportunity and position innovation at the heart of the Europe 2020 Review.

INPACT Priorities 
The priorities set out the INPACT document are grouped under four main headings:
  • A coherent set of EU policies for innovation 
  • Re-focusing and aligning EU budgets and investments towards innovation
  • Improve Citizens and Investor confidence in Europe
  • Paving the way for the next generation
The focus of INPACT is on implementation of actions within identified priorities, where timely changes can be achieved best at EU level. Harnessing Europe’s innovation will be best achieved by creating strong value chains and effectively orchestrating innovation ecosystems at all levels. The signatories commit to implement INPACT projects across EU borders, individual regions and sectors by 2020.

INPACT is open to cooperate with all other dedicated stakeholder groups working in the field of innovation within Europe. The initial signatories are inviting committed stakeholders to join as co-signatories. To find out more visit the Knowledge for Innovation (K4I) website or contact K4I direct.

You can find the full programme for the Seventh European Innovation Summit on the Knowledge4Innovation website.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

K4I Innovation Pact to launch at #7EIS

Launching the 'Pact for Innovation', the Seventh European Innovation Summit (7EIS) will call for closer cooperation between key innovation stakeholders and the EU institutions to overcome the challenges facing innovation in Europe today. Organised by Knowledge4Innovation, the four-day event will take place from 7 to 10 December 2015 in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The signatories of the “Pact for Innovation” (INPACT) share a common vision that a globally competitive and successful Europe needs closer cooperation to ensure that innovation contributes effectively to our continents long-term economic success and citizens’ well-being.

To achieve this goal, the Pact focuses on the implementation of actions in identified priority areas, where concrete and timely changes can be best achieved at the European Union level. The Pact’s signatories are committed to implement INPACT projects until the year 2020 across EU borders, individual regions, sectors and institutions. Furthermore, the Pact aims to increase consumer and investor confidence in the EU, thereby securing Europe’s position as a global innovation leader.

Innovation Summit
The programme of 7EIS focuses on key-challenges and opportunities in the field of innovation. The summit will host numerous sessions and events on Europe’s grand challenges in the innovation sector ranging from energy to industry, environment and agriculture, the bio-economy, health, transport, safety and security, quantum computing, and the role of regions and cities. It will provide a platform for leaders in various sectors to discuss the policies and instruments required to promote innovation throughout the economy.

Cefic-SusChem are organising a breakfast session on the chemical industry and advanced materials and their role in addressing global trends, including population growth, climate change, urbanisation and the rising demand for energy, that present major challenges for society.

Another session of interest to SusChem stakeholders on 8 December involves the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) who will be involved in a debate starting at 17:00 on the new Joint Undertakings (JUs) that have been set up to drive innovation in key industrial sectors including aviation, health, fuel cells and hydrogen, and bio-based products and materials.

A special focus of the Summit will be on youth involvement in order to spark a debate that provides constructive, sustainable and precise contributions to future EU-policy making. Young innovators from all over Europe will actively engage with policy-makers and innovation leaders. The Summit will serve these young innovators as a unique platform to enhance cross-border networking.

The Summit will be covered extensively via social media providing everyone with the possibility to participate in the debates. You can follow K4I on Facebook (Knowledge4Innovation) and Twitter (@k4innovation), and join the conversation by using the hashtags #7EIS or #INPACT.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Biobased Material of the Year 2016

For the ninth year running, the Innovation Award 'Biobased Material of the Year' will be presented in 2016 to a candidate from the young, innovative biobased chemicals and materials industry finding appropriate and profitable applications and markets for their biobased products. The focus of the award is on new developments within the area that have been launched in 2015 or will be launched in 2016. Could you be the winner? If so get your application started! 

Producers and inventors of innovative biobased materials are invited to complete their application for the award by 8 February 2016 in order to take part in the Innovation Award 'Biobased Material of the Year 2016' and join an exclusive group of winners including well-known actors in the biobased scene Covestro Deutschland AG (Germany), EcoTechnilin Ltd (UK), Ecovative Design (USA), fischerwerke (DE), Henkel (DE), Newlight Technologies (USA), Resopal (DE), Roquette (FR), Tecnaro (DE), Tereos Syral (FR), Staedtler (DE) and others.

The only conditions for applications are that your product or service is a biobased material in a specific new application and must have been launched on the market in 2015 or will be launched in 2016. Applying is fast and simple. Just complete the short application form, send it with a leaflet and two printable pictures of your product by email to award organisers nova-Institut GmbH and send them a product sample  by post. For more details of the award and application procedure click here.

Biobased conference
The award will be presented at the Ninth International Conference on Biobased Materials that will take place on 5 and 6 April 2016 at the Maternushaus in Cologne, Germany. This conference aims to provide international major players from the biobased building blocks, polymers and industrial biotechnology industries with an opportunity to present and discuss their latest developments and strategies. Representatives of political bodies and associations will also have their say alongside leading bioeconomy companies.

Topics that the conference sessions will cover include:

  • New policy and markets
  • New biomass utilization pathway beyond drop-ins
  • New building blocks and polymers
  • Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
  • Lignin utilisation
  • Cellulose fibres

Find out more about the conference here.

The Ninth International Conference on Biobased Materials builds on successful previous conferences. Over 250 participants and 20 exhibitors mainly from industry are expected! Register before the end of the year and take advantage of an exclusive early bird discount of 15%.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Sixth EuCheMS Congress in Seville

The countdown has started for the Sixth EuCheMS Congress that will take place in Seville, Spain from 11 - 15 September, 2016. The Congress is a valuable and unique opportunity for the community of world-leading chemistry professionals to meet, exchange ideas, explore progress in the state of the art and debate the key issues underlying chemical science and practice. It is also where the European chemical community congregates and EuCheMS Divisions and sections showcase their research developments and plan future activities.

The scientific programme for the EuCheMS congress will includes eight plenary lectures from world-leading scientists, including a handful of Nobel Laureates, plus around 120 keynote and invited lecturers, over 200 oral and poster sessions totalling over 2 000 peer to peer communications.

Plenary Speakers confirmed
Amongst the many outstanding speakers that have already confirmed their attendance are six Nobel Laureates. The participating speakers in Seville include Ada Yonah, Richard Schrock, Aaron Ciechanover, Harold Kroto and Jean-Marie Lehn.

Avelino Corma, Spain’s most awarded chemist and the recipient of the 2014 Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, Spain’s most prestigious science prize, has also confirmed his attendance.

The Scientific programme is structured in horizontal major themes that include significant contributions to research at the forefront of chemical sciences in all areas related to chemistry; analytical, engineering, inorganic, physical, theoretical, biological, materials and technology.

The main themes of EuCheMS 2016 are outlined below.

Topic Conveners have been recently appointed for all themes. Every subject topic is assigned to a European convener who is specialised in the area. You can review their background and experience here.

Abstracts, registration open
The Call for abstracts process is already now open. Guidelines, information for authors, submissions and important dates as well as the online submission form are available on the congress website. The online abstract submission deadline is April 1st, 2016.

Registration is now open for Sixth EuCheMS Congress. Early bird discounts are available if you register now – and you can be connected to all the news and updates with the Congress newsletter, see all services available and view the various registration possibilities.

The venue
EuCheMS 2016 congress take place in FIBES 2 a new state-of-the-art building exhibition and conference facility. The Congress Palace has 7 200 m2 of open space, as well as a luminous, spacious central building (The Dome), which houses the Conference Centre and is the main access to the exhibition pavilions and other facilities.

The new complex includes more than 50 meeting rooms, auditoria (with capacities ranging from 3 200 to 340 people), indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, as well as catering areas, press, TV, and testing room , VIP rooms and dressing rooms, and other spaces.

For more information visit the EuCheMS congress website.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Innovation Summit to feature Advanced Materials, Innovation Pact and Youth

From 7 to 10 December the Seventh European Innovation Summit (7EIS) will set the stage for the future of innovation in Europe and SusChem will be there to highlight its contribution to sustainable innovation. 7EIS is organised by Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) and will take place in the European Parliament in Brussels. Cefic and SusChem are organising a special breakfast session on Advanced Materials for Energy on the morning of 8 December.

The four day 7EIS event will call for a ‘Pact for Innovation’ with the objective of developing an ambitious vision of what innovation can do for the EU economy and society. The future-oriented bottom-up approach of the Pact will unite a group of local, regional, national and EU innovation stakeholders.

The 7EIS programme focuses on key-challenges and opportunities in the field of innovation. The summit will host numerous sessions and events on Europe’s grand challenges in the innovation sector ranging from energy to industry, environment and agriculture, the bio-economy, health, transport, safety and security, quantum computing, and the role of regions and cities. It will provide a platform for leaders in various sectors to discuss the policies and instruments required to promote innovation throughout the economy.

Materials for the energy transition
The Cefic-SusChem session will address global trends including population growth, climate change, urbanisation and the rising demand for energy that present major challenges for society. Advanced materials have a strategic importance to support economic and sustainable growth, strengthen competitiveness and enable the transition to a low-carbon economy that meets these challenges.

The chemical industry, as a provider of innovative advanced materials, is in a unique position to supply the sustainable solutions that society needs to make this energy transition and to address the critical energy challenge we face. The chemical industry brings a vital contribution across the entire energy value chain including:

  • Materials –including lightweight materials - for improved energy efficiency in areas from transportation to construction and industry
  • Materials and key enabling technologies for advanced energy storage including new battery technologies
  • Materials that enable new low-carbon energy production such as solar cells, wind turbines and other renewable energy sources
  • Materials and technologies (Power to Gas, Power to Liquid) that can capture and use CO2 for alternative sustainable fuels and chemical energy storage, and
  • The ultimate goal of direct conversion of atmospheric CO2 to fuels and materials

Join the session on the morning of 8 December from 08:00 to discuss these exciting opportunities and challenges for innovation and find out about new developments from the chemical industry that can enable Europe to make the transition to a competitive, sustainable low-carbon economy.

The session will be hosted by Jerzy Buzek, MEP, Vice Chair of the K4I Forum Governing Board and speakers will include K4I President Gernot Klotz as the session moderator, Rudolph Strohmeier from DG Research and Innovation in the European Commission, Peter Nagler, Head of International Innovation at Evonik and SusChem board member, Christian Collette, VP Research & Development at Arkema, Martin Winter, Senior Manager Corporate New Business Development at Clariant, and Pierre Barthélemy, Cefic’s Executive Director R&I and also a SusChem board member. More details of the session can be found here.

Cefic and SusChem will also be present in the 7EIS exhibition area at the Parliament including an innovative interactive game offering the chance to win valuable prizes – more details soon!

Socio-economic impact of EU JUs
Another session of interest to SusChem stakeholders on 8 December involves the Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). A debate stating at 17:00 will look at the new Joint Undertakings (JUs) that have been set up to drive innovation in key industrial sectors including aviation, health, fuel cells and hydrogen, and bio-based products and materials.

The session will investigate the broader socio-economic impacts of the JUs. Early analyses reveal that the JUs are starting to make a real difference in this area, for example by enabling growth and job creation, and by delivering results that are already having an impact on some of the biggest challenges facing European society.

High-level representatives of the European Commission and the JUs, including Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of the BBI JU and Bert de Colvenaer, Executive Director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen JU, will present facts and figures on their socio-economic impact so far, and offer an insight into their expected impact in the years to come.

Youth focus
A special focus of the 7EIS summit will be on youth involvement. In order to spark a debate that provides constructive, sustainable and concrete contributions to future EU-policy making, young innovators from all over Europe will actively engage with policy-makers and innovation leaders. In addition, the summit will provide young innovators with a unique platform to enhance cross-border networking.

To register and be part of 7EIS complete your registration by 27 November. For more details visit the Knowledge for Innovation website or contact the K4I secretariat.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

2015 LRI Innovative Science Award Winner Announced

French researcher Dr. Alice Limonciel was awarded the €100,000 LRI Innovative Science award, one of Europe’s largest research grants for early career scientists, at an award ceremony at Cefic’s 17th Annual Long-Range Initiative (LRI) Workshop in Brussels on November 18, 2015.

Dr.  Limonciel’s winning research proposal is entitled "Establishment of thresholds of activation of stress
responses pathways and ligand-activated receptors for chemical classification” and will investigate cellular responses to the acceleration of chronic kidney disease progression due to chemical exposure. The project aims to identify the genes involved in cellular stress response pathways, quantify these responses in parallel with markers of cellular dysfunction and deliver a new generation of quantitative tools based on gene expression to evaluate the hazard linked to chemical exposure for use in risk assessment strategies.

Dr. Pierre Barthélemy, Cefic Executive Director of Research and Innovation commented: “It’s always a pleasure to see the enthusiasm of early career scientists and their desire to make our world safer. The LRI Innovative Science is a great opportunity for them to develop their breakthrough ideas with complete freedom, find new approaches to tackle risk assessment and help reduce uncertainty as it relates to chemicals safety”.

Dr. Limonciel (pictured above, right, receiving the award from Yves Verschueren Managing Director of Essenscia)  studied pharmacology and toxicology at the engineering school Polytech’ Nice-Sophia in France. She completed her doctoral studies in the department of Physiology and Medical Physics at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria in 2013.  Dr. Limonciel is currently working at Innsbruck as a Postdoctoral researcher on molecular mechanisms of nephrotoxicity notably using the integration of multiple omic datasets such as transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and epigenomics.

A video from the LRI Award ceremony 2015 is embedded below. 

The award ceremony and dinner were the highlights of the first day of the 2015 Annual CEFIC-LRI Workshop. The second day of the workshop will focus on non–animal-based safety assessment and will showcase the outcome and impact of several LRI projects completed in 2014-2015 from the fields of environmental risk assessment, bioconcentration, chemo-informatics, exposure modelling, skin sensitization and acceptance of innovation.

About the Award
The LRI Innovative Science Award worth €100 000 was first introduced in 2004 as a funding opportunity for young scientists based in Europe. Its aim is to stimulate innovative research, to foster ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking and to introduce new approaches that will advance the environmental assessment of hazardous substances. More than a decade later, it is still the biggest award of its kind in Europe and has helped numerous scientists realise their ambitions and become part of the LRI scientific network.

The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) is part of Cefic's voluntary initiatives to improve the Regulatory Framework of the chemical industry in Europe. Its mission is to identify and fill gaps in our understanding of the hazards posed by chemicals and to improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks.

For more information on the LRI activities and the award, please contact Programme Manager Bruno Hubesch.

Chemistry for the Future – Solvay Prize 2015

Solvay has announced the winner of its 2015 Chemistry of the Future prize: Professor Ben L Feringa from the University of Groningen. Professor Feringa received the award from Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium during a ceremony on 18 November, 2015 at Le Palais des Académies in central Brussels. Professor Feringa was awarded this prestigious prize principally for his work on supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology. Read the Solvay press release here.

Ben Feringa (left) has been professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen since 1988. He is widely recognised as one of the world’s most creative and productive chemists. He has achieved breakthroughs in various fields of chemistry, including organic synthesis, catalysis, supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology.

In particular his discovery in 1999 of the ‘molecular motor’, a light-driven rotating molecule, is widely recognized as a world-class breakthrough. The potential applications of this concept are as numerous as they are spectacular. The idea that molecular motors can transport themselves through the bloodstream in order to deliver drugs to previously unreachable locations in the human body with a high degree of accuracy is particularly inspiring.

Great honour
“I am greatly honoured by the prestigious Solvay Prize which is also a superb recognition for my team of talented students whom I have had the privilege to guide beyond the frontiers of the chemical sciences. Inspired and intrigued by the machinery of life we went on a quest to control motion at the nanoscale. Our ability to govern dynamic functions, as we demonstrated with our molecular motor, is essential for the development of responsive molecular systems that will form the basis for a whole range of smart products in the future,“ said Professor Feringa, who is also Vice-Chairman of the Royal Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands.” I am convinced that the creative power of synthetic chemistry will bring unimaginable solutions to the sustainable society of the future and to the well-being of mankind.”

“The Solvay Prize rewards decisive breakthroughs in scientific research achieved today and destined to shape the chemistry of the future. The research by Professor Ben Feringa allows us to anticipate a variety of scientific developments, chiefly in healthcare, and underlines chemistry’s essential role, as a science and as an industry, in delivering solutions for society and help human progress,” commented Solvay CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, who chaired the Solvay Prize ceremony.

In the video below Professor Feringa describes some aspects of his work on chemical nanorobots. (Video in Dutch with English subtitles).

Awards galore!
Professor Feringa has been awarded numerous prizes, including the 2004 Spinoza Prize, the highest Dutch prize in science, awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). In 2008 the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) appointed Feringa as Academy Professor, giving him the opportunity to focus exclusively on his chosen fields of innovative teaching and research for five years. In 2011 he received the Van’t Hoff medal that is awarded every ten years by the University of Amsterdam for work in the field of chemistry. In May 2013 he was awarded a TOP grant of EUR 780 000 by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to continue his research on molecular motors.

In July 2013 Professor Feringa was awarded the Lilly European Distinguished Science Award, followed in September by the Marie Curie Medal, the highest honour awarded annually by the Polish Chemical Society for a chemical scientist working outside Poland. In November 2013 he was awarded two important Japanese prizes and this was followed in September 2014 by the prestigious Cope Scholar Award of the American Chemical Society.

Solvay prize
The Solvay Chemistry of the Future prize is intended to endorse basic research and underline the essential role of chemistry, both as a science and an industry, in helping solve some of the most pressing issues the world is facing today. The Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize rewards a major scientific discovery that could shape tomorrow’s chemistry and help human progress and celebrates the strong support for scientific research given by the founder of the Solvay Group, Ernest Solvay.

The €300,000 prize is awarded every two years. In 2013, the inaugural Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize was presented to Professor Peter G. Schultz from the Scripps Research Institute in California, and director of the California Institute for Biomedical Research. He received the award for his multiple scientific contributions at the interface between chemistry and biology. In particular the exploitation of molecular diversity and the rational expansion of the genetic code of living organisms. His ground-breaking work has made an impact in many scientific fields, including biotechnology and medicine. It also has important implications for regenerative medicine, and the treatment of infectious disease, autoimmune disease and cancer.

Selection process
The selection process for the 2015 prize was two-stage process. First, independent nominators propose candidates whose achievements in the field of chemistry, including biochemistry, material sciences, soft matter, biophysics and chemical engineering, will shape the chemistry of the future. Then an international jury selects the winner from this list of candidates.

The jury for 2015 was led by Håkan Wennerström, Professor of theoretical and physical chemistry at the University of Lund, Sweden. He is a former chairman of the jury for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was joined by the first winner Professor Peter Schultz, Paul Chaikin of New York University, Professor Christopher Dobson from the University of Cambridge, Professor Gerhard Ertl from the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-PlanckGesellschaft in Berlin, Professor Jean-Marie Lehn of l’Université de Strasbourg, Patrick Maestro, member of the Académie des Technologies in France and Scientific Director of Solvay, and Paul Baekelmans, Science Adviser to the Solvay Group and Professor emeritus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Find out more about the prize and its winners on the Solvay website.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Sustainable Chemistry for a Sustainable World

From 30 November to 11 December 2015, world leaders will meet in Paris at the Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Their objective will be to seek agreement on a global framework to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, strengthen climate resilience and mobilise global political will to address the global climate challenge. This is a challenge that requires the contribution of a sustainable chemistry sector.

In early November leaders of Cefic, the European chemical industry association, published a signed letter in the Financial Times expressing firm support for government’s efforts to secure a strong, globally binding climate change agreement at COP21 in Paris. The full text of the letter to The Financial Times is reproduced below.

The letter clearly stated that the chemical industry does and will continue to support efforts by European governments and institutions to achieve a competitive, low carbon economy. However the leaders stressed the importance of the word “competitive” in that sentence: only a competitive, sustainable European chemical industry can contribute to the achievement of a low carbon economy through its essential innovations.

SusChem and a sustainable chemical industry
“The chemical industry is key in addressing the climate change challenge.  It is a critical supplier of novel materials and advanced technologies to many value chains and therefore a crucial partner in achieving a competitive, low-carbon economy,” comments Pierre Barthélemy Cefic’s Executive Director, Research and Innovation.

Sustainability is an overriding priority for the chemical industry and the industry can do much to change societal production and consumption patterns. In particular the sector can promote resource efficient products and is a key enabler for the advanced innovative products and services that can deliver sustainable solutions throughout the economy. Together with supply chain partners, the chemical industry takes a holistic approach to sustainability. With a skilled workforce, a sustainable chemical sector can develop and produce innovative products, services and solutions for a growing global population, while striving to conserve our planet’s resources and respecting the environment.

And SusChem-inspired initiatives and actions are a key part of this.

“Addressing the climate change challenge depends strongly on technological innovation to reduce the energy and feedstock footprint of our society," says Pierre Barthélemy. "SusChem proposes numerous solutions based on enabling technologies that can foster a more sustainable economy and ensure a positive impact on our society and the environment, including the transition to a more circular economy.”

Cefic statement
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO Solvay and Cefic President elaborates more on the importance of sustainability and the chemical industry in the video below.

You can find out much more about the European Chemical Industry’s approach and view on COP-21, including more video interviews with chemical industry leaders, here.

An open letter to the European Council, European Commission and European Parliament
The European chemical industry backs strong global climate change agreement at COP21
"We, leaders of the European chemical industry, applaud the diplomatic efforts to achieve an ambitious and globally-binding agreement in the Paris climate negotiations next month. Climate action is needed worldwide, to truly protect future generations from this global problem.
Today, the chemical industry is a pillar of the European economy: a €551 billion industry in 2014 with a significant trade surplus of €43.5 billion, providing over 1 million direct jobs and nearly 2.5 million indirect jobs in Europe.
We believe the chemical industry is also a pillar of tomorrow’s low carbon economy.
We represent a creative industry, whose greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 54% on 1990 levels while production grew by 70%. So, we want to set the record straight that Cefic does, and will continue to, support efforts by European governments and institutions to achieve a competitive, low-carbon economy.
Chemistry is often all but invisible yet essential to consumers’ everyday lives: from health and hygiene to transport, construction and computing. Chemical innovation enables current and future climate change solutions, including renewable energy, energy storage and thousands of products to improve energy efficiency, such as in vehicles and buildings. In future years, chemical companies around the world will develop many more of these innovative and important solutions.
For now, Europe’s chemical industry is facing the reality of ever fiercer global competition. It must remain competitive in order to continue being innovative.
Climate change policy leadership in Europe should not come at the expense of ‘investment leakage’ – the effect of regional imbalances in climate regulations and associated cost differences that lead to the relocation of carbon emissions but not to an overall global reduction. For this reason we would warmly welcome a successful outcome in next month’s climate negotiations. Meanwhile Europe’s policymakers also need to make certain that measures are in place ensuring energy-intensive industries are not exposed to investment leakage in any scenario. European deindustrialisation is not and should never be seen as a viable option on the journey to decarbonisation.
We wish success to all involved in the negotiations in Paris next month."

Monday, 9 November 2015

Sustainable chemistry solving the innovation puzzle

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPIRE aims to address three fundamental challenges in Europe:

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

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

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

You can read the full article here.