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Friday, 29 May 2015

International Days in CRM

The University of Burgos and its International Research Centre in Critical Raw Materials for Advanced Industrial Technologies (ICCRAM) is organising a conference entitled ‘International Days in Critical Raw Materials: Extraction, recycling and innovative industrial technologies’. The event takes place on 25 and 26 June in Burgos, Spain – and SusChem will be there to present!

This important event will focus on research and business opportunities meeting the challenges regarding extraction and mining, recycling and the circular economy, and substitution of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs).

Presentations will be given by relevant authorities and international actors from the European CRM scene including the Spanish authorities, the European Commission, the Nanotechnology Industries Association, Nanofutures, Euromines, EIT KIC Raw Materials, and Cefic-SusChem. Some of the speakers are shown below.

In addition, parallel technical sessions will take place on ‘Advanced Materials and CRM substitution technologies’, ‘Mining and raw materials’ and ‘Circular Economy and Recycling’.

The event will bring together researchers, experts and business people to create an environment that fosters a dialogue among the participants, leading to discussions and collaboration opportunities.

A Brokerage Event is planned for  25 June that will focus on the main topics foreseen under Societal Challenge 5 (SC5) in Horizon 2020 for the 2016/2017 work programme. An industrial business day and exchange with and between stakeholders is also planned on 26 June.

To find out more, including the full event programme, visit the conference website or register directly here. Be quick - early bird registration fees end on 1 June!

CRM_InnoNet Substitution
And don’t forget the CRM_InnoNet project is hosting a high level conference called 'SUBSTITUTION means EVOLUTION' on 17 June in Brussels. This free conference will be a one-stop shop to find out all you need to know about substitution of CRMs in Europe.

At the event you can:

  • Learn about the opportunities provided by substitution and how it can solve technological challenges.
  • Witness the state of play of substitution of CRMs in Europe with keynote speeches from companies and government bodies.
  • Meet up with key EU industrial sectors in the area of substitution.
  • Engage in discussions during dedicated panel debates to implement recommendations towards a European circular economy.
  • Discuss with policy makers, industrial players, entrepreneurs and academia during the networking cocktail.
  • Become part of the Innovation Network and meet potential partners for substitution projects in Horizon 2020.

At the conference you will also be able to explore applications of substitution in the exhibition space! If you wish to bring your own products and have your own stand contact the conference organisers now!

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Iñigo Charola, Graphenea
  • Dario della Sala, ENEA, Italian Agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development
  • Thomas Lograsso, Critical Materials Institute, USA
  • Holger Gruenewald, Juelich Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH
  • Eberhard Gschwindt, European Investment Bank (EIB)
  • Mattia Pellegrini, European Commission
  • Christos Tokamanis, European Commission

Find out more on the CRM_InnoNet website and you can register via this link.

More on CRM_InnoNet
The CRM_InnoNet Innovation Network is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) funded under FP7 that is creating an integrated community to drive innovation in the field of critical raw material substitution for the benefit of EU industry. SusChem is a significant supporter of the network.

For more information on CRM_InnoNet and the conference, email the project secretariat at the UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and you can also follow the project on Twitter.

Friday, 22 May 2015

#SusChem2015, Open Innovation SME Workshop and Brokerage Event

Places are going fast for the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event #SusChem2015 and registration will close on Friday 29 May. The event takes place on 8 and 9 June at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Brussels. Immediately after the Stakeholder event there is a special Open Innovation SME workshop and Brokerage Event on the afternoon of 9 June that is also open to all SusChem Stakeholders.

One of SusChem's goals is to foster greater collaboration between larger chemical players and SMEs in the sector. The Open Innovation Workshop is part of our work in this area and participants will learn about the EU funding instruments available to SMEs and experience first-hand the creation of new partnerships as innovative SMEs from across Europe pitch their bright ideas and novel technologies to big chemical companies.

Entrepreneurial SMEs
During the event more than 20 leading SMEs, from across Europe with ambitions to connect to new industrial partners and investors will present their elevator pitches in three fields of interest to sustainable chemistry:
  • ICT for chemical and bio-tech processes
  • Eco-innovation technologies
  • Advanced materials and nano-technologies
Listening to them will be representatives from leading Multinational Chemical Companies, including BASF, Bayer AG, Solvay, Dow, DuPont, Arkema, Repsol, DSM, EVONIK Akzo Nobel and Clariant, that are keen to connect to innovative SMEs.

In addition there will be a dedicated SME poster session where SMEs will be able to present their innovative technologies and expertise to potential partners and collaborators.

Finally, a Speed Dating Brokerage Session will give the opportunity to network and set up one-on-one meetings with the 150+ participants from industry, academia, RTOs, leading experts and policymakers who have already registered to attend the SusChem Stakeholder event.

Who Should Attend?
The aim of the SME workshop is to facilitate the development of new partnerships and to start building the bridges required to foster successful collaborations between SMEs and big chemical companies. Anyone interested in innovation and SMEs in Europe can attend, including:
  • SMEs
  • Industry
  • Academia
  • NGOs
  • Policymakers
  • Venture Capitalists
Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity! Spaces are filling up quickly, so reserve your place HERE! Registration will close end of the day on Friday 29 May.

Stakeholder event
Registration for this event is in conjunction with the main 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event. The main focus of the Stakeholder event will be the recent SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) and how it is being implemented. The overall theme of this year's event is 'Propelling Sustainable Chemistry to exciting new frontiers - Implementing the New Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda'.

The packed programme includes many exciting activities over two days including:
  • Presentation of the key highlights addressed in the SIRA by SusChem Board members, followed by a stakeholder breakout discussion on how to translate the SIRA into tangible action
  • Conclusions from breakout session discussions to be addressed in a lively panel debate on day two, and
  • The latest news and activities from our SusChem National Technology Platforms (NTPs)
Confirmed speakers over the two days include:
  • Rudolf Strohmeier, Deputy Director General, DG Research and Innovation 
  • Klaus H. Sommer, Senior VP Bayer Technology Services and Chairman of the SusChem Board
  • Christos Tokamanis, Head of Unit Nano and Converging Sciences and Technologies, DG Research and Innovation
  • Dirk Carrez, Executive Director, Biobased Industry Consortium
  • Loredana Ghinea, Executive Director, A.SPIRE
For a complete list of confirmed speakers please refer to our updated agenda. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity! Register now to avoid disappointment!

Book your accommodation before 29 May!
Accommodation for delegates is also available at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Brussels for the days of the event. SusChem has managed to extend the deadline for booking rooms with a fixed discount rate also until 29 May. You can book via this link. Don't delay!

See you in Brussels on 8 and 9 June!

BBI – JU launches €100 million Call

The Bio-based Industries (BBI) Joint Undertaking (JU) PPP has just launched a €100 million Call for Proposals. This second call from the BBI JU is dedicated to Innovation Actions (aka ‘Flagship projects’) and focuses on lignocellulosic feedstock (BBI Value Chain 1), valorisation of cellulose (BBI Value Chain 2) and innovative processes for sugar recovery and conversion from Municipal Solid Waste (BBI Value Chain 4). See the BBI JU value chains below.

The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking will be holding an Info Day session in Brussels on the morning of 26 June on this call followed by a networking and brokerage session in the afternoon. 

All three sub-calls will be subject to a single stage selection process and proposals must be submitted by the closing deadline of 15 September 2015. The call documentation estimates that proposals with total eligible budgets up to €35 million should allow the specified challenges to be addressed appropriately.

In addition any proposals should look to include industrial symbiosis and integration of actors along the whole value chain in their proposed projects and, wherever possible, make use of existing facilities.

The topics chosen in this call reflect elements of the section on 'A Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy' in SusChem's recently published Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA). The three sub-calls are summarised below with links to their specific Horizon 2020 call page (click on the header).

Lignocellulosic biomass is one of the most abundant resources of fixed renewable carbon on earth present in woody crops, agricultural and forest and other process residues. While bio-based chemicals, materials and ethanol produced from food crops are already on the market production from lignocellulosic feedstock would open up large opportunities in terms of enhanced sustainability, avoiding land conflicts and expanding resource potential.

Research and innovation activities in this area are on-going, but the challenge lies in establishing at industrial scale a first-of-a-kind, cost-effective biorefinery concept leading to the conversion of lignocellulosic feedstock into biobased chemicals, materials and ethanol. Therefore the principal objective of this call is the demonstration of the techno-economic viability of transformation of one or multiple lignocellulosic feedstock into a bio-based product such as bioethanol (targeting a production capacity of at least 50 000 ton/year); and/or diols and/or diacids (targeting a production capacity of at least 5 000 ton/year). Proposals should address their further conversion into sustainable biomaterials within an integrated biorefinery concept applying a cascading approach.

Cellulose is a well-known and widely exploited material, but recent technological developments are opening up opportunities for its use in new and higher added value applications. This enhances competitiveness and also significantly improves environmental performance. As for lignocellulosic feedstock, while demonstration activities are being pursued, the challenge in this call lies in demonstrating at industrial scale first-of-a-kind cost-effective biorefinery concepts leading to the production of economically competitive cellulose-based products for bulk materials and volume applications.

Proposals should aim to demonstrate the techno-economic viability of biorefinery concepts leading to new cellulose-based products with tailored functionalities for either microfibrillar cellulose (MFC) based additives (at a scale of at least 1 000 ton/year) or lightweight structural composites based on (bio-based and/or conventional) polymers reinforced with cellulose pulp fibres (demonstrated at 25 000 ton/year of composite materials).

The biodegradable fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is an abundant feedstock rich in sugars and suitable for conversion into biobased chemicals and fuels through biotechnological processes. However, its quality is highly variable and contains other components, such as proteins, fats, ashes and other inhibitor compounds which affect the overall yield of fermentation and enzymatic conversion processes. This call again looks to demonstrating at industrial scale a first-of-a-kind, cost effective new value chain for the recovery and conversion of MSW-based sugars into biobased products for the whole value chain: from sourcing and management of MSW to its conversion. 

What is the BBI JU?
The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking is a €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). It is dedicated to realising the European bioeconomy potential, turning biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products through innovative technologies and biorefineries, which are at the heart of the bioeconomy. The BBI is about connecting key sectors, creating new value chains and producing a range of innovative bio-based products to ultimately form a new bio-based community and economy.

For more information on the BBI JU visit the BBI JU website or contact the BIC secretariat.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Chemistry for the Future: Solvay Prize 2015

Solvay has announced the start of the search for its Chemistry of the Future prize for 2015. The 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. The next Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize will be awarded on 18 November, 2015 at Le Palais des Académies in Brussels, Belgium.

Professor Peter G. Schultz (left), a professor at the Scripps Research Institute in California, and director of the California Institute for Biomedical Research, was awarded the first Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize in 2013 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 is 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 the international jury selects the winner of the Chemistry for the Future Solvay Prize from amongst the list of candidates.

The jury for 2015 will be 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 is joined by the first winner Professor Peter Schultz, Paul Chaikin, Professor of Physics at the New York University, USA, specializing in solid state physics, in particular soft matter, and Christopher Dobson, John Humphrey Plummer Professor of Chemical and Structural Biology at the University of Cambridge.

Also on the jury is Gerhard Ertl, Professor emeritus at the Department of Physical Chemistry, Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-PlanckGesellschaft in Berlin, Germany, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of chemical processes on solid surface, together with Jean-Marie Lehn, Professor at the Institut d’Etudes Avancées de l’Université de Strasbourg and Professor emeritus at the Collège de France in Paris. Lehn was an early innovator in the field of supramolecular chemistry and is a fellow winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Completing the jury are Patrick Maestro, member of the Académie des Technologies in France, Scientific Director of Solvay, and Paul Baekelmans, Science Adviser to the Solvay Group and Professor emeritus at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. He chairs the Conseil National de Chimie of the Académie des Sciences de Belgique.

Find out more at the Solvay website and a flyer for the prize can be downloaded here.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Register now for BIO-TIC webinars: Biosurfactants on 22 May

The Cefic and SusChem supported FP7 BIO-TIC project is organising a series of webinars to present the main findings from the project. SusChem and Cefic invite you to participate in the next webinar on the biosurfactants product group that will take place on Friday 22 May 2015 from 3-4 pm CET. The webinars are free but you will need to register beforehand

The agenda for the first BIO-TIC webinar on 22 May on biosurfactants includes:
  • Introduction to BIO-TIC from Pierre Barthélemy, Cefic Executive Director for Research & Innovation
  • Industrial Biotechnology (IB) market roadmap by Anna Saarentaus, Principal in Pöyry
  • Overview on Biosurfactants by Prof. Wim Soetaert, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant
  • Future of Biosurfactants according to BIO-TIC by Pierre Barthélemy
  • Q&A session
Biosurfactants are one of five business cases which the project has identified to have significant potential to enhance the European economic competitiveness and introduce cross-cutting technology ideas. Europe has already an established biosurfactants market and is currently the global leader in terms of both biosurfactant production and consumption. Still, the market share could be higher if the various innovation hurdles to biosurfactants are addressed.

The BIO-TIC project has extensively examined the market, R&D and technological hurdles for biosurfactants and with this webinar is now presenting its findings to the public. Later this year, an integrated roadmap with the main findings of the project including examples on all the five business cases will be publicly available on the project website and will be presented at the project final conference 'From bugs to business: Unlocking the Bioeconomy in Europe' on 23 June.

Webinar schedule
The project’s dissemination activity will continue over the summer with more webinars scheduled on the other BIO-TIC business cases and on the uptake of IB in general. Note the webinar schedule is your agenda now!

  • Tuesday 26 May 2015, 10-11 am CET:  Chemical Building Blocks organised by TNO
  • Monday 8 June 2015, 10-11 am CET: CO2-based Chemicals organised by Nova Institute
  • Wednesday 10 June 2015, 10-11 am CET: European Bioeconomy revisited organised by DECHEMA
  • Tuesday 7 July, 1-2 pm CET: Where next: Industrial Biotechnology? – A review of the results of the BIO-TIC project organised by EuropaBio
  • TBD, Webinar on Biofuels organised by DECHEMA

You can register for all the webinars for free via:

BIO-TIC Final Conference
As mentioned above the SusChem inspired FP7 BIO-TIC project will be holding its final conference entitled ‘From bugs to business! Unlocking the Bioeconomy in Europe’ on the afternoon of 23 June 2015 in central Brussels.

The conference will provide all you need to know about industrial biotechnology (IB) in Europe in one compact and easily digestible event. It will be the place for you to embark on the bioeconomy journey! Registration for the event is now open and is free of charge.

What is BIO-TIC? 
Funded by the European Commission, BIO-TIC is an FP7 project launched in 2012 with with the vision to investigate hurdles and critical success factors to deploy industrial biotechnology in Europe.

Modern use of industrial biotechnology is critical in a bio-based economy. Deploying the full potential of biotech innovation will enable European industry to deliver high-value products to consumers and create new commercial opportunities. New feedstock demands will lead to synergies amongst SMEs and large industrial partners. New technological developments will boost European export of technology and facilities by bringing some of Europe’s top sectors together: chemical industry, engineering and renewables.

For more information about BIO-TIC visit the project website or contact Pierre Barthélemy, Cefic Executive Director for research and innovation.

Friday, 15 May 2015

E4Water on Euronews

The SusChem inspired FP7 project E4Water is featured in the latest Euronews video on its science and technology channel ‘Futuris’. The new video (see below) features one of E4Water’s successful case study demonstration plants in the Netherlands. And keeping with news on water innovation the latest EIP Water newsletter has just been published – more details below.

Producing chemicals and plastics requires a lot of fresh water to cool down industrial processes, and this water is not always readily available. Euronews reporter Denis Loctier visited a Dow Benelux plastics plant on the southern coast of the Netherlands. This seaside plant cannot pump water from the ground: it must buy it from a supplier located dozens of kilometres away, uses it once and then pours it out into the sea.

Salty or dirty water can damage installations, and for now it is cheaper for companies to buy fresh water than to recycle it. But a European research project - "E4Water (Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry)" - wants to change all that.

About 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.

Latest EIP Water newsletter out
The May 2015 edition of the EIP Water newsletter is out. The e-publication reports on the World Water Forum 7 in South Korea during which new analyses and perspectives on global water challenges and markets were published. In Europe, the Horizon 2020 water call closed on 21 April having received 915 applications showing increasing interest in innovation in the water sector.

Within the partnerships, EIP Water has been appointed to the Water JPI Stakeholder’s Advisory Group (SAG) and the Water JPI is currently holding a consultation on its Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda, which will provide valuable input for the SAG’s next meeting in early June. If you want to participate in the consultation the deadline for input is 24 May.

Finally the next EIP Water Conference will be held in February 2016 and five hosting proposals have been received from across Europe. A decision on the venue will be made by mid-June at the latest.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Bio-based Industries Info day 2015

The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) will be holding an Info Day session on the morning of 26 June followed by a networking and brokerage session in the afternoon. The Info Day will take place from 09:00 to 12:30 at the Charlemagne Building, Rue de la Loi 170, B-1000 Brussels.

The Info day session will address the following questions:

  • What benefits does the Bio based Joint Undertaking offer you?
  • What is included in the new Call?
  • How can you apply for funding? 

The BBI Info Day 2015 in Brussels on 26 June will give you first-hand information on this new EU funding instrument. The Info Day is organised by the BBI JU to provide full information on the 2015 Call for Proposals. Participation is free of charge but registration is compulsory.

Registration is open until 19 June 2015 via the BBI website on the "Events" section or via the link below. To attend the conference please fill in the on-line registration form as soon as possible. When registering please specify the organisation you belong to. All applications will be considered on a “first come, first served” basis.

To register for the BBI Partnering Platform visit

What is the BBI JU?
The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking is a €3.7 billion Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC). It is dedicated to realising the European bioeconomy potential, turning biological residues and wastes into greener everyday products through innovative technologies and biorefineries, which are at the heart of the bioeconomy. The BBI is about connecting key sectors, creating new value chains and producing a range of innovative bio-based products to ultimately form a new bio-based community and economy.

Monday, 11 May 2015

SusChem 2015 - Register now!

It is now less than one month until the 2015 SusChem Stakeholder event that is taking place on 8 and 9 June at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Brussels. Registration is now open and places are going fast! The main focus of the event will be the recent SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) and how it will be implemented. And there will be a brand new feature: an Open Innovation SME workshop!

The theme of this year's event is 'Propelling Sustainable Chemistry to exciting new frontiers - Implementing the New Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda'.

As part of SusChem's goal to foster collaboration between larger chemical players and SMEs, the event will see an Open Innovation SME workshop on the afternoon of 9 June. This special event will be followed by a poster session and our always popular speed-dating brokerage session.

Participants will experience first-hand the creation of new partnerships as innovative SMEs from across Europe pitch their brilliant ideas and technologies to big chemical companies in three technical fields:
  • ICT for chemical and biotechnology processes
  • Eco-innovation technologies
  • Advanced materials and nanotechnologies

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity! Register now to avoid disappointment!

Packed programme
Other exciting activities planned over the course of the two-day Stakeholder event include:
  • The presentation of the key highlights addressed in the SIRA by SusChem Board members, followed by a stakeholder breakout discussion on how to translate the SIRA into tangible action
  • Conclusions from breakout session discussions to be addressed in a lively panel debate on day two, and
  • The latest news and activities from our SusChem National Technology Platforms (NTPs)
Confirmed speakers over the two days include:
  • Jose-Lorenzo Valles, Head of Unit Advanced Manufacturing Systems and Biotechnologies – Directorate Key Enabling Technologies - DG Research and Innovation 
  • Klaus H. Sommer, Senior VP Bayer Technology Services and Chairman of the SusChem Board
  • Christos Tokamanis, Head of Unit Nano and Converging Sciences and Technologies, DG Research and Innovation
  • Dirk Carrez, Executive Director, Biobased Industry Consortium
  • Loredana Ghinea, Executive Director, A.SPIRE

For a complete list of confirmed speakers please refer to our updated agenda.
Book your accommodation before 15 May!
Accommodation for delegates is also available at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Brussels for the days of the event. SusChem has arranged for rooms to be blocked at a fixed rate until 15 May. You can book via this link. Don't be late!
See you in Brussels on 8 and 9 June!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

SPIRE already making a big Impact!

On 21 and 22 April the SPIRE consortium and the European Commission organised a workshop on the impact of the SPIRE PPP and associated FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects. The workshop took place at Committee of the Regions offices in Brussels. This event was billed as the first in a series of annual impact workshops and saw some 40 process-related projects represented: 12 from Horizon 2020 and 28 from FP7. SusChem News will be looking to follow up on some of these projects and investigate their outcomes and potential impact in more detail.

Chairing the opening session  José Lorenzo Vallés from the European Commission said that PPPs offer a framework to encourage projects to work together and supports transfer of results to the market. But key issues remain: What impact is actually achieved? How can impact be improved? And specifically for SPIRE how is it adding value?

Søren Bøwadt of the European Commission outlined the current status of SPIRE projects in Horizon 2020. “SPIRE is an integral part of the circular economy,” he stated. “As development of the circular economy requires significant RTD and Innovation investments.”

Project presentations
The first day of the workshop saw presentations on project clusters with the aim of assessing the impact achieved, the potential uptake and exploitation, the benefits of clustering and identifying good practise to maximise impact.

The first session covered efficient processes. Prof Andrzej Gorak of TU Dortmund presented results from eight projects in the domain of process optimisation: COPIRIDE, F3-Factory, INCAS, POLYCAT, SYNFLOW, MAPSYN, INNOREX, and ALTEREGO.

Prof Gorak highlighted a range of technical impacts from the development of highly selective hydrogenation catalysts through new synthesis methodologies, and novel modularised processes, process intensification and advanced design of integrated technologies, to combined reaction and separation processes. Cost reduction, better safety characteristics and improved resource and energy efficiency were also targeted.

Adaptable processes
Denilson da Silva Perez of Institut Technologique Foret Cellulose Bois-construction Ameublement (FCBA) based in Bordeaux presented a cluster of projects looking to enable the use of renewable resources, such as biomass and residues from different EU regions, and increase the efficiency and economic viability of the transport of pre-treated  biomass from decentralised rural locations.

Five projects in the domain of modelling and elements of process control were described by Sebastian Engell of TU Dortmund. All were of high industrial relevance and covered process control and resource efficiency monitoring. Projects COOPOL and OPTICO focus on control: OPTICO examining multi-scale, multi-phase phenomena to enable new technology and processes with process improvements of ~17%, while COOPOL worked on control and real-time optimisation providing a framework for intensification of chemical processes within a limited timeframe.

MORE looked at near real time monitoring of resource efficiency indicators (REIs) producing novel analytics, and a new process dashboard including visualisation of multi-dimensional REIs. Similarly TOP-REF looked to develop homogeneous audit and diagnosis tools based on thermo-economics techniques. Finally REFFIBRE modelled the impact of innovations on the circular economy for improved resource efficiency.

Integrated process control
Peter Singstad of Norwegian company Cybernetica AS described four SPIRE projects covering control, instrumentation and mathematical modelling with potential to transfer technology and knowledge between sectors.

RECOBA covered real time sensing, advanced control and optimisation of batch processes that could save energy and raw materials. From an economic standpoint the project could lead to material savings of typically to 1-5% and up to 25%. The DISIRE project also used integrated process control based on distributed in-situ sensors to optimise belt conveyor transportation schemes used in minerals, mining and industrial combustion processes. Similarly CONSENS (website under construction) used integrated control and sensing for sustainable operation of flexible intensified processes. The ProPAT project was also developing an integrated process control platform able to utilise individual sensors and methods for multi-sensory inputs leading to more efficient control of processes.

Sebastian Engell noted that for control solutions there was a huge gap between proven technology and what is actually applied broadly in industry. Technical innovation was slow to permeate through to the factory floor despite the relatively low investment required and low risk. This needed to be improved to maximise impact.

Sustainability and Circular Economy
The first domain discussed in the field of sustainability and the circular economy was integrated management of resources. Anna Sagar of SP Technical Research in Sweden described four projects E4WATER (developing and implementing more efficient and sustainable water management in the chemical industry), R4R (improving research and cooperation between chemical regions in Europe), MefO2 (using waste CO2 to make methanol) and TASIO (demonstrating a modular approach to waste heat recovery in the cement industry).

Jan Meneve of VITO then described projects involved in waste recovery. He defined three waves of waste management: first remediation driven by health and safety concepts; then commodity recycling driven by volume issues; and now specifity recycling driven by value considerations. This last wave was the focus of nine projects: RECLAIM, REMANENCE, HydroWEEE, RECYVAL-NANO, REEcover, RecycAl, ReFraSort, C2CA, and BIOMETALdemo. Jan stated that recycling by definition represented the use of smart green technologies that reduced waste generation while improving resource efficiency.

Life cycle Management
The final set of three projects on day one were presented by Amy Peace of BRITEST Limited and concerned lifecycle management. All focused on developing recommendations on the current use of sustainability indicators, tools and methodologies. There was close cooperation between the three projects: SAMT was gathering industrial best practise; STYLE was a pragmatic project looking to see what can be achieved on a day-to-day basis; and MEASURE had the most academic focus to develop an in-depth cross-sectorial Lifecycle Analysis (LCA) methodology. The joint aim is to ensure that the sustainability impact of new SPIRE technologies can be evaluated on a consistent basis.

Plenary and panel discussion
The second day of the workshop was opened by Clara de la Torre, Director ‘Key Enabling Technologies’ (KETs) at DG Research and Innovation (below, right). She noted that SPIRE was now the second largest PPP in Horizon 2020 after the Factories of the Future initiative and she stressed the importance of financial leverage in PPPs. “PPPs follow the same processes as the normal Horizon 2020 programme, but represent a long-term commitment by the Commission to support, and by industry to invest,” said Ms de la Torre. But she emphasised that “Impact is the name of the game!”

This theme was taken up by Dr Klaus Sommer, Chairman of A. SPIRE (above, left). “[SPIRE] must focus on the ‘wow’ factor,” he said. “Finding good stories to promote in terms of impact and outcomes.” The integrated character of SPIRE allowed for a systematic approach to impact from raw materials to end user industries and R&D to the market.

He summarised the expected impacts of SPIRE: to integrate and demonstrate at least 40 innovative systems and technologies. This meant every SPIRE member needed to contribute. He also emphasised the need to make it easier for SMEs to get involved. “The advantage of being in SPIRE is that you can contribute to shaping the future,” concluded Dr Sommer. “Rather than just experience it.”

The instruments available from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for financing investments in KETs were outlined by Piermario Di Pietro with a specific focus on the InnovFin scheme. He also sought views on access-to-finance experiences, current or past, from established larger SMEs or small mid-caps firms (minimum € 5 million annual turnover).

The next session highlighted four projects that have made high impact: SYNFLOW (looking at innovative synthesis in continuous flow operations in particular to reduce waste in the production of pharmaceuticals and other fine chemicals); COOPOL (looking at control of emulsion polymerisation; specifically intensifying this 100 year-old process); E4Water (looking at increasing eco-efficiency in industrial water management); and R4R, (involving analysis of innovation systems and research agendas in six regional clusters).

The workshop’s formal sessions concluded with a wide ranging panel discussion on maximising impact and successful innovation strategy.

Concluding remarks
The meeting rapporteur, Keith Simons (below), remarked that the FP7 projects presented had clearly developed new technology and methodologies. But he also noted that there was a need to communicate success in terms of hard economic figures. He knew that some excellent process technology success stories were out there that could be used to promote SPIRE. He thought that SPIRE as a concept had been a political masterstroke and that European process community has taken up the challenge. He believed that SPIRE had already had an impact, but needed to better recognise and exploit success.

Loredana Ghinea, chief executive of the A.SPIRE consortium, outlined the objectives for SPIRE in the coming 12 months. These included preparing for the Horizon 2020 work programmes in 2016-17. There will be a SPIRE brokerage event on 29-30 June and a SPIRE knowledge and dissemination platform was planned to be available by January 2016. This would help to forge connections between businesses and connect the work programmes with actual projects to enable a continuing discussion on future programme development.

A thematic workshop will be held later in 2015 bringing together the different SPIRE sectors to identify and tackle common challenges. The PPP also aims to follow up with all SPIRE projects and provide support for communication and dissemination activities.

Friday, 1 May 2015

K4I presents ‘What Digital’ / ‘What Smart’ for Advanced Manufacturing

Knowledge4Innovation (K4I) is holding a K4I Forum Dinner debate on 'What “Digital” / What “Smart” for Advanced Manufacturing?’ on Tuesday 12 May from 19h30 to 22h00 in the Members Salon of the European Parliament in Brussels. The event will be hosted by Mr Victor Negrescu MEP.

Advanced manufacturing is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. As an industrial renaissance takes hold in Europe, advanced manufacturing is being transformed in multiple ways. From the nature of work within a plant to the physical technology used, the traditional picture of manufacturing is fast becoming outdated.

Europe is well positioned to take a leading role in this transformation. Advanced manufacturing in Europe is diverse, technologically advanced, produces high quality products and employs a highly trained workforce. A key economic activity, it provides over 20% of Europe’s jobs and generates 67% of its exports.

But there are a certain challenges that advanced manufacturing in Europe faces in its struggle to improve competitiveness and similar issues also face the ICT sector. At this forum participants will explore the transformation currently underway in advanced manufacturing and its specific technological and non-technological needs and the further potential for “smart” transformation. Participants will also debate what digitalisation and the introduction of the 'internet of things' means for manufacturing as well as the management of 'big data'.


  • Status of ICT use in advanced manufacturing
  • Potential of even further ICT-enabled advanced manufacturing for a European Industrial Renaissance
  • Current challenges faced in going forward
  • Approaches to sustainability


  • What are the challenges of the advanced manufacturing industry that can be solved by ICT?
  • What are the main challenges that the ICT industry / community need to solve in order to enable its best use by an advanced manufacturing?
  • What common non-technological issues need to be addressed and how to make Europe a competitive place for advanced manufacturing?
  • What EU action is currently being taken, and should be taken, to support digitalisation in and around advanced manufacturing?

Speakers at the event include Zeljko Pazin Executive Director, EFFRA (who will act as Moderator); Prof. Egbert-Jan, Vice Chairman, EFFRA; Rudolf Strohmeier of DG RTD, European Commission; Khalil Rouhana of DG Connect, European Commission; and Danuta Hübner, MEP

More information and registration
For more information on the event, please visit the K4I website. To register directly, please click here. Registration is open until Tuesday 5 May.