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Monday, 21 September 2015

UK Horizon 2020 Events announced

The Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge Five (SC5 -  Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials) is happening today (21 September) in Brussels, but in the UK Horizon 2020 National Contact Points (NCPs) are organising a number of information and networking events over the next two months at various locations across the UK. 

The events are theme-based and reflect the main interests of the UK research and industry community following preparatory work between the NCPs and many UK organisations for the 2016 - 2017 Work Programme. The events will be ideal places to learn about many interesting potential project ideas and to link up with project partners.

Attending one of the UK events will allow you to hear about the details of the SC5 funding calls and also to meet and network with organisations interested in collaboration.

Nature-based solutions - re-greening cities
30 September 2015 in London

Funding for water innovation
1 October 2015 in Manchester

Climate resilient business
2 November 2015 in Exeter

More information
For more information or to take advantage of our extensive UK network of industry and academia contacts for partner searching opportunity (provided both via the Knowledge Transfer Network and the Enterprise Europe Network), please contact Ewa Bloch UK National Contact Point for EU Horizon 2020 - Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials (Societal Challenge 5). Ewa will also be at the 21 September InfoDay in Brussels.

To register for regular updates from Horizon 2020 UK NCPs visit the UK Horizon 2020 website.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Solar + #useCO2 = all our Energy and Material needs?

On 29 and 30 September 2015, leading experts from politics, research and the industry will meet at the Haus der Technik in Essen, Germany, at the biggest European “Conference on Carbon Dioxide as Feedstock for Fuels, Chemistry and Polymers” to discuss the latest technologies and strategies for an optimum and swift implementation. Over 200 participants are expected from all over the world, including many global companies. The conference is organised by the nova-Institut.

The nova-Institut has calculated that the global demand for electricity, raw materials for the chemical and plastics industry as well as aviation fuel could be met by solar energy. Only 2% of the world’s desert area would be needed to provide the global carbon demand of the chemical and plastics industry with solar and Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) technologies in 2050.

Initial life cycle assessments (LCAs) show that the climate footprint of solar kerosene is better than all alternatives. The CO2 emissions per tonne for solar kerosene production are considerably lower than those of biobased kerosene and 80 to 90% lower than petrochemical kerosene. Indeed further calculations show that compliance with the 2°C climate change goal is only possible using solar kerosene. In comparison to biobased kerosene it is found that land use and water demands are also much lower.

“Today, we have the technologies to cover the global demand for electricity, raw materials for the chemical and plastics industry as well as aviation fuel by solar, wind and hydro energy – even in the long term. Renewable energy and carbon dioxide utilization mean nothing less than a sustainability revolution for all energy and raw material supply. Just the right political and economic framework is missing so far,” says Michael Carus, CEO of the nova-Institut GmbH (pictured right).

The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) includes a range of CCU and related technologies in its chapter on Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy (SIRA, Chapter 3) including the long-term option of direct photo-conversion of CO2: the development of ‘artificial leaves’ able to capture CO2 and convert it into renewable chemicals and fuels using only sunlight and water.

Solar for power, chemicals
Nova-Institut analysis shows that the amount of solar energy falling on the Earth is more than sufficient to meet estimated global energy demand in 2050 using less than 1% of worldwide land for photovoltaic (PV) systems. In addition to the direct use of solar energy, other renewables such as wind or water, can contribute to fulfilling energy demands. This global view shows that providing humanity with sustainable and environmentally friendly energy is not a problem in principle, however significant investment will be required.

Technical developments of the last few years have shown that solar, wind and hydro power not only provide eco-friendly electricity, but can also be used to produce organic raw materials.

Renewable energies are used to derive the elements hydrogen and oxygen from water. Combining the generated hydrogen with CO2 forms methane, methanol and a variety of other chemical building blocks. This process can be achieved catalytically or biotechnologically. More than 20 pilot plants worldwide are operational already and the first commercial plants are under construction. This technology is called CCU or alternatively power-to-gas or power-to-liquid.

In SusChem we tend to use the term #useCO2 as a generic hashtag to cover these technologies.

Nova-Institut calculations show that, using this technologies, it is possible to sustainably supply the chemical and plastics industry with organic raw materials. Even with a strong growth, the carbon demand of the chemical and plastics industry could easily be met through CCU technologies in 2050. About 2% of the world’s desert area would be enough to cover the global carbon demand of the chemical and plastics industry with solar and CCU technologies.

Sustainable technologies
Already today, solar-powered CCU technologies can contribute toward climate protection. One of the biggest climate challenge is the growing CO2 emissions caused by air traffic. Airlines and aircraft manufacturers are investing large amounts to produce climate friendly biobased kerosene from wood, algae, Jatropha and biogenic waste. However, high costs as well as insecurities about land requirements, biodiversity and potential conflicts with food and feed have so far prevented large-scale industrial implementation.

Synthetic aviation fuel based on solar, wind and water energy as well as CO2 offers an alternative and it is already being produced on small scales. More than ten pilot plants are using electrolysis and Fischer-Tropsch-Synthesis to produce different fuels with efficiency levels of 70 to 80%. Solar kerosene can replace petrochemical kerosene 1:1 and has better combustion characteristics due to its purity. Production costs depend primarily on prices for renewable energies and are about the same as for biobased kerosene.

Find out more on the #useCO2 future in Essen on 29 and 30 September!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

WALEVA transforms residues into high-value chemicals

SusChem Spain via the Spanish Chemical Industry Federation (FEIQUE) is collaborating with the Industrial Engineering Group Técnicas Reunidas and the Scientific and Technological Research Centre of Extremadura (CICYTEX) in the WALEVA project. The initiative has the objective of valorising rice straw residue by converting it into levulinic acid – a biobased chemical building block in high demand.  This solution provides a sustainable alternative to burning of this agricultural residue, a common practice in rice growing areas with a high environmental impact. WALEVA started in June 2014 and run until September 2017 and is financed by the European Commission’s LIFE Programme that targets environmental projects. 

The WALEVA project integrates the development of a pilot plant, currently in the design phase, in the José Lladó Technological Centre in Madrid that will apply technology developed by Técnicas Reunidas for the production of levulinic acid that starts from any agricultural residue or lignocellulosic material. This demonstration plant, which will integrate an innovative chemical process, will demonstrate that this conversion technology can solve a known environmental problem. In a final phase, the project will show that this technology is easily transferable to other European regions with the same environmental problems.

SusChem Spain is one of SusChem's network of national technology platforms (NTPs) that connect SusChem thinking with national and regional programmes, facilitate trans-national collaboration and to advise SusChem on collective national priorities that need to be considered at European level. They are key to the involvement of national stakeholders including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), large companies and academic groups, in European initiatives.

Straw problem
Valorising rice straw residue will generate high-value added products and introduce a new value chain. The product - Levulinic acid - is a chemical monomer in high demanded by industry for use in many applications including pharmaceuticals, biodiesels, polymers, food and other chemistries.

The initiative will contribute to a sustainable alternative to the burning of a troublesome residue that affects the rice industry in several Spanish regions such as Extremadura, Andalucía, the Ebro river basin and Albufera in Valencia. WALEVA is supported by the Extremadura region, one of Spain’s main rice production areas, through the rice farmers association.  Although alternatives to burning rice residues have been researched, no economically viable and useful chemical technology has yet been found.

The burning of the residues created by this crop generates uncontrolled carbon dioxide emissions. Rice production in the European Union surpassed three million tonnes in 2012. It is estimated that every tonne of rice produces 0.8 tonnes of straw residue meaning some 2.4-1.2 million tonnes of residues are generated annually potentially that could emit over four million tonnes of C02 if burnt.  In Spain alone, there are around 105 000 hectares of land used for rice crops yielding 577 000 tonnes of rice straw meaning potential emissions of 985.000 tonnes of CO2 from burning.

Process details
The proposed project includes six major development actions:

Collection and treatment of the residue
Design and construction of a storage module
Pilot plant design
Pilot plant procurement and construction
Pilot plant demonstration of an innovative levulinic acid production technology
Viability studies

The project could estimates that production of levulinic could reach 40 500 tonnes/year in the first three years after the end of the project, rising to 63 000 tonnes/year in the next five years thanks to the project’s dissemination plan. At European level, the project expects production to reach 156 000 tonnes/year within five years of the project end.

The technologies demonstrated in the LIFE + WALEVA project will be positioned as the leading technology used to produce biobased levulinic acid at European level.

The LIFE Programme
The LIFE programme is the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. Since its beginning in 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 4 000 projects across the EU, contributing approximately €3.1 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.

The LIFE programme contributes to sustainable development and to the achievement of the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, as well as other relevant EU environment and climate strategies and plans linked to environmental and climate change issues.

The ‘Environment’ theme of the new programme covers three priority areas: environment and resource efficiency; nature and biodiversity; and environmental governance and information. The ‘Climate Action’ theme covers climate change mitigation; climate change adaptation; and climate governance and information.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

SusChem: Moving on Mobility!

Today (16 September) the EU-wide celebrations for EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK launched at the European Parliament in Brussels. The 2015 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK launch focused on encouraging cycle commuting and integrating cycling in multimodal travel with the motto: ‘Choose. Change. Combine.’ The full week presents a wide range of sustainable mobility alternatives to citizens, explains the challenges that cities and towns are facing to induce behavioural change and make progress towards creating a more sustainable transport strategy for Europe.

Mobility is clearly one of the major challenges facing our urban areas today. And it is an area where SusChem and sustainable chemistry is contributing. SusChem’s recent Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda has a dedicated chapter on Smart, Green and Integrated Transport covering many innovations that are vital to achieving more sustainable mobility.

Chemistry contributions
Electric mobility must play an important role in the future and chemistry already offers numerous products and solutions in this area. The battery is the key component in electric vehicles and chemistry can make this technology more affordable, powerful and secure with the aim of increasing the range of vehicles.

In addition, lightweight design of vehicles is important. If the weight of a vehicle drops, its range can increase and / or it will use less energy. The chemical industry offers tailor-made polymers for many different applications from vehicle bodies to the engine compartment. Vehicles can be designed using recyclable materials, such as bio- and smart-materials, that can ensure vehicles do not become waste at the end of their useful life.  And new tyre concepts can reduce rolling resistance and extend range.

Managing energy in vehicles is important for efficiency especially for electric vehicles. In summer, air conditioning consumes additional energy, while in winter good insulation is important. In contrast to internal combustion engines the electric motor produces nearly no ‘waste’ heat. Chemical products can help here: special pigments applied on the windows reduce the warming of the interior in the sun, while high-performance foams offer perfect insulation in the winter.

If the internal combustion engine remains a significant propulsion source in vehicles in the short to medium term, sustainable chemistry will help through new catalytic exhaust gas treatments to remove organic compounds and fine particles. And fossil fuels can be substituted by synthetic fuels made, for example, by the conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) with solar energy or by fuels made from renewable (biomass) sources. Hydrogen produced efficiently from renewable sources is also a potential emission-free alternative to fossils fuels.

Smart mobility – sustainable solutions
The free movement of people and products is an essential element of our modern urban environment. However mobility comes at a cost: the consumption of a vast amount of energy (30% of the total energy consumed in the EU).

And with energy consumption – especially energy derived from fossil fuels – comes pollution. Mobility contributes considerably to CO2 emissions as well as other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides or small particles. Urban mobility accounts for some 40% of all CO2 emissions by road transport and up to 70% of other pollutants generated by transport.

Some of the solutions that sustainable chemistry can provide to meet the mobility challenge for Smart Cities and help stem urban air pollution are described above. But you can find much more information and ideas on mobility issues and sustainable chemistry solutions from SusChem, especially in the context of urban environments, at the resources outlined below.

SusChem is heavily involved with the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities and you can download our Smart Cities Brochure. Mobility and Smart City solutions are also featured on our dedicated Smart Cities mobility page and the Innovation for Growth website.

What is European Mobility Week?
EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK is an annual campaign on sustainable urban mobility supported by the European Commission’s directorates for Energy and Transport. The aim of the campaign is to encourage European local authorities to introduce and promote sustainable transport measures.

The week runs from 16 to 22 September every year and sees events taking place across Europe and globally. ‘Choose. Change. Combine’ is the motto for 2015 and embracing multimodality is the main theme of the week. The aim is to encourage people to think about the range of transport options available, to choose the right mode when travelling, and inviting people to combine ways of getting around, which can often lead to a quicker and more pleasant journey.

Since 2002 EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK has sought to influence mobility and urban transport issues, as well as improve the health and quality of life of citizens. The campaign also gives citizens the chance to explore what the role of city streets really is, and to explore concrete solutions to tackle urban challenges, such as air pollution.

To discover more about how participating cities have used the campaign to enhance their sustainable transport policies, visit the best practice guides.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Update: SusChem Brokerage event on 6 October

Get ready for the Horizon 2020 2016 calls at the 2015 SusChem Brokerage on 6 October. The event will be your best opportunity to get fully briefed on the forthcoming calls, to present your own project proposal ideas and find the strategic partners you need for a successful consortium bid!

The SusChem Brokerage event will take place on Tuesday 6 October 2015 from 9:00 at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Place Rogier, Brussels. Registration for this free event is now open - you can register now via this link.

And if you need accommodation for the Brokerage event you can also book a room at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel at a special discount rate until 14 September. To reserve your room at the special rate, please click here.

The SusChem Brokerage event will help participants to prepare their proposals for the next set of Horizon 2020 calls. The 2015 SusChem Brokerage Event follows the success of previous SusChem brokerage events and is the perfect occasion to interact with strategic partners, get key insights on the call content and take your project proposals to a competitive new level!

Submit your project proposal
Project ideas should be submitted through SusChem's interactive portal GRANT-IT. To submit your ideas log-in with your SusChem username and password and click on Propose a project from the homepage. From there, you will be able to complete the simple submission form.

The deadline for submitting project ideas is close of business on 30 September.

In addition the event will feature the ever popular SusChem speed dating session. Further information on how to enroll in this session will be provided to registered participants.

The morning of the brokerage will feature a briefing on 'Horizon 2020 strategic objectives and highlights for Work Programmes 2016-2017' from Clara de La Torre, Director Key Enabling Technologies at DG Research and Innovation followed by more detailed views on the forthcoming 2016-2017 calls in three research areas:
  • Advanced Materials Research
  • Process and Biotechnologies
  • Raw Materials in Societal Challenge 5
SusChem coordinator Jacques Komornicki will also outline SusChem's priorities in the 2016-2017 programme in relation to the SusChem SIRA.

An updated draft agenda is available here.

Find your missing consortia partner at the SusChem Brokerage event! See you there!

Help Shape Research Policy on Climate Change!

If you want to help shape the future Horizon 2020's programme in the area of Climate, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials then you need to be in Brussels on 23 and 24 September for the second RECREATE Strategic Workshop. The workshop is being held at the Diamant Conference and Business Centre in Brussels and has the theme: “Defining tomorrow’s research and innovation funding priorities”.  Registration for the workshop is now open!

The RECREATE (REsearch network for forward looking activities and assessment of research and innovation prospects in the fields of Climate, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials) project is a Coordination Action funded by the European Commission under FP7 and SusChem (via Cefic) is involved with the project.

The RECREATE project has the explicit purpose of supporting the European Commission in the future programming of Horizon 2020 calls in the area of Societal Challenge 5: Climate, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials. To do this the project is involving a large network of stakeholders, making extensive impact assessments and developing a range of forward looking activities (with a time horizon to 2050) to provide the insights and knowledge required. The RECREATE project started in July 2013 and will run until June 2018.

Participants in the workshop can get their travel costs reimbursed up to Euros 550.

Workshop objectives
The objectives of the September workshop include:
  • Presentation of the project's first results and findings
  • Gathering stakeholders’ viewpoints and feedback
  • Identification of future research and innovation funding needs in the relevant fields
The workshop will open on the afternoon of 23 September and will include a keynote presentation on ‘Expectations and new developments at DG RTD with regard to Climate Action, Environment, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials’ from Kurt Vandenberghe, Director Environment, DG RTD, European Commission and a report on recent progress in RECREATE from Robbert Fisher, Managing Director of JIIP and RECREATE Project Coordinator. A second Keynote presentation will be given by Eva Kaili, MEP.

The first day will also feature a presentation and discussion on the RECREATE scoreboard work package that is being developed to compare and benchmark the performance of Member States in terms of ‘Green Innovation’ and assess the implementation of the European Research Area in the fields of Climate Action, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials. The scorecard should be able to identify the main strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches pursued in the Member States and reflect on different opportunities as well as potential barriers and failures.

The day will be completed by a poster and networking session

On 24 September will feature a dual track with TRACK 1 looking at RECREATE’s evidence-based narratives on Climate Information Services, Nature Based Solutions, and Systemic Eco-Innovation and TRACK 2 discussing RECREATE’s Trends and Scenarios.

More information on the workshop can be found here and registration for the workshop is here.

This workshop is the second of four RECREATE workshops that will be held in Brussels to:
  • Share information on the fields of Climate Change, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials.
  • Enable networking with relevant stakeholders on these arenas
  • Gather feedback on research needs, gaps and recommendations that contribute to creating a clear cut research and innovation agenda for the Horizon 2020
By participating in these workshops, stakeholders will be helping the project consortium and the European Commission in their efforts to develop a programme which addresses research, innovation and industry needs in these fields.

What does RECREATE do?
The overall objective of the project is to support the development of the European Union’s new research funding programme Horizon 2020, with a specific focus on Societal Challenge 5 - Climate Action, Resource Efficiency and Raw Materials - by providing an evidence base.

To do this RECREATE will:
  • Create, launch and manage a Stakeholder Network
  • Develop and monitor indicators for assessing the impact of EU research and innovation programmes (including policy, economic, society, sustainability)
  • Analyse technology, policy and market developments as well as policies and programmes as a basis for forward looking activities
  • Produce quantitative and qualitative briefings with R&I information, trends and strategic options for EU research
Further information about the event and the workshop's travel reimbursement policy can be requested from the RECREATE secretariat.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Register for October Horizon 2020 Brokerage Events

Preparations for the Horizon 2020 2016 calls are now moving into top gear with both SusChem and SPIRE organising Project Brokerage events in October.  

SusChem Brokerage Event
The SusChem Brokerage event will take place on Tuesday 6 October 2015 from 9:00 at the Sheraton Rogier Hotel in Place Rogier, Brussels. And registration for this free event is now open – you can register now via this link.

And if you need accommodation for the Brokerage event you can also book a room at the Sheraton Brussels Hotel at a special discount rate until 14 September. To reserve your room at the special rate, please click here.

The SusChem Brokerage event will help participants to prepare their proposals for the next set of Horizon 2020 calls. The 2015 SusChem Brokerage Event follows the success of previous SusChem brokerage events and is the perfect occasion to interact with strategic partners, get key insights on the call content and take your project proposals to a competitive new level!

The draft agenda for the event is available here.

The Brokerage event is the best occasion to present your project proposals for the up-coming 2016-2017 calls of Horizon 2020 and the event will – as usual – include the very popular SusChem speed dating session to facilitate the development of project consortia.

Find your missing consortia partner at the SusChem Brokerage event!

In the near future the SusChem secretariat will open the platforms interactive portal to allow registered participants to submit their project proposals and further information on how to enrol in the speed dating session will also be provided to registered participants.

PPP Info day and SPIRE Brokerage Event
And don’t forget that this year's Information Day on contractual PPPs covering the Sustainable Process Industry, Factories of the Future, Energy-efficient Buildings, and Green Vehicles PPPs will take place on 16 October 2015 in Brussels. The event, organised by the European Commission, will cover an overview of ongoing activities, presentation of the 2016 and 2017 calls and brokerage and networking sessions. The venue will be in Brussels at the Commission’s Charlemagne and Centre Albert Borschette buildings.

The registration form for the PPPs Infoday on October 16 is available here. Please note that participants need to register and places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

A specific session dedicated to the SPIRE PPP will take place on the afternoon of 16 October and this will be followed by a brokerage and networking event, supported by the SPIRE Association, during which interested stakeholders will have the opportunity to present their initial project ideas for the 2016-17 SPIRE calls and meet potential partners.

If you are interested in presenting a project idea at the SPIRE brokerage event on 16 October, please send an email to the SPIRE secretariat by October 7 indicating your name, the name of your company, the title of your project and the reference of the call topic to be addressed.