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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Introducing new SusChem Chair: Dr. Markus Steilemann

The European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) Board has announced that Dr. Markus Steilemann is its new Chair, succeeding Dr. Klaus Sommer who served six years in this position.

Dr. Steilemann (above), who will lead the Board in managing SusChem’s strategy and activities, brings valuable expertise in innovation and management. He is the Chief Commercial Officer of material producer Covestro and - since 2015 - a member of the Covestro Board of Management. His responsibilities encompass all commercial functions, including innovation and the company’s three segments: Polyurethanes, Polycarbonates and Coatings, Adhesives and Specialties.

Dr. Steilemann holds a PhD in Chemistry and started his career at the Bayer Group, where he moved to various management positions at the former Bayer MaterialScience, which has become Covestro in 2015.

SusChem beyond 2020
“I am honoured to take the leadership of SusChem at a time when new strategies in the European research and innovation policy, missions and funding beyond 2020 are being designed,” Dr. Steilemann said, adding that SusChem is already working together with the European Commission on the preparation of the next EU Framework Programme after Horizon 2020.

“The role of the chemical industry should feature prominently in it as the crucial link between scientific breakthroughs and societal challenges for delivering impact. The disruptive technologies needed to transform our economy and society towards a more sustainable future will be enabled through chemistry,” Dr. Steilemann underlined.

A driving force for KETs
SusChem is a driving force behind the EU strategy for Key Enabling Technologies. Under Dr. Sommer’s leadership its strategy was refocused and its role for accelerating innovation reinforced. 

SusChem now includes 14 national technology platforms, connecting national and regional sustainable chemistry initiatives and developing synergies with EU policy and funding schemes. 

Dr. Sommer (pictured right) played a decisive role in the discussions, initiated by SusChem, which lead to the establishment of the SPIRE Public-Private Partnership in the process industries and of which he was also Chair of the Board of Management.

2017 LRI Innovative Science Award Ceremony and Workshop on Making Sense of ‘Omics’

The winner of the prestigious LRI Innovative Science Award, worth €100,000, will be announced at the opening gala dinner of the 19th annual Cefic Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) workshop on November 15-16 in Brussels. The topic of the main workshop is “Making Sense of Omics”. 

Cefic’s LRI Innovative Science Award is Europe’s biggest prize for early career life scientists. It finances outstanding research contributions developing novel approaches for assessing the potential impact of chemicals on human health and the environment.

The research undertaken by the LRI programme complements that done by SusChem with  focus on technology innovation and chemical safety/omics for regulatory applications.

Participants attending the 19th Annual Workshop have the opportunity to gain insights into the LRI programme and its future direction.

Omics: global perpectives
This year’s workshop theme is “Making Sense of Omics”. A dedicated session will discuss the regulatory applications of omics from a European and US perspective.  ‘Omics’ describes a wide portfolio of biology research areas including genomics, proteomics and  or metabolomics.

The event showcases the results from LRI Programme projects and their impact on pressing issues around the technical aspects of chemicals policy. Chemicals-related topics to be examined at the workshop by leading scientists involved in policy making in Europe, Canada and the USA include:
  • Biodegradation
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Inhalation nanotoxicology
Key speakers
Key speakers of interest to the media include:
  • Dr Albert Piersma - professor in reproductive toxicology at Utrecht University and Senior Scientist at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands, member of the Dutch Health Council and of advisory committees for the EU, OECD and WHO
  • Dr Frank Gobas – environmental toxicologist at Simon Foster University, Canada and a member of scientific expert groups and advisory boards for the UN, the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Canadian government
  • Dr Damian Helbing – assistant professor at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, USA
More information and registration
The LRI workshop takes place at two venues with the opening gala dinner and awards ceremony at Le Plaza Hotel in Brussels on the evening of 15 November with the workshop taking place at The Square conference facility in central Brussels on 16 November.

The full programme for the workshop is available here and you can register via this link. Participation is free.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

SusChem Switzerland welcomes VIO Chemicals

SusChem Switzerland, SusChem’s Swiss National Technology Platform (NTP), has recently welcomed a new member: VIO Chemicals. As a member of the NTP, VIO Chemicals joins major players in the Swiss Chemical and Life Sciences sector, including INEOS, Lonza, CimArk, ETH Zurich and the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS).

In joining SusChem Switzerland, VIO Chemicals aspires to promote the national chemical industry’s priorities in the European policy agenda, become an integrated member of a European collaborative network of knowledge and competence, and contribute to a dynamic innovation and industrial eco-system as part of the Europe 2020 strategy for an inclusive European economy.

Welcoming VIO Chemicals, Eric Plan, Secretary-General of SusChem Switzerland said:
“SusChem Switzerland is aimed at companies involved in life sciences, particularly chemistry, who want to improve their industrial processes and/or develop their collaboration with other players. With VIO Chemicals, we are happy to welcome a new SME in the SusChem family. The active participation of VIO Chemicals will reinforce our activities and missions in 'Shaping Sustainable Solutions Together'”
VIO Chemicals shares SusChem Switzerland’s vision for a robust and sustainable Swiss chemical industry. According to a recent analysis chemical, pharmaceutical and biotech sectors account for 41% of total national exports. The Swiss growth strategy is largely driven by an emphasis on constant innovation and internationalism. By joining SusChem Switzerland, VIO Chemicals declares its openness to share its expertise and form synergies with national and European stakeholders to promote the use of sustainable chemistry, and joins the debate about the role of the chemical industry as a solutions provider to global societal challenges.

For more information on SusChem Switzerland, please visit the SusChem Switzerland website.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Hurry, hurry for SuperBIO support services

The SuperBIO Horizon 2020 project is getting close to reaching its goal of developing 30 cross-border, cross-sectorial value chains in the biobased economy. The initiative has a target to develop 30 new disruptive biobased value chains together with EU SMEs through provision of 10 different accessible professional innovation services to SMEs at affordable prices.

Established in 2016, SuperBIO has been such a success that, only twelve months into the project, 20 value chains have already been developed. The project expects to reach its goal before the end of the year! New applicants should therefore hurry up to become one of the 10 new value chains that remain to be developed and supported by SuperBIO.

The newly established value chains in SuperBIO are very diverse and include biogas production, food, horticultural and agricultural waste valorisation, bioplastics production, and production of high-value compounds such as crop-protection products, fragrances or food additives.

SuperBIO is a truly Europe-wide project, attracting SMEs from Belgium, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Spain, The Netherlands, Norway and Turkey.

You can read some case studies from the project here.

Innovation services
SMEs participating in the value chains can each receive innovation services to a value of €60 000, with 75% of the support funded through the project. The 20 developed value chains are now gaining more insight into feedstock and market information, life-cycle analysis (LCA), techno-economics, regulatory barriers, business planning and access to investors, subsidy strategy, intellectual property (IP) protection, and proof-of-concept or scale-up issues. With its innovation support services, SuperBIO fills a tangible need for EU bioeconomy SMEs and gives them a head start to get closer to their markets.

SuperBIO can only support a limited number of SMEs, but the project still welcomes applications for new value chains from industrial stakeholders. Hurry up and take advantage of this exclusive opportunity to get a boost for your biobased business.

Get in touch with the SuperBIO consortium that consists of 10 expert organisations, all leaders in the biobased economy. SMEs can apply for SuperBIO services via their website.

Learn more about the project in the 'SuperBIO project in two minutes' video.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

BIOKET event to focus on the Bioeconomy emerging KETs

On 6 to 8 March 2018, the IAR - the French Bioeconomy Cluster - is organising BIOKET, the global conference dedicated to the Bioeconomy’s Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). The event will focus on innovative biobased solutions and processes and emphasise innovation in processes for biomass conversion using emerging technologies, minimising waste production and optimising economics. BIOKET will take place in Strasbourg at the Convention Exhibition Centre close to the city centre.

Biomass is a wonderful resource that can be transformed into chemicals, biobased materials, food and feed ingredients or energy. However, adaptation and optimisation of transformation processes and technologies remains a real challenge to fully valorise all biomass fractions in a true circular economy approach.

In the context of the circular economy, the need for an optimal valorisation of renewable resources, and of Industry 4.0 considerations BIOKET will be an excellent opportunity for all experts to discuss and share their experiences with emerging and key enabling technologies for the bioeconomy.

Inspiring programme
An inspiring and targeted conference programme has been developed, which will tackle topics such as advanced and innovative biomass pre-treatment; technologies for biomass conversion and functionalization; extraction, separation and purification of biomass; process modelling and analytical methods and tools; innovative tools; design of bioprocesses, advanced fermentation.

You can download the draft programme here. BIOKET’s main programme topics include:

  • Advanced and innovative biomass pre-treatment – Physical and thermochemical pre-treatment – Densification – Fractionation
  • Technologies for biomass conversion and functionalization
  • Extraction, separation and purification of biomass
  • Process modelling and analytical methods and tools - in situ characterization techniques
  • Innovative tools: Enzymatic and metabolic engineering, synthetic biology and bio-nanotechnology
  • Design of bioprocesses and advanced fermentation
In addition, a vast area of 1 500 square metres will host the BIOKET exhibition area and there will be ample opportunity for networking and finding new biobased business leads.

The BIOKET conference itself takes place on 7 and 8 March with a BBI and Bioeconomy Horizon 2020 project information and Brokerage pre-event scheduled for Tuesday 6 March.

Registration for the conference opens on 3 September, but you can find more information on the BIOKET website, where you can also subscribe to the BIOKET newsletter to receive updates on the event.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Cefic - LRI 2017 programme call closes 31 August!

The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) is now accepting grant applications, but you will need to be quick as the deadline for applications is 31 August 2017.

The Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme is a major voluntary initiative of the European chemical industry to support the long-term sustainability of its sector and European society. The programme funds work to identify the hazards posed by chemicals and improve the methods available for assessing the associated risks.

The LRI sponsors high-quality research of a standard publishable in a reputable peer-reviewed journal, and seeks to provide sound scientific advice on which industry and regulatory bodies can draw-on to respond quickly and accurately to the public’s concerns.

2017 call
The 2017 call covers research in the following areas:

  • Bioaccumulation potential determination (ECO41)
  • Fate-ecotoxicity testing and risk assessment (ECO42)
  • Sediment toxicity testing refinement (ECO43)
  • Toxicokinetics mammalian modelling (ECO44)
  • Implementing an ecosystem services-based approach to chemical risk assessment: A proof of concept study (ECO45)
  • Improvement of the environmental hazard and risk assessment of cationic polymers (ECO46)
  • Assessment of inhalation and dermal exposure in industrial/professional use (B20)Interpretation of ‘omics (molecular-level interactions data):
  • Development of omics data analysis (C4)
  • Understanding normal adaptation vs pathology and gene expression time dependence (C5)
  • Biological omics read-across (C6)

Further information on project specifications, budget details and application forms can be found on the Cefic-LRI website at:

Only proposals that fit the project specifications and are submitted via the official LRI application form will be considered for funding. For further details, please contact Dr. Bruno Hubesch, LRI Programme Consultant, or the LRI Secretariat via email.

The deadline for receipt of completed applications is 31 August 2017.

A mini-guide to the Cefic-LRI funding and application process can be downloaded here and results from a selection of completed Cefic-LRI projects can be found here.

About Cefic-LRI
The Cefic-LRI programme is all about a responsible approach to assessing the long-term impacts of chemicals.

Public awareness of the potential impact of human activity and man-made substances on the environment and on health is something the chemical industry has long taken seriously. As early as 1996, the need to address societal concerns and help public understanding of the long-term impacts led to the establishment of the Long-range Research Initiative (LRI) programme in the US. Cefic-LRI manages the LRI programme in Europe.

The LRI’s aim is to respond to public and stakeholder concerns through rigorous scientific investigation. In the last 17 years it has become a unique source of knowledge and tools, providing a validated infrastructure of scientific advice available to both the industry and regulatory bodies. In this way, the LRI helps to provide timely and accurate information in response to the public’s questions and concerns.

To help address some of European public health strategy priorities, LRI conducts peer-reviewed transparent research to:
-Improve risk assessment of chemicals and monitor the effects of chemicals on health;
-Understand the environmental factors in human health;
-Establish endocrine disruption references;
-Coordinate research, data and activities at a European level.

LRI also addresses many of the environmental objectives of the EU, including:
-Linking environmental factors to health effects;
-Understanding and reducing chemical risks to environment;
-Improving animal testing in risk assessment.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Can the EU Chemical Industry go Carbon Neutral by 2050?

The chemical industry’s ambition is to play a leading role in the transformation of the European economy to a sustainable low-carbon and circular economy by creating innovative climate and energy friendly solutions, both for its own processes and for many other industries through chemical products. A new report 'Low carbon energy and feedstock for the European chemical industry' from SusChem founding partners Dechema and released via the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) explores how the chemical industry can become carbon neutral by 2050. 

The Dechema study analyses the technological options available for the chemical industry and outlines the conditions necessary to facilitate the transition of the European chemical industry to carbon neutrality.

As well as giving a first full overview of all available technologies for the main chemical production processes, it describes what is needed to refurbish the industrial base we know today in Europe, in a world of shale gas and low oil prices:
  • Abundant low-carbon electricity in much larger volumes and at competitive prices;
  • Availability of alternative feedstocks (e.g. bio-based raw materials, CO2 or industrial waste gases).
  • An enabling fiscal structure to modernise ageing production facilities and equipment or build new plants;
  • Government or public-private support to scale-up technologies and share investment risk for those technologies that are first of a kind or high risk
  • Innovation and research into new chemical technologies that help overcome these challenges.
  • Enabling business models to enhance cross-sectoral collaboration to find sustainable ways to re-use CO2
Role for SusChem and SPIRE
The report concludes that, in order to achieve the EU’s 2050 objectives, an ambitious research and innovation programme will be essential to improve the potential of required advanced technologies, and public-private-partnership efforts will be critical to enable fast deployment and risk sharing for the investments needed. 

In addition, industrial symbiosis opportunities and sustainable materials recycling options should be further explored in order to improve energy and resource efficiency beyond sectorial boundaries. 

Clearly these areas where SusChem and SPIRE are currently working hard to advance sustainable chemistry and sustainable process industry technologies.

Energy intensive
The chemical industry has already halved its energy intensity and greenhouse gas emissions since 1990, but producing chemicals remains one of the most energy intensive industrial processes. Making the sector carbon neutral while retaining its competitiveness in a full circular economy in Europe is a significant challenge, which cannot be solved by the industry on its own.

In an interview with Politico Energy Marco Mensink, Cefic Director General, said that the fact that the industry is looking at how to cut carbon emissions shows that it’s embracing the need for change, “I think we have always taken the position that we are very energy-intensive and that there are huge challenges to become energy neutral,” he said. “But this is a different stance.” Why? Because the attitude of the sector is changing, because the Paris climate agreement has become a reality, and because time is ticking, he added.

The main findings of the report are that the implementation of the technologies investigated in the study would allow for a very significant reduction of CO2 emissions in 2050 (up to 210 Mt annually under the maximum scenario). And including the production and use of fuels related to the pathways considered in the study, the additional CO2 abatement potential in 2050 exceeds the chemical sector’s current emissions even under the intermediate scenario.

Commenting on the report, Marco Mensink said: “Many promising low-carbon technologies are available at a relatively advanced stage of development. The industry will need to find the way to overcome the investment, raw material and energy challenges for them to be implemented on a large scale in Europe.” 

Kurt Wagemann, Executive Director of DECHEMA added: “The implementation of the technologies investigated in this study would allow for a very significant reduction of CO2 emissions of the chemical industry by 2050 even under the least ambitious scenario.”

However, such a transition to carbon neutrality will entail huge challenges for the European chemical industry including availability of low carbon energy, availability of alternative feedstock, investments in new assets that far exceed the typical level of investments in the recent years, uncompetitive production costs. 

The report
The report Low carbon energy and feedstock for the European chemical industry looks into technology options and pathway scenarios to ensure a low-carbon, yet competitive European chemical industry by 2050. The study focuses on the main chemical building blocks used in upstream large volume production processes (ammonia, methanol, ethylene, propylene, chlorine and the aromatics benzene, toluene and xylene), which represent about two-thirds of all GHG emissions in the chemical sector.

Friday, 14 July 2017

European Sustainable Chemicals Support Service Final conference

The European Commission and the European Chemical Regions Network (ECRN) invite you to the final conference of the European Sustainable Chemicals Support Service entitled: 'Boosting regional investments in sustainable chemicals' that is taking place on 14 September in Brussels. The Sustainable Chemicals Support Service initiative was organised by a consortium of Cefic, PNO and CIRCE.

The event aims to present the results of the European Sustainable Chemicals Support Service initiative 'Six Model demonstrator regions for sustainable chemical production', that was funded by the European Commission. It will feature success stories and best practices from the six regions, selected by the European Commission as 'model demonstrator regions' in Europe for a sustainable chemical industry.

The regions are:

  • Andalusia (Spain)
  • Groningen-Drenthe (The Netherlands)
  • Kosice (Slovakia)
  • Scotland (United Kingdom)
  • South and Eastern Ireland
  • Wallonia (Belgium)

The Conference will also present the publicly available self-assessment tool, developed by the initiative, which aims to support all European regions to assess their investment readiness level to produce chemicals in a sustainable manner.

This event is free of charge and will be held in English.

Sustainable chemicals
The aim of the European Sustainable Chemicals Support Service initiative was to encourage investments in sustainable chemicals production in Europe that will contribute to the development of the circular economy, for example by taking advantage of domestically available feedstock such as biomass, waste or CO2.

Cefic and SusChem have been very supportive of collaboration within and between chemical regions based on concepts such as Industrial Symbiosis. This was demonstrated by Cefic-SusChem participation in the Chemical Regions for Resource Efficiency (R4R) FP7 project and expressed in the 2015 SusChem position paper on Circular Economy.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

SusChem F3 Factory shows synergy of EU Funding

The SusChem flagship F3 Factory project was in the spotlight at the European Commission’s Research and Innovation conference on “Shaping our Future” as an example of how to leverage EU research funding with the use of the Structural Funds. This is one of the key recommendations in the report of the High-Level Group led by Pascal Lamy, released at the conference on 3 July, to launch the debate on the next EU Framework Programme, FP9. Entitled ‘LAB – FAB – APP: investing in the European future we want’, the report delivers a strong message that investing in research and innovation is crucial for the future of Europe in a rapidly globalising world.

To shape our future together, we need to imagine, invent and create. We need research (“Labs”), innovation competitive fabrication (“Fabs”) and applications for the benefit of all (“Apps”). Hence the title of the report: Lab, Fab, App: investing in the future we want.

Launching the report European Commissioner for Research and Innovation Carlos Moedas underlined the crucial role of research and innovation for the future by saying: “Without science and innovation there is no growth. Without science and innovation there are no jobs.”

Reacting to the report on behalf of industry, Jean Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay and President of the Cefic council, told the conference: “Together with Commissioner Moedas, we can imagine a new FP9 that nurtures a European-based research, innovation and science ecosystem linked to industry".

F3 Factory success
The SusChem visionary project ‘The F3 Factory’ was highlighted at the conference by Marc Lemaitre, Director-General the Commission’s DG REGIO, as a success story showing how research and innovation projects can be combined with EU structural and investment funding and thus achieve rationalisation of EU funding schemes. This is one of the key recommendations of the LAB-FAB-APP report, echoed at the conference.

This F3 Factory FP7 initiative showed how it was possible “to leverage all assets in Europe” said Lemaitre (speaking above). The €30 million F3 Factory project, implemented between 2009 and 2013, was conceived and developed by a SusChem working group and looked to create the future of [chemical] production. The project was hugely successful in developing new modular production processes.

The German region of Nordrhein-Westfalen was then able to use money from the EU Regional Development Fund, and through its smart specialisation strategy has been able to form a new project in order to bring the F3 Factory concept closer to commercialisation for pharmaceutical processes.

The MoBiDik project scaled-up and validated the F3 Factory results showing a potential 40% reduction in capital costs and a 30% reduction in energy consumption. The work is continuing through the MoBiDik Pro project funded by Bayer.

Double R&I budget
The LAB-FAB-APP impact report focuses on proposing guiding principles for designing the post-2020 EU programme for research and innovation; provisionally entitled FP9. The 11 recommendations of the report aim to maximise the impact of future EU research and innovation programmes and each is exemplified by a key action.

Amongst the 11 recommendations in the report are proposals to double the budget of the post-2020 EU research and innovation programme, foster ecosystems that will promote and invest in innovative ideas with rapid scale-up potential through a European Innovation Council, and modernise the education and training of people for a creative and innovative Europe. Other actions look to further simplify EU R&I funding schemes and instruments, stimulate the involvement of citizens, and communicate the results and impact of EU R&I funding better.

The high level group that produced the report was led by Pascal Lamy, former European Commissioner and President Emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institut, and comprised 11 eminent personalities from research, innovation and education including Martin Brudermüller, Chief Technology Officer for BASF.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Advancing Entrepreneurship and Start-up Initiatives for Sustainable Chemistry

Are you engaged in a start-up initiative in green and sustainable chemistry? And would you like to share your experience at an international workshop in September 2017 in Berlin? If so a workshop being organised by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) on 14 September 2017 will be of interest to you.

On 14 September 2017, UNEP and ISC3 are jointly hosting a workshop to advance entrepreneurship and start-up initiatives for sustainable chemistry. Case studies will be shared and discussed to identify lessons learnt and generate policy relevant knowledge. 

The workshop is being organised back to back with the 150th Anniversary of the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and will bring together a small number of entrepreneurs from developed and developing countries, international organisations and other experts. Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the workshop and presenting their start-up initiatives and lessons learnt should send a brief statement of interest to UNEP by 25 July 2017. 

Selected candidates will present their case study at the workshop. Funding is available to support participants from developing countries. 

UNEP and ISC3 will be looking to support 6-8 young international entrepreneurs engaged in green and sustainable chemistry start-up companies to participate in two back-to-back events taking place in Berlin and seeking to advance a new innovation age for sustainable chemistry.

As well as the case study workshop on 14 September 2017, the other event is a 24-hour ‘Hackathon’ which takes place in the context of the 150th Anniversary of the GDCh on 12-13 September 2017. Selected participants will have the opportunity to participate in and will be sponsored for both events. 

Scaling up sustainability
Global momentum around the concept of sustainable chemistry is growing. In 2016, the concept was recognised for the first time by the United Nations Environment Assembly and work has commenced at the global level to identify best practises. 

As SusChem stakeholders know, an important dimension of sustainable chemistry is to scale up research, innovation and entrepreneurship to develop new and safer chemicals and production processes.

Start-up initiatives and companies can be a strong driver to nurture momentum towards sustainable chemistry, and help close the gap between science, innovation and business application. Yet, while certain sectors, such as the IT sector, are known for a thriving start-up scene, start-up initiatives in area of green and sustainable chemistry are less developed.

One of the topics pursued by the Global Chemicals Outlook-II, mandated by United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in 2016, is to collect state-of-the-art knowledge and identify determinants which may advance (or impede) innovation to advance sustainable chemistry, including through start-up companies. 

Workshop goals
The overall aim of the workshop is to advance at the international level in scaling up innovation for sustainable chemistry and identify opportunities for action in this area. By bringing together green and sustainable chemistry entrepreneurs from developed and developing countries, together with other relevant experts, the workshop will present and review case studies with the goal to identify lessons learnt and generate policy relevant knowledge. Workshop outcomes will feed into UN Environment’s work on the update of the Global Chemicals Outlook in 2018, and other possible activities at the international level.

The Workshop will bring together approximately 10-15 participants leading (or supporting) sustainable and green chemistry start-up initiatives, including 3-4 entrepreneurs from developed countries (e.g. Europe/North America), 3-4 entrepreneurs from developing countries together with other relevant representatives from the private sectors (e.g. financing institutions), representatives of selected international organisations and selected experts. 

The one-day workshop will cover topics including the context of green and sustainable chemistry, knowledge-sharing about sustainable chemistry start-up initiatives, extracting determinants of success and generating policy insights, and identifying opportunities for further work and follow-up.

More information
The workshop is jointly organised by UN Environment, Economy Division, Chemicals and Health Branch and the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) in cooperation with the German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the Freie Universität Berlin. Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the workshop and presenting their start-up initiatives as well as lessons learnt should send a brief statement of interest to UN Environment by 25 July 2017 including a brief description of their start-up initiative and how it contributes to advancing green or sustainable chemistry , together with a brief analysis of the useful lessons learnt in the initiative.

For more information, please contact

Thursday, 6 July 2017

RoadToBio: Guiding the EU Chemical Industry towards the Bioeconomy

How can the chemical industry in Europe meet the challenges of global markets while at the same time becoming more sustainable? RoadToBio is an EU-funded project under Horizon 2020 that aims to pave the way for the European chemical industry to embrace a higher biobased portfolio and more competitive success. Despite considerable efforts over the past few years, the production and application of biobased chemicals is still limited. The roadmap developed in RoadToBio will specify the benefits for the chemical industry of moving from a fossil-based industry towards the bioeconomy to meet the societal needs of 2030.

Today (6 July) the project’s first expert workshop is taking place in Brussels to initiate a discussion on the biobased ‘sweet spots for the chemical industry and develop a list of criteria for biobased products and/ or the shift towards a bioeconomy in the chemical sector from the viewpoint of diverse stakeholders.

The results of the project, a Coordination and Support Action (CSA), first announced in the BBI JU 2016 work programme, will be of critical interest to SusChem stakeholders. The SusChem Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) focuses on a sustainable and inclusive bioeconomy as a priority and the outcomes of the project will inform future revisions of the SusChem SIRA.

The roadmap will also inform future work programmes for the BBI JU and SPIRE PPP, both SusChem inspired initiatives, and where SusChem takes role in coordinating work programmes and identifying synergies.

The roadmap
The roadmap will consist of two main components: an analysis of the most promising opportunities (the ‘sweet spots’) for the chemical industry to increase its biobased portfolio, and a strategy, action plan and engagement guide to overcome the existing and anticipated barriers and hurdles.

The analytical part of the project will take into account feedstock, technologies and markets as well as regulatory issues, societal needs, consumer acceptance and communication. Business cases will be explored that cover new feedstock for the chemical industry, new intermediates for and by the chemical industry, as well as new end-products.

The business cases will be analysed in detail to understand the market potential, the different up- and downstream actors in the value chain as well as the benefits for society based on techno-economic and life cycle assessments.

30% biobased share
The outcomes of the analysis will be used to formulate a strategy, action plan and engagement guide for the chemical industry. They will describe the actions that need to be taken by all stakeholders to achieve the objective of a 30% share of biobased products in the chemical industry by 2030.

To maintain a realistic perspective and gain the support and commitment of the key players, representatives of the European chemical industry and other stakeholders will be involved in the project from the very beginning, providing input and feedback.

This means the roadmap will be developed in consultation with stakeholders, and disseminated to a wide audience. Furthermore, RoadToBio will bring together different parts of the chemical industry, society, and governing bodies in order to start a dialogue and to create a platform where this action plan can unfold to its full potential.

The consortium of this two-year project that started in May 2017 consists of SusChem founding member DECHEMA eV., BTG Biomass Technology Group BV, E4tech (UK) Ltd., and the nova-Institut.

SusChem Brokerage 2017 is on 18 October

The SusChem 2017 Brokerage event which will take place on Wednesday 18 October 2017 in Brussels, Belgium at the Thon Hotel in the EU quarter. Don’t hesitate - register now! Participation in the event is free of charge, but prior registration is compulsory.

As always the SusChem Brokerage event will be the unique opportunity for SusChem stakeholders from industry, academia, SMEs and other sectors to present project ideas, develop consortia and submit funding proposals targeting the 2018 and 2019 calls for Horizon 2020 with deadlines falling in the late 2017 and early 2018.

The Horizon 2020 work programme for 2018-2020 is expected to be officially published in early October, but you can read a Commission document that describes the context for the entire strategic programming process, which will guide the preparation of the work programme itself, here.

During the SusChem brokerage event, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Get detailed views on the Horizon 2020 2018-2019 programme calls focusing on:
    • Advanced Materials Research
    • Process and Biotechnologies, and
    • Raw Materials calls in Societal Challenge 5
  • Present your project ideas to the SusChem stakeholder community
  • Meet consortia looking for partners, and
  • Interact with other stakeholders during the speed dating session.  

Use Grant-It
Delegates are kindly invited to propose their project ideas for the 2018 and 2019 calls of Horizon 2020 on GRANT-IT - your one-stop access to funding opportunities from the European Commission and Regional and National governments in the field of sustainable chemistry.

SusChem members can use GRANT-IT resources for free to search for funding, identify project opportunities, propose project ideas and search for potential project partners.

Submitting your project ideas via GRANT-IT will make it available to the whole SusChem community and allow interested partners to contact you for meeting requests when the brokerage speed dating tool is open.

For additional information and for questions related to accommodation or how to access the venue, please visit the SusChem 2017 Brokerage event registration portal.

Do not miss this opportunity - register now for the SusChem 2017 Brokerage Event! 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Research & Innovation shaping our future: LabFabApp

The European Commission has published today the report from the High Level Group on maximising the impact of EU research and innovation. The group was led by Pascal Lamy and included eminent personalities from research, innovation and education. The report entitled ‘LAB – FAB – APP Investing in the European future we want’ delivers a main message that investing in research and innovation is increasingly crucial for shaping a better European future in a rapidly globalising world. 

Our success depends ever more on the production and conversion of knowledge into innovation. SusChem agrees.

The report was launched by Research and Innovation Commissioner Moedas and Pascal Lamy (below) at the Research & Innovation: Shaping our Future conference in Brussels today (3 July) and focuses on proposing guiding principles for designing a post-2020 EU programme for research and innovation. However, it does not propose priority themes or subjects such as health, energy, security, space or oceans.

The 11 recommendations of the report are addressed to the European institutions, national governments as well as to other stakeholders: companies, universities, research institutes, non-governmental organisations and all others engaged in research and innovation within the EU and beyond.

Citizen science
However the report also reaches out to a wider public. The report states that ‘Our society should increasingly become a living laboratory for innovative solutions to the many challenges we face in Europe – be they economic, environmental or social.’ Through broad-based, impact-focused research and innovation policy and investments, society can turn these challenges into innovation opportunities. This requires action and participation by many, if not all of us.

The report believes that we need to get rid of the notion that research and innovation is not relevant to society. To shape our future together, we need to imagine, invent and create. We need research (“Labs”), innovation (competitive fabrication (“Fabs”) and applications for the benefit of all (“Apps”). Hence the title of the report: ‘Lab, Fab, App: investing in the future we want.’

Commissioner Moedas said: "I am extremely grateful for the work of the independent group chaired by Pascal Lamy. The recommendations put forward are a very solid basis for our reflection on the orientations of the programmes that will succeed Horizon 2020."

Eleven recommendations
The report’s recommendations are aimed at maximising the impact of future EU research and innovation programmes and each is exemplified by a key action.

1. Prioritise research and innovation in EU and national budgets - Action: double the budget of the post-2020 EU research and innovation programme.

2. Build a true EU innovation policy that creates future markets - Action: Foster ecosystems for researchers, innovators, industries and governments; promote and invest in innovative ideas with rapid scale-up potential through a European Innovation Council.

3. Educate for the future and invest in people who will make the change - Action: modernise, reward and resource the education and training of people for a creative and innovative Europe.

4. Design the EU R&I programme for greater impact - Action: make the future programme’s pillars driven by purpose and impact, fine-tune the proposal evaluation system and increase flexibility.

5. Adopt a mission-oriented, impact-focused approach to address global challenges - Action: set research and innovation missions that address global challenges and mobilise researchers, innovators and other stakeholders to realise them.

6. Rationalise the EU funding landscape and achieve synergy with structural funds - Action: cut the number of R&I funding schemes and instruments, make those remaining reinforce each other and make synergy with other programmes work.

7. Simplify further - Action: become the most attractive R&I funder in the world, privileging impact over process.

8. Mobilise and involve citizens - Action: stimulate co-design and co-creation through citizen involvement.

9. Better align EU and national R&I investment - Action: ensure EU and national alignment where it adds value to the EU’s R&I ambitions and missions.

10. Make international R&I cooperation a trademark of EU research and innovation - Action: open up the R&I programme to association by the best and participation by all, based on reciprocal co-funding or access to co-funding in the partner country.

11. Capture and better communicate impact - Action: brand EU research and innovation and ensure wide communication of its results and impacts.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Join the SusChem and WssTP Workshop in Porto!

SusChem and the European Water Technology Platform, WssTP, in collaboration with the EIP Water, are jointly organising a pre-conference workshop ‘Industry Water: From Single Use to Integrated Management' that will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 26 September 2017 in Porto, Portugal just prior to the The EIP Water Conference.

The workshop builds on an earlier workshop organised in Brussels on 20 April 2017 and will prepare specific messages to deliver to the audiences attending the EIP Water Conference in Porto that takes place on 27 and 28 September 2017.

These messages relate to the reuse of industrial water reuse as highlighted, for example, at the WssTP Water Innovation Europe 2017 event and are built from the four pillars of the WssTP’s Value of Water model: Sensors, Big Data, Analysis and Modelling, and Governance.

Workshop outcomes
The Brussel’s workshop produces a range of recommendations and conclusions on these four aspects:

  • Sensor Networks - Sensor development provides a unique opportunity for enhancing the Value of Water. Advanced sensor development is required to ensure continuous understanding and control of water quality. Handling of dynamic water systems requires advanced sensors. Full implementation, reliable operation costs and maintenance are important.
  • Big Data - Identifying the value of the water system in generating and creating data is central to its economic value. The creation of a resilient basis for cyber security and privacy legislation is necessary, as no holistic overview currently exists. Links between data silos and pockets of data should be established and prioritised.  
  • Modelling and Analysis - Many models for enhancing water management exist in academia or within RTOs. But these methodologies need to be brought into context before moving to the next pilot phase. It is necessary to identify models and tailor them to the requirements of users in order to develop more efficient  water systems, while observing the interactions and implications.   
  • Smart Governance - Smart governance models vary from region to region. The selection process for an appropriate governance design requires extensive consideration. Education and communication is crucial for its successful understanding and implementation.

The Porto workshop will further examine outcomes via four parallel breakout sessions covering the above topics that will include introductory presentations, moderated discussions, collection of ideas, and building of key messages.

The outcomes of the four sessions will be collated and conclusions and key messages for EIP Water conference formulated.

Workshop details
The workshop will take place on Tuesday 26 September 2017 from 14:00 to 18:00 and participation is free of charge, however prior registration is compulsory. You can register for the workshop via this online form.

Please note this registration is valid for the pre-conference workshop only, it will not allow attendance at the EIP Conference itself.

For more information on the workshop, please contact either Andrea Rubini at WssTP or Henk Pool at SusChem.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

#suschem2017 in tweets

We've assembled the story of the SusChem Stakeholder event on June 8 as told through twitter! Enjoy!

Please feel free to share with your colleagues.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Sustainable chemistry: Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe

On 8 June 2017 the European Technology Platform for Sustainable Chemistry (SusChem) held its 15th annual Stakeholder event (#suschem2017) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels, Belgium. The theme for #suschem2017 was ‘Accelerating innovation and impact in Europe: Shaping expectations and priorities for the next EU Framework Programme (FP9)’. 

A full proceedings document for #suschem2017 and notes from the breakout sessions are now available on the new SusChem website.

#suschem2017 brought together senior players from the chemical and biotechnology industries, academia, research technology organisations (RTOs) and EU institutions to address common challenges and debate priorities crucial to the sustainability of the European chemical and biotechnology innovation sectors.

Sustainable, circular, responsible
In an opening plenary presentation Peter Dröll, Director for Industrial Technologies at the European Commission DG Research and Innovation (below) stated that “Our common future must be sustainable, circular and responsible” - concepts that SusChem and its activities are very much aligned with.

Dröll described some current thinking on aspects of FP9 including the concept of ‘missions’ and called on all attendees to make the collective case for investing more in EU research and innovation in the future - a theme that was repeated by many speakers during the day. In particular, the key to ensuring future funding was demonstrating the societal impact of current funding initiatives for research and innovation.

In his plenary address SusChem Chairman Dr Klaus Sommer stressed the need for a continuing role for industrial leadership in FP9 projects and the need for adequate funding to bridge the innovation ‘valley of death’ and ensure commercialisation. He noted SusChem’s key messages in its contribution to the Horizon 2020 consultation: in particular the value of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), such as SPIRE and the BBI JU, as instruments to promote competitiveness.

SusChem – a success story
SusChem is a clear success. Sommer stated that “85% of the input on topics found in SusChem’s Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (SIRA) was now reflected in Horizon 2020 programmes”. This was a significant impact of which all SusChem stakeholders should be proud!

He also highlighted the swift success of the SPIRE PPP, a SusChem inspired initiative, in raising some €750 million of private funding for its projects. He said that “SPIRE is on its way and is already mission driven with a set of clear key performance indicators (KPIs) for Europe.”

Underlying this success is the plain fact that SusChem – and sustainable chemistry in general – is providing the solutions for the challenges that society faces across areas from climate change and energy transition to high performance materials to enable a circular economy and digitisation of the chemical and other process industries.

Breakout sessions
Participants split into three parallel breakout sessions all focused on various aspects of the future FP9 programme. The sessions consisted of short presentations on the topic area and then an interactive session with moderated small groups discussing the topic and providing insights and solutions. The results of the session were shared in an afternoon plenary session.

Breakout Session 1 looked to define success factors for EU funded projects to optimise innovation impact and value for Europe. BreakoutSession 2 examined the role of SMEs as a driver of the EU innovation ecosystems and how we can stimulate market-creating innovation through SME funding. Breakout Session 3 looked at shaping funding instruments to accelerate innovation and competitiveness in Europe.

Panel discussion
In the afternoon SusChem stakeholders received updates from the SusChem NTP network and feedback from three morning workshop sessions on FP9. These had focused on aspects of boosting innovation impact, the role of SMEs and appropriate framework instruments.

The culmination of the FP9 debate was a high-level panel discussion that examined how to accelerate innovation and deliver impact in the forthcoming framework programme. The discussion was moderated by Cefic Executive Director for Research and Innovation Pierre Barthelemy with contributions from the European Commission and key SusChem stakeholders including large industry, small companies, research and technology organisations and PPPs.

Kurt Vandenberghe, Director for Policy Development and Coordination at the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, opened the discussion by describing the important role that SusChem and other European technology platforms can play in shaping FP9.  He said that there are calls not to change anything from Horizon 2020 but there is a need to balance change and continuity to maximise impact. For industry Ulrich Küsthardt, SusChem Board Member and CIO at Evonik, insisted that continued public funding for larger companies should continue. The executive director of SPIRE Àngels Orduña explained the added value of PPPs, such as SPIRE, saying that the public-private partnership is able to gather together complete innovation ecosystems, connecting existing systems and networks, increasing the participation of industry both large and small. From the research perspective, Professor Michael Matlosz from the French National Research Agency (ANR) stated that FP9 must maintain the research competitive edge that previous programmes had delivered and that the EU should continue to base its strategies on its strengths. Muriel Attané of EARTO felt that more pilot and demonstration projects would be needed and we should be building a technology infrastructure that would be appropriate for decades to come. Iryna Sukhotska from Spanish SME Biopolis stressed that all sizes of companies are important in the innovation ecosystem and partnerships with large chemical industry are crucial for small companies.

The debate highlighted also the need to preserve the right balance between research and innovation in FP9, as well as the industrial eco system of funding for small and large companies. In particular a clear narrative demonstrating the impact of sustainable chemistry innovation to help citizens and politicians to understand its value to society must be developed – and fast!

FP9 – our mission
From the #suschem2017 discussions it is clear that SusChem needs to think about the concept of missions in FP9: what do we want missions to be and how can we develop our vision for mission targets. We also need to support the success of PPPs in Horizon 2020, such as SPIRE and BBI, and their ability to operate along the whole innovation value chain – an essential element to deliver impact.

FP9 needs to be more inclusive for new member states, but also ensure that successful innovation is the paramount objective to achieve sustainable jobs and growth in Europe. More simplification of procedures in FP9 was desirable, but we need to conserve what was good in Horizon 2020.

Better alignment between EU programmes and national level initiatives is also needed, and funding for industry large and small should be continued to ensure a healthy industrial innovation ecosystem that can deliver new goods and services to the market.

SusChem’s new brand
Earlier in the day the new SusChem branding was presented by the SusChem Communication team who invited delegates to “step into your sustainable future!”. The new branding underlines the message that “We are all SusChem” and that together all stakeholders should stand as strong ambassadors for the SusChem brand.

During the day stakeholders got an in-depth brand experience with visual, taste, auditory, smell and touch elements. In addition other brand experiences included an on-site animator and a wish tree (see below), where stakeholders were encouraged to write down their one main wish for FP9 with one lucky delegate’s wish winning an iWatch in a draw at the end of the day.

Thank you Klaus!
At the end of the day SusChem board Chairman Klaus Sommer (below) received a standing ovation from the delegates after announcing that, due to new responsibilities, he would be standing down from the SusChem board later in the year. Dr Sommer has been a significant figure in SusChem since its formation and he said that it had been wonderful to work with so many committed people and was proud that SusChem had achieved so much. We will miss you Klaus!

To view more of the #suschem2017 photo gallery click here.

Friday, 23 June 2017

BIC Announces New SIRA For Europe’s Bioeconomy

To help build a resource-efficient, circular and bio-based economy, the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) has just launched its new Strategic and Research Agenda (SIRA). The SIRA identifies the activities needed to speed up the development of sustainable and competitive biobased industries in Europe – an aim that SusChem wholly supports and has helped to foster for many years.

The SIRA reflects BIC’s ambition to transform Europe into a world leading bioeconomy. The updated SIRA addresses the technological and innovation challenges facing the biobased industries, takes a ‘multi-value-chain’ approach and integrates new feedstocks such as aquatic-based sources, biowaste (including from waste from food processing) and the use of carbon dioxide (CO2). The document also considers the aims of BIC’s newest members, as well as technology and market developments since the first BIC SIRA was adopted in 2013.

The new BIC SIRA identifies the research and innovation actions needed to deliver tangible and increasingly ambitious environmental, social and economic benefits by 2020 and also 2030.
Biobased value chains are at the heart of the SIRA, which is founded on four key pillars:

  • Fostering a supply of sustainable biomass feedstock for both existing and new value chains 
  • Optimising efficient processing for integrated biorefineries through research, development and innovation (R&D&I) 
  • Developing innovative biobased products for identified market applications 
  • Creating and accelerating market uptake of biobased products and applications 

The biobased industries in Europe have been evolving rapidly. Driven by business and consumer demand for greener products and by policy developments such as the European Bioeconomy Strategy and equivalent strategies in Member States, they have started to invest in technological advancements and deployment. They will receive a further boost from the increased efficiency of innovative technologies and their upscaling to commercial levels, and from the new policy focus on the circular economy and decarbonisation that initiatives such as the European circular economy package and COP21 have brought.

Circular bioeconomy
John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy, DG Research & Innovation, European Commission said:
“The latest SIRA is designed to attract new industrial sectors and stimulate closer collaboration between different industries. It envisages the creation of novel value chains, making it easier for the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) to fully support the development of a circular bioeconomy, while enabling Europe to achieve its climate goals and the objectives of the Juncker Plan to boost investment, sustainable growth and job creation.”
Mat Quaedvlieg, Vice President Strategic Business Projects at Sappi, and Chair of the BIC and BBI JU Governing Boards said:
“Since the start of the BBI JU, new value chains have emerged using feedstocks from the food processing sector, the aquatic-based sector, and even biowaste and CO2. More and more industrial sectors are collaborating on BBI JU projects, seizing the opportunity to create value from waste and side streams. This growth will speed up the development of an innovative, sustainable and competitive European economy, in line with the European Bioeconomy Strategy.”
Dynamic and sustainable
Dynamic and sustainable biobased industries in Europe can deliver many environmental, economic and social benefits. They can help to meet EU objectives in areas ranging from economic growth, job creation, the circular economy and resource efficiency to climate change mitigation, security, agriculture modernisation and regional development.

Biobased industries make use of European biomass sources and sustainable European supply chains. As such, they lower our dependency on imports and contribute to our raw material security. With 90% of Europe’s chemical industry feedstocks for non-energy use coming from fossil resources, access to alternatives is an important strategic issue. In addition Biobased industries can create opportunities for local regeneration in rural and coastal areas, fostering cooperation between different stakeholders along the value chain.

You can access and download the revised SIRA here.

Biobased Industries Consortium
The Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) is a non-profit organisation based in Brussels. It represents the private sector in the public-private partnership (PPP) with the EU on Bio-based Industries (BBI). Worth €3.7 billion, the partnership mobilises investment in innovative facilities and processes that manufacture high-quality bio-based products as well as in biorefining research and demonstration projects.

BIC is host to a unique mix of sectors that currently covers agriculture, agro-food, forestry, pulp and paper, chemicals, energy and other manufacturing sectors. With over 200 members including large companies, SMEs, SME Clusters, RTOs, universities, technology platforms and associations spread across Europe, BIC brings together an authoritative pool of cross sector and multi-disciplinary expertise in the field of bio-based industries.