Thursday, 23 March 2017

Your Chance to Influence the EU Research Agenda for Formulated Products

The Horizon 2020 project AceForm4.0 has launched a public online consultation. The main aim of the consultation is to identify the common technological challenges faced by the European Formulation Industry and its associated actors along the whole value chain. 

These findings will serve as guidelines for the allocation of European public funding for research and development activities over the next 5-10 years. Don’t miss your chance to make sure that those areas that will effectively enable your organisation to increase its competitiveness and its innovation ability get the support they need!

The Horizon 2020 Coordination Action on Formulations (AceForm4.0) was put together in response to a call that was originally proposed by some of the SusChem NTPs in particular SusChem UK. The full project name is ‘Activating Value Chains for EU leadership in FORMulation Manufacturing 4.0’.

The survey
The AceForm4.0 consultation targets industrial and commercial organisations producing formulated products and formulations as well as all associated actors along the value chain and is divided into four sections and should take no more than 25 minutes to complete.

The first two sections of the survey are dedicated to identifying the profile of the survey participant and their technical challenges and opportunities. The third and fourth sections are exclusively dedicated to the identification of challenges and opportunities for the formulation industry in the context of two mega trends: the Circular Economy and Industry 4.0

The survey will be conducted during the first and second quarter of 2017. The findings will then be analysed and translated into a common vision for sustainable formulated products and an implementation plan for 2025. Further one-to-one interviews and workshops will be carried out as part of the process of preparing this common vision. 

The findings will be made available to the public on a continuous basis during 2017 and 2018 through the AceForm4.0 project website.


More about AceForm4.0
The project aims to strengthen Europe’s leadership in the development and commercialisation of innovative sustainable formulated products by working with relevant stakeholders to establish a strategic roadmap, develop an associated implementation plan for 2025 and stimulate the creation of new collaborative value chains and partnerships in the context of the opportunities offered by industry 4.0 and the drive by Europe towards a circular economy.

The project will establish and evolve an EU Formulation Interest Group (EU-FIG) and facilitate the exchange of non-competitive know-how in formulation technologies between stakeholders operating in six key sectors that are dependent upon innovations in formulation technologies:

  • Formulated products for institutional and consumer use (e.g. detergents)
  • Pharmaceuticals and healthcare formulated products
  • Agrochemical formulated products
  • Formulated products for surface modification such as coatings and inks
  • Formulated food ingredients and nutraceuticals
  • Process modelling, simulation, plant automation and digital platforms (cross-cutting digital sector)

It will identify, analyse and validate common scientific and industrial cross-sectorial challenges facing these sectors in the coming decade that can reduce energy consumption; improve resource efficiency and recycling; improve process scalability; and reduce time-to-market. It will focus on the following domains:

  • Formulation technologies for better delivery of active ingredients
  • Modelling and high-throughput metrology to improve scale-up, process control and supply chain management
  • Intensification methodologies for better process design using scalable and industrially relevant integrated digital platforms

AceForm4.0 will develop and validate a strategic roadmap and associated implementation plan and facilitate through knowledge exchange activities the development of new cross-sector value chain partnerships. Finally it will develop a robust business plan for the on-going facilitation of the EU Formulation Interest Group, to enable facilitation of the community beyond the completion of the project.

What are Formulated Products
A formulated product is composed of at least two ingredients which are selected, processed and combined in a specific way to obtain well-defined target properties, functionality and performance. The product can exist in liquid, semisolid or powder form. A formulated product has a commercial value and is either meant for direct consumer use or for downstream use in industrial applications.

Examples of formulated products range from laundry detergents to wall paint and ready-made sauces, dressings and spreads, inks and ice-cream to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

Friday, 17 March 2017

BioLinX - Providing Links to Commercialize your Innovative Ideas

‘Providing links to speed-up innovation in the bioeconomy’ is not only the full title of the BioLinX project, but also its primary goal. Migration towards a more biobased economy offers important opportunities for Europe, both in terms of ecology and in terms of economy.  BioLinx project coordinator, Dennis van der Pas of the regional development authority REWIN in the Netherlands, explains.

“The European Commission has successfully supported bioeconomy related projects during FP7 and will continue to do so under Horizon 2020. However, a range of hurdles, as identified within FP7 projects like the SusChem supported Bio-TIC and R4R projects, slow down the pace of innovation and market exploitation of research results in the bioeconomy. These hurdles are strongly intertwined and mitigating them requires joint efforts by multiple actors. Actors from within and outside of the value chain (such as regions, governments, advocacy parties, and financial parties) should be involved to bring innovation to the market.”

Van der Pas continues: “BioLinX contributes towards bringing research and innovation to the market in the bioeconomy by providing a variety of services aimed at overcoming the hurdles. The initiating BioLinX partners all have leading roles in their regional bioeconomies and have a strong foothold in the lignocellulose, agro- and agro-waste feedstock sectors. Incidentally: bioeconomy as per its proper definition does not limit itself to just industrial biotechnology, but also comprises sustainable chemistry and green chemical technologies; sectors of the SusChem community.”

“BioLinX has already engaged with and supported over sixty EU co-funded biobased projects from all stages of the value chain. Furthermore, BioLinX has created links with 10 key regional Bioeconomy clusters in Europe. The relevant partners of the selected projects and regions are invited to participate in the BioLinX Innovation Linking and Support Programme. This programme consist of activities focusing on Brokerage, Innovation Incubation, Business Development, Finance and Funding and identifies and shares good practices.“

BioLinX services in a nutshell

BioLinx is for projects and/or companies who:
  • Are looking for private financing - BioLinX offers assistance to find (private) financing. We can parties to get investment-ready and can provide advice, training and access to private financing.
  • Are looking for public funding - Next to private finance, BioLinX assists in finding (public) funding resources as well. We help parties in (amongst others) finding grants, formation of project consortia and stakeholder analysis.
  • Are looking for value chain partners - BioLinX offers a well-established network capable of finding new value chain partners or new parties. The home base of the BioLinX project is formed by three well advanced regions/countries (Sweden, South-Netherlands / Biobased Delta, Northern Italy). BioLinX will expand its network to other regions as well (e.g. Germany, Scotland, Ireland, South Italy, Finland,). 
  • Are looking for introductions to networks or (test) facilities etc - Because of its extensive network and the capabilities of the various BioLinX partners we can provide projects/companies with easy access to multiple lab and pilot facilities and regional stakeholders in different regions.
  • Are looking for bioconomy patents, literature and more - The BioLinX Intelligence Platform offers easy access to literature, patents and project information. The intelligence database facilitates filtering and access to relevant scientific articles (18 million articles), patents (European patent database), European projects and funding opportunities.
  • Have no time and budget to travel but have a need for visibility - BioLinX offers a Partnering platform alongside its Intelligence platform. BioLinX recognizes that time and budget constraints are sometimes limiting factors to have ‘face-to-face’ meetings or discussions. Therefore BioLinX organizes online partnering events where parties can find, contact and meet potential cooperation partners in a secured online meeting room. 

These BioLinX initiatives are complemented with activities regarding advocacy, communication and dissemination.

Van der Pas concludes: Anyone who is interested in what BioLinX  has to offer is invited to join the BioLinX community. You can register at the BioLinX website. Or alternatively get in touch with me directly - also via our website.”

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Modular White Paper builds on F3 Factory results

A new Dechema paper on ‘MODULAR PLANTS’ summarises results from some recently finished publicly funded research and innovation projects that successfully demonstrated the economic and technical benefits of the flexible and modular plant concept for the production of fine and specialty chemicals as well as pharmaceuticals pioneered by SusChem's flagship F3 Factory project.

Important project examples. including examples from the results of the FP7-funded ‘F3 Factory’ project, clearly demonstrate the advantages of operating modular continuous plant processes that are more economical and sustainable than current operations and are only possible due to new types of equipment design, advanced digital process control and online process analytics (PAT).

The Dechema paper discusses the need for further developments including work on standardised interfaces and standards for modular automation, the reliability of modules, sensors and performance control systems, new continuous downstream processing units, how to enable new business and service models that take advantage of flexible and modular plant concept and other boundary conditions such as the regulations required to build and operate such units.

Modular progress
Building on the ‘F3 Factory’ project concept, the Horizon 2020-funded SPIRE project ‘CONSENS’ as one example that is advancing the continuous production of high-value products that meet high quality demands in flexible intensified continuous plants. It achieves this by introducing novel online sensing equipment and closed-loop control of the key product parameters.

If these concepts were applied in industry, the outcomes of the projects could result in significant cost savings and reduction of CO2 emissions (estimated at 176,000 tonnes per year), less consumption of solvents in pharmaceutical and specialty chemical sectors, and a significant acceleration in the development of new products (estimated at two-times faster additional innovations and halving the time-to-market).

The European chemical industry is facing increasing market competition from outside Europe and challenges with product launches in new and often volatile markets that means a fast response to market requirements and reduced investment risk for new plants is required. In addition, shorter product life cycles and smaller product volumes due to diversification and increasing specialisation of product ranges due to increased customer-orientated products are a feature of the market.

"SusChem has highlighted the modular plant concept enabled by the latest digital technologies as one of its current core priorities," says Martin Winter, Cefic Innovation Manager with responsibility for SusChem activities in this area. "And we are convinced such developments can make a very high impact in modernising Europe's chemicals production capabilities, introduce significantly higher resource efficiency, and would position the European chemical industry in the lead in the race for competitiveness and sustainability."

White paper discussion
This Dechema white paper was produced by the ProcessNet Temporary Working Group on “Modular Plants” and included industry representatives from BASF, Bayer, Clariant, Evonik, Invite and Merck as well as the universities of Ruhr-Universität Bochum and TU Dortmund.

The paper assessed the results of recently completed public funded projects that had demonstrated successfully the technical and economic benefits of modular plants and their applicability especially for small to medium scale (typically 0.1 – 1000 tonnes per year) continuous production.

The experts from across the chemical industries agreed that such modular plant concepts have significant economic potential. General concepts for modular production and the required enabling technologies for process intensification have been jointly  developed in projects such as the F3 Factory and CoPIRIDE projects or the ENPRO initiative for improved energy efficiency and process intensification in the German chemical industry.

Writing in a preface to the white paper Dr. Thomas Weber, Chairman of the VCI Committee of Experts Research and Education policy group highlights that these projects have also shown that multiple challenges exist including a lack of standardisation for modules on equipment level, as well as on the level of a complete production plant. This means that 'off the shelf' modules cannot simply be bought on the market, even though it is broadly accepted in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries that this would result in significant advantages in investment costs, time to market and flexibility of production assets.

Associated with this issue is the unmet market need for process control and automation concepts for modular plants. In addition, the discussion of centralised (classical) process control systems versus distributed (modular) process control systems has only just begun. The supporters of a completely modular design strategy envision the various plant modules acting fully automated and autonomously, with communication existing only via interfaces and communication protocols. This would enable a giant leap forward towards full ex-changeability and re-usability for the modular concept. Having an appropriate concept for modulations of process control and automation could become one of the key enablers for modular production plant concepts, said Dr Weber.

There is also need for further development in the field of equipment and apparatus design, for example in separation and purification that could be quickly and directly scaled-up from laboratory to production scale at an acceptable risk. A simple and safe solution for production scale, is number-up instead of a classical scale-up. However, limitations exist as numbering up in many cases can increase investment costs and complexity.

You can download the Dechema White paper here.

It is hoped that this white paper will inspire new ideas and encourage a spirit of innovation across the a cross chemical industry for modular production plant concepts.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Announcing the 2017 European Responsible Care Awards

The European Responsible Care Awards 2017 organised by Cefic are now open for entries. The Responsible Care Programme has been at the heart of the Chemical Industry for many years.  And each year, the Responsible Care Awards enable chemical companies to demonstrate their commitment to this unique initiative. But be quick - the final date for applications to be submitted is 10 May 2017.

The European Responsible Care Awards provide Cefic member companies the opportunity to share effective and innovative projects for cooperation up and down the product chain, energy efficiency and combating climate change initiatives, health, safety and environmental excellence that demonstrate the business value of Responsible Care and its ability to enable engagement with stakeholders.

Cefic is looking forward to your entries and for 2017 is particularly encouraging SMEs to participate. Take part in the competition and get your work done in front of the people that matter! The Awards will be presented at a ceremony during the Cefic Chemical Convention in Vienna that takes place on 27 October 2017.

What does it involve?
Do you believe your organisation deserves increased visibility for its commitment and accomplishments in applying the Responsible Care principles? Are you keen to present your efforts and achievements that are actively contributing to the Responsible Care objectives? Do you consider your project outstanding?

The 2017 European Responsible Care Awards, managed by Cefic, are looking for examples in one of the three categories (listed below) that embrace the Responsible Care ethic.

1. Chemical substances safety
Projects that demonstrate their excellence in addressing health and safety issues related to products in the way they are developed, manufactured, distributed, used and disposed of in a responsible manner. This category recognises value chain projects that help companies set up and improve their chemicals management procedures. It also recognises projects related to the Product Stewardship initiative which, in line with chemicals regulations, addresses management of risks and improvement of the performance of products in the fields of health and safety during its entire life cycle.

2. Occupational health, process safety and security
Projects that either

  • demonstrate their excellence in occupational health, by the means of improved or sustained health programme performance and a healthy workforce and workplace, which includes but is not limited to management commitment, employee engagement and evidence of a culture of proactive health risk management and well-being support initiatives, or 
  • demonstrate their outstanding and exemplary record in implementing effective process safety management systems from process design to continued operation and routine maintenance, best practises and improvements for chemical prevention, preparedness and response to reduce major process hazards and risks for on-site operations, or 
  • demonstrate their outstanding performance in management practises to protect people, property, products, processes, information and information systems by enhancing security, including security against potential terrorist attacks of industrial sites.

3. Environment Responsibility
Projects that either

  • demonstrate excellence in environmental processes and products over their life cycles so as to avoid harm to people and the environment by reducing their pollutant emissions to air, water and soil and to limit environmental hazards related to their operations through the development of innovative technology. Also using resources efficiently and minimising waste, or implementing solutions for a circular economy, or
  • demonstrate their outstanding performance in energy efficiency, renewable or low-carbon energy along the supply chain. This area gathers projects that relate to the SPiCE3 initiative, that effectively contribute to, or favour, a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and have a proven impact across the whole economy. This category also addresses the efficient management of energy to improve practises and technologies in heat and power generation, the review of the steam flow in processes and its optimisation, and the use of electricity.

Judging criteria
Entries will be assessed by a panel of independent judges, including representatives from EU institutions, other industries, trade associations and the media. Judging of all entries will take place in June 2017. The jury will select one winner in the each of the three categories.

Winning projects should have elements of originality, innovative features and best practise sharing within the chemical industry and with customer industries.

For more information about the 2017 Responsible Care Award, including guidelines for applications and information on past winners, please visit the Responsible Care Award pages on the Cefic website, or contact Katleen Raes at Cefic.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Biobased Live: Innovation for Sustainable Products

From 31 May to 1 June the BioBased Live Europe event will be taking place at the Amsterdam Science Park. BioBased Live aims to take biobased innovations from laboratory to market through best practice sharing and making biobased products a key part of sustainable strategies.

BioBased Live and its organisers, BioBased World News, believe there has never been a more exciting time to work in the biobased industries - and SusChem agrees! Global production of biobased chemicals now exceeds 60 million tonnes with the global market for biobased chemicals expected to increase to at least $12.2 billion by 2021. We want to support this sustainable shift towards the circular economy and bio-based products.

What is BioBased Live Europe?
This second annual meeting offers an interactive and intimate environment to make biobased innovations a key part of future sustainable strategies. Bringing together CEOs, senior R&D,and Process Heads with the sustainability professionals, brand marketing specialists and end users, the event creates a unique platform to do business and create practical takeaways to ensure long-term sustainable success.

As an emerging industry the journey from lab innovation to commercialisation for biobased products can be a difficult one. It is a convoluted ecosystem and all actors are required to collaborate and work together to ensure a productive future for the bio-based industry. This is where Biobased Live comes in.

Focus of the event, in which SusChem will participate is on two themes:
  • Process Innovation & Technology - developing biobased and green innovations that are cost-competitive at commercial scale.
  • Sustainable Products - improving the triple bottom line for brands and retailers by placing biobased and green adoption at the heart of sustainability strategies.
You can find out more at the BioBased Live website, where you can look at the event's agenda, download a brochure for the event and, of course, register. SusChem stakeholders are being offered a 15% discount on registration fees using the code SUS15.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Green and Sustainable Chemistry in Berlin

Following a very successful first edition in April 2016, the second Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference will again bring together international researchers from academia and industry, from authorities and other institutions, to communicate and share the latest developments across the broad and diverse fields of Green and Sustainable Chemistry. The conference takes place on 14 - 17 May at the Hotel Intercontinental in Berlin. 

SusChem board member and Director of the Institute for Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Prof. Klaus Kümmerer (pictured below), is the Chairman of the Conference organising committee. In a welcome message to conference delegates he says:

"Research has shown that reduction in waste, energy and resources not only contributes to a more sustainable growth of industry in developing countries and also improves sustainability of the chemical industry. In addition to improvements in synthesis and issues directly linked to the chemicals themselves it also has been learnt that sustainability issues throughout the life cycle of chemicals and other chemicals products should be taken into consideration. This holds not only for developed but also for developing countries."

Submissions for oral and poster presentations at the conference were particularly welcome on aspects of green and sustainable chemistry that directly relate to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Topics that will be covered at the conference include:
  • Mineral resources and recycling
  • Resources for organic molecules
  • Synthesis and catalysis
  • Energy conversion
  • Green and sustainable pharmacy
  • Legislation and sustainable chemistry
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals and sustainable chemistry
  • Developing countries and sustainable chemistry
  • Industry and sustainable chemistry
  • Education
You can access more details on the programme for the conference here and registration details are here. Early registration fees are available until 17 March. The twitter hashtag for the conference is #greenchem2017.

Sustainable Chemistry Challenge
Another unique feature of this conference will be the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge. Projects can be in any field of Green or Sustainable Chemistry, but must be applicable for use in developing countries. The top five candidates will be invited to the conference to make presentations and winners will be selected with an awards ceremony at the end of the conference. The winning project receive EUR 50 000; with a second prize of EUR 25 000 also available.

Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry
The Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference is also being organised in cooperation with the inaugural conference of ISC3 and ISCnet: “Mainstreaming Sustainable Chemistry” on 17-18 May in Berlin. The conference programme will cover:
  • International political and economic issues of importance for the development of sustainable chemistry
  • Results of studies from a project to frame the area of future research by the ISC3
  • Drawing up the organisational structure for ISCnet (see below)
  • The introduction of the ISC3 executives
This conference also provides an opportunity to meet members of the ISCnet global network, which is open to everyone engaged in sustainable chemistry. The International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) wants to support the global breakthrough of Sustainable Chemistry. The project for the establishment of ISC3 was launched in March 2015 by the German Federal Environment Agency.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Date announced for 2017 SusChem Stakeholder Event!


SusChem is proud to announce that its 2017 Stakeholder event will take place on
Thursday, 8 June in Brussels.

Mark the date in your diary now! As usual attendance at the event will be free of charge for all SusChem stakeholder, but registration will be required.

More details will be published soon on the SusChem website. In the meantime if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the SusChem Secretariat.