Green Polymer Chemistry 2012
Start Date:20 Mar 12 End Date:22 Mar 12
AMI's 1st international conference on green chemistry in the polymer industry will take place 20–22 March 2012 at the Maritim Hotel in Cologne, Germany. Green Polymer Chemistry 2012 provides a forum for environment and sustainability managers, business development professionals, chemical engineers, plastics manufacturers, researchers, and suppliers to the industry to debate the latest developments in producing conventional polymers from sustainable sources such as plants, garbage and carbon dioxide. There is a welcome reception on the first evening followed by a 2-day programme of presentations.
Conventional plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene, PET and nylon, have a well-established performance record in protecting and preserving food and water supplies worldwide, from high pressure pipes to thin film packaging. The global population is expanding rapidly and fossil fuel supplies are dwindling, so the polymer supply chain needs to find alternative feedstocks to be sustainable. There is innovative technology to produce chemicals from a variety of sources including: biomass such as waste straw and rice husks (examples of white biotechnology and bio-based chemicals), municipal and industrial waste, carbon dioxide and methane. The biomass industry is being driven by the need to replace petrol in vehicles with biofuels, but similar technology can also be used in the production of polymer raw materials and other fine chemicals. There is also a need to reduce waste in landfill and innovative methods have the potential to turn rubbish into a profitable product.
In Brazil sugar cane is an abundant resource and has been used in the chemical industry for decades, however in many other parts of the world food is in short supply. There are regions where soil quality is too poor for food production, but which could be used to grow non-food crops, and at the same time generate new economic development. In a separate experiment, in the United Arab Emirates there are trials underway to grow crops for the chemical industry which can be irrigated with sea water. Marine biotechnology is also advancing.
As well as using bio-sources as feedstock, there is a trend to use production methods from nature, particularly enzymes. "There is nothing new under the sun" and this has been used for thousands of years, with yeast generating gas in bread and alcohol in beer. This opens up a lot of potential chemical pathways in combination with established thermocatalytic chemistry.
The programme this year includes expert presentations from majors in the chemical industry including BASF, Süd-Chemie, Braskem, Chemtex Italia, DSM and Merquinsa, alongside research institutes such as the Wageningen University and VTT. There will be market papers on potential sources of monomers and polymers including an economic review of the availability and competition for bio-products.
Green Polymer Chemistry 2012 offers an excellent networking opportunity to debate sustainable solutions to the polymer industry supply challenges.