Press release ¤ Information de presse
Forum, Ground Floor, HotSpot
16 May 2006, 11.00 a.m.
As we continue to deplete worldwide oil and gas reserves over the coming years and consumption in the emerging markets India and China increases at explo-sive rates, there is growing concern about the effects that these developments are likely to have on the chemical and process industries. What will replace oil? What will the raw materials of the future be?
Crude oil and other raw materials are now so expensive that alternative sources of raw materials are becoming viable in the industry. The most attractive option appears to be renewable raw materials to produce biodiesel and bioethanol which have recently attracted considerable public attention. Brazil has been producing bioethanol from sugar beets for a number of years. However, total annual pro-duction in Brazil is still not sufficient to cover worldwide energy demand for a single day.
We are witnessing a revival of familiar technologies including coal gasification, the Fischer-Tropsch process and gas liquefaction. South Africa and China in particular are now using these technologies. There is also growing interest in a combination of coal and biomass as alternative raw materials for Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.
The first step towards the bio-based economy has already been taken. For example biotechnology has now replaced the chemical process which was used to manufacture vitamin B2. Biotechnology offers envi-ronmental and cost advantages which make it an attractive replacement for chemical techniques. Despite substantial cuts in the R&D budget, the European Commission is still planning to invest €2.4 billion in biotechnology according to the 7th framework programme.
The industry is going to have to rethink and possibly change its raw material supply strategy in the coming years. The podium discussion will bring together representatives from the petrochemical, biotechnology and process industries and the academic sector to make a comprehensive, realistic assessment of the changes that we are likely to see.
The panel of high-profile international experts will discuss solution strategies at the session which is entitled “Across the Petrochemical Frontier”.
The following persons will take part in the discussion:
Institut Français du Pétrol
Sinopec China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation
Sasol Technology Ltd., Sasolburg/ZA
Dr. Peter Reimers
ADM European Management Holding GmbH, Hamburg/D
Prof. Wim Soetaert
European Technology Platform For Industrial Biotechnology
University of Ghent/B
Dr. Willi Meier (Moderation)
DECHEMA e.V., Frankfurt am Main/D