Organizer: Isamir Martinez, Ph.D., ACS
For about two decades, there have been significant efforts to develop new commercial processes to bio-based and renewable chemicals as platform molecules. These offer a rich source of novel molecules and can serve as alternative building blocks in the synthesis of raw materials and intermediates that are currently sourced through petrochemical supply chains. Consequently, bio-based and renewable chemicals offer the potential for more sustainable manufacturing systems that will advance the circular economy in a variety of industrial sectors.
This symposium will create a conversation about technologies that have been used to commercialize bio-based and renewable chemicals, how these technologies could be considered “more sustainable” than the existing ones, and what are the next steps to improve them.
• Alternative molecules to be used as building blocks/raw materials
o Implications of using oxygenated or highly functionalized molecules as are routinely found in nature as building blocks vs. the use of highly reduced molecules
• Feature examples of novel and innovative technologies that create value and enables greater sustainability performance.
o Which technologies are currently commercialized and what has contributed to their success in the market?
• Examples of how systems thinking has been used to enhance positive benefits that may be passed on to businesses and consumers.
Organizers: Beau Hoffman, Technology Manager, US Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office, and Inge Johansson
In 2012, the World Bank estimated that around 1.3 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) is generated each year globally, and it is estimated that will rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 due to increased urbanization in developing and emerging economies. These statistics illustrate that these waste streams are available in abundant quantities today and often pose significant environmental challenges. Amongst OECD countries, waste management practices and infrastructure vary considerably due to legislative policies/frameworks, costs of landfilling, and significant changes in recycling practices such as Asian restrictions on foreign plastics. Moreover, while it is technically possible and commercial technologies exist to convert these waste streams into power and/or heat (e.g. using anaerobic digestion, incineration), margins on these end products are often too thin to manage these wastes at an economy-level. These, as well as other factors, has created the need for alternative strategies for managing these waste streams: namely the production of higher value biofuels and biochemicals from MSW.
As a result of these differing policy and societal factors, R&D and process development must be aligned to meet near- and long-term challenges. To this end, this symposium will explore two of these areas:
- International Perspectives on the Availability and Opportunity of Wastes as Feedstocks
This portion of the program will focus on non-technical elements regarding the feasibility of producing fuels and chemicals from waste such as resource availability and costs. It will also discuss local, national, and regional policies that are influencing which waste management needs are most pressing.
- Technological Success Stories for the Conversion of Waste to Fuels and Chemicals
This portion of the program will feature technological case studies for the conversion of waste streams. In addition to discussing the innovative conversion processes being developed or demonstrated, the invited talks will also include discussions of techno-economics and/or life cycle analyses associated with their process Technologies and processes that are at the piloting phase or beyond and are thus poised to make a near term impact will be showcased during this portion of the program.