Two keynote addresses were given at the opening of the European Coatings Congress. The first, given by Professor Matthias Beller of the University of Rostock, Germany, was titled “Sustainable Chemistry: A Key Technology for the 21st Century.”
Two keynote addresses were given at the opening of the European Coatings Congress. The first, given by Professor Matthias Beller of the University of Rostock, Germany, was titled “Sustainable Chemistry: A Key Technology for the 21st Century”. With an expertise in catalysis, Beller is also the recipient of the European Sustainable Chemistry Award. Beller noted that sustainability, in all aspects, is the grand challenge of the 21st Century. Despite numerous important methodological advancements in all areas of chemistry, the industrial production of chemicals can be improved. He stated that currently, more than 80% of all products in the chemical industry are made via catalysis. In this regard, the development of more efficient catalysts constitutes a key factor for achieving a sustainable production of all kinds of chemicals. Beller explained that recently developed molecular-defined, as well as nanostructured catalysts, enable chemists to perform their organic syntheses more selectively and with improved economics. In addition, he touched upon the need for drastically improved catalysts for challenging “dream reactions” as well as the importance of chemistry for environmentally benign energy technologies.
The second keynote speaker was Dr. Erik Risberg, of Jotun, Norway. He addressed what is currently being done to improve the sustainability in the coatings business and what is needed for the future. He noted that including all aspects related to sustainability through the eyes of a paint manufacturer can be a challenge, especially when monitoring the process from cradle to grave. Important aspects are the choice of raw materials and their production, the manufacturing of the product itself, the logistics throughout the chain, protection for the end user, the removal process, and waste treatment. Risber’s presentation gave a few examples of what Jotun has done to find more sustainable solutions, but noted that in many cases, an improvement in one area may result in a loss in another. Consequently, companies need to find ways to weigh the benefits against the disadvantages.