CESIO Congress 2013 Will Focus on Worldwide Megatrends
A Growing Market - For the coming CESIO World Surfactants Congress in 2013 in Barcelona, sales of the 52 booths have started. The novel concept and the shorter biennial rotation of the event will further revive the discussion between producers and users on all levels, which started in 2011.
This is what CESIO President Dr. Thomas Greindl promises for "Surfactants Today and Tomorrow - Mapping the Megatrends" on June 10-12, 2013. Barbara Buller spoke with him for CHEManager Europe.
CHEManager Europe: Dr. Greindl, today, at halftime between two CESIO World Surfactants Congresses, could you make any statements on the course of the event?
Thomas Greindl: The 2013 event is the first time for us to put consequently into practice the biennial rotation. This rhythm makes it easier to keep up contacts and observe trends more closely. The appraisal of the recent congress in Vienna approved that we are well on the way with the new concept, which is closer to the market. In Vienna already, the interest and the presence were particularly high when market issues were addressed - regionally or supraregionally.
Our attendants come from various companies, NGOs, from R&D, and governmental institutions; in follow-up interviews, they explicitly appreciated that in addition to research-related issues, aspects were discussed which addressed our attendants from business and production and also customers.
Does this imply that there are also "megatrends" in business development?
Thomas Greindl: Fortunately, the surfactant market belongs to the stable markets. In Europe, it has revealed itself as crisis-proof, and it is steadily growing because of the broad range of use of surfactants. Moreover, Asia-Pacific and South America are developing positively: Growing affluence in these countries directly affects the consumer habits of the emerging middle classes. Let's take India as an example: Until now, soap has played an important role there.
Today we know that from a certain income level the consumer behavior switches abruptly to better alternatives. At this moment we have to take care that the regional deployment meets the demands of the emerging middle class. We expect similar developments also for the other BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), Africa being at the very beginning of this development. I am sure that these emerging markets will attract wide interest at the next CESIO.
Which questions still have to be answered for Europe and the industry nations, respectively?
Thomas Greindl: The big talking point of the recent CESIO Congress, sustainability, has not been thrashed out by far. In particular the retailers are urgently waiting for answers to questions resulting from issues like "bioeconomy" or "low carbon economy" with the correspondent assessment models, such as the carbon footprint.
But also in the BRICS countries, sustainability is more and more being made a subject of discussion, on the one hand because of export reasons to Europe, on the other hand because of growing regulations here. At the moment there are still different labels promising sustainability. Therefore, there is a considerable demand for harmonization and exact definitions.
Could you give us a concrete example?
Thomas Greindl: The standards for biosurfactants are also being discussed in the EU. The first challenge was to achieve agreement on the acceptation of "bio": Is it a question of the way of production - "biotechnologically" - or of the raw material from renewable sources? Which is the category for surfactants like APG (alkylpolyglucosides), which are produced fully synthetically but originate in renewable components?
The assessment of the sustainability of the products is even more complex. The commonly accepted approach by LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) is becoming more and more comprehensive. The certification of processes by LCA is extremely intricate. Moreover, it is always about a case study. The challenge for us will be to generate certain standard basic data - so-called scientific-based industry standards to make a statement in order of magnitude.
As before, the basic research will be one of the central issues of the Congress - are any trends emerging?
Thomas Greindl: As far as I know today, this section will deal with complex systems and their exploration, presumably more than with new singular compounds. For these complex systems, the question arises how it will be possible to boost the effect of a known surfactant system. Again, it is a matter of sustainability, as it has to do with saving active substance by ingenious combinations with polymers.
Finally, we are looking forward to new developments for additives - enzymes that increase the range of application. To meet the consumer's demands as to performance at low temperature, we have to work on the solubility and consequently make use of synergies. This is also a trend towards "using complex systems." We are keenly looking forward to the congress section about the industrial applications, which will comprise the full range of surfactant application.
Will REACH still play a role?
Thomas Greindl: Now as before we have to deal with issues of REACH. At the moment, there are some questions left. There will be demands in addition to the submitted dossiers of large volume chemicals. The period for the small volume surfactants, less than 100 t per year, runs until 2018. We must not underestimate this task; it concerns many small producers who possibly start to deal with the issue only now. CESIO offers them support in consortia formation and preparation of model and framework contracts.
What are your personal expectations for Barcelona 2013?
Thomas Greindl: Time and location of the event and also the local atmosphere are eminently suitable for offering an inspiring setting to the attendants of the Congress. Presumably, more than 1,200 visitors will come to Barcelona. The choice of the event's location in Barcelona signals our opening toward Latin America. We would interest more guests from Brazil and other emerging regions for the event, because it will be about their future, their chances for development.
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