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Future of the

Chemical Industry Hydrogen Technology Staggering breakthroughs STEM Subjects

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Looking to the future of the chemical industry Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Chemical Industry Journal, a magazine which takes an in-depth look at the future of this exciting sector and the challenges that it presents on a daily basis. From the need for companies to become more sustainable to the opportunities presented by rapid developments in technology, the industry is undergoing some of the most dramatic changes in its history. This edition looks at everything from the search for new energy sources to the research which is producing materials which promise to shape the way we live for years to come. Here at Chemical Industry Journal, we

John Dean acknowledge that chemistry is part of every

Editor in chief

aspect of our lives, not just a sector to be pigeon-holed away from everyday life in the public consciousness. From the furniture we use to the clothes we wear, from the vehicles we drive to the household cleaning products we turn to, chemistry plays an integral part in everything we do.


To acknowledge that, in this first edition we examine the way that everyone from scientists in company laboratories to process workers on the shop floor are using their imagination to come up with the solutions needed to ensure that companies can compete in the global market place. In addition, we look at some of the exciting work being carried out in our universities where tomorrow’s industry leaders are already providing an exciting glimpse of their capabilities, guided by some of the brightest minds in the business. The magazine, which includes contributions from a number of industry leaders, reaches everyone from boardroom executives and senior government decision-makers to those whose work on the frontline turning concepts into reality. In short, the Chemical Industry Journal shines a light on industry that continues to be one of the UK’s most exciting and diverse sectors. We hope you enjoy it.























UK News


World News

20-24 Hydrogen Technology 26-29 Chemical Future



34-37 The STEM Subject 42-44 Industrial Symbiosis 48-49 Use of Chemicals 50

Working Together


John Dean deangriss@btinternet.com




Distinctive Publishing, Unit 6b, Floor B, Milburn House, Dean Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 1LE Tel: 0845 884 2385 www.distinctivepublishing.co.uk


John Dean & Francis Griss deangriss@btinternet.com


Distinctive Publishing, Unit 6b, Floor B, Milburn House, Dean Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 1LE Tel: 0845 884 2343 email: john.nielson@distinctivegroup.co.uk www.distinctivepublishing.co.uk


48-49 5

Distinctive Publishing or Chemical Industry Journal cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and Chemical Industry Journal.




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Chemical industry award winners are announced The winners of the 2015 Chemical Industry Awards were announced at a dinner held at The Newcastle Gateshead Hilton. The winners were: ABB Manufacturing & Resource Efficiency Award – Winner: LyondellBasell Carrington - LyondellBasell are dedicated to a strategy called Everyday Excellence. Each person has a commitment to safety perfection, reliability and environmental stewardship BASF Young Ambassador Award – Winner: Lee Griffith, BASF, Bradford - Site Instrument Engineer Lee started his career at BASF as an apprentice and has represented the UK in the BASF Young People’s Forum. Lee is a keen STEM ambassador Bilfinger Industrial Services Engineering Excellence Award – Winner: GlaxoSmithKline, Montrose. Through the implementation of seventeen small-scale projects, GSK Montrose has increased the capacity of its HIV/AIDS medicine plant by a factor of six. Simultaneously, the per tonne energy usage has reduced by 35%, process losses are down by 26% and cycle time has been reduced by 29% Reputation Award Sponsored by Chemicals North West – Winner: Veolia, Ellesmere Port – in 2013, more than 1,000 Syrian civilians were killed by the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons. With international shock and condemnation rife, news broke that

the chemicals were bound for Britain for destruction within two-miles of a school and homes. Veolia embarked on the biggest reputation management story affecting the chemical industry in 2014 Environmental Leadership Award Sponsored by Veolia – Winner: BASF, Cheadle Hulme – a partnership between an environmental NGO (Allerton Recycling), an Industry Stakeholder Group (The Pesticides Forum) and a global company (BASF) has significantly reduced the raw materials used in packaging manufacture. The newly-designed ECO-Pack is quicker and easier to use and all parts of the pack and label can be cleaned and recycled Gold Standard Skills Award Sponsored by Cogent Skills – Winner: Lucite International, Billingham - Lucite International’s Cassel site has a strong focus on behaviours which underpin a safe and high performing business Special Responsible Care Award for Process Safety Leadership Sponsored by Shell UK – Winner: LyondellBasell, Carrington LyondellBasell Carrington is an organisation where work processes and people align in an effort to achieve performance “goal zero” GlaxoSmithKline Innovation Award – Winner: Dow Chemical Company, Staines


– Dow launched XENERGY ™ insulation, which, as well as keeping homes warmer will ultimately benefit society by reducing climate change Health Leadership Award Sponsored by Johnson Matthey - Winner: Huntsman Pigments and Additives, Greatham - At Greatham, Huntsman focus take a holistic approach to health management with a focus on continuous improvement INEOS Responsible Care Award  – Winner: SI Group, Four Ashes - SI Group at Four Ashes has focused on improving management of process safety and behavioural safety to drive the site towards EHS Excellence CIA Company of the Year Sponsored by Bond Dickinson LLP – Winner: LyondellBasell, Carrington – the site has applied a tireless pursuit of everyday excellence in HSE and manufacturing efficiency. The latest achievement came in April this year with 2,000,000 work hours without any recordable injury (more than five years) Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association Steve Elliott said; “All who entered have great stories to tell. Our winners should be very proud of their outstanding achievements.”




Professor mourned

Professor Geoffrey Mason, a retired professor from The Chemical Engineering Department at Loughborough University has died, aged 74 years. Geoff made notable advances in the structure of porous media, capillary condensation, capillarity and perturbation viscometry. He had the title of Reader conferred in 1988, was awarded a DSc by Bristol in 1989, became an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wyoming in 2001 and was made Professor at Loughborough in 2004, before retiring in 2006.

Company award

Research could make batteries safer A team from UCL has discovered what happens when lithium-ion batteries overheat and explode.

exceptionally high speed imaging to capture ‘thermal runaway’ – where the battery overheats and can ignite. This was achieved at the ESRF beamline ID15A where 3D images can be captured in fractions of a second thanks to the very high photon flux and high speed imaging detector.”

Understanding how Li-ion batteries fail and potentially cause a dangerous chain reaction of events is important to improve their design to make them safer to use and transport, say the scientists behind the study.

Corresponding author Dr Paul Shearing (UCL Chemical Engineering), said: “The destruction we saw is very unlikely to happen under normal conditions as we pushed the batteries a long way to make them fail by exposing them to conditions well outside the recommended safe operating window. This was crucial for us to better understand how battery failure initiates and spreads. Hopefully from using our method, the design of safety features of batteries can be evaluated and improved.”

Hundreds of millions of the rechargeable batteries are manufactured and transported each year, powering mobile phones, laptops, cars and planes. Although battery failure is rare, earlier this year, three airlines announced they will no longer carry bulk shipments of lithium-ion batteries in their cargo planes after the US Federal Aviation Administration tests found overheating batteries could cause major fires. The study by UCL, ESRF The European Synchrotron, Imperial College London and the National Physical Laboratory showed for the first time how internal structural damage to batteries evolves.

The team now plan to study what happens with a larger sample size of batteries and in particular, they will investigate what changes at a microscopic level cause widespread battery failure. This study was funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and National Physical Laboratory.

First author, UCL PhD student Donal Finegan (UCL Chemical Engineering), said: “We needed


SunJet, the global inkjet division of Sun Chemical, was named ‘Innovator of the Year 2015’ at the Stationers’ Company annual Innovation Excellence Awards at Stationers’ Hall, London. Sun Chemical secured the title for its inkjet inks for food packaging in recognition of its application of ‘novel chemistry’.

Fracking disappointment

The body representing the chemical industry reacted with disappointment to the decision of Lancashire County Council to refuse permission for shale gas extraction. Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, said: “As supplies of gas from the North Sea diminish, the UK needs a new source to ensure security of supply, not least for the chemical sector which also uses gas as a feedstock. Shale gas offers the potential to both sustain our existing operations and contribute to future jobs and growth.”




‘Chemical harpoons’ could tackle antiobiotic problem’

The global threat of widespread bacterial resistance to antibiotics is one of the greatest challenges facing science and medicine. Now, the discovery of bacterial “chemical harpoons” could pave the way for a new approach to treating bacterial infections by “disarming” the bacteria instead of trying to kill them with antibiotics.

Dr Uli Schwarz-Linek, structural biologist of the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex at St Andrews, said: “Among the weaponry of bacteria are protein molecules within hair-like structures displayed on their surfaces.

exciting to build on our initial discovery of the unusual bond these bacteria make with their host and to now appreciate how that bond works – all enabled through international collaborative research.

The research team says that the chemical harpoons can be compared to a superglue, whereas all previously known bacterial binding mechanisms can be likened to weak adhesives that require large contact areas for strong binding.

“These serve the important purpose of allowing bacteria to cling to host tissues, such as the cells lining the lung or the gut. We have discovered how bacteria use surface proteins to achieve this important step in infections using a surprising and particularly efficient method.

“Further, using the powerful X-rays available at Diamond Light Source, the UK’s synchrotron facility, we were able to visualise this bacteria/ host interaction at the atomic level.”

Research led by the University of St Andrews and the John Innes Centre reveals how Streptococcus pyogenes, the cause of a range of infections, including the life-threatening “flesh-eating disease”, use chemical harpoons to attach themselves to the body. The tactic is shared by many other bacteria that infect humans, such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, the most common cause of pneumonia in adults, and Clostridium difficile, notorious for causing severe gut infections in hospitalised patients.

“I believe these findings may significantly change our view of how bacteria colonise their hosts. Our discoveries open an avenue for the development of molecules that can deactivate the chemical harpoons and therefore prevent bacteria from gaining a foothold in the body. This is of great interest since it concerns a topic of the highest possible relevance for our society - the fight against bacterial infections.” Dr Mark Banfield, from the John Innes Centre, who co-led the study, said: “It has been very


Dr Des Walsh, Head of Infections and Immunity at the Medical Research Council, said: “Before we can develop new ways of fighting antimicrobial resistance, we need to fully understand how bacteria survive. It is exciting that MRC-funded researchers have discovered a unique insight into how bacteria invade and seize healthy tissue.” The study was funded by the Medical Research Council and also involved Professor Manfred Rohde (Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany).


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Industry is on the up Britain’s £50 billion chemical and pharmaceutical industry continues to show solid growth in 2015. In the latest survey of its members by the Chemical Industries Association, most companies predict they will increase sales in the next 12 months. Added to this, almost 40% of businesses will increase capital expenditure. Survey results also indicate healthy growth in exports, employee numbers and spending on Research and Development over the next twelve months. Official data shows chemical manufacturers achieved a 10% increase in productivity between 2008 and 2014. This has continued into 2015 with 60% of companies responding to the survey reporting increased productivity over the last twelve months. Official numbers reflected business leaders’ confidence and the sectors position as our number one manufacturing exporter with chemical industry exports to the USA increasing by 65% in the five months to May compared with the same period in 2015, 19% of all UK chemical exports.

Pharmaceuticals exports to the USA increased by 124% to now be 33% of all chemical exports. The weak euro affected exports to the rest of the EU and chemical exports to the European Union fell by 8.6% but were still 55% of all chemical exports. Pharmaceuticals exports to Europe fell by 9% but are still 42% of all of our pharmaceutical exports. Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, said “These latest results show how chemical and pharmaceutical businesses are grasping opportunities to compete on the world stage. “What we need for the future is Government action on energy policy and especially shale gas, plus a continued framework for innovation to drive productivity and growth. I am confident this will convince global companies to continue to invest in the UK and ensure we continue to deliver a positive environmental, social and economic performance across the UK”.


UK industry factfile • 2014 chemical industry growth was 3.7% • The industry contributes £60m of Added Value every single working day (over £15bn a year) to the UK’s Gross Domestic Product • Its exports are nearly £50bn each year, making it the UK’s number one manufacturing exporter • The growth in jobs has been an astonishing - 11% in the chemicals sector and 10% in the pharmaceutical industry • The industry has a total of 30,000 full-time equivalent roles in research and development showing the strength of the UK’s expanding science base • The £4bn the industry spends on capital expenditure represents a 7% real terms annual increase




Enzyme research

Scientists at the University of York were part of a research team which found that a recently discovered family of enzymes can degrade resistant forms of starch. Earlier research established that the enzymes – lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases are able to degrade hard-to-digest biomass into its constituent sugars. However, the enzymes – which are secreted by both fungi and bacteria – have now also been shown to have the ability to ‘chip away’ at other intractable materials such as resistant forms of starch.

Remembering Rosalind

Confidence high with research leading the way Most companies in Britain’s £50 billion chemical and pharmaceutical industry say that they are committed to increased investment in research in the next twelve months.

He said: “R&D investment is key to UK growth and the fact that 98% of companies will maintain or grow their R&D commitment is a sign of confidence these companies – the majority of which are foreign headquartered – have in the UK.”

A survey by the Chemical Industries Association shows a confident picture for the rest of 2015 and beyond, and that means healthy levels of R & D.

Steve said: ““We are at the centre of a global market and it is vital that the UK continues to attract chemical and pharmaceutical investment. In particular companies are worried about escalating energy and raw material costs. The Government must tackle this challenge urgently to allow the strong performance of our sector and its contribution to the UK to continue.”

Nearly 60% of companies expect sales and export growth, while almost 50% will increase capital expenditure and grow employment numbers. Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Association, paid tribute to the level of research and development investment.

The survey also looked at opportunities and threats with companies seeking to expand their global market access and at the same time as being concerned by what happens to the sterling exchange rate, the European economy and energy & raw material prices.


Rosalind Franklin was named the latest in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s 175 Faces of Chemistry profiles, coinciding with what would have been her 95th birthday. 175 Faces of Chemistry, published on the society’s website, celebrates people who have helped shape science and is running in the leadup to the society’s 175th anniversary in February. Born in London, Rosalind Franklin was an X-ray crystallographer best known for her work on the structure of DNA.

Spreading the word

The East Kent Science Jamboree, which took place over the summer, was attended by hundreds of young people. Sponsored by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the event was held at Discovery Park in Kent, where chemistry demonstrations were staged and students were invited to try experiments. Supporters included park residents Tetrad Discovery, Agalimmune, Peakdale Molecular and Pfizer.




Team will seek answers

New treatment

A new drug, which is being tested, is allowing some patients with terminal diagnosis to maintain a good standard of life. Rucaparib is a type of drug known as a PARP inhibitor and was initially developed in a collaboration between Newcastle University and Cancer Research UK after Rucaparib was derived from research by Roger Griffin and Bernard Golding in the School of Chemistry.

New building

HEFCE has awarded the Department of Chemistry at Oxford University £5m to help fund the building of a new undergraduate teaching laboratory. The department has the highest volume of world-leading research in the UK.

Research funding SulNOx Fuel Fusions plc has signed a two year research contract to support a Post Doctoral Researcher within the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (CEB) at Cambridge University. The work will look at fuel emulsification technologies and aims to help users of all types of hydrocarbon fuels, fossil and synthetic, reduce pollution significantly from exhaust emissions, particularly in the marine industry.

and reduced emissions, resulting from the successful and stable emulsification of water with hydrocarbon fuels. By fully understanding the science, further improvements may be possible.

The work is seen as of importance environmentally, as one super-tanker can generate the equivalent pollution of 7 million vehicles.

The company has already deployed its technology in various parts of the world and has provided many practical demonstrations of its remarkable results.

While the practical results of SulNOx’s technologies in the field are well documented, the fundamental scientific data to explain how the technology works is not fully understood. The company is looking to CEB to provide that detailed scientific knowledge.

One such demonstration was conducted for past and present Mayors of London, under the auspices of the London Bus Museum and the London Mayors Association, attended by Professor Chris Lowe and Dr Graham Dransfield.

Those involved will study closely the factors that provide such improved efficiency


A research collaboration between the University of Bath’s chemical engineering department and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), in Singapore, has been given £25,000 to investigate the fouling and cleaning of membrane surfaces. Dr Tim Mays, Head of Department, said: “This funding success is hugely important not only in terms of growing research links in membrane fouling – a key issue in the industrial applications of membranes – but also as part of growing other collaboration opportunities with NTU at Department, Faculty and University levels.”




LyondellBasell Carrington LyondellBasell is one of the world’s largest plastics, chemical and refining companies. The Company manufactures products at 55 sites in 18 countries.

Our British Carrington site is located approximately 10 miles from the City of Manchester and covers an area of 300 acres. The Carrington site began operations in 1949, and today is one of only two UK based plants supplying the Polypropylene (PP) market. It produces a wide variety of products for use in carpet fibres, ropes and textiles, moulded products such as food containers, crates, chairs, and film for many packaging applications. “We are a significant producer of PP, the most commonly used polymer. The evolution of this business over the past years has been a challenge that we have met successfully,” said the Carrington Site Manager, Laurent Hautier.


The Carrington site has applied a tireless individual and collective pursuit of everyday excellence in Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) and manufacturing efficiency. The site has made great strides in all aspects of Operational Excellence, with superior results in Occupational Safety, Process Safety & Environmental Performance. Site Manager Hautier continues: “Our goal is to achieve zero process safety incidents, while focusing equally on process safety and occupational safety. This goal is attainable due to the high level of commitment given by senior leadership, corporate groups and the site management team. The site has had no process safety incidents for more than four years. The latest achievement came in April 2015, when we reached 2,000,000 work hours without a recordable injury – a period of more than five years.”


The key to Operational Excellence is world class reliability which the PP plant achieves. Significant effort has been made over several years to increase energy efficiency and monomer utilisation including additional capital expenditures in 2014. The site also invests each year in HSE and Responsible Care projects. This has been particularly important as a result of several plant closures requiring infrastructure and utility rationalisation at each stage. Plant output is linked to the feed from the single Monomer supplier (Essar - Stanlow Refinery) with whom a strong partnership has been developed along the years to secure the chain Propylene (Monomer) - Polypropylene (Polymer).


In addition, we recognize that people are our key assets and have been recruiting for future succession planning. We have identified key functions and teams within our organisation that we believe are most ‘at risk’ of losing skills, knowledge and competence within the next few years, mainly due to anticipated retirements. We are working with an external partner to initiate a bespoke apprenticeship programme. This will allow us to invest in coaching, mentoring and developing new talent into the organisation whilst offering opportunities for apprentices to underpin the skills, knowledge and competency that we currently have. “Overall the dedication and hard work of each and every one of the Carrington site has been tremendous. But


performing at our individual and collective best every day is what will continue to enable the success of LyondellBasell” said Site Manager Hautier.


In June the winners of the 2015 Industry Awards have been announced at a special celebration of the Chemical Industry Association (CIA) in Newcastle. The three Laurent Hautier industry awards won by LyondellBasell Carrington are the Manufacturing & Resource Efficiency Award, the Responsible Care Award for Process Safety Leadership and the special CIA Company of the Year Award. “We have been building a healthy chemical company and we are thrilled to win three CIA awards in just one year. Our UK Carrington team really worked hard to make the change and become a profitable and efficient site. With our commitment to the corporate programs Everyday Excellence and GoalZero, we were able to sustain a strong HSE performance over the last years, which is mandatory for gaining or celebrating any success” said Laurent Hautier. www.lyondellbasell.com




Chemistry’s heroes are honoured Scientists who developed products that improve health and contain safer materials have been inducted into a scientific “Hall of Fame”. They become the newest Heroes of Chemistry, an honour bestowed by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. ACS president Diane Grob Schmidt, Ph.D. said: “When we look at the achievements of the 2015 Heroes of Chemistry, we see first-hand how the transforming power of chemistry is improving millions of lives all over the world. “Thanks to their creative genius and the encouragement and backing of their employers, we have new tools and new hope for treating a number of difficult diseases and we have new technology that’s making our homes, cars and consumer products ever more durable.” The Heroes of Chemistry programme recognises scientists whose innovative work in chemistry and chemical engineering led to commercial products that benefit the world. The latest additions were recognised in a ceremony during the Society’s 250th National Meeting & Exposition in Boston. They were: • Bristol-Myers Squibb: For the discovery of ELIQUIS® (apixaban), a oral anticoagulant therapy used most often in patients with atrial fibrillation for whom the risks of stroke, bleeding and death are significantly lower than the decades long standard of care. Among those contributing to the development of this drug were Donald Pinto of Churchville, Pa.; Michael Orwat of New Hope, Pa; Mimi Quan of Yardley, Pa.; Patrick Lam of

Chadds Ford, Pa. (former Bristol-Myers Squibb employee); Robert Knabb of Avondale, Pa.; and Pancras Wong of Plainsboro, N.J. • Celgene Corporation: For the discovery and development of POMALYST® (pomalidomide), a drug that is changing treatment for cancer patients stricken with multiple myeloma. Providing an oral alternative to intravenous (IV) medicines, POMALYST® improves overall survival and survival for patients who have exhausted standard treatments in earlier lines of the disease. Honorees include George Muller of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and Roger Shen-Chu Chen of Edison, N.J. • Dow Chemical: For the development of INSITE™, a revolutionary technology that made possible highly-tailored materials bridging the properties of plastic and rubber. Soft-touch materials used in car interiors, rubber roofing, and consumer packaging options branded as ENGAGE™, NORDEL™ or AFFINITY™ have been made possible by the breakthrough catalyst technology of INSITE™. Researchers involved include David Devore, Morris Edmondson, Pradeep Jain, George Knight, Brian Kolthammer, Shih-Yaw Law, Robert LaPointe, David Neithamer, Peter Nickias, Jasson Patton, Robert Rosen, James Stevens, Francis Timmers, Daniel VanderLende and David Wilson. • Eastman Chemical Company: For the development of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, a new family of engineering plastics that are clear, tough, chemical-resistant, and free of estrogenic and androgenic activity. Developed and commercialised in only four years, Tritan™ has proven to be a safe alternative.


The honorees, who are all based in Kingsport, Tennessee, include Benjamin Barton, Emmett Crawford, Ted Germroth, Christopher Killian, Anthony Messina and David Porter. • Gilead Sciences, Inc.: For the development of HARVONI®, the first single-tablet regimen for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C, a disease that affects more than three million Americans and 170 million individuals worldwide. HARVONI® contains two direct acting antivirals, sofosbuvir and ledipasvir, and is 94-99 percent effective for the most common form of chronic hepatitis C. HARVONI® was discovered and developed by Cheng Yong (Chris) Yang of Foster City, Calif.; Bruce Ross of El Granada, Calif.; Michael Sofia of Doylestown, Pa.; John Link and Erik Mogalian of San Francisco, Calif., Benjamin Graetz and Bob Scott of San Mateo, Calif.; and Rowchanak Pakdaman of San Carlos, Calif. • Pfizer: For the development of XELJANZ® (tofacitinib citrate), a revolutionary oral therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, which affects nearly 24 million people worldwide. Honorees include Mark Flanagan of Gales Ferry, Conn.; Michael Munchhof of Salem, Conn.; Paul Changelian of Northville, Mich.; Chakrapani Subramanyam of South Glastonbury, Conn.; Frank Urban of Old Saybrook, Conn.; Rajappa Vaidyanathan of Bangalore, India; Matt Brown of Stonington, Conn.; William Brissette of Stonington, Conn.; Elizabeth Kudlacz, Eileen Elliott, Douglas Ball, Frank Busch, Robert Dugger, and Sally Gut Ruggeri of Groton, Conn.; Michael Fisher of Oxford, Conn.; and Todd Blumenkopf.


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Team comes up with new catalyst

Therapy takes big step forward

Neurocrine Biosciences has been granted orphan drug status by the United States Food and Drug Administration for NBI-77860, a corticotropin-releasing factor 1 receptor antagonist used to treat congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which affects 30,000 people in the United States. Malcolm Lloyd-Smith, Chief Regulatory Officer of Neurocrine Biosciences, said: “This status represents a significant regulatory milestone for the CAH programme and underscores the importance of bringing a safe and effective CAH therapy to market.” Further studies into the therapy are under way.

Companies sign agreement A new bio-inspired zeolite catalyst has been developed by an international team comprising researchers from Technische Universität München, Eindhoven University of Technology and University of Amsterdam. The researchers say that it might pave the way to small scale ‘gas-to-liquid’ technologies, converting natural gas to fuels and starting materials for the chemical industry. By investigating the ooxidation of methane to methanol, they identified a trinuclear copperoxo-cluster as the active centre inside the zeolite micropores. The development is important because, in an era of depleting mineral oil resources, natural gas is becoming ever more relevant, even though the gas is difficult to transport and not easily integrated in the existing industrial infrastructure. One of the solutions for this is to apply gas-toliquid technologies. These convert methane, the principal component of natural gas, to socalled synthesis gas from which subsequently methanol and hydrocarbons are produced. These liquids are then shipped to chemical plants or fuel companies all over the world.

Maricruz Sanchez-Sanchez (Technische Universität München) as well as Johannes Lercher (Technische Universität München and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory) is focusing on a bio-inspired method enabling such partial methane oxidation. Their focus is a modified zeolite, a highly structured porous material, developed at Lercher’s research group in Munich. This copper-exchanged zeolite with mordenite structure mimics the reactivity of an enzyme known to efficiently oxidize methane to methanol. In a recent paper, the researchers outlined how the zeolite mimics the active site of the enzyme methane monooxygenase (MMO). The researchers showed that the micropores of the zeolite provide a perfect confined environment for the highly selective stabilisation of an intermediate coppercontaining trimer molecule.

This approach is only feasible at very large scales and currently there is no ‘gas-to-liquid’ chemistry available for the economical processing of methane from smaller sources at remote locations.

Professor Johannes Lercher said: “The developed zeolite is one of the few examples of a catalyst with well-defined active sites evenly distributed in the zeolite framework - a truly single-site heterogeneous catalyst.

A research team combining Moniek Tromp (UvA/HIMS), Evgeny Pidko and Emiel Hensen (Eindhoven University of Technology),

“This allows for much higher efficiencies in conversion of methane to methanol than with zeolite catalysts previously reported.””


Swiss firm Novartis has signed collaboration and licensing agreements with Intellia Therapeutics to support the development of new medicines. The work will use CRISPR genomeediting technology to develop drug discovery tools and involve experts at Intellia and Caribou Biosciences, two of the leading biotechnology companies developing the technology. CRISPR allows scientists to precisely edit the genes of targeted cells and is used to create very specific models of disease for use in drug discovery.

Japan the target for drug programme

HUYA Bioscience International, which helps to develop biopharmaceutical products originating in China, is pressing ahead with plans to use the cancer drug HBI-8000 for the treatment of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATL) and peripheral T-cell lymphoma in Japan. The company says that there is an unmet medical need in Japan where ATRL is responsible for 700-1,000 deaths per year. HTLV-1, the virus that causes ATL, infects more than a million people in Japan. Worldwide, the figure is more than ten million.

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Chemical company launches programme in Brazil The Dow Chemical Company is working with Brazilian farmers from the state of Mato Grosso to implement more sustainable agricultural practices. The Sustainable Agriculture project is PART OF Dow’s Sustainable Future programme being run across Brazil and Latin America, which uses energy-efficient technologies and lowcarbon solutions to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. Dow, in collaboration with Farmers Edge, a world leader in precision agronomy, and Irriger, a Brazilian group specialising in irrigation management, will provide technology and expertise to farmers working in Mato Grosso, which is known as one of Brazil’s main ‘breadbaskets’. The project is designed not just to reduce environmental impact but also maximise productivity in corn and soybean crops through higher yields, better varieties and more targeted pest control management. Dow says that its seed and crop protection technologies should result in lower usage of synthetic fertiliser, leading to a reduction in emissions of nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide, a

greenhouse gas (GHG), is produced as fertilizer decomposes. The cuts in GHG emissions will go against towards Dow’s commitment to help reduce the carbon dioxide being emitted in Brazil leading up to, and during, the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Welles Pascoal, president of Dow AgroSciences Brazil, said: “The objective is to help farmers produce more with less and increase yield through advanced and more sustainable agricultural practices, all while contributing to one of Rio 2016’s most important sustainability goals .” Farmers participating in the project have access to services and technologies such as satellite imagery, precision harvest and profit maps, intensive soil sampling and laboratory analysis and weather monitoring. Seed and crop protection solutions from Dow are also available to help increase production and yields.


Work with farmers started during preparation for the 2015 Brazilian soybean season and will continue through the end of the 2016 corn harvest. Tânia Braga, head of Sustainability & Legacy for the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, said: “Agriculture plays a key role in the Brazilian economy and is also one of the largest sources of GHG emissions, therefore the opportunities to implement more sustainable practices are countless. “The carbon mitigation programme implemented by Dow and its partners is one of the key sustainability legacies of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The way we are collectively working to influence the entire value chain will bring great benefits for Brazil long after the Games are over.” Dow was selected following a similar successful programme in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

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Hydrogen Technology comes of age There was a time in the 1950s when hydrogen was associated with threatening the planet in the form of the hugely powerful H-Bomb. The connotations were as negative as you can get. Today, though, it has undergone as big a U-turn as you can imagine because, as the world wrestles with the issues presented by climate change, hydrogen has emerged as one of the great hopes for the future.

Amid talk of biofuels, solar, wind and tide power, many experts keep coming back time and time again to hydrogen as a source of green energy. The advantage is that not only is hydrogen all around us but it is already used in industry, not least in the chemical sector where it is a central part of many processes. The attraction for many chemical companies is that because hydrogen can be used to generate power that means that new markets are opening up for the product. Among companies committed to hydrogen is the Toshiba Corporation, which recently announced the opening of the Toshiba Group Hydrogen Energy Research & Development Center at its Fuchu Complex in western Tokyo to further the technology.


Toshiba aims to increase the sales of hydrogen-related business to 100 billion yen by 2020 by developing an energy supply system that uses renewable energy to power hydrogen-generating water electrolysis systems then uses fuel cells to convert that hydrogen to electricity. The company says that the system will be deployed in locations where electricity generation and transmission costs are high, such as isolated islands and other remote places where it can help cut costs and achieve a stable electricity supply. In support of the work, Toshiba has this year run demonstrations in Kawasaki City, Japan, of H2One, an energy supply system based on renewable energy and hydrogen.










Motor vehicles are one of the other areas in which hydrogen seems to have a bright future. Central to the technology are fuel cells which can slot into vehicles, producing only water as a by-product and dispensing with conventional petrols which produce greenhouse gases. One problem for motor manufacturers espousing hydrogen technology is finding enough refuelling stations for the new vehicles. Work is now well under way to resolve the problem, a solution that is crucial before hydrogen-powered cars can really become popular. An example of the work being done came when a £31 million deal was struck to make hydrogen vehicles a viable and environmentally-friendly choice for motorists across Europe. Leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the Mayor of London’s Office and energy consultancies from around the globe signed up to the HyFive project, the largest of its kind in Europe.

Hydrogen infrastructure will be built across several countries as part of the project. Filling stations will be built and operated in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria and Italy, as well as in London.

“By building the vehicles and the filling stations and allowing people to kick the tyres we will be able to demonstrate that hydrogen is a viable option and that London is at the forefront of efforts to make it so.”

The Mayor of London’s Office is coordinating the project, whose signatories include car firms BMW, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota and hydrogen fuel companies including Air Products, Copenhagen Hydrogen Network, ITM Power, Linde and OMV. Other signatories include Element Energy, PE INTERNATIONAL, the Institute for Innovative Technology and the European Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.

A similar initiative is under way in California where Honda is supporting the growth of the state’s hydrogen network.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “To sell this technology we need to show Londoners and the wider world that it is not science fiction.


The new Honda FCV Concept was unveiled in Japan in November 2014, pointing the way to an all-new Honda fuel cell car planned to launch in the US and Japan in 2016 and later in Europe. Honda’s next-generation fuel cell vehicle will feature a fuel cell powertrain packaged completely in the engine room of the vehicle. The next-generation Honda FCV is anticipated to have a driving range of more than 300 miles and the company says that a comprehensive



The potential for reliable hydrogen production from renewable sources is huge. The sun, for example, provides more energy in a single hour of sunlight than the entire world’s population uses in a year. If we can tap and store even a fraction of that in the coming years and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels it will be a tremendously important step to slowing climate change. Professor Lee Cronin

University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry An Iwatani Corp. employee prepares to fill a Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle at a hydrogen fueling station in Tokyo

network of hydrogen refueling stations is crucial to serve its customers.

burns cleaner than gasoline and diesel, and reduces car emissions significantly.

To that end, the company is seeking to expand California’s public hydrogen refueling station network by providing $13.8 million to FirstElement Fuel to build additional refueling stations around the state, supported by state grants.

Research shows that the vehicles experience the same mileage on the methanol/water fuel mixture as gasoline powered vehicles, the efficiency being provided by the conversion of part of the alcohol/water fuel to hydrogen generated by the catalyst and waste heat from the exhaust system.

Among other recent initiatives, 2050 Motors, Inc this summer announced that it has signed an agreement to introduce hydrogen-rich alcohol fuel (HRAS) technology to the US Automobile Industry. The technology, which was developed in China and has been incorporated into taxi fleets in China, uses a proprietary catalyst and a patented conversion system that allows vehicles to run on 70 per cent methanol (or ethanol) and 30 per cent water. Methanol


Attractions of carbon capture Scientists are working on other ways of making hydrogen production greener. Hydrogen, for example, can be used as a key component of power stations; oil and natural gas contain hydrocarbons, molecules which contain hydrogen and carbon, and it is possible to extract the hydrogen for re-use. However, there is a problem because releasing the leftover carbon into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is seen as undesirable. Solving that problem promises to open up yet more commercial opportunities for companies operating in the chemicals sector. The answer is carbon capture in which the carbon is reused rather than being released as a greenhouse gas, which is interesting some of the world’s major companies. For instance, during the 6th round of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing, Summit Power Group signed an agreement that linked the US and China in developing the technology. The agreement introduced a new partner to Summit’s Texas Clean Energy Project, creating an alliance with Huaneng’s GreenGen, of China. The coal gasification power/polygen project that Summit is developing near Odessa, Texas, is designed to capture 90% of its carbon dioxide for use in enhanced oil recovery by producers in the Permian Basin of West Texas, boosting U.S. oil production by six million barrels per year and generating thousands of jobs.

Michael Hu, President of 2050 Motors, Inc. said: “We are in the initial stages of a paradigm shift to clean, inexpensive, abundant fuel and clean-fuelled, highly efficient engines for automobiles, trucks and especially fleets that refuel at central locations such as taxi cabs.”







Another constant challenge for those involved in the hydrogen economy is ensuring efficient production, particularly if hydrogen is going to be viewed as a major renewable technology. Scientists have taken a major step forward in the production of hydrogen from water, which they say could lead to a new era of cheap, clean and renewable energy. Chemists from the University of Glasgow have come up with a new form of hydrogen production which is 30 times faster than the current method. Hydrogen is easily produced from water by electrolysis, a process which uses electricity to break the bonds between water’s constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen, and releases them as gas. Currently, industrial production of hydrogen relies overwhelmingly on fossil fuels to power the electrolysis process. The most advanced method of generating hydrogen using renewable power uses a method known as proton exchange membrane electrolysers (PEMEs). To reach optimum efficiency, PEMEs require precious metal catalysts to be held in highpressure containers and subjected to high densities of electric current, which can be difficult to reliably achieve from fluctuating renewable sources. The new method allows larger quantities of hydrogen to be produced at atmospheric pressure using lower power loads, typical of those generated by renewable power sources, say the team.

liquid sponge known as a redox mediator that can soak up electrons and acid, we’ve been able to create a system where hydrogen can be produced in a separate chamber without any additional energy input after the electrolysis of water takes place. “The link between the rate of water oxidation and hydrogen production has been overcome, allowing hydrogen to be released from the water 30 times faster than the leading PEME process on a per-milligram-of-catalyst basis.” The research was produced as part of the University of Glasgow Solar Fuels Group, which is working to create artificial photosynthetic systems which produce significant amounts of fuel from solar power. Professor Cronin said: “About 95% of the world’s hydrogen supply is currently obtained from fossil fuels, a finite resource which we know harms the environment and speeds climate change. “Some of this hydrogen is used to make ammonia fertiliser and as such, fossil hydrogen helps feed more than half of the world’s population.” “The potential for reliable hydrogen production from renewable sources is huge. The sun, for example, provides more energy in a single hour of sunlight than the entire world’s population uses in a year.

The research team was led by Professor Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry.

“If we can tap and store even a fraction of that in the coming years and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels it will be a tremendously important step to slowing climate change.”

Professor Cronin said: “The process uses a liquid that allows the hydrogen to be locked up in a liquid-based inorganic fuel. By using a

The University of Glasgow’s Dr Greig Chisholm, Dr Mark Symes and Benjamin Rausch also contributed to the work.


The potential for reliable hydrogen production from renewable sources is huge. The sun, for example, provides more energy in a single hour of sunlight than the entire world’s population uses in a year. If we can tap and store even a fraction of that in the coming years and decrease our reliance on fossil fuels it will be a tremendously important step to slowing climate change. Professor Lee Cronin University of Glasgow’s School of Chemistry

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Staggering breakthroughs yet to be made Many of the major scientific breakthroughs over recent centuries have been down to chemistry but where will the science be tomorrow? What challenges remain? We dusted off our crystal ball to predict where some of the big breakthroughs will occur in the years to come. Many of the challenges facing all of the sciences surround a global population that is estimated to increase from 7 to 9 billion people within 35 years, placing terrible pressures on our planet and its dwindling resources. Figures suggest that that 75% of people will live in cities, up from 50% today, which means our urban areas need to be more sustainable, and given that people in many countries are living longer, another challenge will be coping with the demand for food and energy and the growth of illnesses associated with longevity. These challenges are daunting but finding solutions to them also offers hard-edged opportunities to chemical companies and research teams who are constantly seeking new applications and new markets for chemistry-based products. All of them rely on chemists working in collaboration with those specialists from other fields, from biology to engineering, architects to fashion designers. Some of the major challenges include:











Food for thought Estimates suggest that if the world’s population grows to 9 billion by 2050, at least a 70% growth in global food production will be needed. One challenge for chemists is meeting that demand by coming up with improved fertilisers which will boost yields and allow crops to grow in tough, arid areas, something seen as particularly important as climate changes increases the amount of the planet‘s desert areas. Every year sees the creation of such fertilisers but it is safe to assume that the years to come will see dramatic advances with more truly stunning discovers coming out of laboratories. Another challenge relates to meeting the demand for fresh water associated with burgeoning populations and increased food production. Chemists are already working on the next generation of drought-resistant crops and seeds in addition to new types of fertilisers that mean that less water needs to be used by plants. Chemistry will also be vital in developing new inexpensive water purification techniques such as filtration and disinfection. Although such water purification technology exists today, the search is on for a solution that is more scalable and accessible to all, a task particularly important given water shortages predicted to be part of climate change.

Improving on nature Photosynthesis may be a marvel of Nature but it is actually a relatively inefficient process, usually capturing only about five per cent of available energy. Scientists have long sought ways to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis and have noted that some species of plants, algae and bacteria have evolved much more efficient ways of reducing energy loss. Much of the focus is on replicating this. Indeed, three UK/US funded teams are among those that were recently awarded more than £5m to continue their research projects aimed at improving the efficiency of photosynthesis. The teams – each comprising scientists from the United Kingdom and the United States - were awarded money from the UK-based research body BBSRC and the National Science Foundation in the United States to develop methods to increase the yields of crops that are harvested for food and sustainable biofuels.

Each of the three teams is working in a new and unique way to improve, combine or engineer the efficiency-boosting mechanisms found in naturally occurring photosynthesis. Jackie Hunter, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: “Nature barely skims the surface when it comes to photosynthesis and making use of the sun’s energy. “There is huge room for improvement and these research projects are taking steps to help us to unlock hidden potential that could benefit us all. Using the sun’s energy more efficiently means a greater potential to produce fuel, food, fibres, useful chemicals and much more.”

Chemistry for an urban world More than three billion additional citydwellers are expected to emerge in the next 40 years, driving up demand for a whole range of resources. To manage natural resources and cope with demand, cities will have to try to attain a zero-carbon footprint and chemistry is playing its part in raising the energy efficiency of buildings to reduce demand. Ideas include insulation which regulates indoor temperatures in buildings and zeroemission technologies for renewable power generation which can be integrated into structures.





Looking good Away from the dire challenges of population, climate change and health, chemical companies have also played a key rule in the next generation of clothing. The industry has consistently come up with products such as nylon that revolutionised the industry but the truth is that the industry may be about to transform yet again, thanks to some remarkable breakthroughs by everyone from chemists to imaginative fashion designers. One of the fields of most interest is Biocouture, which uses living organisms to grow clothing

and accessories in a method “closer to brewing beer” than weaving fabric. And with wearable sports technology already mainstream, scientists are working on performance monitoring devices of increasingly smaller sizes woven into garments worn by athletes and consumers alike.

Chemistry’s key role in health Chemistry will play an increasingly major role in managing health, particularly as populations live longer. The challenge is staggering. It is projected that, by 2020, the USA alone will spend 685 billion USD per year in direct medical costs for people with chronic diseases. By 2050, this figure may become as high as USD 906 billion and as many as 16 million people could be affected by Alzheimer’s disease by 2050. And that’s just one illness in one country.

On the right road One of chemistry’s big challenges is the potential for increasing fuel efficiency in the transport, particularly for internal combustion engines. Although there is much talk about alternative fuel sources, it likely that 75% of all vehicles by 2030 will still have this type of engine incorporated into their systems so improving their fuel efficiency is just as important as developing other forms of propulsion.

Chemistry will be crucial in finding ways to not only devise new treatments, and even cures, but also to ensure early detection of the onset of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s among many others.

To that end, chemistry is helping to make cars lighter, boost the efficiency of biofuels technology and enable the mass deployment of electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles by providing advanced materials for the batteries and energy management systems. The coming years will see continuing breakthroughs and chemists will be in the vanguard of the work.


Work is well under way to develop technologies such as a bacterium that deliver biomolecules to compensate for the patient’s deficiency which causes the illnesses. This could expand further to the development of biomaterials that detects the warning signs before the onset of the disease. Then there’s the search for the ‘perfect drug’, the Holy Grail of medical research, the major drugs that work without any side effects. We may be a long way from such breakthroughs but when they do occur, and they will, you can be sure that chemists will be there in the thick of it.




Asset management in the Chemical Industry 1. Introduction Many of the high hazard chemical plants in the UK have been in operation for 30 to 40 years. The original design life of the facility has now been, or is about to be exceeded and the case for continued operation needs to be demonstrated to both stakeholders and the regulators.


The actual age of the equipment is not however, in itself, a sound basis for assessing its suitability for continued operation. Ageing encompasses a multiplicity of physical, operational and engineering factors that have a significant influence upon the life of the equipment, as can be seen in Figure 1. From Figure 1 we can see that some life limiting factors were designed, either intentionally or inadvertently, into the asset long before it started operation generally in response to capital cost considerations. However, ABB Consulting’s investigations have identified operating and maintenance

practices as the root cause of circa 50% of failures. These are, or should be, within the current control of the operator and, perhaps more importantly, can be managed into the future. Key to the ongoing safe and reliable operation of the equipment is therefore gaining a clear understanding of the equipment, its current condition and the rate of deterioration. This not only establishes whether the equipment will continue to be fit for purpose but also helps us to identify what needs to be done to manage its integrity, as it continues to age. The practical application of these concepts underpins ABB’s methodology.


3. ASSET LIFE STUDIES OF CHEMICAL PLANTS These studies are aimed at the identification of the short, medium and longer term actions and costs for continued operation.

The study focuses on the vulnerability of the systems and equipment to ageing and potential life limiting issues, such as deterioration mechanisms and obsolescence. It is based on existing information provided by the asset operator, both recorded and gained from discussions with engineering personnel. This is supplemented by visits to the asset for discussions with operations and maintenance personnel, and to undertake surveys.




The study reviews the physical condition of the equipment and considers the role of asset care in sustaining equipment life. This includes predictive measures (inspections) and preventative actions (such as planned maintenance, painting and care of insulation) to maintain the facility in an operable condition into the future. The objectives for these studies vary from operator to operator and from asset to asset reflecting a range of operational and commercial considerations. Typical objectives are: • To investigate and document the condition of the plant and equipment, in order to identify issues likely to interrupt operation during the remaining life of the asset. • To determine the additional investment costs required to keep the asset running for defined periods of operation. (e.g. 10, 15, 20 and / or 25 years). • To minimise the cost of inspecting and maintaining the equipment during the late life phase • To identify prioritised actions to address asset life issues identified as “gaps”. In assessing the ability to continue to operate the equipment over its projected life there are a number of key questions that the specialist functional consultants need to be able to answer. These are summarised below. • Will the equipment continue to be fit for purpose until it is no longer required? • If not what needs to be done about it? – How much additional expenditure is necessary over the remaining operational life? – What does it need to be spent on? (targeting) – When do the actions need to be completed? (planning) – Which are the most important things to do? (prioritisation) – What is the potential cost / risk if the action isn’t done? (criticality) – How quickly can we recover the situation should the equipment fail? (vulnerability)


The scope of any study can vary significantly in both scale and focus, from a whole site down to a study on a particular plant area, or class of equipment which may be of concern to an operator. A Plant Study is delivered by a team of specialist functional consultants covering the full range of specialisms, including pressure systems, rotating equipment, electrical, control and instrumentation, civil and structural. The team follows an established, proven and flexible methodology for delivering Asset Life Studies. The process is outlined below.

fire and gas system 4.1 Identification of the assets and equipment in scope The starting point for any study is to identify the assets to be covered by the study. At the next level it is necessary to find out which equipment is located within, or associated with, which system. The common facilities and utilities are also identified. Within each of the systems and the common facilities it is necessary to identify which equipment is in service and what date it is required to operate to, recognising that some of the equipment may be redundant or retired early. On the basis of this information the study team are then able to determine how to approach the assessment of the equipment. For example, larger items of equipment, such as pressure vessels, are generally assessed individually while instrumentation is often treated as a population. 4.2 Information Collection The information necessary for the study is assembled from a variety of data sources including asset registers, drawings, photographs and the inspection and maintenance records. This is supplemented by discussions with the operations and maintenance personnel responsible for the asset. A site visit allows a visual survey of the equipment. 4.3 Assessment and Categorisation of the Equipment An assessment is made of the ability to continue to operate the equipment to its projected retirement date. This assessment is based upon knowledge of the current condition of the equipment, the known / likely deterioration mechanisms and other life limiting factors (such as obsolescence) and the ability to maintain the equipment in a reliable and serviceable condition over the operational life of the asset, and beyond. The assessment draws heavily upon the knowledge and experience of the specialist consultants. A key output of the assessment is a confirmation of the ongoing maintenance and inspection requirements for the equipment. The assessment also establishes whether the necessary measures are in place.


The asset life status of the equipment is then defined and categorised as described below. A Equipment requiring replacement within the remaining operational life of the asset B Equipment requiring major repair for continued operation C Equipment requiring additional minor (but significant) repair for continued operation D Equipment for which continuation of maintenance and inspection regimes is sufficient E Equipment requiring further information / study Categorisation of Equipment Asset Life Status Typical examples of category A include the replacement of vessels, pump sets and safety systems (i.e. a major upgrade of a fire and gas system). Category B typically includes major repairs to vessels and tanks, the replacement of sections of pipework and extensive fabric maintenance. Minor modifications, and localised repainting and re-lagging are examples of category C. Category D covers the equipment for which continuation of the existing maintenance and inspection regimes is deemed to be sufficient to maintain the equipment in a reliable and serviceable condition. . It is not always possible to determine the asset life status of all of the equipment. More detailed inspection and / or specialist studies may be necessary to provide sufficient knowledge upon which to base the assessment. Category E captures this equipment. Figure 2 (see page 32) shows a typical Asset Life Categorisation. In this particular example it can be seen that the bulk of the equipment (65%) could be sustained with continuation of the existing maintenance and inspection regimes (Category D). In addition some 7% of the equipment requires minor, but nonetheless significant repair / refurbishment. 17% of the equipment will need to be replaced or will require major repairs / refurbishment. Categories A and B represent the majority of the expenditure.





A 9% B 8%

C 7%

D 65%

4.4 Identification of Gaps and Recommendations The identification of the gaps is based upon a comparison of the measures required to sustain the safety and reliability of the equipment over its projected operating life. The annual maintenance programmes and the turnaround programme are important inputs into this process. Most assets have an ongoing fabric maintenance campaign. Understanding the scope of this programme and the rate of progress relative to the size of the overall task is also important. This is, in effect, a judgement as to whether the operator is managing to paint the asset faster than it is rusting! In addition to this the project programme is reviewed to identify projects covering major maintenance (replacements and refurbishments) and any planned modifications. Having completed this comparison the recommendations to address the gaps can then be formulated. 4.5 Estimation of the Cost to Implement the Recommendations The cost of implementing each recommendation is estimated. Any assumptions made in order to produce the estimates are recorded with the recommendation, together with equipment costs and the installation factors used. 4.6 Prioritise the Recommendations and Propose the Recommendation Timescale Prioritisation and timing of the recommendations involves striking a balance between risk and an assessment of when it is practicable to have completed the recommendation. The risk assessment

includes HSE risk and business risk. The risk assessments are based upon the operator’s risk assessment word models used within their business. 4.7 Full List of Recommendations The full listing of recommendations produced by the study is provided as a spreadsheet. This forms the basis of asset remediation projects. 4.8 Finalisation of the Equipment Asset Life Plans Having validated the study findings and recommendations the specialist consultants are then able to complete the asset life plans. The asset life plan includes a description of the equipment, its specification and construction, together with a summary of the operation and maintenance history with a particular emphasis on the age related deterioration mechanisms. The plan also records the findings and outcome of the risk assessment and the asset life categorisation. The plan gives an authoritative review of the equipment and states what actions are necessary for the continued safe and reliable operation of the equipment for the remaining life of the asset. A list of the recommendations to address the identified gaps is appended to the plan. In summary each asset life plan is a clear statement of the way forward for the equipment. 4.9 Generation of the Expenditure Projection The data within the recommendations spreadsheet is used as the basis for the creation of the expenditure projection 4.10 Reporting A report summarising the findings of the study, including the consultants’ comments on the status and future operation of the equipment, is prepared. The recommendations


spreadsheet and the individual equipment asset life plans form part of this report. 4.11 Implementation Planning and Embedding Key to realising the benefits of the Asset Life Study is the planning and implementation of the recommendations and findings. Further detailed studies may be required to firm up on obsolescence and replacement projects and maintenance and inspection scope and practices may need to be adjusted. Future improvement projects will require scoping, designing and implementing and changes will be made to the scope of forthcoming turnarounds. Most important however is to embed the change of mind set across the operation to consider the impact of ageing assets on all aspects of the business.


Asset Life Studies provide one of the essential inputs to the strategic business planning process for the asset. The cost information and expenditure profiles are valued by the operator. The studies also provide confirmation of the technical feasibility of sustaining ongoing operation, as well as the technical justification for the safety of continued operation to the Regulator and the stakeholders. From an engineering standpoint, they identify the full programme of work required to sustain the operation of the asset. They also improve the understanding of equipment ageing issues and the measures required to manage them within the operations and engineering teams.

TTE TRAINING AP P R E N TI C E S H I P S WHY CHOOSE TTE? TTE was established in 1990 and has since grown to become one of the North West’s leading providers of Specialised and Broad-Based Apprenticeships; focused on whole person development. With a 5 Star Health and Safety record from the British Safety Council; TTE pride themselves on delivering first class training to help bridge the skill gap within the Petroleum and Chemical industries. TTE strives “to be best in class in all areas of endeavour” and aims to provide an outstanding environment for learning. The learning environment will be one which is welcoming, safe and inspiring. It will be appropriate to the subjects and responsive to the needs of the learner. Suitably equipped, resourced and well managed, it will visibly promote equality and diversity, widen accessibility to learning and the learner environment and celebrate learner success.

HOW DO WE COMPARE? TTE also provide an up to date and comprehensive information, advice and guidance on a wealth of education and employment opportunities for school leavers and adult learners. Staff are dedicated to providing a first-rate and confidential facility to all clients and learners offering impartial information, advice and guidance. We work in close partnership with a number of key feeder schools and local industry, not only to produce tomorrow’s engineers but also to develop, guide and map out the pathway of the region’s learners and thus aid in their future success and development. TTE actively work to ensure that all clients and learners are given equal access to our service. We approach individuals, schools, businesses etc, without prejudice or agenda. TTE recruitment closely monitor their activity to ensure ethnicity, gender, age and disability are managed in an equal and fair manner. TTE’s success rates are well above the national average both in sector and for apprenticeships too.

TTE PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME TTE is highly focused on a person centred development programme for its Learners. As part of their training at TTE, learners will be engaged in many team building activities at Brathay in the Lake District. Here they will take part in a series of challenging indoor and outdoor activities designed to give them the chance to learn more about themselves and how they work - on their own and in a team. The objectives of the course are primarily to explore areas of communication and recognise what is useful. Learners will also practice step-by-step approaches to problem solving and develop teamwork skills. It is also important that they learn to understand how what they do and say impacts on those around them and appreciate that others work in different ways and need different things to help them work and learn. This will help them to grow in self-confidence, build interpersonal relationships and take responsibility for their own learning. In addition to this they will learn how to take responsibility for working safely in a high-risk environment and how to understand the link between ‘doing’ and ‘learning.’ The skills learnt through TTE’s Personal Development Programme are invaluable and will equip them to deal with a variety of situations and challenges, both at home and in the workplace.

COMMERCIAL TRAINING TTE is not only committed and dedicated to training tomorrow’s engineers but also boasts an outstanding commercial delivery team. Whether you are looking to up skill or cross skill, TTE offer more than 150 different training programmes specialising in Health & Safety, NVQ Programmes, Engineering Skills and Management & Leadership which can be tailored to your specific requirements

For all enquiries please ring 0151 357 6100 or visit






STEM subject

Talk to anyone in the scientific world and they will tell you that one of their major concerns is the dearth of young people coming out of schools, colleges and universities having studied science and technology. In many countries, employers, many of them in the chemicals sector, are finding it difficult to recruit the talented young people that they need to secure the future of their companies.

The first one is about bringing through more subject teachers skilled enough to enthuse young people to stick with the subject as they make their school and higher education level choices.

Governments and educational institutions are aware of the problem and recent years have seen them increasing their efforts to turn the situation around.

Indeed, in 2007 the McKinsey report, ‘How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top‘, compared successful education systems from across the world to identify the factors most likely to provide the best provision.

The UK is a good example of public and private sector working together. STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths ) are widely acknowledged as crucial to the UK’s success but that continuing success relies on the next generation of new talent. Official figures show that, while the UK is the world’s sixth largest manufacturer with an engineering turnover of £800 billion per year, it makes up only 1% of the world’s population yet produces 10% of the world’s top scientific research. The problem is that the number of young people who see STEM subjects as a viable career path to pursue that research remains relatively low even though STEM graduates have the potential to earn amongst the highest salaries of all new recruits. The UK Government has long identified STEM education as a major challenge and its response has been two-pronged.

The key finding was: “Above all, the top performing systems demonstrate that quality of an education system depends ultimately on the quality of its teachers.“ To that end, education officials worldwide have embarked on major education programmes to persuade new teachers to embrace STEM subjects, promoting the opportunities as early in the education process as possible. Such approaches seem to be working because more students are taking A levels in STEM subjects, according to results published by the UK-based Joint Council for Qualifications. Since June 2010, entries in subjects like maths and the sciences have risen across the board with: • biology up 10.7% • chemistry up 21.5%


• physics up 18.5% • maths up 15.3% • further maths up 20.1% The results also showed that since 2010 more women are taking exams in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects with A level entries rising in: • maths: up by 10% • physics: up by 16% • chemistry: up by 23% • biology: up by 16% Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said: “I want all young people to leave school having had the best preparation for life in modern Britain. “We are reforming exams to equip students with the skills to succeed in a modern workplace helping them and the country compete in a global economy. “That’s why I’m delighted to see more students, especially young women, studying maths and sciences and teachers having more time to push pupils to achieve the very top grades. This will help them secure the top jobs, regardless of their background, and secure a brighter future.”




I want all young people to leave school having had the best preparation for life in modern Britain. We are reforming exams to equip students with the skills to succeed in a modern workplace helping them and the country compete in a global economy. Nicky Morgan Education Secretary







Bridging the skills gap

According to surveys of chemical businesses in the UK: • 90% of companies reported some degree of difficulty in recruiting science graduates with 45% describing it as very difficult • 60% of companies are recruiting graduates from overseas, mostly Europe but also India and China • Nearly 40% of these companies think the skills and knowledge of overseas graduates are stronger than those educated in the UK • Companies reported problems finding graduate recruits with skills in problem solving(42%), report writing (36%), analysis (36%) and research (29%) • Nearly half of all available training budgets are needed to close essential skill shortfalls (46.09%) • 69% of companies feel that they are training their staff in skills that should have been learned in the education system at school, college or university.

Work is also under way to tackle one of the key problems affecting the science-based industries of the world, the skills gap which has opened up in recent years. The problem is caused by the loss of experienced staff, often to early retirement prompted by tough economic times, and the gap that emerged as a result between their experience and the young people coming through. Many companies across the world have recognised the problem and are responding by running, or supporting, programmes based on the idea of continuous learning. In many cases, success depends on recruiting the right young people in the first place then ensuring that programmes are in place which will develop their skills. The UK Government is one of the organisations that has responded to the need by announcing a £52 million investment in new and emerging science talent, creating more than 7,800 education and skills opportunities over a two year period. Driving forward the initiative is a new consortium of 100 leading science sector employers. Led by GlaxoSmithKline, the

partnership will design the vocational training and skills programmes that the life sciences, chemicals and industrial science sectors need to thrive and compete in the global economy. The work is important because jobs vacancies in high level occupations requiring science, technology, engineering and maths are almost twice as likely to be left unfilled due to a lack of staff with the right skills, new research shows. The findings, released by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), showed that 43% of vacancies in STEM roles are hard to fill due to a shortage of applicants with the required skills – almost double the UK average of 24%. Lesley Giles, deputy director at UKCES, said: “These findings highlight an alarming shortage of skills affecting key jobs in the UK economy, and point to a vital need to improve the level of training provision offered to those working within STEM industries. “STEM skills underpin many of the industries at the forefront of our economy, from


• With an ageing workforce and increasing demand for the industry’s products, it seems clear that the need to bridge the skill gap can only grow ever more urgent.

world leading engineering to cutting edge information technology, yet our findings also show some evidence that those working in high level STEM roles are less likely than most to receive training. “There is a vital need for employers to act now to secure a steady flow of talent with the right skills in years to come: building more structured training and development schemes and developing clear career pathways are just two ways in which early action can avert future crises.” The research also brings to light the range of sectors dependent on STEM skills, with almost half (46%) of graduates working in innovative firms in manufacturing and knowledgeintensive business service industries having a degree in a STEM subject. Such initiatives are certainly pertinent to the chemical industry, which is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector exporter and which is reliant on skilled employees to drive forward its research and run its operations.




Looking to the heavens

More remains to be done, though, and one of the solutions may be out of this world - literally. Science Education researchers at University of York are working with leading space scientist and The Sky at Night presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE to investigate if human spaceflight inspires school students to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. The £348,000 three-year project, funded by the UK Space Agency and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will focus on British astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station (ISS), to be launched at the end of November 2015. Tim Peake is the first British member of the European Space Agency’s astronaut corps, and he will become the first Briton to visit the ISS. As well as delivering invaluable scientific research and cutting edge technology, it is hoped that the programme will boost participation and interest in STEM subjects among school children.

Principal Investigator Professor Judith Bennett, from the Department of Education, University of York, said: “There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that space and space travel increase the interest of young people in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. We have a golden opportunity to gauge this hypothesis as we prepare to send a British astronaut into space.” Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock added: “It is important that we help students to see the correlation between what they are studying in the classroom and what people do outside as scientists. The University of York’s study will help to find out more about what inspires young people to participate in and gain a lifelong passion in STEM subjects.” Co-Investigators on the project are Dr Jeremy Airey and Dr Lynda Dunlop from the Department of Education, University of York

The research will involve gathering views from pupils and teachers from a sample of 30 primary and 30 secondary schools. In addition, perspectives will be gained from space scientists on areas of the industry that may influence students.

There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that space and space travel increase the interest of young people in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. We have a golden opportunity to gauge this hypothesis as we prepare to send a British astronaut into space. Professor Judith Bennett

Principal Investigator from the Department of Education, University of York






Opportunity or Threat?

eliminate possibility of progress improvement could very tofail consider eliminate the possibility of progress and improvement and could very well to consider eliminate thethe possibility of progress andand improvement andand could very wellwell fail fail to consider unique risk picture of the therisk unique riskof picture ofinstallation. the installation. thethe unique picture the installation. Standing back and considering unique opportunity provided by the to reach Standing and considering theopportunity unique opportunity provided byregulations the regulations to reach Standing back andback considering thethe unique provided by the regulations to reach process safety goals will result in the opportunity identification process safety will incontinuous the continuous opportunity for identification process safety goals willgoals result in result the continuous opportunity for for identification of of of improvement measures which will provide both the operator assurance improvement measures which will both provide the operator andregulator the regulator assurance improvement measures which will provide theboth operator andand thethe regulator assurance inrisk their facility is understood to be, asbe, low aslow reasonably that the in their is understood andcontinue will continue as reasonably thatthat thethe riskrisk in their facility isfacility understood andand willwill continue to be, asto low asasreasonably practicable. practicable. practicable.

Major accidents in the process industries continue to be high profile affairs, perhaps more so now that advances in technology create the illusion that they are simply unthinkable. To manage the risk of major accidents, the frequency at which new and revised regulations are taking effect is increasing and they are becoming more strictly enforced than ever before. Compliance with Health, Safety and Environmental legislation is increasingly difficult to achieve and maintain, and a lot is at stake. The consequences of non-compliance are growing – penalties, both personal and corporate, are becoming larger and damage to reputation and brand greater.

regulations then start to work for way round. The regulations can then start to work foroperator the operator andthe notother the other way round. TheThe regulations cancan then start to work for thethe operator andand notnot the other way round.

With mounting pressure on the industry to enforce greater and greater levels of compliance, it would be easy for the operator to perceive regulation as a threat and a hindrance to carrying out day to day business. However, when acknowledging the unique goal setting approach of the regulations in the UK, they instead present the opportunity for a positive experience. In response to the threat of the consequences of non-compliance that a bureaucratic regulatory approach brings with it, using an audit-type, formulaic approach to prove Andy Stanley, Andy Stanley, compliance appears, at first glance, to be Andy Stanley, the ideal solution. This approach seems Director, Director, RAS Ltd Director, RASRAS Ltd Ltd comprehensive, simple and accessible, with might help to identify a few gaps. However, Andy.Stanley@ras.ltd.uk the main advantage that it can be quick. Just Andy.Stanley@ras.ltd.uk Andy.Stanley@ras.ltd.uk an annual audit shouldn’t be the driver for list all the requirements from the regulations compliance and the main tool for major hazard and use a simple tick or cross to determine management in an industry that carries risk if the requirements are fulfilled. An operator every day. Instead, the goal setting approach of could be forgiven for relying on an audit the UK regulations facilitates the continuous schedule to demonstrate compliance, but demonstration of compliance through when taking into consideration the unique goal setting approach of regulations in the UK, the management systems and day to day operations on hazardous sites. the use of simple checklists might not be the most effective way to ensure compliance. In Goal setting lends itself much better to fact, they might even impede what it is that good risk management. Every installation is the regulations are designed to provide – an different, and risk is a unique challenge to opportunity for improving process safety that everybody. Applying a prescriptive, one size is managed continuously. fits all approach to such a dynamic industry is just not practicable for either the operator Regulations in the UK differ from those or the regulator. By avoiding a prescriptive overseas by cutting out the prescriptive red approach, the regulations allow for a more tape and taking a goal setting approach. practical risk-based approach to compliance. The UK regulations set out what must be The operator can take control and apply the accomplished, but not how it should be most appropriate and proportionate risk achieved. In terms of compliance, the goal management techniques for their site. setting approach provides the latitude for operators to demonstrate how they have met Essentially, a goal setting approach to the regulatory goals for their particular site compliance means that there is continuous and circumstances. This approach has the opportunity for improvement. To be restricted added benefit of ensuring that the risk is better to a prescriptive checklist is to eliminate the understood and managed. possibility of progress and improvement and could very well fail to consider the unique risk An audit schedule is, of course, a useful picture of the installation. means of checking off requirements, and


Standing back and considering the unique opportunity provided by the regulations to reach process safety goals will result in the continuous opportunity for identification of improvement measures which will provide both the operator and the regulator assurance that the risk in their facility is understood and will continue to be, as low as reasonably practicable. The regulations can then start to work for the operator and not the other way round.

Andy Stanley, Director, RAS Ltd Andy.Stanley@ras.ltd.uk


Understanding and facilitating the effective management of risk is our core business. Only when the risk facing an organisation is well understood can it be effectively managed. Key to the successful identification, assessment and management of risk is engagement with the right people, using the right processes at the right time. We believe we are different to many of our competitors and our approach is distinctive, we don’t always walk the well-trodden path but look at each client’s particular risk context and develop a tailored solution, working in partnership with our client.

Safety Risk Our safety risk assessment and management expertise covers risk identification techniques such as HAZIDs and HAZOP, predictive modelling advice and the facilitation of risk management techniques, particularly in the demonstration of ‘ALARP’. The area of Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) is a particular specialism within the company.

Business Risk It could be argued that all risk – whatever its label – can be defined as ‘Business Risk’. Ultimately, whatever risk is being considered, whether safety, environmental, commercial, financial, if it’s not understood and managed effectively, it becomes a risk that affects the whole organisation.

Environmental Risk Our services in the Environmental Risk area range from the assessment of the risks related to the environment in relation to Major Hazards, based on our Source, Pathway, Receptor risk assessment model, through to the preparation of Environmental Permits (PPC in Scotland) – full applications or variations of existing permits – particularly in relation to planning for new developments.

+44 (0) 1244 674 612 • enquiries@ras.ltd.uk • www.ras.ltd.uk




Logistics company celebrates 15th anniversary with growth European road freight specialists Ital Logistics has celebrated its 15th anniversary with the news that its rapid growth of recent years is continuing and that more expansion is planned. Ital Logistics was founded in August 2000, initially to offer road freight transport services to and from Italy, and its portfolio quickly increased to include similar road freight services to and from Spain, Portugal, and Greece. As it grew, the company began offering road freight forwarding services throughout Western, Central and Eastern Europe and, following customer demand, started to provide maritime and air freight services worldwide. Key to the company’s success has been its efficiency, its dedicated personnel and its honest and straight-forward business model. Ital loads in excess of 40 export and import trailers every week, carrying a wide range of materials for all industry sectors. Twenty five per cent of goods carried by the company are for the chemical sector, with a key specialism in the niche area of dangerous goods. The company, which is based in Heywood, in North West England, has, as a result, seen its turnover increase from £6.3m three years ago to an expected £10m this year, Much of this growth has come in its Iberian markets, which are now equalling its Italian service in terms of volume and profitability. Phil Denton, founder and managing director, said: “The key to what we do is simplicity and honesty. We do not dress up our services in

confusing jargon. Our customers know exactly what we do and how we do it.

vehicles on-site, ready for loading and unloading, at any one time.

“The ethos of Ital Logistics, and mine throughout my freight career, has always been to provide a quality, reliable and personalised service, delivered with openness, honesty and integrity.

Keeping the site safe is 24/7 manned security including automatic number plate recognition, CCTV, access and intruder systems.

“From the beginning this has always been our guiding philosophy, irrespective of client size or status. “We are also never frightened of communicating bad news when things go awry. Good communication is fundamental in developing good relationships with your clients and is something that we pride ourselves in delivering. “I believe that our approach is the reason that we have continued to grow steadily and why we have continued to maintain and increase our client base. “We continued growing during the postbanking crash era in 2008, whilst other companies in the sector were either cutting back on marketing or disappearing altogether. In fact, we continued to spend money on advertising and employed new sales people during this period.” The approach worked and Ital, which now employs 31 people, moved to its current purpose-built premises at Heywood in December 2014, having out-grown its shared facility in Sharston.

Phil Denton

Occupying 1.5 acres, their new facility comprises 16,000ft of warehousing and a yard area of 22,000ft2 which allows multiple


Phil said: “Investing in the move to Heywood has provided us with a platform to enable further growth as we enter the next chapter of the company’s journey. “It has been an exciting time and with many new irons in the fire we are confident that our presence within our core markets and within the chemical sector will continue to grow. “In addition to our core geographical areas of Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece, we are constantly being approached to offer more European services. The next thing on the horizon is Southern France, currently being managed en route to Spain, but it is looking very likely that this will become a solid service in its own right. “Whilst our ‘specialist subject’ may be the carriage of dangerous goods, we move freight of all kinds. In the last 2 years we have started to become involved in the movement of waste metals to Italy, which is something else which we are keen to pursue and introduce waste services to our other core markets. “And in parting, I should also mention temperature controlled transport in dual temperature vehicles providing services to the pharmaceutical industry.” You can contact Ital Logistics at 01706 248 006 (sales) and via www.ital-logistics.com

Providing the formula for successful recruitment.





Why industrial symbiosis makes sound business sense

From providing the energy to heat tomatoes in greenhouses to supplying the raw materials to fuel power plants, the recycling involved in industrial symbiosis is changing the world occupied by heavy industries. Going back in time, industries such as the chemical sector were notorious for their wastage with by-products spilling out into the atmosphere, the land and into the seas. It made for bad practice and bad public relations. Although challenges do undoubtedly remain, the position is rapidly improving in many countries and industrial symbiosis is playing its part in changing things for the better. The process, in which one company’s waste or by-product becomes the raw materials for another, is seen as beneficial for both environment and business because it can: • Reduce raw material and waste disposal costs • Divert waste from landfill and reduce carbon emissions • Earn new revenue from residues and byproducts • Open up new business opportunities According to those involved in the sector, industrial symbiosis can involve everything from waste chemicals and steam to plastic pellets and aggregates, all of which can be sold on other businesses, cutting the supplier‘s waste and often reducing the buyer‘s purchasing costs. One of the countries championing the practice has been the UK and Birmingham

will host a two-day event on industrial symbiosis in October.

turning resources that had previously little or no value into tradable commodities.

The announcement was made by Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore at an event to celebrate the contribution to the practice of Birmingham-based International Synergies Limited.

As a result, NISP was able to underline the value of the concept by pointing to a reduction in the UK’s carbon dioxideequivalent emissions of 42 million tonnes and the redirection of more than 48 million tonnes of ‘wasted resources’ away from landfill and back into use.

Birmingham City Council was the first public authority to incorporate industrial symbiosis into its policies and commissioned International Synergies to investigate how the practice can attract investment. The Birmingham event comes after leaders at the G7 Summit established an Alliance on Resource Efficiency to promote ways to deliver sustainable growth. Sir Albert said: “I am delighted that the G7 has chosen Birmingham as the venue, the home of the industrial revolution and now of industrial symbiosis as the birthplace of the UK’s National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) more than ten years ago.” NISP was the world’s first national industrial symbiosis programme and its ideas are replicated in many countries across Europe, Asia, North and South America and Africa. Many of the businesses taking part, including in the chemical sector, have reaped financial and environmental benefits, saving money on buying resources, reducing disposal or transport costs, and increasing sales by


NISP also showed that the practice contributed more than £3 billion to industry by cutting costs and creating new business opportunities and sales. It also secured more than 10,000 jobs and supported many new business start-ups. Birmingham City Council will welcome Ministers, businesses and international institutions from around the world to explore the next steps on the 29th and 30th of October. Peter Laybourn, Chief Executive of International Synergies said: “This is fantastic news for Birmingham and for International Synergies. “The Alliance will run a series of workshops on proven and effective tools for advancing resource efficiency, with industrial symbiosis being marked out for its success, pioneered here in the West Midlands, for reducing reliance on virgin resources, cutting carbon emissions and supporting industry growth and creating jobs.”




I am delighted that the G7 has chosen Birmingham as the venue, the home of the industrial revolution and now of industrial symbiosis as the birthplace of the UK’s National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) more than ten years ago. Sir Albert Bore

Birmingham City Council leader







From nontoxic waste to tomatoes Examples of industrial symbiosis in action included the use of non-toxic industrial waste to produce energy through incineration and, in another UK case, a company that produces vehicle air conditioning units and engine cooling systems provided one of its waste products – a hazardous potassium aluminium fluoride-based substance – to a company that was able to use it in the recycling of aluminium. The arrangement between the companies saw a reduction in hazardous waste by 15 tonnes per year and a cut in waste management costs by £30,000 (€36,000). Other UK examples included the diversion of carbon dioxide generated in the manufacturing of nitrogen products and methanol to enable year-round cultivation of tomatoes in greenhouses, which allowed the growers to make their operation more costeffective. Another example was Denby, which has been making pottery in Derbyshire for more than 200 years.

To turn the idea into reality, NISP put the company it in touch with Nottinghamshire Recycling Ltd, which recycled the ceramic waste into aggregates for the construction market and was able to use its on-site materials recovery facility to sort additional waste materials such as cardboard and plastics. Cost savings totalled £10,000 for Denby, with additional sales of £110,000, and 3936 tonnes was diverted from landfill – 3,880 tonnes of ceramics and 56 tonnes of general waste with a CO2 reduction of 596 tonnes.

Europe signs up The European Union is supporting similar initiatives across the Continent, including those involving industrial symbiosis in heavy industry sectors such as chemicals, as a way of championing what it calls the ‘circular economy‘. To encourage this, the European Commission has adopted proposals to boost recycling in Member States and says that the new waste targets would create 580 000 new jobs while making Europe more competitive and reducing demand for costly scarce resources. The plans ask Europeans to recycle 70% of municipal waste and 80% of packaging waste by 2030, and ban the burying of recyclable waste in landfill by 2025. They are tough targets but the Commission argues that everyone, including industry, must be prepared to play their part.

The company developed a zero waste to landfill policy to improve its sustainability through better disposable of ceramic waste.


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UK chemicals sector talent: a demographic imbalance and the apprenticeship opportunity The imbalance in the age groups of UK chemicals sector employees and a shortage of essential skills is set to become more challenging unless companies start investing now in new talent and skills. Figures* compiled by Cogent Skills from the national Labour Force Survey in the past 12 months have revealed how more mature workers in the chemicals sector outnumber newer entrants and show the extent of today’s challenge to fill job roles with appropriately skilled people. Across the industrial sciences sector – including chemicals, petroleum, polymers and paints – there are over 30,000 more employees (18%-plus) aged 40-64 than those in the 16-40 age group (170,314 vs 139,954). New or recent school leavers and graduates account for only 8.5% of the sector’s total workforce. In terms of finding the right people, nearly all companies in the industrial science sector (97.5%) have vacancies that are difficult to fill because of skills shortages**. Nearly 70% (68.24%) are receiving a “low number of applicants with the required skills”. Through the Science Industry Partnership (SIP), facilitated by Cogent Skills, employers across

the science industry sectors are encouraging their peers to embrace the available support and match-funding to address the long-term skills challenges in the UK. And that includes attracting younger people into the chemicals industry through apprenticeship schemes devised by employers in the sector, for the sector. Craig Hargreaves, Senior Trainer Maintenance Services at chemicals manufacturer SABIC UK Petrochemicals and Chair of the Life Science and Industrial Science Trailblazer Group, said: “It is a fact that the sector find it difficult to attract and retain younger people. There are a number of factors for this, including competition from other companies in the process industries’ supply chain, such as the offshore oil and gas sector which has drawn on the limited talent pool.” Consequently, SABIC on Teesside is now investing in the Trailblazer Apprenticeship scheme, designed to tailor apprentice training to chemical companies’ specific needs and to help fill the skills gap. Mr Hargreaves adds: “The Trailblazer scheme is enabling SABIC on Teesside to assess what skills and training we now need as an industry to maintain competitive advantage in the global market.” Mark Botting, Chair of the SIP Futures Group, SIP Board member and EME Laboratory Business Director at Synergy Health, said: “The age gap across the science sector is a clear signal that science sector companies need to


have succession planning along with skills and talent development on their agenda now. Skills shortages ultimately affect an organization’s ability to compete in an increasingly global market. “The figures we have collated suggest that a greater proportion of people currently working across industrial and life sciences will be leaving the workforce in the next 25 years than those remaining behind. In fact, those aged 5564 in industrial sciences who are likely to retire in the next 10 years outnumber 16-24 year olds in the current workforce by nearly 21,000 (20,654). In life sciences, it’s more than 17,000 (17,347). The sector needs to do something now to address the brain drain.” The SIP, since its inception in April 2014, has introduced more than 370 apprentices into science sector businesses, which can obtain funding via the SIP. Indeed the SIP’s most ambitious strand is Apprenticeships, with a target of 1,360 starts. The SIP is making it easy for companies to get Apprenticeships that meet their direct needs and is complementing the graduate intake traditionally used to fill science-based roles; for many science employers, the apprentice experience is a new – and successful – recruitment method. In addition, the new Laboratory Scientist Degree Apprenticeship standard – the first at degree level – has now been approved and will be available from September this year. Developed with employers, the apprenticeship


It is a fact that the sector find it difficult to attract and retain younger people. There are a number of factors for this, including competition from other companies in the process industries’ supply chain, such as the offshore oil and gas sector which has drawn on the limited talent pool. Craig Hargreaves

Senior Trainer Maintenance Services at SABIC UK Petrochemicals

will help new entrants become effective at an early stage in their employment. Other skills and talent development initiatives facilitated and funded by the SIP include traineeships, industry degree schemes, workforce development and the Modular Masters programme to improve skills in formulation science. For more information visit www.scienceindustrypartnership.com


Lucite’s trailblazing apprenticeships to secure future skills

For Teesside-based chemical manufacturer Lucite International UK Ltd, apprenticeships are crucial for having a workforce with the right skills. This is one of the reasons why it is a keen advocate of the new Trailblazer programme and has played an active role in the development of the new apprentice standard as part of the national Trailblazer team and by running a pilot with six apprentices. Jessica Bell, Lucite International’s Learning and Development Manager, says: “We saw Trailblazers as an opportunity to change the landscape of apprenticeships. They will create a better-focused route into the science industry and align more closely to specific job roles. I have no doubt that they will encourage more people to enter the sector.” The adoption of Trailblazers by Lucite is part of its firm belief in apprenticeships. About 10 years ago it identified a potential skills shortage as a result of which greater emphasis was placed on the apprenticeship programme which is unique in that it recruits ex-services personnel as well as school leavers. Jessica says: “From a practical viewpoint the ex-armed forces personnel come with an established work ethic, an appreciation of the importance of maintaining safety & quality standards and a willingness to learn new skills which benefits our business. It also helps to balance our age demographic as they are mainly in their late 20s or early 30s which provides a useful bridge between our younger apprentices and the more experienced employees in their 40s and 50s.

By John Holton


Faith Hambley, Learning & Development Officer who has been active in the

Strategy and Operations Director – Cogent Skills



Trailblazers project for the Science Industry Technicians, says: “The structure of Trailblazers learning means that, once complete, individuals can be working effectively in their chosen specialism within weeks. In our case this will be either as a Production Technician or an Electrical and Instrumentation Technician. “With previous apprenticeships it could take a several months after completion to become a meaningful member of the team as they needed to undertake additional training to be job-ready. Now, apprentices will be more prepared for the transition into a formal job role as they will have a much greater understanding and the skills to fulfil the role.” Lucite’s piloting of the Trailblazer has been beneficial. Faith says: “We have been able, with our training provider, to work in partnership to develop a programme to better meet our needs. Jess continues “At the regular meetings of the Trailblazers group we have all shared our experiences with each other, which has enhanced the overall programme development and means that everything is practical, applicable and easy to use. This approach has worked really well and reflects the collaborative approach we already have within the Teesside area to develop the right skills for the industry.” The Trailblazer programme now recognises the importance of softer skills and their contribution to job and personal effectiveness In September, Lucite will be starting five more apprentices on the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standard and anticipates an equally successful and rewarding journey.




Getting the message over about chemicals

Chemicals are all around us – the trouble is that a lot of people do not realise it and still cling to an antiquated view which equates the industry as largely irrelevant to their lives. The truth is very different, though, and, increasingly, chemical companies are making efforts to educate people about the role played by chemicals in everyday life. There are estimated to be more than 80,000 man-made chemicals on the market with new ones being added every day. The message from the manufacturers is that everything is made of ‘chemicals and that we use many of them in our daily routines. For instance, one of the most important uses of chemicals has been the

Food for thought

development of plastic, a synthetic material made from a wide range of organic polymers such as polyethylene, PVC and nylon. Plastics have transformed our lives, replacing all sorts of other substances like wood, metal and natural cloths, thereby preserving precious natural resources. However, a lot of people do not make the connection between the chemical plans they see on industrial estates and the plastic bowls in their cupboards.

A neat package

Looking good

Also spreading the message about the importance of chemicals is BASF. Its products, for example, go into a wide range of packaging for everything from beverages and food to cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. BASF products are not just limited to plastic packaging, they also include paper/cardboard/carton, metal and glass packaging and the company can supply customers with raw materials for applications such as rigid and flexible plastics, foams, paper, cardboard, carton as well as labels. Chemicals also feature heavily in our foods. For example, acids are what make oranges and lemons taste sharp and tangy, and are present in vinegar and fizzy drinks.

Another area of everyday life that relies on chemistry is the cosmetics industry. People are increasingly aware of the importance of protecting their skin and chemicals play their part in producing ever more effective treatments.

Alkaline substances in the home, on the other hand, include baking soda, soap, milk of magnesia and ashes.

For example, Shell’s NEODOL range of alcohols are added to skin creams to increase their ability to disperse other components easily, allowing active ingredients to provide the necessary protection and delivering aesthetic effects such as softening the skin.

A lot of people probably do not realise that this situation allows for useful chemical reactions. For example, when acids and alkalis are mixed they counteract each other which is why, for example, since bee stings are acidic, some people recommend putting baking soda on the affected area.

In fact, NEODOL grades are used across a range of personal care products, including shampoos and conditioners, liquid soaps and shower gels, where they help to deliver active ingredients or enhance cleansing with a richer, thicker lather.



Getting the coatings right


Sticking to the task


Chemicals in clothing

Then there are solvents. Shell is one of the companies trying to educate the public about the links between its products and the items they use around the home. Thanks to products such as ShellSol industrial hydrocarbon solvents, the performance of exterior paints is enhanced, meaning that painting the outside of the house becomes less of a frequent chore. The reason is that the solvent makes it easier to apply in order to provide a tough, durable coating that lasts for years. Huntsman is another company spreading the word. The company’s industrial coatings can be found in everything from ships and bridges to shop fittings and washing machines, refrigerators and other white goods, where it is used to provide the bright, white, appearance.

Chemicals in everyday use include: Sodium fluoride (NaF) in toothpaste Sodium lauryl sulphate (C12H25SO4Na) in soap Sucrose (C12H22O11) in foods Titanium dioxide (TiO2) as white pigment in paint Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) in bleach Sodium nitrate (NaNO3) in fertiliser Ethanol (CH3CH2OH) in alcoholic drinks Methane (CH4) to burn for fuel in gas boilers and hobs Phosphoric acid (H3PO4) in cola Butane (C4H10) as lighter fuel Octane (C8H18) as automobile fuel Phenol (C6H5OH) in antiseptics

And in parts of the world where homes are built from timber, Shell solvents are used to safeguard their structural integrity. Modern methods for preserving construction timber use an environmentally-friendly process where the softwood is vacuum-treated with a solvent-based solution containing fungicide and insecticide.

Clothing also relies on chemistry, particularly as demand for modern hardwearing garments made from synthetic textiles such as polyester rises, especially in developing economies. Polyester can be used to produce a range of textiles including ‘wool-like’ and ‘silk-like’ fabrics and one of its main raw materials is the chemical monoethylene glycol, or MEG

Things are warming up The role of chemicals is just as important for keeping our homes warm and comfortable as well. With rising energy costs and the threat of climate change, the energy efficiency of houses has never been more important, and effective insulation has become a priority for modern building design. The walls, roofs and floors of many homes are insulated with lightweight polystyrene foam panels and Shell Chemicals are one of the largest producers of styrene monomer, the chemical behind polystyrene foam which is also used in the cups that keep hot drinks coffee warm. Also, modern furniture relies on a different kind of resilient, flexible cushioning foam produced from polyurethane chemicals such as Shell’s CARADOL* range of polyols.





Why working together makes sound business sense For years, chemical companies have regarded each other as rivals, battling for the same opportunities in the market place. However, there are growing calls for them to set aside those old rivalries and present a united front in order to better compete in an increasingly competitive world. Companies have always worked together - it is the nature of the business - but the current

campaigns call for them to do it on a larger scale. An example is the work of the UK-based Chemistry Growth Partnership (CGP), which argues that companies in the UK chemicals sector must work together to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the recent upturn in the economy but also to counter the threats posed by foreign competition. The group is seeking to implement a strategy with a vision to grow the contribution of chemical and chemistry-using businesses by 50% in less than two decades.

chemical business leaders to Michael Fallon, then the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, called for measures including rapid exploitation of shale gas, accelerated innovation and the rebuilding of UK chemistry supply chains. Since its creation, the Partnership has notched up many achievements, including organising a successful mission of 21 companies to the world’s biggest agricultural chemicals companies. The mission was designed to strengthen the supply chain and encourage innovation.

Its Chemistry Fuelled Growth of the UK Economy report, which was presented by

Benefits of collaboration are clear

The benefits of close co-operation are there for all to see worldwide. For example, BASF, Cargill and Novozymes have been jointly developing technologies to produce acrylic acid from renewable raw materials. The team has demonstrated the successful conversion of 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), to glacial acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers. They announced the start of the programme in August 2012 to develop a process for the conversion of renewable raw materials into bio-based acrylic acid. In July 2013, the partners successfully demonstrated the production of 3-hydroxypropionic acid (3-HP), one possible precursor to acrylic acid, at pilot scale. BASF initially plans to use the bio-based acrylic acid to manufacture superabsorbent polymers.

Novozymes also recently announced a collaboration with Adisseo to develop and market a probiotic for poultry. Novozymes will be responsible for in-vitro screening, development and production, while Adisseo will manage in-vivo testing, marketing and sales. The partners expect to launch the product within the next 12 months. Helle Warrer Poulsen, Vice President of Animal Health & Nutrition at Novozymes, said:. ”We are excited to partner with Adisseo, who shares our vision of bringing innovation and science to the field of probiotics and offers great expertise and capabilities in


feed additives. It is a promising new area for Novozymes where we can leverage our knowhow in microbiology, fermentation and animal feed.” Jean-Marc Dublanc, CEO of Adisseo, said: “Innovation is part of Adisseo’s DNA and we are constantly investing, either organically or through strategic partnerships, in new solutions to help our customers optimize livestock performance while reducing environmental impact. The decision to enlarge our specialty portfolio with probiotics was therefore a natural one, as was the choice of Novozymes as our partner.”

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Returning to Düsseldorf, the European REACH Congress 2015 is an important event for companies having to deal with the REACH Regulation. This year, the key focus for the Congress is on industry concerns and experiences, which will be highlighted through a series of presentations, a lively exhibition and plenty of networking opportunities.

Topics to be covered include: • Developing a cost effective regulatory strategy • Impact of REACH on the supply chain • Technical highlights such as endocrine disruption, skin sensitisation and nanomaterials • Legal issues (ECHA appeals, authorisation challenges) • IT tools • Specific industry sector case studies • Consequences of REACH for worker safety and animal testing restrictions

To register, book an exhibition stand or take out sponsorship, contact us: T | +44 (0)1423 863 522 E | enquiries@tsgeforum.com



Profile for Distinctive Publishing

Chemical Industry Journal 1  

The national journal for the UK Chemical Industry

Chemical Industry Journal 1  

The national journal for the UK Chemical Industry