The chemicals industry produces products that are essential inputs to pretty much every sector of the economy with its major supply chain partners being the automotive, aerospace, construction, energy, food and healthcare sectors.
However, as global population increases, so too does consumer demand for these chemicals and given the world’s finite natural resources (as well as issues of climate change and security-of-supply) the industry must develop new, sustainable, chemical feedstocks if it is to meet future demand.
This KTN Scoping Study provides a summary of the UK innovation support landscape and innovation challenges/opportunities associated with the development of raw materials (or ‘feedstocks’) for the production of chemicals into the future. Raw materials covered within the Study include:
The Study found that there are a huge number of opportunities, through innovation, for us to develop feedstocks for chemicals of the future.
For example, the Study identifies that companies are already developing processes to capture carbon dioxide from industrial processes and utilise it as a feedstock for making polymers, fertilisers, low-carbon fuels and building materials.
We already have UK-based companies that are utilising advances in industrial biotechnology to produce biofuels and advanced materials from food waste and municipal solid waste.
As the hydrogen economy develops, companies are also looking at opportunities to utilise excess renewable energy to produce green hydrogen, which can then be transformed in other basic chemicals.
Shale gas is also expected to play a key role in the future of the UK chemicals industry, providing a secure supply of indigenous feedstock, which can be utilised at the UK’s existing petrochemicals plants or as part of new processes based on industrial biotechnology.
KTN also make a number of recommendations aimed at stimulating and supporting innovation and growth in the chemical and chemistry-using industries and throughout the wider supply chains.
If you have specific raw materials challenges in your business, then the KTN wants to hear from you to explore how we can help connect you to innovation partners & funding to develop projects that can meet these challenges.
Contact: Peter Clark (Knowledge Transfer Manager, Raw Materials) on firstname.lastname@example.org