Annual ARC CBBC Symposium and official opening ARC CBBC Lab at Groningen University

On April 13th the annual ARC CBBC symposium will be held.

The event will be hosted by Groningen University and will take place at the beautiful Academy Building in the centre of Groningen.

We invite you to join us and to also celebrate the official opening of the ARC CBBC lab at Groningen University together with us!

Multidisciplinary approach

The transition of the chemical industry requires cooperation and an intensive exchange of expertise between industry and academics within the chemical field. However, it is also important to look beyond the scope of the chemical field. In order to accelerate the transition to both a green chemical industry, and a more sustainable society, it has become vital to also include the other disciplines that are concerning themselves with this topic. Therefore, the conference on the 13th of April will focus on highlighting the necessity of a multidisciplinary approach and a joining of forces to tackle this issue and move forward to a circular chemistry and a sustainable society.

Debate political, economic and social aspects

During the symposium’s panel discussions, members of the consortium will be able to converse with experts from other disciplines. This means that there will be room to discuss all political, economic, and societal elements of the transition of the chemical industry. Moreover, our speakers will address how the scaling up of this process can be accelerated. In addition to prof. Hans Kuipers, prof. Bert Weckhuysen and prof. Ben Feringa, we will also be joined by Jacqueline Vaessen (Chair Top Sector Chemistry), Ton Vries (Head of Innovation and Technology Symeres), and professors from the RUG Linda Steg and Klaus Hubacek. We invite everyone interested in sustainability to apply to our symposium in order to contribute to these discussions.


10.00 – 10.05: Opening symposium by Rector Magnificus Prof. Cisca Wijmenga 



      10.05 – 10.10: Opening lab by Prof. Ben Feringa and Jacqueline Vaessen 

    10.10 – 10.20: Show case by PhD candidate Marie Brands (UvA)

   10.20 – 10.30: Advantages and challenges of the electrocatalytic synthesis of high-value chemicals by Tenure Track Assistant Professor Marta Costa Figueiredo (TU/e)

Many industrial chemical processes involve a high-energy demand (often still derived from fossil fuels), toxic reactants, and the production of high amounts of waste. Therefore, the development of more efficient, less hazardous technologies, based on renewable energies, has become one of the most challenging topics for chemical synthesis. For achieving these goals, the combination of catalysis with electrochemical methods, that is, electrocatalysis, can play a very important role [1]. With electrochemical methods, toxic and dangerous chemicals can be replaced with clean electrons, the efficiency and selectivity of the reactions can be tuned by choosing the applied potential, and more importantly, the energy used can come from renewable sources like wind or solar.

In this talk, I will focus on how electrocatalysis can help on the knowledge generation, reaction improvement and development of alternative industrial processes, but also on the challenges to be faced before electrochemical technologies are a reality in industrial environments.

[1] Frontana-Uribe, B. A. et al; Green Chem. 2010, 12 (12) 2099– 2119

10.30 – 11.00: Panel discussion about Requirements to accelerate upscaling:

 Hans Kuipers (Program Director ARC CBBC, Professor Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at TU/e)

  Robert Terörde (Executive Board member ARC CBBC, Senior Research Manager at BASF)

  Marta Costa Figueiredo (Assistant Professor at TU/e)

  Ton Vries (Head of Innovation and Technology at Symeres)

11.00 – 11.30: Break

  11.30 – 11.40: Live stream interview  from lab with PhD candidate George Hermens (RUG)

11.40 – 11.50: Patient treatment with light and electricity by Tenure Track Assistant Professor  Sebastian Beil (RUG)

Our growing economy requires a continuous amount of materials for electronics or drugs for patient treatment. However, most of the traditional production relies on high carbon-footprint substrates and harsh conditions. A technology transition towards a circular approach, which uses either natural sources or waste streams and be converted by green electricity or directly with light, enables us to produce important products in a more sustainable way. In his research, Sebastian Beil develops new methods which rely on these principles. In particular, using abundant and renewable resources to convert them with visible light and electricity to produce more complex molecules in a straightforward manner allowing the synthesis of (potential) drug molecules.

11.50 – 12.20: Panel discussion about Political and economic aspects of the transition towards a sustainable and circular chemistry

  Ben Feringa (Chair Executive Board ARC CBBC, Professor synthetic organic chemistry, RUG)

  Evren Ünsal (Executive Board member ARC CBBC, Technology & Research Partnerships, Executive Editor at Shell)

  Sebastian Beil (Assistant professor at RUG)

  Jacqueline Vaessen (Supervisory Board member ARC CBBC, Chair Topsector Chemistry)

  Klaus Hubacek (Professor in Science, Technology and Society, RUG)

12.20 – 13.50: Lunch

   13.50 – 14.00: Showcase by PhD candidate Linda Eijsink (RUG)

  14.00 – 14.10: Livestream interview from lab with PhD candidate George Hermens (RUG)

   14.10 – 14.20: Chemical strategies for valorisation of plastic waste by Tenure Track Assistant Professor Ina Vollmer (UU)

Chemical pathways could turn plastic waste into valuable chemical building blocks like aromatics, monomers or surfactants. In Vollmer works on such strategies, especially for polyethylene and polypropylene packaging, because of their dominance and the challenges in converting them to high purity products. This involves using catalysts to lower energy demand and improve product purity as well as novel strategies via mechano-catalytic, using mechanical force to break chemical bonds at low temperatures, and photo-assisted routes. She will address the demands to sorting and separation of plastic waste that these processes pose.

Decades of polymer engineering have led to various plastic materials with a variety of tunable properties and applications saving, for example, transport related CO2 emissions or improving hygiene. Considerably less effort has gone into circular strategies for avoiding and dealing with the waste created. The majority of plastic waste is landfilled, burned, or leaks to the environment, harming wildlife and potentially humans, i.e. in the form of additives or micro- and nanoplastics via the food-chain. Unfortunately, only 12 % (by weight) of plastic packaging is recycled globally, mainly because the predominantly applied recycling technique of melting and re-extrusion produces a lower quality plastic. In addition, this process requires a highly pure stream of certain types of polymers. Only polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyolefins are currently recycled this way on a significant scale.

14.20 – 14.50: Panel discussion about Societal aspects of the transition towards a sustainable and circular chemistry

  Bert Weckhuysen (Scientific Director ARC CBBC, Professor Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis at UU)

  André van Linden (Executive Board member ARC CBBC, Director Coatings Technology at AkzoNobel)

  Ina Vollmer (Assistant Professor at UU)

  Linda Steg (Professor Environmental Psychology at RUG)

  14.50 – 15.00: Live stream interview from lab with PhD candidate George Hermens (RUG)

15.00 – 15.05: Closure Ben Feringa

15.05 – 17.00: Drinks


We kindly ask you to register for the event before the 7th of April.

registration is closed.

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