EPCA ’10: Chemical industry can make money from megatrends

04 October 2010 17:51  [Source: ICIS news]

BUDAPEST (ICIS)--The chemical industry has the potential to benefit financially by developing innovative products to help tackle global megatrends such as urbanisation and the increased need for clean water, commentators said on Monday.

During a press conference at the European Petrochemical Association’s (EPCA’s) annual meeting in Budapest, observers told journalists there were huge opportunities for the industry if it could develop effective technologies to improve living conditions for the world’s burgeoning population.

Jeremy Bentham, vice president of global business development for Anglo-Dutch energy major Shell said: “Look at the challenges and the value that can be achieved through smart urbanisation. The numbers are quite simple: effectively 2.5bn extra people will live in urban areas so products that can create a better urban setting will be particularly valuable.”

Bentham said the chemical industry stood to gain financially if it could capitalise on global megatrends.

“The production of the extra goods required by the global economy can be done is more or less smart ways. Contributions to smart urbanisation are going to generate a lot of welfare from which a lot of value can be extracted by industry,” he added.

Economist and commentator Jeremy Rifkin said the chemical industry needed to develop the materials required for a low-carbon society.

“Whenever we have a discussion it always comes down to finding new ways for sustainable chemistry to develop renewables, storage technologies, materials and smart grids – the logistics to allow us to lower the carbon footprint. We need new chemicals to allow us to develop the post-carbon machine,” Rifkin said.

Asit Biswas, president of the Third World Centre for Water Management said that one of the key contributions the chemical industry could make would be to develop ways to improve waste water treatment.

“The world has a serious problem – not with the quantity of water but with the quality of water. Water sources near urban centres are polluted: 90% of 'point' water sources in Latin America are either poorly treated or not treated at all. In Africa it could be less and in developing Asia it could be roughly the same,” he added.

Biswas said there was a huge opportunity for any industry player who could develop cheap and easy technology to clean water.

“They will make a fortune,” he added.

To discuss issues facing the chemical industry visit ICIS connect

By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214

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