Marco Mensink, Director General at Cefic: “I am foremost a proud witness of the disruptive technologies and innovations happening in our sector.”

By 23 April 2021Testimonial

Brightsite is researching how electricity can be used to produce molecules under so called ‘plasma’ conditions, a solution that holds potential for the sector to achieve further emission reductions. With an open innovation approach we are seeking partners from all over Europe to join our roadmap and research. Marco Mensink, Director General at Cefic, shares his vision on the Brightsite plasma program: “The research topic of electrification and the innovation mode of plasma technology is highly exciting.” 

My name is Marco Mensink, Director General of Cefic and it is with pleasure that I share with you a promising new initiative at the Chemelot site in Geleen (the Netherlands) on electrification that attracted my attention: the Brightsite plasma program. This initiative is important for two reasons, the research topic of electrification and the innovation mode of plasma technology that is highly exciting. Brightsite is researching how electricity can be used to produce molecules under so called ‘plasma’ conditions, a solution that holds potential for the sector to achieve further emission reductions. In its research, Brightsite also decided to take an open innovation approach and is seeking partners from all over Europe to join their roadmap and research.

Why is plasma technology so disruptive?

We know that the European Commission describes the European chemical industry as ”Indispensable to Europe’s economy” in its Green Deal communication, yet it is also as widely understood that our sector remains an energy intensive industry by its operations. It is not an easy task for our sector to deliver, committing to an industrial transformation whilst keeping up producing many of the climate-neutral and circular solutions Europe needs, from wind turbines to electric cars, and insulation materials for energy efficient buildings, packaging materials for keeping our food safe and fresh and much more. Looking at this picture, I am foremost a proud witness of the disruptive technologies and innovations happening in our sector, anticipating the necessary transformation to make these products in a climate proof manner. It is this portfolio of technologies that enable the use of circular feedstocks and low emission energy such as renewable electricity, and the plasma program is a case in point of this. Back to plasma, and why this technology is so disruptive; it’s like an electric heating element in a defined area with the advantage that the element cannot melt or react. Sounds like science-fiction, but in real life, with this process energy is very effectively used for the synthesis of specific products.

Must read: ‘Advancing towards a circular chemical industry using the latest generation of plasma processes’

The current focus at Brightsite is on the conversion of methane to ethylene and hydrogen without CO2 emissions, however, also other feedstocks conversions are being considered. As plasma technology has the potential to support the transition to a net-zero emission chemical industry in Europe by 2050, I recommend you to read the attached article and look forward to seeing further results of this exciting program from Brightsite. At Cefic we always look forward to hear more about exciting innovations in our industry. Contact us!

Marco Mensink
Director General Cefic

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