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An Overview of REACH-SERV and the related TESS Project Print

Introduction

The REACH-SERV website is based on work being carried out in an EU Collaborative Research project. This article provides insights into the background to TESS and associated issues emerging within the European chemicals manufacturing sectors.

Cooperative Research

TESS is a “Cooperative Research project” supported by the European Union. It is designed to deliver research and development results to a group of seven participating trade associations from regions across the Union. These research results are particularly focused on providing support to Small, Medium Enterprises  and there are five such SMEs participating within the TESS project who are present to ensure that emerging results align well with the practical needs of this group. The essential research and development is being carried out by a further grouping of five universities/research institutes from within the Union

Focus on Chemicals Manufacturing

Chemicals manufacturing is a highly important European industry. It contributes strongly to GDP and is a net exporter to other world regions.  In 2006 exports outside the region were worth approximately €121 billion.

However, like many other sectors, chemicals manufacturing is now subject to increasing competition from other world regions which enjoy easier access to the essential feedstocks and energy ( with lower and sometimes subsidised pricing) allied to cheaper labour.

In view of this strong competition European Trade Associations for chemicals manufacturers are very keen to provide as much support as possible its manufacturing base, particularly for SMEs.

European Chemicals Manufacturing - Size and Shape

The EU chemical industry comprises about 3100 enterprises, 96% of which have less than 250 employees and may be considered as small and medium sized enterprises. These account for 30% of sales and 37% of employment in the European sector. Only 4% of the EU enterprises employ more than 249 employees, generating 70% of total chemicals sales.

Over the last 15 years the chemical industry has succeeded in increasing continuously its output while at the same time keeping its energy input constant: consequently, the chemical industry lowered its energy intensity by 3.6% annually. The intention is to continue this trend and to migrate towards more sustainable methods of maunufacturing (involving less dependency on fossil fuels) wherever possible.

The present project  focuses on the Speciality and Fines sector of the European Chemicals Industry. The 20,000 SMEs operating here represent 94% of all manufacturers and formulators, contributing157 billion euros pa to European GVA.

Research Imperatives

Sustainability

Following a major review of the EU’s chemicals policies, European manufacturers and formulators are being asked to ensure that their manufacturing takes place, in a sustainable manner whereby the impact on the environment ( eg greenhouse gases and carbon footprint) is as modest as possible and the consumption of fossil fuels (as energy and feedstocks) is reduced to a low level or eliminated.

Safer Products

There is also an increasing expectation that the chemicals which are produced must be ecologically safe and of low risk to health. In particular, the recently introduced REACH regulations (Regulation, Evaluation, Authorisation of Chemicals) seeks innovation in the assessment and categorisation of all chemicals manufactured in Europe in terms of their toxicological and health impacts.

SME Needs

However, SME experience tends to revolve around traditional product lines and the trade associations feel that this group will experience difficulty and high costs in innovating their manufacturing in keeping with the new imperatives. Survival may be threatened, particularly in Speciality and Fines where a large grouping produces a multiplicity of products, all needing attention. As a consequence, Tess research is being focused here, on the Sustainability issues surrounding REACH. Green Chemistry alternatives are being introduced and innovative supply chain configurations developed around them, offering enhanced approaches to Sustainability.

Toolbox Approach

The intention is to incorporate this emerging knowledge in an on-line Toolbox  to provide support to SMEs in migrating towards REACH-compliant and Sustainable Futures.  It will provide SMEs with an entry point to identify gaps in their current level of preparedness and signpost approaches and tools to enable them to move cost-effectively to the more sustainable supply chains essential for the future.

Dissemination and Training

Dissemination and Training are key aspects of TESS, essential in creating awareness of the issues and stimulating take-up and use of the Toolbox by SMEs. Initial industrial use is planned for the later stages of TESS and the partners will promote continued use  after completion of the project itself.

TESS Partners and Roles

 

Name

Type

Size

Country

Business Activity

Main Project Tasks

Overall Role

Chemical Industries Association

(CIA)

IAG

SME

UK

IAG

Project Management

Coordinator and Leader of Requirements, Management and Training WPs 1, 8 & 10

European Chemical Industries Council (CEFIC)

IAG

SME

Belgium

Pan-European IAG

Training,

Dissemination,

Industry Needs

Training & Dissemination WPs Leader (WPs 8 & 9)

Fedichem

IAG

SME

Belgium

IAG

Training,

Dissemination,

Industry Needs

Regional interaction with SMEs

Federchimica

IAG

SME

Italy

IAG

Training,

Dissemination,

Industry Needs

Regional

interaction with SMEs

Vereniging Van de Netherlandse Chemische Industrie

IAG

SME

Holland

IAG

Training,

Dissemination,

Industry Needs

Regional

interaction with SMEs

Chemical Industry Federation of Finland

IAG

SME

Finland

IAG

Training,

Dissemination,

Industry Needs

Regional

interaction with SMEs

British Association for Chemical Specialities

IAG

SME

UK

IAG

Training,

Dissemination,

Industry Needs

Regional SME interaction & Specialities focus

Organica

SME

SME

Germany

SME manufacturer

SME needs, Testing, dissemination, application

Take-up & Exploitation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arran Chemicals

SME

SME

Ireland

SME manufacturer

SME needs, Testing, dissemination, application

Take-up & Exploitation

Robinson Brothers

SME

SME

UK

SME manufacturer, blender

SME needs, Testing, dissemination, application

Take-up & Exploitation

Erchem

SME

SME

Greece

SME manufacturer

SME needs, Testing, dissemination, application

Take-up & Exploitation

Vantaco

SME

SME

Finland

SME manufacturer

SME needs, Testing, dissemination, application

Take-up & Exploitation

Vickers Chemicals

SME

SME

UK

SME blender

SME needs, Testing, dissemination, application

Take-up & Exploitation

University of Hull

RTD

Performer

University

UK

University

Legislation Watch and Chemicals Toxicology Protocols

Leader of associated WPs 2 & 3

University of Gent

RTD

Performer

University

Belgium

University

Green Chemistry Alternatives

Leader of associated WP 4

Technology Research center of Finland

RTD

Performer

Research Institute

Finland

Research Institute

Toolbox Assembly

Leader of associated WP6

City University London

RTD

Performer

University

UK

University

Evaluation of Sustainable Supply Chains

Leader of associated WP 5

 


Last Updated ( Tuesday, 24 February 2009 )
 
© 2017 REACH Regulation: Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals: REACH Legislation