09/01/2022 | The show

Sustainable connections for a sustainable future

“Inspiring Sustainable Connections” – this was the motto of ACHEMA 2022. At the world's leading trade fair, it was lived in its variety of meanings.

After all, a trade fair is the perfect place to make new contacts, to discover products, services and companies and, in the best case, to establish or strengthen long-term – that means sustainable – business relationships.

Sustainability as one of the big topics of our time is a driving force in the process industry and was as such prominently represented at ACHEMA, for example at the opening and in the programme of the ACHEMA Congress. It became quickly clear: good 'connections' play an important role on the way to a sustainable future.

“Innovation and collaboration are, in my humble opinion, the key to success in such a challenging environment. That is why with this year’s ACHEMA, we would like to send a signal – perhaps more than ever – that technological cooperation across industry, but also across national borders, is crucial to master the significant crises of our time,” said Klaus Schäfer, Chairman of DECHEMA e.V. and CTO of the Covestro AG, in his opening speech. Dr Martin Brudermüller, President of the European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) and CEO of the BASF SE, also emphasised in his keynote speech that politics, industry, and society must work together for this change. Especially the international aspect should not be forgotten because Germany's share of global CO2 emissions is only two percent.

Prof Dr Robert Schlögl, Director of Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, expressed similar views in the Highlight Session “Hydrogen Economy” of the ACHEMA Congress: “The energy problem is a global one. No single country can solve this on its own. This is a global energy transition.” In addition, he drew attention to the security aspect of international relations. Germany will have to import energy sources in the future, such as green hydrogen from sun-rich countries. For this, reliable relations are necessary to avoid a situation like the current gas supply issue.

The technologies that are supposed to pave the way to climate neutrality were demonstrated and discussed at ACHEMA, for instance, in the Green Innovation Zone and in numerous sessions at the ACHEMA Congress. The expert presentations and panel discussions made it clear: There is no silver bullet. We need a whole portfolio of available technologies, such as green hydrogen, the use and storage of CO2 and, above all, the electrification of many sectors. Moreover, the change must begin immediately and must pick up the pace. Among other things, it is crucial to increase the deployment of renewable energies, the necessary infrastructure must be created, a reliable regulatory framework is needed, and many technologies require further development. Others that are already available should be used as soon as possible.

ACHEMA sends out a clear signal: The chemical industry is already making its contribution to the green transformation and will continue to pursue the chosen path towards climate neutrality by 2045. On the one hand, as an energy-intensive industry, it is itself in the middle of a transformation to reduce CO2 emissions and become more climate-friendly. On the other hand, it provides technologies and solutions with which other sectors can become more sustainable. “There would be no electromobility without a chemical reactor, no innovative batteries for electric vehicles. There would be no energy-efficient living without modern insulation. And there would be neither wind turbines nor solar panels nor new semiconductors without chemicals,” summarised Martin Brudermüller the role of the chemical industry.

This Spotlight article can only give a small insight into the complex technical discussions. The recordings of the opening and the Highlight Sessions of the ACHEMA Congress are available in the ACHEMA Media Library, where you can learn more about the topics.

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Julia Biermann

Corporate Communications, DECHEMA e.V.



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