Choosing between Prometheus and Orpheus, the role of chemistry in a transition toward a sustainable world

15 mei 2017 19:00 – 22:00
Locatie: UCLL, Campus Diepenbeek, Agoralaan, Diepenbeek, België
Categorie: Jong

Speaker: Ludo Diels, Universiteit Antwerpen – VITO


A long time ago, there was a solid planet Earth, filled with inorganic materials and surrounded by an atmosphere of gases like CO2, H2, CH4, etc. Primary physical events led to the formation of the first organic molecules, such as amino-acids, which slowly evolved into biological life. In the beginning, the planet had very high CO2 concentrations. The development of photosynthesis (algae and later higher plants) led to a decrease of CO2 and the production of oxygen. Higher live organisms could develop. Carbon was sequestered by plants in fossil storage systems and by algae in carbonate sediments.

At the end of this cycle, human beings developed and started the further exploitation of the planet. Especially the last centuries several industrial/technical waves supported the development of mankind and wealth.

These technical waves, in combination with an enormous growth of population and wealth, has resulted in the fastest CO2 increase ever seen, by exploiting our fossil reserves.

During this lecture, the speaker will discuss the results of a one to six degrees celsius increase in mean temperature on Earth, while at the same time, explain how we can go from a linear economy, inspired by Prometheus, to a circular economy, inspired by Orpheus.

Based on this basic transition in our thinking and behaviour, it will become clear how the chemical industry can adapt to a circular economy, and how chemistry will have a huge role in this transition to a sustainable economy and climate change mitigation.

Indeed the chemical industry, nowadays in a big transition from the West to the East, will change and diversify the coming years. This lecture will give you insights on how Europe and especially the chemical mega cluster of Belgium, Netherlands and Germany can make this transition by a smart specialisation with a focus on process intensification and renewable feedstock’s (CO2 and biomass). Special attention will be paid to the situation in Flanders and how the chemical industry can support the whole value chain from feedstock to end use (materials and products).

Practical information:

The lecture will take place in Auditorium B109 of the UCLL Campus Diepenbeek (Agoralaan Gebouw B, 3590 Diepenbeek).

Registration is not mandatory but strongly encouraged. Register through this link.

Attendance is free for members of KVCV, members of Alkimia pay 2 EUR and others pay 4 EUR (payment on the spot, cash or payconiq).

After the lecture, all attendees are invited to a reception in the corridors.

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