EU Consortium Launch Project to Develop Efficient and Sustainable Processes in Chemical Industry11 Jun 2009 • by Natalie Aster
"F3 Factory", an EU-funded project, for the development of more efficient and sustainable processes in the chemical industry, was recently launched by a consortium of leading European chemical companies, research centers and universities. For the first time on such a scale, leading European chemical industry companies are crossing competitive boundaries to collaborate both on technologies for process intensification and on production concepts, forming a consortium with research institutes and universities. 25 partners from all over Europe have joined forces for this purpose. The project is scheduled to run for four years and has a volume of approximately EUR 30 million, EUR 18 million thereof being provided by the EU through its 7th Framework Program (FP7). According to calculations of the consortium, the European chemical industry could reduce costs by about EUR 3.75 billion just by switching existing production facilities over to the F3 Factory concept - while opening up new markets in the meantime.
"F3 Factory" stands for: flexible, fast and future factory. The goals of project is to design and develop the modular continuous plant (the F3 plant), to standardize processes and their interfaces and also to demonstrate the capabilities of the F3 Factory with existing products. The efficiency and scalability of world scale continuous plants are to be combined with the versatility of batch-wise operating plants. This also includes using raw materials and energies more economically - since the latter represent about 70 to 80 percent of manufacturing costs and therefore usually much more than labour costs. A further focal point of the F3 Factory is the development of concrete products such as solvent-free polymers, custom-tailored surfactants, high value-added building blocks and intermediates for pharmaceuticals and innovative materials based on renewable materials.
The F3 Factory consortium consists of: Arkema, AstraZeneca, BASF, Bayer Technology Services, Britest, Buss-SMS-Canzler, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique CNRS, Coatex, Technical University of Denmark, Ehrfeld Mikrotechnik BTS, Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine - ENSIC, Evonik Degussa, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institute of Catalysis & Surface Chemistry PAS, Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Process Design Center, Rhodia, RWTH Aachen University, Technische Universität Dortmund, Eindhoven University of Technology, University of Newcastle, University of Paderborn, Procter & Gamble, Ruhr-University Bochum. Its members stem from Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK.