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A*STAR's ICES & KITECH Form JV to Conduct Research on Biomass-to-Chemicals Processes

Published on 2013-10-10. Author : SpecialChem

Singapore -- A*STAR's Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH), to promote joint research and collaboration in the field of sustainable chemicals – specifically in biomass-to-chemicals research.

This collaboration between the two national research institutes will see researchers from both countries embarking on joint academic meetings, symposia and R&D projects, and building on the collective and complementary research expertise in chemical and bio-catalysis areas, for the development of green and novel bio-based chemicals and polymers.

The fast-growing bio-renewable chemicals industry not only represents an inevitable shift from the traditional petrochemical industry as it re-invents itself in the light of a carbon-constrained future, but it also offers a valuable economic opportunity for Singapore and Korea to renew their chemical industries and maintain their advantage as leading chemical hubs. Bio-based materials and chemicals are increasingly central to the global chemicals industry, as the chemical industry scales up, reduces costs, secures feedstocks, and cements partnerships. Technology advancements in bio-renewables are aligned to Singapore's long term R&D thrusts to grow sustainable and biotechnology industries. The partnership will see greater cooperation between the two entities towards technological innovation of green chemical routes.

The development of a bio-based economy is widely seen as one of the key pillars of the new-age economy, which will witness utilization of viable agricultural waste as alternative feedstock and thus reducing the dependence on current fossil-fuel based feedstock. The development of a bio-economy based on renewable plant biomass has emerged as a key priority for many countries. The global chemical industry is projected to grow 3 to 6% per year up to 2025, with bio-based chemicals market share rising from 2% from 2005 to 22% by 2025.

The collaboration between the research institutes of the two countries will build on the collective and complementary strengths in both chemical and biocatalysis in ICES and KITECH. As a solid R&D leader in biobased economy in Korea, KITECH explores innovative production of C3-C6 renewable functional small molecules based on noble conversion pathways and green processing. Research collaboration areas include joint R&D on bio-based platform chemicals, bio-processing, pretreatment of biomass and other topics related to Biomass-to-Chemicals.

"We are excited about the collaboration as we see much synergy among the research institutes. It is an immense opportunity to further our research and deepen our capabilities in biomass research with skilled scientists and technical expertise. This partnership will enable us to develop new processes with the right skills to grow this industry with economic and societal outcomes for Korea and Singapore," said Dr Keith Carpenter, Executive Director, ICES.

"This partnership is a testament of global collaboration in the field of biomass. We look forward to the exchange of ideas and to advance the research so that the R&D capability and global networking will be greatly strengthened," said Dr Kwon Hyouk-chun, Vice-President, KITECH.

About Korea Institute of Industrial Technology

In an effort to support Korean industry, KITECH, established in 1989, is committed to contribute for advancement of Korean industry by nurturing global competitive SMEs through development of advanced technologies and its application. By developing world leading industrial technology as a member of Korea Research Council for Industrial Science and Technology (ISTK), KITECH helps to strengthen the sustainable growth of its manufacturing industries to gain global competitiveness.

The recent efforts have been focused on combined support by developing innovative key technologies and providing crucial technical assistance in three focused areas: root industrial technology, manufacturing system technology, and industry convergence technology, from material synthesis and fabrication to parts and system construction.

About the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES)

Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Established in 2002, its mission is to support economic growth in Singapore through world class scientific research, developing novel technology and nurturing creative scientists and engineers. The research areas cover chemistry and chemical engineering science, combined with advanced analytical characterization and measurement to develop state of the art technology for the petrochemical, general chemical, fine chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

About A*STAR

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation driven economy. A*STAR oversees 20 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR's research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.

Source: A*STAR


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