Breakthrough Technologies: The Two Team Project

By Mon, Dec 17, 2012

BRUSSELS, Dec. 18, 2012 (RISI) -The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) has taken up the challenge to investigate how to meet the European Union targets that aim to reduce CO2emissions by 80% by the year 2050. The pulp and paper industry in the region is going to be instrumental to that plan, in fact if the industry stays on its current investment path in Europe, it will already be cutting its own emissions by 50% up to the year 2050.

However, the balance of 30% has to be found by designing, trialling and implementing Breakthrough Technologies to give the industry that extra push towards its goal. Decarbonising does not only make environmental sense. When made equal to "de-energizing" the sector, it will guarantee a future in the 2050 world with high fuel and power costs. At CEPI Paper Week, held in Brussels recently, the confederation has begun addressing the balance by forming the "Two Team Project" approach in an effort to galvanise the industry into action on the R&D front. Mark Rushton Editor of PPI, finds out more by interviewing Marco Mensink, Deputy Director General of CEPI and Bernard de Galembert, Forest and Research Director.

Marco Mensink, Deputy Director General of CEPI
Bernard de Galembert, Forest and Research Director, CEPI

PPI: Can you explain why the Two Team approach has been formed?

CEPI Two Teams': In November 2011 CEPI launched its 2050 Roadmap for a low carbon economy. The Roadmap represents the vision for the sector in the next 40 years. It includes what the sector will need to achieve 80% CO2emissions reduction and create 50% more value. The document sets the vision for the transformation of the industry in the context of the bio economy and outlines the technology needs, the policy imperatives, and the financial perspectives. CEPI is now deploying the strategy to roll out the Roadmap.

In the pathway to 2050, one key element in making it happen is the development of breakthrough technologies. They have to be available by 2030 to deliver in 2050. We have ten years to think, 10 years to demo, 10 years to build and 10 years to run. Breakthrough technologies are relevant for all regions of the European pulp and paper industry, for companies of all sizes and their various activities. Breakthrough approaches will be based on the existing industrial base, contribute to the transformation of the industry within two investment generation cycles. Improved technologies, new functionalities of both existing technologies and products, and the development of new products can be the result of breakthrough approaches.

We strongly believe that breakthroughs can only be developed in a joint European sector approach. Working together imposes some rules, in particular the need to focus only on pre-competitive research and cooperation mechanisms, and this in a very secure Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) context while allowing for ideas to be brought to the table without being too restrictive.

A European approach also allows for inclusion of suppliers to the pulp and paper industry. Furthermore, inclusion of stakeholders from outside the sector is crucial as ideas out of the box are needed and the Roadmap will require alliances and partnerships with other industrial sectors.

All this led us to believe that an approach that would put two teams in competition would create the needed emulation and would fasten the process of identification of potential breakthrough technologies.

PPI: Who will the teams be made up of and how many members will they have each?

Each team is about 15 people and will at least include representatives of pulp and paper producers, technology suppliers, other suppliers, a university and research institutes, as well as representatives of external partners. Two free seats per team will be filled up by the teams themselves as they start to work. Customers will be invited for their views and needs. Each team has a "team engine", a CEPI staff member to organise meetings, workshops, exchange of information, etc. Furthermore each team will have a CEPI Director as team member. Two former CEOs are the sponsors of each team, giving guidance, inspiration and direction. The two teams will in their startup phase work together to establish a common knowledge base. The idea is that teams compete on creativity, and not lose for lack of information.

PPI: Can pulp and paper producers as well as suppliers to the industry join the teams?

Anyone connected or not even connected to the industry can submit ideas, via the different channels we have set up (website, social networks ...). Both producers and suppliers will be part of the teams. The teams will really have to become teams and will spend a lot of time together. The cohesion is in that respect crucial. It would therefore be difficult to include more people in the teams. For this reason the Two Team Project has two other features - the "skybox" and the "fan clubs". People can join the fan club of one of the teams and engage in discussions. CEPI member companies who are not represented in the teams can join the "skybox" - a position with a clear view of the ring, but with less work.

PPI: Can anyone from the industries involved apply? If so, how do they join the teams?

We have finalized the teams (see Blue and Red boxes). The blue team is led by Heiner Grussenmeyer (Stora Enso, Germany) and the red team by Jérôme Grassin (CTP France). All major players in the sector and in the research community are involved in the teams. There is no open call for (new) members. CEPI has approached the suppliers, researchers, universities, companies and free thinkers in the teams, who have then proposed team members on their behalf. The remaining free seats - to be filled with outsiders - will be decided upon by the teams themselves. It is hugely important that there are enough outsiders in the teams to make us think outside of the box.

PPI: Can technology be submitted by non team members? If so, how do they submit it?

Absolutely, that is a must. The two teams can be approached by anyone with a good idea, via the special website (www.unfoldthefuture.eu). Furthermore, we have set up a Twitter account (@CEPI2TP), a LinkedIn group (@CEPI Two Team Project) and a Facebook account (@2050 Roadmap: Two Team Project) to invite people to submit and discuss ideas. We hope that the submitted ideas will partly come from existing literature, partly be known, partly be new for our sector but known elsewhere and partly be fully new. These ideas will be digested and combined by the teams into generic concepts for breakthroughs - combinations of ideas that can be clustered into a clear and innovative direction. The final report will describe the generic concepts that the teams feel are the ones this sector should further develop.

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