Spain: Chemical Engineering Congress Chemical Engineers Submit Barcelona Declaration

Editor: Alexander Stark

At the 10th World Congress of Chemical Engineering ,the plenaries offered a representative view of the chemical industry with presentations of top level executives from the world’s largest chemical companies. The representatives addressed global challenges and explained their solutions in specific applications.

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Congress plenary Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President, Process Research & Chemical Engineering, BASF
Congress plenary Dr. Peter Schuhmacher, President, Process Research & Chemical Engineering, BASF
(Source: World Congress of Chemical Engineering)

Barcelona/Spain — Congress Plenary Peter Schuhmacher started the day with his intervention “Process Research in the Chemical Industry” when he posed the growing need for food, clean water and energy, limited resources and a booming world population. Reconciling all these factors is the greatest challenge of our time, he said. Innovations based on chemistry play a key role here, as they contribute decisively to new solutions.

Schuhmacher showed how the chemical industry has always driven innovation with as examples like, synthetic dyes, ammonia as basis for fertilizers, polymers as e. g. raw material for insulation foams and packaging, synthetically produced vitamins, blockbuster fungicides and plant biotechnology. Over the years, however, the focus has shifted towards more advanced materials, system solutions and sustainable processes.

These materials, solutions and processes can only be achieved by finding new ways to combine expertise in various disciplines such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science and engineering. That means that innovations are based less on the development of new chemicals and more on the combined strength of our scientific know-how.

Digitalization becomes an important enabler for these innovations and will now be integrated in everyday life of R&D. Data science, fast access to integrated clean data and acceleration of modelling & simulation with supercomputing are the key factors of digitalization.

James Fitterling, Chief Operating Officer for the Materials Science Division of Dowdupont, the new chemical giant, said “the fourth industrial revolution is not coming, it’s already here”. He also assured that technology is meaningless without people calling to engage the workforce. He talked about the main goal of industry: to deliver solutions that help people.


Finally, the conference closed with the Barcelona Declaration, which precisely, in relation to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the congress theme Solutions for Global Challenges, aims to raise awareness of society as to the contribution and importance of Chemical Engineering for the world and sends a call for action.

The Declaration supported by congress delegates and organizers requests:

• That the governments and organizations of all countries promote public and private investment in RDI, allowing research in freedom within ethical and safety boundaries.

• That decision makers, legislators and authorities take into consideration contrasted scientific criteria when making decisions about how to solve the great challenges facing humanity. That part of this task consists in public support of scientists, the allocation of funds by competitive concurrence, using peer review as basic procedure.

• That Chemical Engineering, as a frontier discipline with other technologies, which helps in the solution of multiple problems, should be considered essential, and be supported by public RDI programs.

• That education is the future, and should be valued, and not subject to political swings. It should be guaranteed for everybody. Having educated people, with an acceptable quality of life, with reliable information, in short, with individuals that are not easily manipulated, humanity will find, as has been the case in the past, ways and solutions that our shortsighted present attitudes do not let us envision and which are the best way to face future societal challenges.

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