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Chemistry Giants Partner to Advance Supply Chain Transparency, Drive Industrial Research

Following the launch of Applied DNA Sciences’s CertainT platform that utilizes molecular tags to certify authenticity and origins of products, AkzoNobel, Advanced Biochemical Thailand Co. and EY have introduced a new online tool that allows businesses, for the first time, to use e-certification to track bio-based content along the chemical value chain.

Many chemicals can be made either from fossil feedstock or bio-based raw materials, but confirming how much of each has been used is no easy task. The new tool aims to solve this problem by verifying exactly how much of a product is made from bio-based raw materials, thereby making it easier for both producers and consumers to choose more sustainable products.

“Chemicals are the building blocks of essential products in our everyday lives,” said Peter Nieuwenhuizen, Global RD&I Director of Specialty Chemicals at AkzoNobel. “Yet despite the growing attention for sustainability, we cannot easily track bio-based raw materials. This innovative approach will enable us to further pursue our goal of making the chemical industry more sustainable.”

Bio-based raw materials will undergo certification at the start of the supply chain. Companies can then transfer this information via an online platform, which automatically keeps track of the bio-based content of any products made from them. This approach negates the need for separate external certification further down the supply chain, giving producers quick insight into the bio-based content of their products.

The first chemical to be tracked will be ABT’s Epicerol®, a bio-based epichlorohydrin (ECH) which is used in AkzoNobel’s sustainable epoxy coatings.

“This application will increase transparency and encourage companies to use more sustainable raw materials,” said Thibaud Caulier, Business Manager at ABT. “Customers can demonstrate a positive impact by monitoring their consumption of Epicerol®, showing that they are using the most sustainable epichlorohydrin on the market.”

Following the pilot phase, the partners are looking to expand the tool to other chemicals, such as dimethylether, which is used as a propellant in deodorant cans. The system provides sufficient flexibility so that it can be used by the industry across a wide range of products. The partners believe it provides a robust and reliable answer to certification and assurance for bio-based content as it enables transparency and reliability across the value chain by means of a robust audit trail.

“The tool works like a virtual marketplace for the industry,” said Roel Drost, senior manager of Climate Change & Sustainability at EY. “Companies can sign up and exchange different types of bio-based material certificates, ranging from base ingredients to finished products. This has enabled us to turn the complexity of the chemical industry into an easy and cost-effective tool for bio-based products. Hence, we want to quickly make it available to other supply chains to get value across the industry.”

Meanwhile, BASF SE and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have partnered to develop one of the world’s largest supercomputers for industrial chemical research at BASF’s Ludwigshafen headquarters and drive the digitalization of BASF’s worldwide research.

“The new supercomputer will promote the application and development of complex modeling and simulation approaches, opening up completely new avenues for our research at BASF,” said Dr. Martin Brudermueller, Vice Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors and Chief Technology Officer at BASF. “The supercomputer was designed and developed jointly by experts from HPE and BASF to precisely meet our needs.”

The new system will allow BASF to expand its capabilities to run virtual experiments, answer complex questions quickly and ultimately reduce time to market and costs by simulating processes on catalyst surfaces more precisely or accelerating the design of new polymers with pre-defined properties.

“In today’s data-driven economy, high-performance computing plays a pivotal role in driving advances in space exploration, biology and artificial intelligence,” said Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “We expect this supercomputer to help BASF perform prodigious calculations at lightning fast speeds, resulting in a broad range of innovations to solve new problems and advance our world.”

The supercomputer features Intel® Xeon® processors, high-bandwidth, low-latency Intel® Omni-Path Fabric and HPE management software, allowing it to act as a single system with an effective performance of more than 1 Petaflop (1 Petaflop equals one quadrillion floating point operations per second). With this system architecture, a multitude of nodes can work simultaneously on highly complex tasks, dramatically reducing the processing time.

Developed and built with HPE, the new supercomputer will consist of several hundred computer nodes. It will also leverage HPE Apollo Systems to give customers simplified administration efficiencies and flexibility to match their solutions to the workload.