COSMIC – Europe on the wave to innovation

COSMIC – Europe on the wave to innovation


Did you know that cooking with a microwave oven requires 30 to 80% less energy than cooking with an electrical oven? Microwaves are a non-contact energy form which only heat the water molecules in the food and not the air around it or the container. What if we would use this microwaves for the production of chemicals? The COSMIC project will use these microwaves together with another non-contact energy form, namely ultrasound for the production of chemicals and pharmaceutical products. The chemical industry is one of the most important manufacturing sectors in Europe. In 2015 the annual sales revenue was € 519 billion. This is 6 times the sales revenue of Microsoft and 30 times the sales revenue of Facebook! Despite this huge figure, the picture is not that bright. In 10 years time Europe has lost his top position in chemical sales in the world to China. The EU share in the global chemical market dropped from 28% in 2005 to 15% in 2015. That’s a drop of 50% in 10 years time. Also, the number of people employed in this industry dropped 25% compared to 1998. According to an Oxford study, the main causes for this decline are the high energy costs, the high labour costs, regulatory and tax burdens, but most importantly the lag in innovation. The equipment used for the chemical industry today is not so much different from that applied in the Middle Ages. The goal of the COSMIC project is to develop highly efficient processes and reactors and change this conservative industry. It will introduce microwaves and ultrasounds into innovative chemical flow reactors. These reactors contain only small volumes of chemicals and are therefore a lot safer. Because they are so small, they can be very efficient use much less energy and emit fewer emissions. All of which create clear benefits for the chemical industry. The introduction of microwaves and ultrasounds will allow to further improve the heating and mixing efficiency in these reactors and save costs The COSMIC project will focus on two application domains: organic synthesis and nanoparticle formation. The COSMIC team consists of 15 young high potential researchers from 8 different universities and companies from 7 different European countries. They will be trained within the COSMIC project to further develop and use these new technologies. This will help the chemical industry in introducing these technologies in their processes. save costs and emissions but most importantly reestablish the European leadership in the global chemical market.

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