PlasCarb at SUSCO Budapest 2014

On October 2-3 2014, the FP7 PlasCarb project was presented at SUSCO Budapest 2014, an international conference on sustainable development held at the Millenáris Center on the Buda side of Budapest.

The event, organized by the Antall József Knowledge Centre, was a unique opportunity to learn more about the state of the art of sustainable development projects and organizations in Hungary and in the wider Central Eastern European area. At its first edition, SUSCO Budapest offered the wide public a conference featuring international experts, policy-makers, civil and private sector representatives, and an exhibition with organisations and companies working on innovation tools in the sustainable development field.

The two-day conference opened with a discussion on the efforts made by policy makers within the frameworks of the United Nations, the European Union and various national levels. A special focus on the Central-Eastern European area was also provided.

The second conference day looked more specifically into Water, Food and Energy, the three key dimensions of current mega trends of sustainable development, and their interconnections (the WEF Nexus). Three sub-sessions were therefore centred on each of the three elements, and included both a discussion on current problems and the presentation of available tools and possible solutions developed by private companies.

Among food-related issues were found to be food security (both in terms of access and of stability through time); the consequences of current sanctions on Russia on European producers and consumers; food waste; and the consequences of EU regulations for quality standards on producers, at a time when cheaper food arrives into European territory from outside, not necessarily respecting such standards.  As far as energy is concerned, a strong statement was advanced that we are now witnessing the end of “easy oil”. Businesses are already searching for new methods and resources.

The PlasCarb project was launched exactly in this intellectual framework, with the aim of offering an innovative solution to the problems also addressed by the SUSCO conference. PlasCarb’s objective in fact is to transform biogas generated by anaerobic digestion of food waste using an innovative low energy microwave plasma process to split biogas (methane) into high value graphitic carbon and renewable hydrogen. Graphitic Carbon was designated by the European Union as one of the EU’s 14 economically critical raw materials, and is imported in substantial quantities. Its value will even increase, due to its use in emerging technologies, such as advanced electronics and fuel cells. Hydrogen is also used in significant quantities by industry and was identified as a future transport fuel for a low carbon economy.

The event was an excellent occasion to learn more about the current status of sustainable development in political, scientific and technologic terms, and specifically to get to know fresh and creative solutions offered by Central Eastern European companies and organizations.

And well, the wine-tasting experience was simply the icing on the cake!

Looking forward to #SUSCOBudapest2015!