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Algae – Promising Feedstock for Biofuels

The production of algae was one of the most interesting subjects in The ABLCGlobal Conference for bioeconomy hold in November, 2018, in San Francisco.

 

Algae-based biofuels and bioproducts offer great promise in contributing the U.S. Department of Energy. In recent years, the algae biofuels research, development and demonstration has achieved technological advancements that can bring about transformational changes, including the ability to predict, breed, and select the best-performing strains; the ability to monitor and control system inputs in a dynamic and integrated fashion; the ability to harvest algae at high throughputs; and the ability to extract and convert more algal biomass components into fuels.

According to Neste, the Finnish oil company, algae oil is a promising raw material for renewable diesel. The years of development is now starting to bear fruit globally as pilot testing facilities and commercial plans. Algae’s yield per hectare can be many times the yield of traditional vegetable oils. In addition to water, algae needs sunlight, carbon dioxide and nutrients to grow. Many species of algae live in sea water, which means that they can be grown in saline water. Some projects even use wastewater. A special advantage in the cultivation of algae is the fact that they can be grown in areas that cannot be used for agriculture. Neste supports the commercial scale production by signing conditional off-take agreements with algae companies. Such agreements have been signed with American companies Cellana and RAE. The production volumes may increase in the years to come, and algae oil may become an important raw material of Neste’s renewable diesel.

 

Sources

USDE, Algal Biofuels, http://energy.gov/eere/bioenergy/downloads/2016-national-algal-biofuels-technology-review

Neste, https://www.neste.com/algae-oil-promising-raw-material-renewable-diesel-%E2%80%93-neste-oil-ensures-its-supply-conditional

biosidi

Plastics Roadmap – Towards a sustainable plastic economy

Reduce and Refuse, Recycle and Replace. The Plastics Roadmap for Finland was published 16th of October 2018 by the Ministry of the Environment, leading the way towards a new, sustainable plastic economy. The roadmap presents a set of key actions to find solutions to challenges caused by plastics.

The proposals for measures are:
  • Avoid littering and unnecessary consumption
  • Study the possibility to introduce a tax on plastics
  • Increase significantly the recovery of plastic waste
  • Improve the identification of plastics in buildings and sorting of plastic waste in construction sites
  • Promote the recycling and replacement of plastics in agriculture and horticulture
  • Introduce diverse recycling solutions for recovered plastics
  • Invest in a big way in alternative solutions and set up a New Plastics knowledge network
  • Raise the challenge of plastics high on the international agenda of Finland
  • Export expertise and solutions
  • Enhance research knowledge on negative health and environmental impacts of plastics and solutions to these

Plastics have lots of good properties and they are important to our economy. However, there are also significant problems relating to plastics. One of the pressing concerns is the amount of plastics ending up in the environment, in the seas and potentially in the food chains.

Plastic challenge is an opportunity for Finland and for Finnish companies. Around the world there is a growing need for safe, bio-based, recyclable, and 100% biodegradable packages. Finland has strong expertise in biomaterials and available raw materials that offer opportunities to find solutions for replacing plastics. Finland is ready to tackle the plastic challenge with good cooperation!

Ecobio is happy take part in tackling the Plastic challenge and to help companies towards a new, sustainable plastic economy. Contact our experts at: info@ecobio.fi or tel. +358 20 756 9450.

 

Read the whole article and more about the Plastics Roadmap for Finland: http://www.ym.fi/en-US/Latest_news/Press_releases/Reduce_and_Refuse_Recycle_and_Replace__P(48213)

Kekri

ECHA’s Biocides Stakeholder Day coming up

The European Chemicals Agency ECHA will be hosting the Biocides Day 2018 on the 24th and 25th of October in Helsinki, Finland. The stakeholder day will give insight into the latest developments in biocides at the EU level.

In the EU, the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) regulates the placing on the market and use of biocidal products. As a principle, biocidal active substances must be approved for use at Union level, and all biocidal products require an authorisation before they can be placed on the market. Product authorisations take place either at Member State level or as a Union authorization.

As active substances are increasingly being approved for use, the need for the authorization of the biocidal active products containing such active substances are becoming imminent. For example, the deadline for the product authorization application of sodium hypochlorite is already 1.1.2019.

The Biocides Day by ECHA will deal with e.g.
• tips for a successful Union authorisation
• best practices for a product family authorisation
• the impact of Brexit and
• the impact of endocrine disruptor criteria

You can join the day through ECHA’s webpages: https://echa.europa.eu/fi/-/biocides-day

Ecobio’s expert will also be present; you are more than welcome to ask us anything relating to chemical or biocides legislation! Contact us at info@ecobio.fi.

REACH Compliance?

Osoita vaatimustenmukaisuutesi sidosryhmille

Kemikaalien REACH-rekisteröintien viimeinen takaraja EU:ssa oli 31.5.2018. Takarajan umpeuduttua REACH-vaatimustenmukaisuustodistukset (Declaration of Compliance) ovat yleistyneet. Vaatimuksia vaatimustenmukaisuuden osoittamiselle tulee niin viranomaisilta, asiakkailta kuin muilta sidosryhmiltä. Vaatimustenmukaisuuden osoittaminen koskee aineiden valmistajien sekä maahantuojien lisäksi jatkokäyttäjiä, sillä esimerkiksi ainerajoitukset koskevat kaikkia toimitusketjun toimijoita.

Mikä on “REACH Declaration of Compliance”?

“REACH Declaration of Compliance” tai ”todistus REACH-vaatimustenmukaisuudesta” on asiakirja, jolla osoitetaan, että yritys tai yrityksen valmistamat tai maahantuomat tuotteet täyttävät REACH-asetuksen mukaiset velvoitteensa. Todistuksessa osoitetaan muun muassa rekisteröintivelvoitteet, olennaiset poikkeukset velvoitteista ja niiden hyödyntäminen sekä ainerajoituksien seuranta. Todistus voidaan suunnata erikseen viranomaisille tai asiakasviestintään, tai vastaavasti tehdä yksi versio, joka soveltuu kaikille.

Ainerajoitukset oleellinen osa vaatimustenmukaisuutta

Ennen vaatimustenmukaisuustodistuksen laatimista on hyvä tehdä selvitys yritystä koskevista ainerajoituksista. Ainerajoitusselvityksessä käydään läpi kaikki yrityksen toiminnassa tai tuotteen valmistuksessa käytettävät kemikaalit ja selvitetään, sisältyvätkö ne REACH-asetuksen alla erityistä huolta aiheuttavien aineiden listalle (SVHC-lista), rajoitettuihin aineisiin tai luvanvaraisiin aineisiin.  Valvova viranomainen voi myös vaatia tällaista selvitystä ainerajoituksista valvonnan tueksi.

Kiinnostaako todistus vaatimustenmukaisuudesta?

Ecobion asiantuntijat auttavat mielellään REACH-vaatimustenmukaisuuteen liittyvissä kysymyksissä. Laadimme vaatimustenmukaisuustodistuksia, jotka sisältävät ainerajoitusselvityksen. Ainerajoitusselvityksen yhteydessä toimitamme asiakkaalle ainerajoituksien seurantaan Excel-työkalun sekä raportin, jota voi hyödyntää esimerkiksi viranomaisasioinnissa. Vaatimustenmukaisuustodistuksia laadimme suomeksi, englanniksi ja ruotsiksi.

Ota yhteyttä kemikaalitiimiimme, me autamme:

Pia Välitalo, pia.valitalo@ecobio.fi, puh. 020 756 9453

Leea Ojala, leea.ojala@ecobio.fi, puh. 020 756 9455

Blog: REACH – ripple effects on the whole supply chain

An important milestone for the European chemical industry has been reached as the final REACH registration deadline for substances passed in 31.5.2018. The European REACH Regulation ((EC) No 1907/2006), however, continues to set high standards for the whole industry, from manufacturers, importers, formulators and distributors all the way down to downstream and end users.

Effects on the supply chain

Whilst the REACH registration deadline passed in 31.5.2018 already, it can take up to 3 months for the European Chemicals Agency ECHA to make a registration decision; your supplier might be fully REACH compliant if they have submitted their dossier on time, but might not yet have received a registration decision, i.e. a registration number, from ECHA. In complex cases where an extension might have been received from ECHA and the Director’s Contact Group, receiving a registration decision will take even longer than that.

This also means that the potential effects of the last registration deadline that mainly dealt with SMEs and their substances might affect supply chains with a delay. Whether or not the registering company had enough assets and know-how to pull through the registration might become evident only later on. If a company has decided to cease their manufacture by 31.5.2018, they are still allowed to sell all their supply gathered before the deadline to downstream users as distributors. Whether or not some companies or some products might be dropping out, or the market become more homogenized, will most likely be found out only after the dust of the final registration deadline has settled.

Communicating REACH compliance to authorities and stakeholders

In terms of supply chains and their continuance, it is important to notice that pre-registration numbers are no longer valid. It is also important to notice that either a generic or a company-specific version of the actual REACH Registration number can be put forward. The company-specific version always consists of four parts of numbers, e.g. 01-2119458769-17-0003, whereas the generic form might only consist of three (e.g. 01-2119458769-17 or 01-2119458769-17-XXXX). Make sure that your suppliers have actually registered the substance in their name, and are not just giving you a generic number to keep you content for a while.

A good way to communicate a company’s adherence to REACH and its many requirements is a REACH declaration of compliance. Such a statement can serve as a testimony to the authorities or as communication to customers and other stakeholders to show that your company is indeed REACH compliant in all the relevant aspects of the REACH Regulation. Such a statement is a hard asset outside of Europe as well.

A shift in focus towards formulators

As the burden of REACH has previously been mainly on substance manufacturers and EU importers, the focus of the regulation is now shifting towards formulators. The safe use of mixtures is a topic that will need to be addressed by operators in the coming years in the form of unique formula identifiers (UFI) and poison centre notifications (PCN). This will require a thorough knowledge of the composition and hazardous properties of the supplied mixtures as well. Exposure scenarios and their utilization in communicating the safe use of mixtures will surely be giving formulators some gray hair.

Increasing amount of regulation

As ECHA is now the holder of the world’s largest open database of substance information, plans on how to best utilize the gathered information on the registered substances are big. On a general level this might mean more substance restrictions and harmonized classifications. Manufacturers of highly hazardous substances or those who have submitted incomplete information, on the other hand, might become a target for even more scrutiny.

Reaching the legislative deadline will also most definitely result in increased supervision from national authorities on whether or not companies have fulfilled their various requirements under the REACH Regulation, with regard to substance restrictions and registrations especially. A more scrutinized assessment of SDS’s and of the responsibilities that downstream users have regarding exposure scenarios and their assessment against their own conditions could also result.

Harmonized classifications under the CLP Regulation ((EC) No 1272/2008) themselves can also be a source of restriction, as is now happening with titanium dioxide. A common chemical used as a pigment and thickener in a wide variety of applications for consumer use, including foodstuff, is about to receive a category 2 carcinogen classification, meaning heavy restrictions on its use in many of its current applications.

Competitive edge for European companies

One of the main original aims and visions of the comprehensive chemical legislation that is REACH is to ensure a high level of health and environmental protection. Another aim of the regulation has been to stimulate innovation and enhance the competitiveness of European brands on international markets. As chemical legislation is getting stricter all around the globe, REACH is indeed serving as an important example for other countries striving for increased chemical safety. This is one of the reasons why being REACH compliant is an asset all over the world; still today, REACH is the most advanced chemical legislation in the world.

Consumer image – a threat or a possibility?

An increasing amount of portals and sources for consumers on how to use chemicals safely and on how to find relevant safety information on chemicals have also emerged. Whilst a huge amount of scientifically-based information on chemicals and their safe use is now publicly available, what should never be underestimated is the opinion and views of the general public. Companies should therefore have an understanding of what the data gathered by them actually means and how it can be translated into facts and to transparent stakeholder communication.

Registration in the future

Now that all the three major deadlines for the REACH registration of chemicals in different tonnage bands have passed, the registration of future substances will require more planning in advance; as of now substances will need to be registered before manufactured or imported into the EU in amounts above 1 tonne per year. Make sure to make use of all the relevant exemptions to registration requirements. For R&D substances, for example, a PPORD notification will give your company a 5-year period of reflection before deciding on whether to continue with the substance or not. For substances produced in circular economy processes, further exemptions also apply.

 

For more of the concrete results that REACH keeps delivering, see the press release of the European Commission on the matter: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-1362_en.htm

 

Leea Ojala, Senior consultant

20.6.2018, Helsinki

 

In case you have any questions about your obligations under the REACH Regulation or are interested in a REACH Declaration of Compliance or a screening of substance restrictions on your chemicals, contact Ecobio’s experts at: info@ecobio.fi or tel. +358 20 756 9450.

How to REACH the registration deadline by May 31st?

The REACH registration deadline is getting closer. Only a few weeks to go! ECHA has already received close to 22 000 registration dossiers. The most registrations have been filed from Germany, the United Kingdom and France. Here are a few tips for you regarding the approaching deadline:

Are you the lead registrant in a joint registration?

  • You should create a joint submission in REACH-IT by 9th May at the latest.
  • Continuously communicate your progress to the other members of the SIEF. They will have to meet the registration deadline and will want to know when they will be able to submit their company specific dossier.
  • Make sure that you have a transparent break-down of the costs for your Letter of Access (LoA) available in case the other SIEF members want to see it.

Are you a member in a joint registration?

  • You should submit your company specific dossier by the registration deadline.
  • Make sure that you initiate the process for purchasing the LoA early enough. Typically, you will receive a token for the LoA after all the transactions have been made.
  • Know what you pay for! Make sure you know what is included in your SIEF agreement (i.e. is the CSR part of the joint submission or not).

Are you a downstream user?

  • Ask your supplier for a REACH compliance declaration.
  • Make sure that all the substances you purchase have a proper registration number after the deadline.
  • A pre-registration number is not a proper registration number. All the registration numbers are recorded in ECHA’s substance information database. You can find them in the substance specific dossiers.
  • Know your obligations as a downstream user. Even though you don’t have to register, REACH still applies to you.

 

Contact Ecobio’s experts with any questions related to chemical legislation and the REACH Regulation. We are always happy to help.

For advice or for more information, you can contact us at info@ecobio.fi or tel. +358 20 756 9450.

Ecobio Manager – Regulation Tracking and Chemical Management Service

Californian Trend: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tackles Energy Challenges

The Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference was held in San Francisco in April, 2018. The event chose to outline the key themes and potential challenges that are at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution. The revolution of our energy systems is one of the most impactful transformations of our time.

AI will shape the future of energy. It is a fact that globally our energy systems will change dramatically in the long run. Renewable energy production will be greatly expanded. Energy production will become decentralized and fragmented. Our homes and other forms of real estate will become both consumers and producers of energy simultaneously. Furthermore, the heating, cooling, lighting and security systems of our homes, offices and factories will be governed by smart devices connected to the energy grid.

The renewable energy system will need a high capacity of energy storage. This will mean the placing of both small and large batteries all around the energy grid. To manage this complicated system there will need to be a substantial collecting, handling and operating capacity for the vast amount of data and processes involved. Without the efficiency created through artificial intelligence, this change would not be possible.

Artificial Intelligence will help us manage environmental problems, too. In Ecobio, we re-imagine your environmental and health & safety management processes. We strive towards constant modernization of our services and provide you as our customer with the most advanced solutions. The Ecobio Manager regulation tracking and chemical database service is our flagship innovation. It helps you focus on more complex problems by automating your compliance tasks.

Are you aware of the corporate sustainability challenges that need to be solved. Please contact our development team: sanna.perkio@ecobio.fi.

Blog: Solar energy production demands both solar power and space to utilize it

Land availability is a limiting factor in the implementation of both solar and wind farms; as Richard Lancaster, CEO of CLP Holdings Limited pointed out in his lecture held at Stanford University. Richard himself, being a leader of a large energy company in Asia.

Renewable energy has paradoxes

Big cities are the largest consumers of energy, although they do not have the free land necessary to utilize renewable energy production. Where the strongest winds occur, no one lives. More space is needed in the production of wind power than solar power. In regions such as Silicon Valley, which holds a large volume of roof area along with enjoying a large amount of sun shine; there are advantages in utilizing solar powered energy production.

Whilst discussing an innovation concerning efficient land use, Richard also mentioned a successful project in which they connected solar production with culturing cultivating honeysuckle in the desert.  They collaborated with a local community of farmers in doing so. It was a win, win situation for all parties concerned: the energy producer, the farmers and the regional government.

Sanna Perkiö, 03/05/2018, Stanford

Ecobio chemicals quiz – test your knowledge of CLP hazard pictograms

Ecobio has published a chemicals quiz for testing knowledge of chemicals. The quiz is intended for those using or working with chemicals. Are you already familiar with the new CLP hazard pictograms for chemicals? Test your knowledge with the quiz. Show off your expertise and get a certificate for your office wall.

https://www.ecobiomanager.com/chemicalstest

Hazard pictograms for chemicals have changed after the expiry of the final transition period of the EU’s CLP Regulation. Old orange and black pictograms have been replaced with new, EU wide red-white-black hazard pictograms. The signs are found for example in workplaces, on chemical containers, and on products sold in shops. Exposure to chemicals can be a major health hazard. Hazard pictograms are used to ensure the safe use of products.

Ecobio helps companies fulfil chemical requirements. Also learn about our Ecobio Manager service, which helps you keep up with regulations and requirements. www.ecobiomanager.com

Additional information:
Pia Välitalo, Project Manager, Ecobio, tel. +358 20 756 9450, pia.valitalo@ecobio.fi

 

Final draft of the Health and Safety Management System ISO 45001 approved

The final draft of the Health and Safety Management System ISO 45001 was approved on the 25th of January 2018. The new ISO 45001 standard will be officially published by March 2018.

ISO 45001 replaces the old OHSAS 18001 standard. Companies holding an OHSAS 18001 certificate have a transition period of three years for the implementation of the new standard.

We are always happy to help you with questions related to ISO 45001. For advice or for more information, you can contact us at info@ecobio.fi or tel. +358 20 756 9450.

Ecobio Manager – Regulation Tracking and Chemical Management Service