Chemistry Talks

President’s Column

Enjoying the EuChemS Chemistry Congress

I am writing this column while waiting for my flight after having spent the past week in Lisbon attending the 8th EuChemS Chemistry Congress. What a week it has been!

It started in the days before the conference with the EuChemS General Assembly and a meeting with the Professional Networks with fruitful discussions on the strategy of EuChemS and choosing the new President-Elect, Angela Agostiano, and the new treasurer, Hans-Peter Lüthi. On Sunday afternoon the conference took off with lectures of two EuChemS Gold Medal awardees, Michele Parrinello and Dame Carol Robinson, setting the tone for the rest of the week which contained excellent science and many inspriring lectures. The organizers, headed by the President of the Portuguese Chemical Society, Artur Silva, and the Chair of the Scientific Committee, Luisa de Cola, had put together a magnificent program with many parallel sessions covering the full width of chemistry and beyond. Additionally, various workshops were organized often aimed at the younger part of the audience about topics such as Open Science, gender diversity, employability, and so on. On Tuesday morning, a panel discussion on ‘Zero Pollution’ was held with high-level speakers of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the German Chemical Society, the American Chemical Society, IUPAC and the European Chemical Society to draw attention to the problems associated with chemical pollution and the aim to set-up an Intergovernmental Panel to address these challenges in a global, science-guided approach. Obviously, there was enough to do during the week and one could literally feel the enthusiasm of everyone being able to meet again on conferences like this.

The EuChemS booth, nicely overseeing the area with posters, exhibition booths and food during the breaks was the epicenter of many discussions with people interested in EuChemS affairs and meetings with representatives of a variety of organizations. To give some examples, we spoke with a delegation of the American Chemical Society (ACS), including ACS President Angela Wilson, to intensify collaborations on sustainability and we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Federation of Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology (EFMC) to jointly organize future scientific meetings.

Other highlights were the conference dinner on a nice location in Lisbon, with a surprise musical interlude by opera singers, and the award sessions near the end of the conference. Finally, on the Friday after the conference I attended the Delegate Assembly of the Young Chemists’ Network (EYCN), which was a perfect meeting to conclude a full but also highly rewarding week!

Floris Rutjes 
EuChemS President 

Why Is Natural Gas so Important for the Chemical Industry?

As we hear continuously in the media, Europe is facing great uncertainty regarding gas supplies, and at the same time, energy costs and raw materials prices are rising enormously. This is to a great extend related to Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine.

Natural gas consists primarily of methane. Hardly any other industry needs as much gas as the chemical industry. They use about 25 to 50 % of the natural gas as a raw material, while the rest is used to generate steam and power for plants and processes.

Read this highly illustrated article to learn what makes natural gas so special among fossil raw materials for the chemical industry.

You can find it here