E2P2L is a unique International Research & Innovation Hub in China, at the interface between industry & academia, dedicated to Eco-Innovation for Sustainable Chemistry. The aim of this multi-disciplinary international team is to develop new eco-efficient products and processes capable of reducing our dependence on oil. The nature of the scientific challenges requires the combination of numerous key skills to overcome the technological barriers and develop solutions. For this reason, E2P2 has positioned itself as an open laboratory and is developing international collaborations between Chinese and European academic laboratories and also industrial partnerships.
This laboratory was set up in November 2011 in Shanghai and is a joint research unit (UMI 3464) which was initially established by the French National Scientific Center (CNRS), Solvay, the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of Lyon and the East China Normal University (ECNU). In 2013, the University of Lille and the University of Fudan also joined this international research consortium.
Sustainable mega-trends are pushing for cleaner products & processes in Specialty Chemicals markets. In some cases biobased chemicals can be the answer, while in other cases the processes have to be fully re-engineered. Unfortunately, in many instances incremental innovation is not sufficient to deliver the much needed benefits and breakthrough solutions are typically blocked by complex scientific or technological locks. In addition, in the case of biobased chemicals, the markets are still not ready to pay a large premium for switching from non-renewable materials. In this context, a strong innovation capability is essential to identify solutions that can be both environmentally friendly and economical. However, the challenges associated with such targets both a large spectrum of competences and a deep understanding of the science. By combining scientific and industrial excellence focused on Eco-Innovation, E2P2L is a unique team capable of inventing and developing breakthrough innovation.
In our mind, chemistry is not the problem but part of the solution to sustainability. However, we cannot afford to develop any new product or process and Eco-Efficiency is key. Eco-Efficiency combines both benefits for the environment and economic dimension. The impact of the environment can today be evaluated with some level of precision while cost of products and processes are key to ensure their acceptability in the markets.
In any case, developing new chemicals that are both “clean” and “affordable” will require a significant dose of innovation and in many case breakthrough innovation are necessary.
Why in China
The strong growth of China and increasing quality of its researchers and students represent a huge opportunity both for fundamental and applied chemistry. Also, China faces some urgent environmental challenges and the Chinese government supports strongly research in the related fields, thus developing a fertile ground for new technologies.
E2P2 is a unique international hub in China bringing together both top universities from France and China along with a European industrial partner having a strong footprint in China. Such consortium allows to tackle ambitious projects targets that can benefit both Europe and China in the field of sustainable chemistry.