Conservation of scarce natural resources is one of the RSC's top ten 'Chemistry for Tomorrow's World' challenges. It is concerned with the decreasing world availability of primary elemental resources, which are becoming potentially more pressing than the decreasing supply of oil. Raw materials for both existing industries and future applications are increasingly scarce and we need to develop a range of alternative materials and associated new processes for recovering valuable components.
Europe and the UK are relatively poor in critical materials, but also less likely to welcome mining developments, and so rely on importing such supplies from other parts of the world. As global demand of strategic elements increases, the UK is likely to become vulnerable to shortfalls in supply. Thus identification of new and emerging technologies, which will reduce the reliance on materials from abroad is vital.
An event was held on the 3rd October 2011 to examine the complex challenges and opportunities faced by industry in the energy and consumer product sectors that rely on scarce natural resources to manufacture their products.
There were talks from Rolls Royce, Chemistry Innovation Knowledge Transfer Network and the Technology Strategy Board who set the scene before delegates were asked to break out into sessions to discuss where the UK sits in this vast area of research and development to alleviate strain from this challenge.
Participants included industry, academia, Government institutions, professional bodies.
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