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Bio-resources: feeding a sustainable chemical industry: Faraday Discussion

19 - 21 June 2017, London, United Kingdom



There is a rapid growth of interest in the use of renewable resources, and in particular bio-resources for the manufacture of future, sustainable chemicals and materials.  The latest USDA report on the potential for bio-based products indicates 10% chemical market penetration by 2015 with ultimately 50,000 eco-products representing a global market value of $1 trillion and the creation of over 200,000 jobs in the US alone

This movement is encouraged by end-user concerns over security of supply (of products based on traditional but diminishing feedstocks), legislation forcing substitution of many common (typically petroleum-based) chemicals, new standards for bio-based products designed to stimulate the markets in Europe and the USA, incentives (e.g. the US bio-preferred programme) and consumer pressure. 

The first significant market movement in this direction was with biofuels but the rush to produce these without proper consideration of competing uses for resources and the efficiency of the manufacturing processes lead to considerable debate over the true sustainability of the products and processes.  With increasing pressure in Europe, USA and elsewhere to move towards bio-based chemicals it is essential that we underpin the bio-economy with sound and well debated science and technology and that we embrace key chemical technologies including catalysis.


  • Bio-based materials
    What materials in the future will be bio-based or bio-derived?
    Should they be “drop in” replacements for existing materials or completely new materials?

    Can we find or make efficiently enough renewable aromatic compounds for us to continue to have a substantial number of high volume aromatic polymers?
  • Bio-based chemicals
    What proportion of future chemicals will be bio-based? 
    Should the focus be on specialities or commodities (or both)?
    What will be the key bio-based “platform molecules”?
    What are the drivers for bio-based chemicals?
    What are the likely feedstocks?
    How can we separate molecules from complex bio-based mixtures?
    How can we purify molecules from refined mixtures?
  • Conversion technologies
    What proportion of the bio-based market can be met from bio-transformations?
    How can modern chemical catalysis be exploited in the area?
    Can we fully exploit heterogeneous catalysis in the conversion of biomass to chemicals?
    Can we integrate bio- and chemo-technologies such as bio- and chemical catalysis?
    What is the future for alternative energy technologies (e.g. microwave)?
    Do we need new technologies?
    How can we match raw materials with market needs?
  • Feedstocks and analysis
    What are the most important feedstocks for a bio-based chemicals/materials industry?
    How important is the location of the feedstock?
    Do we need speciality non-food feedstocks?
    How can we analyse complex bio-based mixtures?
    How can we separate complex bio-based mixtures obtained from biomass?


This Faraday Discussion aims to address some of the critical issues in this field by bringing together experts in different but complementary areas in the chemical sciences. These issues include:
  • Which resources?
  • All chemicals or specialities only?
  • How can (green) chemistry complement biotechnology in the production of chemicals and materials?
  • Which catalytic technologies re best suited for the biomass challenge and what are the knowledge gaps?
  • Can we use the synthetic chemistry toolkit to create a new chemistry set based on (bio-derived) platform molecules?
  • How can (green) chemistry help the bio-energy (including bio-fuel) industries?
  • Do chemists understand enough about biomass?
  • What will be the most important biomass conversion technologies?
  • How can we address the complex separation and analysis issues associated with biomass chemistry?
  • What proportion of materials (especially polymers) can bio-based products replace?
  • Should bio-based chemicals and materials be drop-in or do we need to start new molecules and processes and create new formulations to deal with new components?
These topics are largely unresolved and sometimes controversial yet their solution is essential. This Faraday Discussion will provide the opportunity for discussion and networking of the multidisciplinary team needed to make good progress.


The Faraday Division have been organising high impact Faraday Discussions in rapidly developing areas of chemistry and its interfaces with other scientific disciplines for over 100 years. 

Faraday Discussions have a special format where research papers written by the speakers are distributed to all participants before the meeting, and most of the meeting is devoted to discussing the papers. Everyone contributes to the discussion - including presenting their own slide if it aids discussion.

Find out more about Faraday Discussions here.

Supporting Division

Organised by the Faraday Division in association with the Environment, Sustainability and Energy Division.
  • Bruce Dale (Introductory Lecturer) Michigan State University, United States
  • Andrzej Stankiewicz (Closing Remarks Lecturer) Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  • George Huber University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
  • Mark Mascal University of California, Davis, United States
  • Avtar Matharu University of York, United Kingdom
  • Xindong Mu QIBEBT, China
  • Gadi Rothenberg University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Keith Waldron Institute of Food Research, United Kingdom
  • Vania Zuin Federal University of Sao Carlos (UFSCar), Brazil

Abstract Submission
Submit your oral/paper abstract by 03 October 2016
Submit your poster abstract by 17 April 2017 - extended deadline

Oral Abstracts and Research Papers 

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 30 January 2017.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are sent to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume. 

Poster Abstracts  - deadline extended until 17 April

Submit your poster abstract by 17 April 2017. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference. 

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation. 
Registration for Bio-resources: feeding a sustainable chemical industry: Faraday Discussion will open in Autumn 2016.

Please read the registration information on this page before registering.
Register by clicking on the online registration link on this page.
Please note accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

Registration includes

  • Attendance at the sessions
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Lunch on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 June
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on Monday 19 June
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on Tuesday 20 June
  • A copy of the discussion pre-prints
  • A copy of the final theme issue of Bio-resources: feeding a sustainable chemical industry: Faraday Discussion containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 6 months after the meeting)**
For non-member registrants, membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2017
Registration fees are as follows:
Early Bird
(By 28 April 2017)
(By 22 May 2017)
Members* £335 £385
Non-members*** £435 £485
Student members** £160 £210
Student non-members £185 £235

Registration fees are VAT exempt.
* If you are an Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

**Excluding students, who can order the volume at a reduced price at the conference

***For non-member registrants, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry until the end of 2017, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Student Delegates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee (to include a set of pre-prints but not the final Discussion Volume) is available. This fee applies to those undertaking a full time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

A copy of the publication may be purchased at less than half price, only for orders placed at the meeting where an application form will be made available.

Conference Banquet

The conference banquet on Tuesday 20 June is included in the registration fee.
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Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry

We have a limited number of non-competitive travel grants of up to £200 for PhD and early career scientists travelling within their home country. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis and are available to members in the associate category and above.

We also offer grants of up to £800 to assist with travel expenses to participate at this meeting. These are available to members in the associate category and above, who are PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians) within 10 years of leaving full time education. 

 Please note that we recommend you submit your application a minimum of three months before you need a decision. We will be unable to consider any applications received within 8 weeks of the start of the conference.
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
A selection of sponsorship opportunities is available for companies who would like to promote their activities at Bio-resources: feeding a sustainable chemical industry: Faraday Discussion.
As well as booking a table top exhibition space, there are opportunities to sponsor social events, advertise in the abstract book or place a promotional item in delegate packs. A sponsorship menu document is available to download from this page with more details and prices.
Please note that exhibition spaces are limited, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
If you would like more information about sponsoring Bio-resources: feeding a sustainable chemical industry: Faraday Discussion, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on


We would like to thank GB3-NET for their sponsorship of speaker costs. Sponsorship Menu
The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA, United Kingdom

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