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Consultation Forum

Innovation: the way from pure to applied chemistry

9 August 2003 - Ottawa, Canada

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Panel I - Innovative Process and its modalities
Paper N1.4 - Innovation in the US Chemical Industry
Parry M. Norling, DuPont, CR&D, USA

Abstract: The US chemical industry has been facing consolidation, increased competition, reduced earnings, and declining market values. The "traditional" chemical industry (excluding life sciences) has seen its innovation rate dive during the past decade, as its R&D intensity (ratio of R&D spending to sales) has declined from 6% to 4%. While the US chemical industry is indeed large and mature, innovation may be the key to renewed growth. A study sponsored by the Council for Chemical Research found that for each dollar invested in chemical R&D produces approximately 2 dollars in income over the seven-year period. We will review a number of enabling tools that are being employed by the US chemical industry in efforts to spark this drive:

1) Modeling and simulation
Significant advances are being made in computational chemistry and modeling and simulation techniques. A number of modeling and simulation packages are now available.

2) Green Chemistry including bio-based processes.
CHEMRAWN XIV focused on green chemistry and our recent report "Next Generation Environmental technologies: Benefits and Barriers" looks at manufacturing processes derived from green chemistry. Many of these processes are bio-based using enzymes as the reaction catalyst.

3) Combinatorial chemistry and high-throughput experimentation
This methodology has enormous impact on the number of feasible options and solutions. The example of the results of collaboration between Smyx Technologies and Dow Chemical will be discussed. We will also mention some of the steps being taken by the US Government to promote innovation that can impact the chemical industry.

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