Chemical Sustainability: The Train is Gathering Momentum, Are Risks Lying Around the Bend?

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Chemical Sustainability: The Train is Gathering Momentum, Are Risks Lying Around the Bend?

Monday, 9 September
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Technical and economic development for energy transition, reduced greenhouse gases, and plastic circularity is accelerating rapidly for the petrochemical industry. The plastics industry is now fully engaged in a transformation that will require unprecedented investment to scale new recycling technologies. Stakeholders who are leading the industry transition are redefining their business models and embracing new levers to overcome disruptions that inevitably arise when redefining a value chain. This program will explore the various levers and supporting policies needed to effect a successful transition to a circular plastics industry from the perspectives of various stakeholder groups.

Nick Vafiadis, Vice President, Plastics, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 

Session 1: State of Play – Recycling Technology & Assets

The Plastics Industry is now fully engaged in a transformation that will require unprecedented investment to scale new recycling technologies. Mechanical recycling is poised to expand globally and incorporate leading-edge, AI-supported, processes to improve recycling rates, yields, and quality while expanding capabilities to recycle more difficult formats, including flexibles. Chemical recycling technology scaling is accelerating while sourcing the necessary volumes of processed plastic waste remains wholly inadequate. This panel is planned to provide insight into the technologies and investments that will transform the plastics industry and discuss views for igniting a truly revolutionary transition to a circular plastics ecosystem.

J. Scott Saunders, General Manager Recycling Division, KW Plastics 
Albert Douer, UBQ
Speaker to be announced 
Heather Cykoski, Senior Vice President, Industrial and Process Automation, Schneider Electric  
Moderator: Robin Waters, Executive Director, Circular Plastics Service, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS
Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated networking break. Sessions to resume at 10:40 AM.

Session 2: State of Play – Circular Plastics Transition Levers

Stakeholders who are leading the industry transition to a circular ecosystem for plastic are redefining their business models and embracing new levers to overcome disruptions that inevitably arise when redefining a value chain. Re-design of products and packaging to extend material use, incorporate repair and reuse, and provide value-added end-of-life disposition are all disrupting the linear model for plastics production that has been finely tuned over decades. New business models are emerging and the lines that historically separated waste management, recycling, and chemical companies are blurring quickly. Advancing circular solutions will also require unprecedented alignment of effective policies to affect fiduciary management of plastics on a global scale. This panel is planned to provide a picture of an industry transforming itself, building upon a history of innovation that has proved essential to supporting human life.

April Crow, Vice President, External Affairs and Investor Relations, Circulate Capital
Ganesh Nagarajan, Senior Director, Plastics, Waste Management 
Speaker to be announced
Natalie Stirling-Sanders, Head of the Americas, Alliance to End Plastics Waste 
Moderator: Robin Waters, Executive Director, Circular Plastics Service, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Sessions to resume at 2:00 PM after lunch.

Session 3: CBAM – Can Petrochemicals Gain Insights from the Steel Industry?

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is a policy the EU is implementing to “level the playing field” for the domestic industry, encumbered by the EU carbon dioxide reduction policy, to compete fairly with imports from regions not on the same CO2 reduction trajectory. The CBAM rules are phased in by industry prioritized by the EU. In the first phase steel, amongst others, is feeling the full impact of CBAM rules and may offer some indication on what petrochemicals will likely face once they are rolled into the policy. Join us at WCF for an engaging conversation on how the steel industry is adapting to CBAM.

Moderator: Steve Lewandowski, Vice President Global Olefins, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Claude Letourneau ,CEO, Svante Technologies
Duncan Pitchford, President and Head of Commercial, Hydro Aluminum Metals USA

Make new connections or join familiar faces during this dedicated networking break. Sessions to resume at 4:00 PM.

Session 4: Syngas: Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide Investments Abound; Ammonia is Now a Key Product to Go Blue/Green

Why blue/green ammonia? Ammonia is a critical building block not only for many petrochemicals but also for conversion to Urea for agriculture. Ammonia though is one of the largest CO2 emitters in the traditional production routes and addressing these emissions is at the forefront of activity. Significant government support has come into play to catalyze investments. Is this a needle mover? What does the world of supply/demand for ammonia look like? And does ammonia have a viable role to play as a carbon-free fuel for ships? Please join us at the World Chemical Forum to participate in this assessment of where ammonia is headed.

Jeff Erhardt, Chief Executive Officer, Mattiq

Green ammonia can play a critical role in the energy transition serving as an effective energy carrier for hydrogen and as a climate-friendly alternative to bunker fuel for the maritime industry. Current methods of extracting energy from ammonia have shortcomings which make ammonia fuel economics challenging. Direct ammonia fuel cells, an emerging technology, generate clean power without combustion or thermal cracking, improving efficiency and cost-effectiveness while avoiding hydrogen fuel cell damage. Innovation in electrochemical processes is critical for these fuel cells to achieve commercial adoption. Mattiq is accelerating electrochemical process development to make these fuel cells commercially viable for industrial decarbonization. Mattiq’s CEO, Jeff Erhardt, will speak about how developing electrochemical systems will accelerate the production of sustainable chemicals and reduce the chemical industry’s carbon footprint.

Maciek Lukawski, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Amogy
Today, ammonia serves primarily as a fertilizer, but its applications extend far beyond agriculture. As an accessible, lower-cost, and more energy dense solution than liquid hydrogen or batteries, ammonia is gaining traction as an alternative fuel to decarbonize the hard-to-abate sectors. Join Maciek Lukawski, VP of Strategy and Business Development at Amogy, for a presentation comparing the pros and cons of ammonia to other low-carbon fuels. Additionally, gain insights into Amogy’s progress in constructing the world’s first ammonia-powered vessel set to sail in 2024, and explore the pathway towards commercializing ammonia-based power solutions for maritime and stationary power.
Speaker to be announced 
Carl Roache, Director, Ammonia & Urea, Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS 
Session Speakers

April Crow Vice President, External Affairs and Investor Relations Circulate Capital

As a globally recognized Sustainability leader, April has more than two decades of experience working throughout the value chain in a diverse set of roles in Sustainability, Scientific & Regulatory Affairs and Quality.  In 2018 she helped launch Circulate Capital, an investment management firm dedicated to incubating and financing companies that prevent the flow of ocean plastic waste to the world’s ocean and advancing the circular economy where she currently leads Investor Relations and External Affairs. Previously, she worked as Senior Director, Environment & Sustainability for The Coca-Cola Company providing leadership for the company’s environmental, sustainability and governance platform. April has been one of the leading industry voices -- pushing forward research, coalitions and programs to help understand and tackle the marine debris issue and advancing the Circular Economy.  She has developed and managed programs and collaborative efforts in partnership with government, industry and non-government organizations.  She was instrumental in the founding of the Trash Free Seas Alliance and was a founding member American Institute for Packaging and the Environment. She served on the Executive Committee for the Michigan State University Center for Packaging Innovation, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, the Ocean Exchange, NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuaries Business Advisory Council and as an advisor for the New Materials Institute. An active volunteer and mother of two, she was named to the University of Georgia’s 40 under 40 for her impact in business, leadership, community, and philanthropic endeavors.  She has served as a trustee for the 4-H Foundation, the University of Georgia Alumni Association, the Captain Planet Foundation and Leadership Georgia.

Heather Cykoski Senior Vice President, Industrial and Process Automation Schneider Electric

Heather Cykoski, Senior Vice President, Industrial and Process Automation, Member of the Executive Leadership Team, leads the Industrial Automation business in North America to be our customer’s digital and automation partner for sustainability and resiliency. A passionate global business leader with 25 years of international experience leading multi-divisional, multi-cultural teams across the energy value chain, Heather brings a strong track record of excellence in both business and leadership. She began her career at the Foxboro Company in 1998, as a member of the Professional Leadership Program, with roles in engineering and business development. Starting in 2005, she held several leadership roles at ABB in marketing, sales, and strategic investments. Joining as North American Manager for British Petroleum and Shell in 2007, Vice President, Group Accounts, working with The Dow Chemical Company, successfully executing chemical plants and new investments in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and North America. In 2010, she led ABB’s partnership with Dow Chemical and Saudi Aramco’s joint venture from concept through lifecycle, in Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia. In 2012, she managed Group Strategic Project investments including East Africa’s liquid natural gas and North America’s gulf coast chemical and liquid natural gas investments. Most recently, leading ABB’s global Engineering, Procurement, and Construction Industry business. In August 2023, Heather returned to Schneider Electric with a clear mandate to be an “impact maker” in energy transition, harnessing the full portfolio and strength of our company, AVEVA, and strategic partnerships. In addition to her professional experience, Heather is deeply involved in the community and is a fierce advocate of women in STEM. She serves on the Board of Directors of Fluitron and the World of Affairs Council. She has been honored with the Gamechangers Progress Champion Award in 2022 and 2023; WeQual Americas Leadership Excellence Award in 2021 and named a Global Leader of Influence, World Affairs in 2021; 10 Most Influential Women in Technology 2020 and a member of the Global Women’s Forum for Economy & Society, Paris France. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University and IMD’s Executive Leadership from IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Heather resides in Houston, Texas with her husband and two daughters.

Albert Douer Executive Chairman and Co-CEO UBQ Materials

Albert Douer is Executive Chairman and Co-CEO of UBQ Materials, which developed the world’s first bio-based thermoplastic made entirely household waste, including all organics. For the first 35 years of his career, Douer worked at the Darnel Group, where he and his father grew a small family business in Colombia into a leader in the construction materials and food packaging industry with operations in over 15 countries. Today, in addition to leading UBQ Materials, he is a board member of Daika Wood, a company turning wood waste back into virgin wood, saving forests and natural habitats, and Biotic, an early-stage startup developing natural polymers to replace plastic in food packaging. Douer serves as a board member of Endeavor, a global organization supporting and mentoring high-impact entrepreneurs. Douer received his A.B. in Economics at Harvard University and MBA in Accounting and Finance from the Wharton School of Business.

Jeff Erhardt Chief Executive Officer Mattiq

Jeff Erhardt, Mattiq Chief Executive Officer is a technology leader and entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in artificial intelligence (AI) and material science. Most recently he was Executive Vice President, Intelligent Systems at General Electric, where he led industrial AI efforts following the company’s acquisition of, where he was CEO. Erhardt holds more than 30 patents, and an engineering degree from Cornell.

Claude Létourneau President & CEO Svante Technologies Inc

Claude Létourneau, President & CEO of Svante Technologies Inc. (Svante), is an industrial projects veteran renowned for his dynamic leadership. With a proven track record of steering large-scale projects from laboratory inception to full-scale industrial implementation, Mr. Létourneau is a visionary thinker whose approach is characterized by the 3Es of leadership – effort, energy, and excitement. Possessing over three decades of experience in advancing technology development and commercialization, Claude plays a pivotal role in positioning Svante as a global leader in the development of a CO2 Marketplace. His illustrious career includes senior management roles at industry giants such as Canam Group Inc., SNC-Lavalin Inc., and Kontron Embedded Computers AG. Additionally, he has founded two technology companies, Vaperma, Inc. (specializing in membrane-based gas separation) and Avestor Inc. (focusing on thin-film lithium polymer batteries). Claude Létourneau's influential leadership extends beyond his role at Svante, earning him recognition as one of the World's Most Influential Decision Makers by the Wall Street Journal CEO Council. This prestigious acknowledgment underscores his impact on the global stage and his commitment to driving positive change in the industry. A bilingual executive, Claude leverages his diverse expertise to forge strategic alliances and partnerships with like-minded industry leaders. His comprehensive understanding of technology development positions Svante for rapid business scale-up, guided by an aggressive time-to-market game plan. Educationally, Claude holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s in Chemical Engineering from the esteemed University Laval in Quebec, Canada. Grounded in both theoretical knowledge and practical application, Claude Létourneau continues to lead Svante toward a future where environmental responsibility and carbon capture initiatives redefine industry standards.

Steve Lewandowski Vice President, Global Olefins & Derivatives Team Lead Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Mr. Lewandowski is the Vice President of Global Olefins & Derivatives at Chemical Market Analytics. Based in Houston, Steve Lewandowski is the Vice President - Olefins at Chemical Market Analytics (CMA) by OPIS, a Dow Jones Company, a leading global provider of information, insight and consulting services to the global chemical and petrochemical. During a career spanning 30 + years in the refining and chemical industry, Steve has experience across the spectrum of refining and petrochemical hydrocarbon value chains covering various financial, strategic, technical and commercial roles. Before his move to Chemical Market Analytics, Steve was Senior Manager of Base Chemicals at TOTAL Petrochemicals & Refining, Inc. In that capacity, he managed the P&L of the base chemicals business, including joint venture relationships, strategic guidance to the partnerships, plant operational interfaces, project development, and commercial responsibility for olefin and aromatic monomers, including styrene. Before the Base Chemical Senior Manager role, Steve had increasing responsibilities within the Petrochemical business at TOTAL. The latest assignment was overseas, in Brussels, Belgium, where he was responsible for the Global Aromatics long-term commercial business activity. The assignment included P&L responsibility and strategic project development for TOTAL worldwide. Before the Belgian assignment, he worked as manager of the US aromatics business. Before 2000, Steve was involved in the refining and fuels side of the Hydrocarbon chain both for what was then FINA Oil and Chemical and for Star Enterprise (a joint venture between Texaco and Saudi Aramco), working as a process engineer, optimization engineer, fuels blending optimizer, branded/unbranded fuels marketing and supply lead, and in a business development role. Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Michigan State University in 1987 and an MBA with a focus on finance and economics from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2000.

Ganesh Nagarajan Senior Director, Plastics Waste Management

Dr. Ganesh Nagarajan is the Senior Director of Plastics at WM.  He leads WM initiatives towards increasing recycling, unlocking supply and recovery of plastic from waste streams.  He is additionally responsible for value creation and stake holder engagement.  Prior to WM, Dr. Nagarajan worked at LyondellBasell for over two decades in multiple roles including Application Development, Sales, Marketing & Business Management.  He also supported the development of numerous recycling projects as a thematic expert for the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, as well as an Executive Advisory Board Member of Cyclyx. His international assignments include roles as Marketing and Sales Manager for Northeast Asia and Australia at Basell Asia Pacific Limited and as Managing Director for Basell Polyolefins India Limited.  

Maciek Lukawski Vice President of Strategy and Business Development Amogy

Maciek Lukawski is the VP of Strategy and Business Development at Amogy, where he focuses on the commercialization of Amogy’s ammonia-to-power technology across the maritime, power generation, and heavy-duty transportation sectors. Before joining Amogy, Maciek worked at ExxonMobil in technical and commercial roles ranging from development of next-generation hydrogen and LNG technologies to M&A. Maciek holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University and MS in Renewable Energy Systems from the University of Iceland.

Carl Roache Executive Director, Ammonia and Urea Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Carl Roache is the Executive Director of Ammonia and Urea at Chemical Market Analytics. Carl Roache is the market director of ammonia and urea at Chemical Market Analytics (CMA). He joined the company in 2024 and leads analysis and pricing globally from London, UK. Before joining CMA, Mr. Roache was EuroChem’s global business development manager for NPK fertilizers, based in Dubai, UAE. From here, he coordinated global NP/NPK sales from the company’s 1.2mn t/yr Antwerp plant. Before this, he was EuroChem’s Asia NPK business development lead, based in Singapore, where he developed and executed an NPK growth strategy, widening commercial territory and facilitating increased sales. Mr Roache has also worked for price reporting agencies within the fertilizer sector in the UK and Asia, including spells as global nitrogen and potash lead (ICIS) and Europe and Asia regional editorships (Argus Media). He has completed executive strategy, financial analysis, and management training, as well as a first-class honors degree in American and English History from the University of East Anglia, UK. Mr Roache is an NCTJ/NCE qualified newspaper journalist, starting his career with Northcliffe Media group in the UK.

Natalie Stirling-Sanders Head of the Americas Alliance to End Plastics Waste

Natalie Stirling-Sanders is Head of the Americas for the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, a global non-profit organisation that focuses on enhancing waste management capacity and capability by improving collection, sorting, processing, and recycling systems, especially in underserved regions. With over 30 years of experience, Natalie has spent most of her career working at the intersection of business, government and civil society. While she has held a range of positions in the sustainability space, she has also run large global organisations focused on supply chain management, procurement and financial operations in the  oil and gas sector. She is currently chair emeritus of WEConnect International, an organisation that connects women-owned  businesses with global value chains. She has also previously served on boards, expert panels and cross sector  committees focused on economic development, responsible supply chains and immigrant settlement.

J. Scott Saunders General Manager, Recycling Division KW Plastics

Scott has almost 40 years of experience in the recycling industry and over 30 years’ experience in Plastics Recycling.  He is General Manager of KW Plastics, Recycling Division headquartered in Troy, Alabama.  KW is the largest recycler of HDPE and PP in North America and processes in excess of 500 million pounds annually of HDPE (#2) and PP (#5) scrap material streams into high quality Recycled Plastic Resin.  KW supplies blow molding and injection molding customers in the US, Mexico, Canada and Europe.  Scott has been active in industry associations for many years including: The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) since 2000 serving on the Supply Committee, Market Development Committee, APR Board of Directors. He is a past Vice- Chairman of the APR board as well as past Chairman of the APR Board. ISRI – now ReMA, since 2018 and was Chair of the Plastic Division from 2022-2024. He is a current member of the Board of Directors State of Colorado – Producer Responsibility Advisory Board Member – Since 2023.

Robin Waters Executive Director, Circular Plastics & Chemicals Sustainability Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS

Robin Waters is the Executive Director of Chemical Market Analytics. Robin is responsible for content development for the Circular Plastics business for the Base Chemicals & Plastics group. In this role, Mr. Waters manages the Research & Insight for the Circular Plastics Service, which covers the dynamics and implications of the plastics transition from a linear to a circular economy. His responsibilities cover a broad spectrum of the circular plastics value chain, including regulations and policies, mechanical- and chemical-recycle technology and economics, plastic waste supply and disposition, price and margin projections, strategic responses to sustainability, evaluation of new business models and macro-industry implications. He also serves as a subject matter expert for other market advisory services, single-client projects, and polyolefins and plastics sustainability studies. Mr. Waters joined Chemical Market Analytics by OPIS on June 1, 2022, following the acquisition of IHS Markit Base Chemicals, having joined IHS Markit in September 2012 as Director of Polyolefins North America. He brings over 30 years of industry experience with DuPont and LyondellBasell in various commercial management roles in the polyolefins, specialty polymers and plastic films industries. Robin received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Georgia and an MBA from the University of Miami.

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