necessary whatever the source of energy being used by the CPI, with priority given to research and development in the following areas:
More energy efficient separation processes. Chemical processes typically include one or more energy intensive separation steps. Distillation is by far the most energy intensive. In contrast, membrane separations, adsorption, and extractions tend to be lower energy intensive processes. However, there are significant technical challenges that currently limit the use of these alternative separation processes and that must be overcome to realize significant reductions in the energy intensity of the CPI.
Utilization of improved catalysts for energy reduction and selectivity increases. Biotechnological and other emerging technological solutions need to be explored to reduce the energy intensity of the CPI. In contrast to the typical catalysts in chemical reactions that require high temperatures and pressures while offering low selectivity, biocatalytic approaches and new developments in nanoscience have the ability to provide greater specific catalytic activity under mild reaction conditions. In the case of enzymes, such activity can be very specific under mild reaction conditions, while at the same time being biodegradable and produced from renewable resources. Such approaches present possible solutions for reducing the energy intensity of the CPI, and as a way of creating innovative solutions for future generations without harming the environment.
Improvements in energy efficiency for the production of biofuels and biofeedstocks. A major challenge for sustainability in the chemical industry is how to reduce the energy intensity of biofuel and biofeedstock production (see Chapter 3 of this report for more discussion). There is a need for an effective biomass feedstock process to recover not only hemi-cellulose and sugars for oxygenated molecular building blocks but also lignin as a source of aromatic molecules.
Development of more effective lubricants. A vast amount of the energy used by modern societies is wasted as a result of unproductive friction in internal combustion and aircraft engines, gears, cams, seals, and bearings. Fundamental understanding of how lubrication works is needed to allow design and selection of compounds and mixtures with the appropriate properties. There also needs to be development of more stable, higher temperature lubricants
Step change improvements in the use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources. While reduction in energy intensity and improvements in energy efficiency are absolutely vital for the sustainability of the