Earlier this month the triennial PVC conference took place, this year held on the sunny shores of Brighton. From sustainability and success stories to studies and statistics, it was a well-attended event with some interesting insights. However, it would seem that the argument over the use of shale gas is still very much dividing opinion. In his keynote address, Jonathon Porritt, Founder of UK-based sustainable development organisation, Forum for the Future, outlined his visions for the PVC industry, suggesting to delegates that this should not be one that utilises fracking to tap into shale gas reserves in both the UK and Europe.
The PVC 2014 Conference was held in Brighton this year
Porritt told the conference that the use of shale gas would only provide a “quick fix” and that despite the obvious benefits being reaped in North America, these would only be short-lived. Instead, he suggested that the UK would be better off spending its resources on research into the development of biotechnology and biofuels in order to ensure a sustainable future for the industry. This view was later contested by Roger Mottram of Ineos ChlorVinyls, who made clear his opinion that utilising shale gas reserves in both the UK and Europe would be a way of ensuring supply whilst non-fossil fuels were developed, as well as making the EU stronger. Peter Davis, the Diretor-General of the BPF, who chaired the session, backed Mottram’s sentiments wholeheartedly, stating he “agreed entirely” with the need to utilise shale gas reserves. It would seem that once again, PVC has been drawn into battle, somewhat accidentally, between the environmentalists and the industry. What will happen in the long term remains to be seen, but I for one will be interested to see where we are at when I attend the next conference in 2017.
Speaking of industry events, this week saw the official registration for Interplas 2014 open. Anyone wishing to visit the show can now book their place for free, giving access to not only 400 exhibitors, a three-day conference programme and related technology sessions, but also access to neighbouring technology shows and the opportunity to network with some of the industry’s leading lights. Head to www.interplasuk.com/register.html to register.