Energy efficiency and resource conservation are the central themes of the special review at K 2010

Plastics and rubber stand for endless new applications with the power to inspire and fascinate. Most recently, the fact that plastics are exceptionally energy-efficient has been assuming an ever-more prominent role. Plastics are the key to resource-conserving technologies characterised by low materials consumption. The use of plastics brings major benefits in, for example, heat insulation of buildings, as well as mobility through lightweight design in cars, buses, trains and aircraft. Plastics are indispensable for the expansion of renewable energies. The range of applications for plastics in modern energy technology is vast, stretching from wind turbine rotor blades, which can only be produced using fibre-composites, to membranes in fuel cells, and to photovoltaic cells, which will be printed on a grand scale on membranes with the help of plastics technology. Numerous examples of energy-saving applications and resource-conserving production processes will be on show at K 2010, the world’s largest trade fair for plastics and rubber, in Düsseldorf from 27 October to 3 November.

The presentations by machinery and equipment manufacturers, raw materials producers and plastics processors will this year be flanked by a special review entitled “Visions in Polymers”. On the basis of examples from different areas of life, the review will reveal which development trends can be discerned, and which innovations the industry has in its pipelines. Here, too, special emphasis will be placed on the themes of energy efficiency and resource conservation. The multimedia exhibition – including film sequences, articles and selected exhibits – will highlight the significant contributions that plastics are already making today and the opportunities they offer for tomorrow. Furthermore, in daily panel discussions, top-ranking scientists will address questions as to how the future could look.

This special review will be of interest not only to exhibitors and trade visitors to K 2010 but also to the general public. It is organised by the German plastics industry under the auspices of PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V. and Messe Düsseldorf.

The special review will focus on six main themes:

· Energy

This will sound out ways of capturing the sun's energy and expanding the use of renewable energies, not least by creating efficient electronic applications with the help of functional surfaces.

· Sustainability

Focal areas will be measures to counteract global warming, e.g. through economical and intelligent construction and design concepts. The opportunities here are by no means exhausted!

· Mobility

Innovative lightweight structures which also offer enhanced safety and comfort will be the hallmarks of tomorrow’s mobility.

· Communication

Many developments in communication technology can only be accomplished with advanced, high-performance plastics – what do research and industry hold in store for the future?

· Food

A vast range of applications in the cultivation, storage, transport, packaging and protection of foodstuffs highlight the merits of plastics, which also offer solutions for efficient use of water. Resource-conservation and environmental protection will continue to predominate as key aspects of developments here.

On six days during K 2010, current topics will be discussed by a panel of experts on the stage at the special exhibition in Hall 6. From 11 to 12 a.m., speaking in German or in English on alternate days, the panel members at each session will explore perspectives for the future from various angles. A day has also been reserved at this K special review specifically for exchanges with the younger generation: “Young people meet ...”.

The opening discussion on Wednesday, 27 October, led by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Rieger from the Wacker chair of Macromolecular Chemistry at the Technical University of Munich, will centre around “CO2 as a raw material.” The discussion will take place in English.

“Energy efficiency in plastics processing” is the topic for the session on Thursday, 28 October. Prof. Dr. Johannes Wortberg from the Institute for Product Engineering of the University of Duisburg-Essen will lead this German-language panel discussion.

“Lightweight construction with plastics” will be the theme of the discussion in English on Friday, 29 October. The panel will be headed by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Volker Altstädt, University of Bayreuth.

“Surfaces” will be the subject discussed (in German) on 30 October by the panel led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Rehahn from the Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry of the TU of Darmstadt.

Prof. Dr. Rolf Mülhaupt, Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry of the University of Freiburg, will be the moderator at the session on 1 November, which will focus on “Intelligent materials”. The experts will be speaking in English.

The final session on 2 November will deal with “Plastics and resource efficiency”. It will be chaired by Dr.-Ing. Martin Bastian of the plastics centre, Süddeutsches Kunststoffzentrum. (In German).

The discussion groups on Sunday, 31 October, will centre on environmental aspects, future prospects, educational and career opportunities. Young people are invited to join in and learn about the way materials are used, for example in car-making, about resource conservation, activities undertaken by the industry, as well as the opportunities offered by the German educational system today, and trends in the employment market. They will have the chance to talk to a number of experts including Prof. Dr. Rolf Mülhaupt, Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry of the University of Freiburg, and Prof. Ernst Schmachtenberg, Rector of the RWTH Aachen University (11:00 to 11:30 h); Prof. Rudolf Stauber, Chairman of the Committee on Plastics in Automotive Engineering, VDI (12:30 to 13:00 h); Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Board Member of BASF SE (14:00 to 14:45 h); Patrick Thomas, CEO of Bayer MaterialScience AG (15:30 to 16:00 h); as well as Hans-Theodor Kutsch, Managing Director of Albis Plastic GmbH, and Dr. Frank Schneider, Management Board Chairman of SOLVAY GmbH (16:30 to 17:15 h). Critical questions will be welcome!

Some 3,100 exhibiting companies and well over 200,000 trade visitors are expected to attend K 2010 in Düsseldorf from 27 October to 3 November. The world’s biggest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry will be occupying all 19 halls of the Düsseldorf exhibition centre. The centre will be open from 10 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. daily from Wednesday, 27 October, to Wednesday, 3 November 2010. A one-day admission ticket costs EUR 55 at the gate (EUR 49 plus postage when purchased via online ticketing). Schoolchildren, students and apprentices/trainees pay a reduced fee of EUR 15. The three-day admission ticket costs EUR 120 at the gate (EUR 108 plus postage via online ticket sales).