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  • GMIS America Forum in Pittsburgh convenes more than 70 expert speakers from governments and the private sector to drive discussions on how digital technologies can accelerate the global energy transition 
  • Panel discussions covered the role of manufacturers to drive the global energy transition, the circular economy and how finite resources demand changes to global supply chains 
  • Industry must play a pivotal role in helping energy system transition from hydrocarbons to clean energy sources in pursuit of net-zero future 
  • Industrialists urged to decouple economic growth from finite resources amid the fundamental shift in supply chains

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA – September 28, 2022: The first day of the inaugural US edition of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS America) opened with a firm call for energy leaders to increase collaboration efforts with industrial players to develop a practical roadmap for rapid decarbonization in wake of the current final decade of action to achieve the sustainable development goals.

Held under the theme of ‘‘Advancing global industrialization and net-zero,” day one of GMIS America held discussions on how digital technologies can accelerate the global energy transition and support the growth of sustainable manufacturing.

Hosted by the Honorable Thomas Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, GMIS America will convene more than 70 experts from governments and the private sector in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and provide a platform to mobilize the global manufacturing industry and enhance cooperation between American and Emirati industrial companies.

The day’s first panel discussion covered the role of industry and manufacturing in helping to drive the global energy transition. With 81% of the global energy system still based on hydrocarbons – the same percentage as 30 years ago – panelists discussed how Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies can solve the trifecta of challenges facing the energy sector – security, access and climate progress.

The panel featured global energy and industry leaders including Hilary Mercer, Senior Vice President of Shell Polymers at Shell; Allyson Book, Vice President of Energy Transition of Baker Hughes; Mark Johnson, Special Advisor at the Advanced Manufacturing Office of the US Department of Energy; Marcelo Carugo, VP of Global Industry Programs and Alliances of Emerson, and Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh.

During the opening panel, Book noted that the burden to reduce carbon emissions is not just on energy companies like Shell and many of their customers, but it is on the global economy, highlighting how industrialists are the fastest-growing carbon producers in the world, followed closely by power utilities, and home-heating providers, and transportation, according to DC-based non-profit organization, World Resources Institute. Mercer emphasized the importance of data trial in reducing the carbon footprint and being able to demonstrate to people that we are really doing what we are saying.

In the panel discussion that followed, the focus shifted to a future enabled by 4IR technologies. Panelists explored how industrial players can unlock value from decentralized supply chains as they push towards net zero goals. Eng. Omar Al Mahmoud, Chief Executive Officer of the ICT Fund was joined on the panel by Dr Lonnie Love, Corporate Fellow of the Energy & Transportation Division of Oakridge National Laboratory, and Tariq Al Hashimi, Director of Technology Adoption and Development at the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, to discuss financial policy mechanisms and increasing local production amid a decline in globalized supply chains.

Eng. Omar Al Mahmoud commented that at the core of the fourth industrial revolution is innovation and how we approach innovation should be like how we manage a supply chain where you plan and track it like a separate supply chain and if you keep at it then you’ll find solutions. Al Hashimi emphasised the importance of having financing toolkits that enable the private sector to drive the fourth industrial revolution. Al Hashimi said: “The 4IR technologies have a lot of potential but these are very risky investments and thus the private sector will be slow to invest.”

A discussion on the circular economy was next on the running order, focusing on the role of innovation and technology in developing industrial processes. Participants included Dr. Hakkan Jonsson, Chairman and President of Covestro USA, Dr. Melissa Bilec, William Kepler, Whiteford Professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, John Thayer, Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing of Nova Chemicals, and Steve Sikra, Vice President and Head of Americas at the Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

The panel discussed how decoupling economic growth from finite resources will require fundamental changes to supply chains, export markets and production and manufacturing processes. Thayer noted that polyethene is the world’s most widely used plastic and the demand for polyethene is going to continue to grow but what is changing and what will continue to change is the way source feedstock.

Thayer said: “What’s changing is where the feedstock comes from. More and more we will be looking for different feedstocks of recycled material. Those that are traditionally recycled like PET and high-density polyethene, but it will also be more hard-to-recycle items like low-density polyethene, and integrate those products into the feedstock.”

Thayer added that between now and 2030 to 2050, there will be great demand for plastics as these do more for less. It is also an important aspect of decarbonisation and energy efficiency to feed the world.

The final session of the day focused on Innovative Manufacturing in Life Sciences, featuring Jeanne Cunicelli, President of UPMC Enterprises, Michael Paglia, Chief Operating Officer of ElevateBio Basecamp and Dr. Anatha Shekar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.

The first day witnessed a gala dinner, and a special keynote delivered by Diane Holder, CEO of UPMC Health Plan. The day concluded with an impassioned keynote by CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta which followed by a fire-side chate moderated by Dr. Robert Friedlander, Chair of the department of neurological surgery at UPMC.

Tomorrow, the second day of GMIS America will see participants discussing supply chain resilience, the future of industrial services and how to scale sustainably and efficiently. Several sessions will also be held on opportunities for manufacturing in the United Arab Emirates, as well as fireside chats with global leaders and experts from across the industry.

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