[:en]Nanomaterials for easy­emptying packaging, self­cleaning solar panels and lighter automotive components[:]

[:en]A new research project aims to introduce nanoparticles into packaging, automotive and solar panels to improve their features

  1. At the end of life of a tube, as much as 30% of the product can be wasted due to difficulties for the consumer to get it out!
  2. ­ Solar panels lose up to 40% of their energy harvesting potential due to rain and dirt resting on them.
  3. Every additional 100 kg of car weight leads to increased fuel consumption by 0,4L per 100 km and 10 g of CO2 per km, the main greenhouse gas


What can Nanotechnology do for us?

The OPTINANOPRO project kicked off this week with the objective of developing different approaches for a seamless introduction of nanotechnology in the existing production lines of packaging, automotive and organic photovoltaic materials.

In terms of improved functionalities, nanotechnology can provide packaging with improved barrier properties to maximise material suitability for their target application as well as tailored surface properties resulting in easytoempty features that will on the one hand reduce product wastes at consumer level and, on the other hand, improve their acceptability by recyclers.

Likewise, solar panels can be selfcleaning to increase their effectiveness and extend the period between their maintenance and their lifetime by filtering UV light leading to material weathering. And in the automotive sector, lightweight parts can be obtained for greater fuel  efficiency.

OPTINANOPRO is an R&D project funded by the European Commission under the H2020 programme handled by a consortium of 15 partners from all around Europe under the IRIS coordination, that will focus on the development and industrial integration of tailored online dispersion and monitoring systems to ensure a constant quality of delivered materials.

Nanocomposites are promising for many sectors, as they have been proved to make polymers stronger, less water and gas permeable, tune surface properties, add functionalities such as antimicrobial effects. In spite of intensive research activities, significant efforts are still needed to deploy the full potential of nanotechnology in the industry. To the end of OPTINANOPRO, during the three years of project duration, a
group of enduser industries representatives from the three sectors will work together on integrating the resultant new nanotechnologies in existing production lines using process optimisation systems in terms of nanoparticle dispersion and control systems, while also taking into account nanosafety, environmental, productivity and costeffectiveness issues.[:]

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