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Nafen Report Summary

Project ID: 685213

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Nafen (Nano-particle based enhancement of composite and thermoplastic materials)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ANF Development proposes to develop applications for its nano fiber Nafen™, that will include Nafen™-modified thermoplastics and Nafen™-modified composite materials. The new nano materials will possess superior mechanical properties, which will allow weight reduction and durability increase for polymer finished products and replacement of traditional materials from their applications. ANF will sell to the polymer-processing industry worldwide.

ANF will address key challenges in using nano materials for polymer modification: difficulty to access nano fiber, which would give effect at low loadings and at the same time can be industrially available at low cost. Existing nano materials, which are currently used for this purpose, are either unavailable on large scale (single wall CNTs) or require high loads in polymer (multi-wall CNTs, nano silicas, nano clays).

ANF will install pilot production facilities for modified thermoplastics and modified composite materials, increase the capacity of Nafen production facility, prepare Nafen™ masterbatches in thermoplastics and composite materials and test masterbatches in house and at the production sites of industrial co-development partners. After that commercial contracts with interested partners will be signed.

With this solution, for the first time, applications will be developed for unique crystalline nano fiber Nafen™, which is industrially available at low cost and can be used at low loadings (<1%) in polymers. This makes it possible to (1) achieve polymer goods weight reduction by using less material or making more durable goods (2) achieve fuel economy over the lifecycle of airplanes and vehicles (3) replace traditional materials from their applications.

ANF receives several inquiries a week from various polymer industry companies and has agreed with number of them to test Nafen™ in their material or to co-develop Nafen™-modified polymers. Hence, interest in Nafen as nano enhancer for polymers can be demonstrated.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During the first 9 months of the project ANF Development OU has been focused on two main group of activates. First – building facility for Nafen™ synthesis, production of Nafen modification materials for plastics and composites (WP1, WP2, and WP3). Second – building strong relations with industrial partners, joint product development of Nafen™ modified materials for composites and plastics, and dissemination of project results (WP4, WP5, and WP6).
Together with industrial partner the first exploitable Nafen™ results for composites have been achieved and presented to the industry at exhibitions. The communication with patent office on three Nafen patents application and trademark were continued during the first 9 months of the project.
Following the principal of constant reporting 17 deliverables were submitted according to the project schedule. Three milestones – the first run of composite, plastics and Nafen™ facilities – were achieved.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Test results of Nafen™ modified materials that were performed in-house and at facilities of industrial partners confirmed 20-50% improvements in mechanical properties of end products. These results support our expectations on project impact that were stated in DoA. In addition to test results the price comparisons of Nafen – much less than Euro 1 per gr – and other nano materials – Euro 1 to Euro 10 per gr – gives Nafen unmet potential for market adoption.

Nafen™ modified bonding agents which are widely used in laminated composites (based on carbon and glass fibers) demonstrate enhancements of main mechanical properties by 30-45%, which could result in a decrease of up to 20% in the weight of finished goods made of composite material. This means that a new generation aircraft (e.g. A350XWB or Boeing 787), which consists of 50%+ of composite materials by weight would be able to reduce its total weight by up to 10%. For example, the Airbus A340 having a maximum weight of 275,000kg and typical empty weight of 129,000kg uses 9.275kg of fuel for every kilometer. If we apply a 10% reduction in empty weight, the aircraft would consume 8.840kg of fuel for every kilometer. Eventually, it could result in additional savings of 4.35 tons of fuel per 10 000 km of flight.

An average vehicle consists of at least 130 kg of plastics and composites (American Composites Manufacturers). Based on mechanical property improvements in composites and plastics with Nafen™ modifications, we might expect a 10% weight reduction resulting in 13kg weight savings per vehicle. This will result in a 1.04% average vehicle weight decrease, which is equivalent to 1 gr of CO2/km emission reduction.
OECD in its Environmental Outlook (2001) expects a substantial increase in transport activity by 2020. This indicator measured in motor vehicle kilometers travelled (VKT) will reach 20,000 billion VKT worldwide, including 5,000 billion VKT in Europe. Wide adoption of NafenTM enhanced polymers could lead to CO2 emission reduction by 20mn tonnes/year worldwide, including 5mn tonnes/year in Europe.

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