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A purification/regeneration process of spent plating baths base on functionalized magnetic nanoparticles.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PureNano (A purification/regeneration process of spent plating baths base on functionalized magnetic nanoparticles.)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-11-30

Surface finishing treatment bears a significant process applied in many industrial sectors with the view to extend the life of metallic components providing surface properties and functionalities via the application of coatings using electro and electroless plating baths. However, this continuous replenishment of chemical compounds leads to accumulation of by-products and decomposition product that burden the bath from its proper operation. Every year a total amount of 300.000 tons of hazardous waste is produced (an average of 16 tons per installation).
PureNano proposes a novel method for an in-situ purification/regeneration process of plating baths from contaminants and undesirable chemical species hindering the operation of the bath. PureNano proposes an innovative, low cost, sustainable method for purification of plating baths which will lead to a significant extension of their life having, as a result, the decrease of operation expenditures of plating shops, the decrease of environmental risks from the transportation of spent baths and the increase of process efficiency and products quality. It is based on the timely treatment of plating baths with functionalized magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), that can absorb in their surface the contaminants and chemical species that are accumulated.

PureNano’s objectives are in accordance with the topic SC5-01-2018, targeting in the fast and low-cost purification of spent plating baths and thus promoting aspects of circular economy and reuse of secondary raw materials, as plating solutions and metal ions.
The main objectives can be summarized as follows:
- Production of Hybrid MNPs by one-step precipitation process appropriate surface functionalization.
- Develop a purification method by designing a separation for the MNPs that will be integrated in the plating bath lines.
- Set up a demonstrator by designing the PureNano process in an electroless and electrolytic lines.
- IPR protection by organizing an IPR strategy describing the IPR handling procedures.
- Market identification by identifying the most promising exploitable results.
The key results for the first 18 months of the project can be summarized below:
- Development of a one stage phase (formation with simultaneous functionalization) of MNPs and characterization of the MNPs produced (MS3 “First successful operation of the upscaled MNPs production line”)
- Study of specific functionalization routes of MNPs using bio-degradable biopolymers (chitosan, cellulose, starch, lignin) (MS4 “Anionic coating Functionalization of MNPs and formulations established”)
- Design of the purification plant and development of engineering documentation (conceptual, basic, detailed engineering) for the efficient purification of the plating baths utilizing the MNPs. Preliminary experiments for safe disposal/recycling of the used MNPs.
- Preliminary Health & Safety hazard analysis, activities for a circular business model, standards identification, definition and organization of training activities, ongoing LCA and LCC analysis, exploitation and dissemination activities.
The activities undertaken in the first reporting period aim to develop a fast and low-cost method for purification of spent plating baths, that includes the in-house reuse of plating baths as well as of secondary raw materials (ex. SiC NPs from CNano PL). The project promotes this was aspects of circular economy. The use of MNP aggregates for bath purification as well as the design of the purification system, foresee a decrease in use of hazardous chemicals for the purification of the plating baths minimizing thus health and safety risks. Additionally, the materials taken into consideration for MNPs functionalization include biopolymers such as cellulose, lignin and starch which are often by products of industrial processes and such activities contribute even further to the principals of circular economy and sustainability. Additionally, the preliminary results from the three routes under investigation for the reuse and disposal of used MNPs, are promising and contribute as well to the principles of circular economy.
The ongoing activities aim at presenting to the European industry a novel recycling/purification technology that may present significant benefits for the plating industry and address the EU’s sustainable objectives. The development of this new technology has already created new knowledge on nanomaterials and on the ways to effectively use them in markets related to waste water treatment such as the plating industry. Future activities aim at presenting the technology to new markets and increase the competitiveness of the industries that will adopt the technology which will also create new job opportunities for highly skilled directly or indirectly involved in the industrial application of the technology.
Finally, the one step production method for MNPs as well as the simple design of the purification system and its potential use in other waste water treatment industries apart from the plating industry, will increase competitiveness and growth of companies adopting the technology. Demonstration activities as well as MNPs reuse methods to be implemented in the next reporting period will be an opportunity for strengthening the competitiveness of the European industry, moving decisively towards a prosperous and sustainable economy.
PureNano concept