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Improved Nano-Structure for Photocatalytic Efficient Cleaning of Surfaces

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - INSPECS (Improved Nano-Structure for Photocatalytic Efficient Cleaning of Surfaces)

Reporting period: 2019-02-01 to 2019-07-31

"THE PROJECT, ""INSPECS"" is about functionalising surfaces of structures and construction materials to provide self-cleaning, anti-biofilm and anti-pollution effects.
The technology is based on the photocatalytic property of nanosize TiO2 particles, which uses the energy in daylight to break down organic pullutants on or near the surface.

THE BENEFITS of self-cleaning and anti-pollution are many and obvious. Reduced ambient levels of NOx and VOC in urban air have direct health benefits. Self-cleaning surfaces give direct savings reduced maintenance costs, but also indirect benefits for psychological well-being from cleaner environment, reduced water consumption and detergent use, and 'good neighbour' effects on adjacent buildings through no longer being a source of biologic pollution. Reduced biofilm formation and water penetration also reduces wear and extends the lifetime of instrastructure and buildings. This gives economic savings, but also environmental savings as replacing concrete has a huge CO2 net cost.

THE ISSUE adressed in the project is that even if photocatalytic building materials is expected to be a market of strong growth, the current solutions offered are not cost-effective enough to really penetrate the markets. Low-cost products based on generic anatase nanopowder are not effective enough, while designer nano-structures are costly and typically not available in industrial quantities.

THE SOLUTION of Joma International is the combination of a proprietary nanopartcle structure designed for photocatalysis, and a patented process that allows for cost-effective production at industrial scale, using (mostly) standard chemical processing equipment readily available. Joma have also developed end product formulations for protecion of concrete and wooden surfaces that give excellent photocatalytic efficiency while simultaneously reducing water penetration into the surface, giving a double benefit.

THE OBJECTIVE of the project Phase 1 was to show economic feasbility of the business idea, as well as validating product performance field tests with pilot customers. The main objective of Phase 2 is to validate the product in the market thorough large demonstration projects with industry partners (pilot customers). Other key objectives include developing practical solutions for industrial scale application systems in CLT (cross laminate timber) production lines, as well as monitoring long time product performance on a range of substrates including concretes of different compositions and densities and timber from different natural and treated woods."
Only the Phase 1 (feasibility study) has been performed so far. Work in this phase consisted mainly of market research, development work with pilot customers and small-scale field testing, in addition to planning the Phase 2 project.

An important result of Phase 1 was the confirmation of a new potential niche market for Joma to target, where there is a need for a product that is not yet established: the CLT (cross-laminated timber) market segment. By entering the CLT market, Joma will follow a blue ocean strategy to create and capture an uncontested market space, which we expect to give our company a first-mover advantage.

Another key finding was that the pilot customer in paving stone production changed concrete recipes on short notice, which required tuning the product doseage og concentration to recover previous performance. The conclusion from this is that the 'wet concrete' market segment (product application integrated in concrete production line) is less attractive than expected.

The key outcomes of the feasibility study are then:
1) The business idea is economically feasible, including plans to rely on 3rd part production site(s) and logistics.
2) The main priority for market growth has changed from 'wet concrete' segment to 'CLT' segment.
3) The accessibility of the 'concrete maintenance' segment was significantly improved though securing an agreement with a large distribution network in Germany.
The Joma patented nanoparticles has a higher NO2-reduction capability (ISO22917) than any other commercial TiO2 tested in the same lab.
The Joma end products have the option of combining this high activity with pore hydrohpbozation, reducing penetration of liquid water into the surface while allowing vapour out.
For the wood segment, the Joma product is characterised by industry experts as the first of its kind.

Expected progress in Phase 2 is mainly on solving practical hurdles to entering the market at big scale: cost-efficient application, robustness wrt variations in the surface, and vaidating and documenting the products in large scale. The results of this will be reduced risk for the customer, easier marketing and customer support, and more cost-effective product.

The potential impact on the CLT market is that the early mover advantage combined with high cost-effective performance would make the product an industry standard for large CLT constructions, giving a large market share and an excellent platform for moving into f.ex wooden facades.
The societal impact of the same is that the added protection will make wooden high-rise buildings even more attractive, further fueling the emerging megatrend of using CLT as sustainable construction material, with corresponding benefits for enviroment and safety.

The potential impact on concrete markets (wet and dry) is that a very cost-effective material can penetrate the markets enough to see large-scale effects and increase public awareness and confidence in the technology, thereby propelling the market demand for self-cleaning and air-cleaning surfaces. The impact of large-scale adoption (including of all competing solutions) would be cleaner urban air, cleaner cities and correspondingly a higher quality of life. This is a poor substitute for phasing out fossil fuels in the long-term, but a very good supporting technology.
INSPECS value proposition