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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GreenTRIBOS (GreenTRIBOS)

Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2021-12-31

The world is warming and the weather is becoming increasingly unstable and extreme, and whether we like it or not, the overwhelming scientific consensus is that mankind’s use of fossil fuels is a key component in this climate change. Friction, wear and lubrication are major players in the consumption of energy, and so reducing friction and wear and using green lubrication is the most direct route to reducing energy consumption and pollution and so contributing to a better environment for us all. GreenTRIBOS takes up this very important challenge by developing innovative, but sustainable and green, technologies to decrease both friction and wear and improve lubrication. The 12 early-stage researchers (ESRs) will be working in three science-based work packages to develop integrative green concepts, their functional mechanisms, and lifecycle analyses to verify the sustainability, as well as quantifying the tribological performance to reduce energy consumption, resource depletion and polluting emissions. In the overarching integrative work package, the ESRs will assimilate these results into a coherent set of generic, green-tribology concepts and design rules – that will be made freely available to all – with a measurable impact on sustainability over the whole lifecycle of the system. All 12 ESRs will use complementary techniques, tools, models and approaches supported by their supervisors, research groups and non-academic mentors throughout their individual PhD-specific ESR project plans. By training the ESRs in scientific, technical and transferrable skills, they will become the next generation of high-potential scientists and engineers to instigate the step change that is required for a sustainable engineering future to serve the needs of a sustainable 21st century Europe.
12 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) are meant to be trained to PhD level with the multidisciplinary skills and industrial knowledge to position Europe as a world leader in green-tribology research and innovation. GreenTRIBOS project was launched in Jan 2020 (month 1) and the consortium followed the Grant Agreement plan, providing required Deliverables and checked the Milestones. The most important, difficult, and critical task was to recruit 12 selected ESRs and get them in place of defined beneficiary (University) until the end of Dec 2020, despite Covid-19 difficulties and restrictions.

Most of the selected ESRs arrived at their designated University in months 11 and 12. Despite the fact of late arrival, they were all successfully enrolled in PhD program and study year 2020/21. All ESRs attend the 1st NWE & Kick-off meeting in month 10, where they got several duties and responsibilities to be delivered in the 2nd NWE, which was held in month 14. The 1st NWE was organized by UnivLEEDS and the 2nd one by UL. Both events were organized via online communication tools in order to follow the Covid-19 restrictions and rules. The 3rd NWE was split into 2 parts. The first part of NWE was held in month 21 via the Zoom application. During this part of the event, ESRs presented their PhD thesis proposals and detailed SOTA review, and by this completed their study obligations at the end of the first study year. The second part of NWE was held in Coimbra, Portugal, in month 22, where ESRs and project participants got the chance for the first time to interact in person. This had a significant impact on the training of ESRs. Apart from being able to interact with other ESRs, supervisors and other project participants in person, they were actively involved in hands-on trainings, which are an essential part of their studies.

ESRs received various training activities, such as joint academic trainings and joint transferable-skills courses, provided at NWEs, as well as personalized activities in scientific trainings according to each ESR`s CDP. During the 2nd NWE, the teamwork of four ESRs presented 3 mini projects, related to the research topics of Minimizing Energy Consumption with focus on friction reduction (WP2), Minimizing Resource Depletion with focus on wear (WP3) and Minimising Polluting Emissions with focus on resources (WP4). Each ESR also prepared a detailed SOTA review on the topic of their individual studies, which was presented together with their thesis defence during the first part of the 3rd NWE. All ESRs have managed to finish the first year study with all the obligations done at host and co-supervision universities. Some students still have some modules to do in the second year study, which is normal and according to the plan. In the framework of two meetings of the Training Committee (TC) it was found that ESRs are performing well and that their training activities are in line with their CDPs. In the framework of the Scientific Committee (SC) meetings, it was found that overall progress on research activities is good, on time and that ESRs are fully aligned with their CDPs.

Until now, the consortium submitted all required Deliverables, except the Deliverable D8.2 (Polytrib - international conference, Open call dissemination). The consortium also checked all required Milestones.

The consortium did the replanning of secondments, which was reported formally to the project officer. A new tentative plan of secondments was prepared, including justifications for each change made to the original plan.
Green tribology has been enthusiastically adopted by many in industry and academia, with high-impact, high-visibility studies being published in research journals like Nature and Science. However, what we need now is a shift away from a focused, case-study approach, towards a broader, European-based, vision of green-technology innovation based on a doctoral training programme designed to produce a dozen, newly qualified researchers who can develop novel, green-tribology concepts and spread this mind-set to encompass all forms of green-engineering design. The 4 Beneficiaries and many of the Partners in GreenTRIBOS are proven innovators in the field of green tribology. Working from different perspectives – materials and coatings, lubricants and tribochemistry, nanotechnology, interfaces, modelling and design – in three previous EU projects we clearly demonstrated that breakthrough green concepts are possible. We will use these existing materials, taking account their limitations, and provide them with green, synergistic contact designs, based on lightweight polymers and metals, durable hard metals and surface coatings, water, cellulose fibres, recyclable thermoplasts, energy-efficient carbon-based materials as well as high-shear-strength and low-viscosity lubricants. In this way, GreenTRIBOS will take advantage of its own pre-existing knowledge and go beyond the state of the art based on the following 5 new concepts:
(1) By considering the full impact of the engineering lifecycle. It is vital for any green solution to also consider the manufacturing costs and resources used, the maintenance, the pollution and the total energy that is consumed. A component is only truly green if it is green from the cradle to the grave.
(2) By providing real green-tribology solutions with synergistic designs and new functionality.
(3) By introducing the idea of green tribology to a wider sector of European industry.
(4) By taking a quantitative-assessment approach to real green impact.
(5) By introducing generic green-tribology mechanisms to European sustainable engineering.