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TOWARDS NOVEL NANO-SCALE TECHNOLOGIES BASED ON PHORETIC FLOW EFFECTS

Objective

Most devices that transport bulk fluids make use of pressure gradients (`pumps’) or external forces (e.g. gravity powers hydro-electric turbines). Increasingly, modern technology is addressing problems where fluid transport takes place in sub-micron sized channels, or in pores. The physical laws of transport in such channels are qualitatively different from those that determine bulk flow; they are poorly understood and, importantly, barely exploited. The aim of the proposed research is to lay the basis for an entire novel technology where thermal gradients and concentration gradients along nano-sized channels are harnessed to drive devices that have no equivalent on the macroscopic scale.
Such gradient-driven surface flows offer a huge scope for fundamental advances with very significant technological implications. We envisage breakthroughs in the area of energy extraction from salinity gradients (`blue energy’), ultra-filtration and desalination, and the development of novel, highly sensitive protein-separation devices. This new approach will surpass the intrinsic limitations of current technologies. The expected huge improvement in efficiency will be a game changer and will break the current barriers in the development of technologies such as e.g osmotic energy harvesting.

All the applications share the same underlying science and can therefore be addressed by the proposal team. We will engage with industrial partners inside the team and with new partners that we will approach through our Knowledge Transfer Facilitator, to translate basic science into proofs-of-principle, pilot plants and, subsequently, full scale applications. The potential economic impact of phoretic technologies is difficult to over-estimate: the research is truly high-risk, high-yield. By targeting two diverse applications, we exploit the generic nature of the underlying science. The quality and interdisciplinary nature of the team mitigates the risk of failure.

Field of science

  • /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/natural resource management/desalination
  • /social sciences/law
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport

Call for proposal

H2020-FETOPEN-1-2016-2017
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

RIA - Research and Innovation action

Coordinator

UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA
Address
Gran Via De Les Corts Catalanes 585
08007 Barcelona
Spain
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 573 750

Participants (5)

THE CHANCELLOR MASTERS AND SCHOLARSOF THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 838 750
Address
Trinity Lane The Old Schools
CB2 1TN Cambridge
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
UNIVERSITEIT UTRECHT
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 338 750
Address
Heidelberglaan 8
3584 CS Utrecht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
FLUIDIC ANALYTICS LIMITED
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 349 670
Address
Unit A The Paddocks Business Centre, Cherry Hint
CB1 8DH Cambridge
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
SWEETCH ENERGY
France
EU contribution
€ 307 500
Address
1 Rue Honore D'estienne D'orves Centre D'affaires Lorient Mr-celtic Submarine 1
56100 Lorient
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS
France
EU contribution
€ 891 250
Address
Rue Michel Ange 3
75794 Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations