Among top ten current N95 producers, only one of them is EU-origin company. Europe needs to act to develop sustainable face masks to lead the fabric filtration industry, which will be worth in excess of 2.7 billion Euros in 2024. Due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic, consuming billions of face masks around the globe resulted not only plastic pollution, but also created a shortage on the melt-blown polypropylene (PP) supply chain, which is the mainly used filtering medium. PP is a petroleum-based polymer and doesn’t have antibacterial activity. The ideal solution to this problem would be using a sustainable and antibacterial filtration media that can effectively filter ultra-small particles such as coronavirus itself. To address the challenge, I have formulated an innovative and interdisciplinary project based on my research experience to develop filtration media using sustainable and antibacterial poplar fibers that aligns with The European Green Deal action plan. After developing poplar webs, I will utilize Grado Zero Espace's (GZE), expertise to create commercial surgical masks and filtering facepiece respirators (FFP). The significance of developing Coronavirus-specific project is clearly emphasized in the European Research Area Corona Platform. Developing surgical masks and FFPs prototypes from a sustainable material not only contributes Sustainable Development Goal of EU, but also could lead higher-added value products, responding the global need for face masks in pandemic situations.
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