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  • Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NANOLEAP (“Nanocomposite for building constructions and civil infraestructures: European network pilot production line to promote industrial application cases.”)

NANOLEAP Report Summary

Project ID: 646397
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NANOLEAP (“Nanocomposite for building constructions and civil infraestructures: European network pilot production line to promote industrial application cases.”)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

NANOLEAP project aims at the development of a coordinated network of specialized pilot lines for the production of nanocomposite based products for different civil infrastructure and building applications.
The goal of this infrastructure is to support the research activities of European SMEs in the Construction sector in nanocomposite products enabling the progress of the product to next steps of technology deployment such as installation of industrial lines and enter in the commercialization stage.

In order to enable these pilot plants offering a suitable service aligned with the needs of the industry (particularly SMEs) some different and complementary strategies are proposed in NANOLEAP:
1. A suitable pre-treatment or functionalisation of nanoparticles or nano-aggregates depending on the intended use , to ensure optimal compantibility with the matrix and avoid dispersion problems
2. Work on technical solutions for the efficient embedding of nanoparticles into the different matrices employing in situ techniques which leads to larger productions
3. Improvement of nanocomposite production processes in terms of production volume and cost reduction through the proper integration of control systems at the nano-scale to avoid problems in operation with nano-components.
4. Promoting safe-by-design approaches in nanoparticles measurement, detection, and characterization in gas and liquids, complex media and at workplace and use this knowledge for occupational, consumer and environmental exposure measurements, confinement barriers efficiency testing, personal protective and equipement effiency testing

The governing structure for the Open Pilot lines network (legal, financial, technical management) will be set during the project to guarantee the success of the operation of the Network. Moreover, an “open call for tenders” targeted to SMEs will be launched during the project to validate and demonstrate the concept of “Open Access” and to step forward further collaboration after the end of EU financial support.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The work performed until now is related to the objectives defined in the proposal. Until now, all the deliverables initially programmed have been completed.

Consequently, the following main results can be listed (which will be deeply described in part B of the technical reports corresponding to the first -January 2015-December 2015- and the second period -January 2016-December 2016):

- Dissemination of activities in different meetings and networking.
- An initial project impact assessment has been defined. In addition, the structure of the different committees that configures NANOLEAP was confirmed whereas the rules for making dissemination activities were also defined.
- The governance and the administrative structure of the European Network of Nanocomposites Pilot Plants (ENNCPP) were established.
- Evaluation of pilot lines and identification of optimization steps were completed.
- Adaptation and checking of the Pilot Lines
- Production of key products incorporating nanomaterials
- Definition of the business model
- Edition of standardized catalogues of the services provided by the ENNCPP
- LCA, preliminary Business Plan and Lead Market Analysis

In addition, it has been organized an Open Day Workshop in January 2017 in Madrid where the main capabilities and services offered by the consortium were introduced to potential end-users coming from different parts of Europe and a call for tender as a way to promote the NANOLEAP activities were announced.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"Impacts set out in the work program:

• A European eco-system for high TRL testing and validation of nano-composites, affordable and accessible for SMEs, through technical collaboration between RTOs and composite producers and through identification of all critical value chain players for the market introduction of the final product.
• Enabling of investment decisions for market introduction of novel, cost-effective, safe and sustainable nano-enabled products that demonstrate superior performance in terms of multifunctionality and sustainability, e.g. in the packaging, textiles, transport, energy, electronics and construction sectors.
• Demonstrated scaling-up and increased degree of automation of nanocomposites production lines/processes, leading to higher production volumes, improved reliability and repeatability of produced nanocomposites and lower production cost; availability of new or significantly improved ""fit for purpose"" tools for integration in those lines.
• Contribution to standardisation in the nano metrology field for fast product and process design.
• Promoting safe-by-design approaches in collaboration with the EU nano-safety cluster and contributing towards the framework of EU nanosafety and regulatory strategies.

Policy framework

NANOLEAP project targets one of the cross six Key Enabling Technologies, Nanotechnology.Pilot production activities aim at transforming prototype products to a usable form for customers.
NANOLEAP pilot network speeds up the innovation process that integrates these new products into innovative end-products, allowing rapid gaining of market shares and reduction of production costs.
NANOLEAP will also support the goals set by the Europe 2020 Flagship Initiative Innovation Union by fostering the cooperation between the academia research and the industry (in special SMEs). Additionally, thanks to the mechanisms put in place by NANOLEAP Network, access to pilot plans will be guaranteed, lowering the economic and technical barriers that hinder the innovation process (i.e bringing “ideas to market”) and accelerating research, development and market deployment of innovations.

Market perspectives

The European market for nanocomposites is predicted to grow from 23,000 tonnes (2006) to 120,000 tonnes in 2016. Recently, nanotechnology started to be introduced in the construction industry enabling the development of materials with improved or totally new properties. Nanocomposites for instance have offered a great opportunity in sustainable construction/green building application due to their efficiency and environmental protection. Nevertheless, the successful penetration of these innovative materials in the market faces some challenges.

Furthermore, the four applications identified by NANOLEAP are aligned with the trends for construction industry and enjoy promising market perspectives.

Improving innovation capacity and the integration of new knowledge (incl. impact on SMEs)

In Europe, there are more than 20 million European SMEs representing 66.5% of all European jobs and employing in 2012 86.8 million people. The SME sector as a whole delivered 57.6% of the gross value added generated by the private, non-financial economy in Europe during 2012. Despite the strategic importance of these companies, SMEs face important challenges to stay competitive in the global markets, and often find difficulties even to compete with larger firms at national level. Barriers related to the lack of funds and inadequate access to finance, limited technical resources or lack of skills / knowledge (innovation management capacity) result in a loss of competitiveness and market opportunities for these SMEs.

NANOLEAP pilot plants network will offer skilled equipment and personnel for test, validation and scale-up of nanocomposite available to SMEs and to new players who are considering entering this market."

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