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  • Novel materials and sustainable chemistry

    A decade of EU-funded research





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    Directorate-General for ResearchDirectorate G Industrial technologiesUnit G3 Value added materialsE-mail: jose-lorenzo.valles@ec.europa.euInternet:


    Directorate - General for Research, Industrial technologies2008 Unit G3 Value added materials EUR 23585 EN

    Novel materials and sustainable chemistryA decade of EU-funded research

    G. Hernndez, S. Bwadt and J.L. Valls


    Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of the following information.

    The views expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.

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    Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2008

    ISBN 978-92-79-09721-8DOI 10.2777/99099

    European Communities, 2008Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.

    Printed in Belgium


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  • 3

    Table of contents

    4 Mastering the building blocks essential for our daily lives

    6 Materials and Chemistry in FP5

    8 Clean route to precious metal catalyst recovery (2002-2005)

    9 Catalyst system cuts eco-impact of pharmaceuticals manufacture (2002-2005)

    10 On-the-spot hydrogen peroxide synthesis reduces processing risks (2002-2005)

    11 Low-cost asthma sensor set to replace expensive hospital systems (2001-2004)

    12 Cleaning up car exhausts (2001-2004)

    13 Widespread application for anti-bacterial and anti-fouling

    functionalised polymers (2001-2004)

    14 Materials and Chemistry in FP6

    16 Solid smoke from cellulose (2004-2006)

    17 Designer materials enhance pharmaceuticals purification (2004-2008)

    18 Nanotechnology-based gas separation membranes exemplify

    clean technology (2004-2007)

    19 Bioprocessing improves on natural materials (2004-2007)

    20 Network integrates EU catalysis research (2005-2010)

    21 Better, safer lithium batteries for everyday applications (2007-2009)

    22 Virtual laboratory unites European nanopore researchers (2004-2008)

    23 Ligand bank cuts process development times (2004-2006)

    24 Materials developments enhance nanocatalyst performance (2005-2008)

    25 High-performance nanocomposites mimic nature (2005-2008)

    26 European Membrane House coordinates key domain (2004-2009)

    27 Polysaccharides to replace oils as source of tomorrows polymers? (2005-2009)

  • 4 N O V E L M AT E R I A L S A N D S U S TA I N A B L E C H E M I S T RY

    Mastering the building blocks essential for our

    Chemistry is the science of the atomic and molecular constituents of the real world: everything we see, smell, touch and taste is shaped through chemistry.

    Chemicals are the building blocks of all the materials we use, the air we breathe, the food we consume and even of our bodies themselves. Given this ubiquitous nature, the industrial manipulation of basic chemicals, frequently relying on new functionalised materials such as catalysts or membranes, impacts on virtually every aspect of our existence. Materials developments can therefore result in chemical process innovations capable of reducing costs, improving product performance and enhancing the quality of life. Chemistry is capable, on the other hand, of selectively modifying existing materials to tailor them for specific applications, for example by reshap-ing a polymeric structure or by adding functional groups to a surface.

    Purpose-designed chemical products are essential to our power generating and storage systems, our transport infrastructure, our computers and mobile phones, our healthcare and security devices, our leisure and sporting accessories. Man-made chemical compounds fulfil vital roles in medical treatments, in food production and pro-tection, in paints and dyestuffs, in hygiene and cosmetic products The list is endless.

    Chemical industry transformation essentialIn the past, much of the chemical industry has been char-acterised by an exploitive use of natural resources, often taking insufficient account of the environmental conse-quences. Today, however, there is widespread recognition of the need to adopt cleaner, sustainable practices by switching from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-based approach.

    The goal of sustainable chemistry is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Using and building on our accumulated chemical knowledge and expertise can help to provide a solution to the challenge of climate change. By developing sound biological and eco-efficient processes, reducing the environmental impact of industrial processes and products, optimising the use of finite resources and minimising waste, know-ledge-based chemistry can also contribute greatly to doing more with less.

    Prime examples can be seen in the use of silicon and pol-ymers to produce the sub-micron-sized components of modern information and communications technologies, the miniaturised, powerful and long-lasting batteries, which

    EU funding on Novel materials and sustainablechemistry under FP5 and FP6

    FP6145 million58 projects

    FP557.3 million36 projects

  • A D E C A D E O F E U - F U N D E D R E S E A R C H 5

    control of the materials essential for the design of advanced chemical processes. Nanotechnologies and molecular mod-elling strategies provide the tools for a more precise handling of the chemical reactions leading, for instance, to materials functionalisation.

    Crossing new technological frontiers involves under-standing and optimising material combinations and their synergistic functions in multi-material devices. Exciting products are also likely to arise from the integration of traditional and nano-structured materials.

    This is why the EU is a strong supporter of research for the development of such innovative materials, in partic-ular of those for use in sustainable chemical technologies or produced thanks to them. In the following, a few ex -amples are shown of successful projects funded within this research area by the NMP Theme during FP5 and FP6.

    have revolutionized our use of electronic gadgets during the last decade, and in the nanotechnology enhanced sensors and instruments that now form an integral part of todays medical diagnosis and intervention.

    Materials innovation leading to sustainable chemical tech-nologies is key to protecting and expanding employment in Europe by ensuring the continuing competitiveness of the EU chemical industry. Materials development obtained through chemical processes also creates opportunities for new enterprises in the materials and chemicals sectors.

    Directions for changeThe requirements of tomorrows technology translate directly into increasingly stringent demands on the chem-icals: their intrinsic properties, their cost, their processing and fabrication, and their recyclability. This leads indirect-ly to demands on the tailor-made materials involved in their transformation and processing. The focus on eco-efficiency requires complete life cycle analysis to be conducted on newly developed products, considering both the ecological and economic aspects.

    A variety of new technologies and approaches is emerg-ing to answer these needs by offering more rapid paths to the discovery, characterisation and direct molecular-level

    Total number of projects in FP6 per subarea (145 million)

    Chemistry for energy

    Chemical processing of materials

    Polymer chemistry

    Catalysis and chemical technologies

    Hybrid materials

    Total number of projects in FP5 per subarea (57.3 million)

    Hybrid materials

    Polymer chemistry

    Catalysis and chemicaltechnologies

    Chemical processing of materials

    daily lives










  • Materials and Chemistry in FP5

    Types Number of EC funding contracts CR 1 0.5 millionRS 35 56.8 million Grand Total 36 57.3 million

    CR = Cooperative Research (CRAFT) ProjectsRS = Research Projects

  • 8 N O V E L M AT E R I A L S A N D S U S TA I N A B L E C H E M I S T RY

    Strategic precious metals (SPMs) are important as catalysts for chemical and pharmaceutical manufacture, as well as for fuel cells and automotive exhaust systems. As demand increases, the price of SPMs is rising and the commercial and technical need for cost-effective recycling becomes more p


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