Safe and Sustainable by Design in practice: experiences from REPOXYBLE and other EU projects
REPOXYBLE has been during the NanoInnovation Conference & Exhibition 2023 workshop Improving materials development by Safe and Sustainable by Design approaches, a joint event of the EU projects ASINA, SABYDOMA, SAbyNA, SbD4Nano and REPOXYBLE.
Safety and sustainability of chemicals and materials and their applications are a cornerstone of current European policy and industrial strategies. Frameworks and criteria to define and SSbD approaches have been published by the European Commission, OECD and industrial actors (such as CEFIC). The workshop showcased examples practical implementation of SSbD in different industrial sectors.
The first part presented learning on SSbD from the five projects organizing the workshop:
- Assessing filament manufacturing in polymers to reduce toxicity and environmental fate of nanomaterials (NMs) and nano-enabled products (Lati Industria Termoplastici, SAbyNA project).
- Advanced SSbD methods and formulations to provide improved properties for the cosmetic industry (Red of View and Ambrosialab, SbD4Nano).
- Screening and characterization techniques based on model predictive control (MPC) to optimize continuous-flow production of high-quality silver nanoparticles (Applied Nanoparticles, SABYDOMA).
- High performance and recyclable epoxy resins for the aerospace and automotive (Avanzare, REPOXYBLE).
The second part was focused on ASINA achievements on SSbD methods and industrial processes in the cosmetics and textile sectors, including:
- The antimicrobial textile manufacturing process set up by CENTI, Centre for Nanotechnology and Smart Materials.
- A digital twin approach to continuously improve sustainable in processing of materials developed by Tecnalia.
- A software to integrate testing information and manage SSbD criteria along the product development, based on multicriteria decision analysis, by Project Hub 360.
- The advanced strategies used for exposure assessment at the workplace during the project implemented by APM- Air Pollution Management and University of Milano Bicocca.
A special focus has been the role of standard body and standardization practices to inform technical developments of R&I activities in projects such as ASINA, and favour exploitation of research results. The European Commission is publishing a set of guidelines on how to best introduce standardization activities in European project (presentation by UNI- Italian Standard Body).
The workshop has been an opportunity to network and share experiences, and to start a dialogue with stakeholders from different project on how to best adopt SSbD approaches.
In this context, REPOXYBLE has been presented by Dr. Elvira Villaro Ábalos from Avanzare, REPOXYBLE Project Manager. The focus of the project is on the development of a new generation of bioplastics, consisting in multifunctional and closed loop-recyclable epoxy systems, with the aim to consider the whole material life cycle from a holistic point of view, and to implement a SSbD approach since the very early stages of the material development. To do this, REPOXYBLE strategy has been to work on six SSbD dimensions (performance, technical, safety, recyclability and sustainability, legal and economic) and a first set of related critical criteria. The methodology of the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) was then used to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the properties of different the raw materials, based on the identified dimensions and criteria, and finally select of the ones showing the best overall assessment (using a mix of quantitative and qualitative data).
Adopting a holistic point of view means evaluating these properties and identifying the critical aspects (hot spots) with respect to different dimensions and stages of the material life cycle (Raw materials, Manufacturing, Use, End of Life), and address them, to the extent possible, already in the material design phase, to feed back the process and allow for optimal modifications.
REPOXYBLE has just completed a first selection of the design requirements, that will be considered as an initial reference for material and product development. An iterative approach will be used, refining and checking design requirement all along the process.
REPOXYBLE will continue its dissemination action participating to the Sardinia Symposium 2023, the 19th International symposium on waste management, resource recovery and sustainable landfilling (9-13 October).