Martijn de Graaff MSc
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TNO is starting work on projects under Horizon 2020, including in the Sustainable Chemical Industry category. Horizon 2020 is the EU grant scheme that asks commercial operators to come up with innovations in the area of sustainability that involve several organizations. TNO has been awarded funding for three of the four projects that it applied for: Co-Pilot, Consens and GREAT. TNO is proud of this result.
The Co-Pilot project is concerned with nanotechnology. Nanoparticles can play an important role in making the economy more sustainable: nanotechnology is used to increase the capacity of solar cells, for instance. TNO is coordinating this project. Based on its knowledge of the market and its own research TNO is bringing the right organizations together and thus facilitating innovation. The EU has asked for the development of a flexible pilot system for the cost-effective production of nanocomposites. TNO’s Martijn de Graaff explains: ‘“Flexible” means that the same system must be capable of producing more than one type of nanoparticles. TNO has been researching into nanotechnology for years, also into equipment to measure nanoparticles. We can now combine that knowledge. The aim of the project is to lift the innovation to a higher level.’ Thirteen companies are collaborating on the Co-Pilot project, about half of them small and medium-sized firms. The project will run until 2018.
TNO is not coordinating the Consens project, it is one of the participating organizations. Consens is concerned with process technology developments. The EU wants there to be more chemical plants capable of producing more than one chemical. As De Graaff points out, ‘Many of today’s chemical plants are only capable of producing one type of product. Switching to a different product requires a completely new plant, which is expensive and not sustainable.’ TNO is contributing knowledge on areas such as control and instrumentation. De Graaff goes on: ‘For example by developing a sensor that can detect contamination during a reaction. By detecting such contamination at an early stage you can prevent the system getting clogged up. TNO has been doing research into continuous reactor systems for many years now.’ The project will run until 2018.
‘The EU’s GREAT project aims to survey the funding available for major European innovation initiatives. Supporting a number of specific initiatives with funding applications will show what all future combined research projects can benefit from and how’, says TNO’s Maurits Butter. Public-private innovation projects are difficult to fund. There are sources of funding, but actually getting enough capital together is a complex and tough business, making searching for funding not only time-consuming but also risky. As Butter points out, ‘There is a substantial risk of putting a lot of time and effort into an application that will be rejected because the procedure or guidelines have not been followed correctly.’ The aim is also to advise government bodies on how to streamline sources of funding so that the money reaches research projects more easily. TNO is one of the twelve participants in the GREAT project.
Please contact Martijn de Graaff