Public Release:  The Eco-Innovation initiative rewards ideas for innovative products that protect the environment

Elhuyar Fundazioa

The Eco-innovation initiative bridges the gap between research and the market. It helps good ideas for innovative products, services and processes that protect the environment become fully-fledged commercial prospects, ready for use by business and industry.

The new product is intended for the aeronautic market, where it will be introduced as an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional Cr-based coatings, which provide optimum corrosion protection, but are highly toxic.

The aim of ECOPROT is to industrialise a procedure for glass-like, environmentally-friendly and self-healing cerium-based coatings for corrosion protection of aluminium and magnesium alloys.

The product will be introduced into the French aeronautic sector and will be further extended to address a wider geographical area and possibly other industrial sectors.

The specific tasks

  • Optimization of the coating process for industrial applications (process scale-up)
  • Validation of the coated products according to the high standards of the aeronautic industry, in order to ensure replication of the process
  • Life cycle assessment of the entire process and the final product, taking into account all production stages, from raw materials to energy and water consumption, end-of-life, etc.
  • Business plan to ensure penetration of the final product into the French aeronautic market as a first step and then extend it to other geographical areas

This project will fill the R&D activities that were carried out to develop the coating (within the MULTIPROTECT project) and the commercialization of the final product. The coating systems will be set up to accomplish the specific need of the participating SME (PROMET) by optimizing compositions and synthesis conditions for each substrate and adapting to different primers and finishes, taking into account the current state of the art for each application.

The target

The main idea is the production of the coated systems at PROMET with the collaboration of Tecnalia (the project coordinator) and CSIC (who owns the patent for the coating), then implementing the process for the achievement of the final product for the market. In parallel to this, Quantis will be involved in a life cycle analysis (LCA) of the entire production line, taking into account all phases and integrated environmental impacts, including raw materials, energy and water consumption, air pollution, end-of life, etc. Tecnalia with PROMET and iPM2 will collaborate by assessing a market strategy and a business plan for exploitation of the resulting product, and iPM2 will lead the dissemination of the results. These tasks involving the penetration in the market in different geographical areas will be undertaken by the other partners as well, taking into account their established international networks.

Expected results

  • Cr-free, environmentally friendly and self-healing cerium-based coatings for corrosion protection of light weight alloys, for aeronautics application
  • Introduction of the product into the French aeronautic market
  • Extension to a wider geographical area and possible penetration of other industrial sectors (e.g. aerospace, automobile, building, etc.)
  • Improved possibilities of material recycling and easier treatment of the coated product at end-of-life
  • Overall reduction of environmental impact in terms of human health and ecosystem quality, mainly due to the elimination of chromium as an input material

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ECOPROT Consortium

  • Foundation Tecnalia Research and Innovation (Tecnalia), SPAIN (Coordinator)
  • Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), SPAIN
  • Protection des Métaux SAS (PROMET), FRANCE
  • Quantis SAS (Quantis), FRANCE
  • International Project Management, Plating and Materials (iPM2), FRANCE

The project ECOPROT is within the Eco-Innovation Program, with is part of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), managed by the EACI in close cooperation with the European Commission's Environment Directorate-General. Eco-Innovation includes any form of innovation aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development.

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