Towards applicable Safe-by-Design principles for chemical products and processes - Funding for three consortia

Nieuws - 30 juni 2022

Within the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) programme ‘Towards a practical Safe-by-Design approach for chemical products and processes’, three consortia will research and develop an applicable Safe-by-Design approach. A total of about 2.7 million euros has been awarded for this research. This research programme is a collaboration between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment and NWO.

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In the coming months, the three projects awarded funding will also jointly elaborate a single extra proposal for an overarching connecting project. In doing so, the findings from the three case projects will be synthesised and developed further.

The projects awarded funding, in alphabetical order, are:

Integral Safe and Sustainable-by-Design Plasma Process for Acrylonitrile Production (ISPA)         

Project leader: Prof. Gerard van Rooij, Maastricht University
Consortium: Maastricht University, Radboud University, TNO, AnQore, SITECH, SDN

The transition to a sustainable society involves considerable challenges for the Dutch chemical industry. At present, safety considerations and economies of scale result in a landscape of large installations that are clustered at industrial locations. Products include fertilisers, plastics and carrier proteins for vaccines and usually originate from fossil sources. Because there is no suitable technology, no roadmap is available as yet to guide industry through the sustainability transition and, at the same time, maintain economic viability and, in any case, the existing safety level. In this research project, a possible solution for the frequently used building block acrylonitrile will be investigated.

Putting into Practice Integrated TOols to Select and Produce Safe and Sustainable alternatives for problematic Persistent and Mobile Toxic Substances (TOSS)        

Project leader: Prof. Annemarie van Wezel, University of Amsterdam
Consortium: University of Amsterdam, Wageningen University and Research, TU Delft, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Rathenau Instituut, Vewin, Association of the Dutch Chemical Industry, Croda International

Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) is a highly promising approach for the design of new chemicals. However, at present, there is a lack of good tools that can help select possible SSbD alternatives that can accomplish the desired and essential function in given applications. In this proposal, we focus on alternatives for Persistent, Mobile and Toxic substances that cause problems in the water cycle as well as for the health of people and the environment. This TOSS project will develop integrated tools to select alternatives and produce SSbD. It will also formulate lessons for industry, research and policy by acquiring field experience in cooperation with the parties involved.

Safe-by-Design Circular Products

Project leader: Prof. Ruud Balkenende, TU Delft
Consortium: TU Delft, Leiden University, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, Accenture, Spark Holland, CIRCO, Erasmus MC, Philips Domestic Appliances, Philips Healthcare, NPK

The aim of the project ‘Safe-by-design Circular Products’ is to develop safe products that fit within the circular economy. We all too often see that substances from products end up in the environment and pose a risk to our health. During the design of products, attention should therefore also be paid to sustainability, safety, health and recycling. This project will develop a method in which all of these issues are taken into account. Four subjects will be studied for this (hospital mattresses, LCD monitors, silicon baking trays and biodegradable plastic). This will ultimately lead to better health and a cleaner environment.

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