The BUONAPART-E project aims to demonstrate that a physical nanoparticle synthesis process can be economically scaled-up to yield 100 kg/day production rate, which is the target rate mentioned in the Call Topic. The process is simple, versatile, and reliable. It avoids chemical precursors and solvents, while fully recycling the necessary inert carrier gas, resulting in a minimal impact on the environment. The process does not necessitate external heating of the inert gas, thereby keeping energy consumption low.
The main goal of the BUONAPART-E is to increase the production rate of a single basic unit in which the evaporation of the raw material is done by electric means by a factor of 10 to 100 and to implement necessary monitoring and collecting tools to ensure high quality product delivery. Experimental results as well as literature data indicate that an energy efficiency of 100 kWh/kg has been reached for a single unit. The challenge addressed in BUONAPART-E, which can only be met with new knowledge of the hitherto unknown fundamental mechanisms taking place, is to obtain an increase in the production rate, while retaining energy efficiency. The process allows for the synthesis of different materials using the same production platform. The basic evaporation unit (called hereafter the Optimal Single Unit or ‘OSU’) is a set of electrodes. A large number of these units can be placed in a single housing, contributing to the cost-effectiveness of the process. The use of many single production units in parallel, which can be thoroughly optimized and tested on a lab scale for a given material, ensures that a highly-effective scale-up of the synthesis process in terms of cost and energy consumption is possible. Further equipment, such as pumps, power supply to the OSUs and the particle collection unit, can be scaled-up as single units leading to additional cost benefits.
The project is built around six main technical WPs which enable step-wise progression of the scaling up of the synthesis process, while integrating spefications from technology developers and end-users of nano-technologies:
Optimization of the OSU takes place in WP2 “Core technology”, with necessary fundamental insights provided by WP1 “Fundamentals”, supplying a basic understanding on the basis of modelling and in-situ measurements. As the scaled-up process consists of many parallel OSUs, its operation requires a continuous monitoring of the product quality as well as various types of collection, handling and assembling methods to fulfil requirements of end-users. Implementing such technologies is the main objective of WP3 “Supporting technologies”. The scaling-up of the experimental production facilities based on multiple OSUs is performed in WP4 “Scaling-Up”. The suitability of the scaled up process and of the quality of products for various applications will be assessed in WP5 “Feasibility studies for sample applications”. Techno-economic evaluation, Life Cycle Assessment and Health, Safety and Environment issues are studied in WP6 “Assessment”.
The technical workpackages are complemented by two horizontal workpackages: WP 7 and 8 deal with the transversal tasks dissemination and project management.