NICKEFFECT aims to develop novel ferromagnetic Ni-based coating materials to replace the scarce and costly Platinum and ensure high efficiency in key applications.

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IRISS Workshop Insights: Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design Strategy in the NICKEFFECT Project

IRISS Workshop Insights: Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design Strategy in the NICKEFFECT Project

Last Friday, November 10th 2023, the IRISS Workshop was organised, and dedicated to Horizon Europe (HE) projects that are adopting the SSbD (Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design) approach and/or will foster collaboration among SSbD projects.


This workshop featured presentations from IRISS, the Joint Research Center (JRC), the NanoSafety Cluster (NSC), and PARC, providing insights into the SSbD framework, the evolving SSbD roadmap at IRISS, and the ongoing development of the SSbD toolbox at PARC. Joséphine Steck, Chemical Risk Engineer and SSbD Project Manager in CEA, was present at the Workshop, as representative for NICKEFFECT’s Work Package focused on “Decision Support Tool including sustainable by design approach”.


Additionally, several HE projects, including the NICKEFFECT project, (such as MACRAME, ACCORDs, POTENTIAL, NanoPass, iCARE, SURPASS, RE-PURPOSE, REDONDO, ESTELLA) had the opportunity to present their cases and explain their SSbD strategy, in order to involve the community and present best practices within this topic.


NICKEFFECT develops and will validate at least 3 new materials, together with the coating methodologies (including process modelling) and decision support tools for materials selection – integrating SSbD criteria and materials modelling.


CEA is leading the task dedicated to Risk Assessment, and IRES is responsible for the task dedicated to LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) and LCC (Life Cycle Costing). Together, partners CEA and IRES aim to achieve the challenge of merging the results of both their tasks – the environmental part of Risk Assessment and LCA, with the toxicological impact of LCA and Risk Assessment – in order to enhance the material development taking into account all the inputs.


In addition to giving an excellent overview of the project, the presentation also managed to effectively explain the NICKEFFECT implementation of SSbD. 


The session explained how NICKEFFECT will develop a modular decision support tool (DS tool) to enable good decision-making in the material selection when customers want to find more sustainable and safe materials to replace those currently used. The DS tool will use inputs from static sources, including data from laboratory and environmental testing and reference data (e.g. regulations and costs) and from dynamic (on demand) sources such as materials modelling and LCA. All this information will lead to the creation of a large and comprehensive database, curated and maintained by ANSS, a project partner.


The heart of the system will be the materials and process information management system. The integration of the three main components will be realised through state-of-the-art API technologies and workflows orchestration tools (in case of materials modelling). The web interfaces to expose the system functionalities will be developed and integrated in a single UI for smooth user experience. The tool will allow selecting materials based on both performance and the three main pillars that constitute the sustainable-by-design approach: Safety, Sustainability and Cost-effectiveness.


To go deeper, Joséphine shared the main objectives of the Work Package with the audience: 

  • Assess the chemical risk for the production of the selected materials;
  • Evaluate the environmental impact and the cost of the developed products through their life cycle;
  • Investigate on the recovery of the developed Ni-X materials;
  • Implement a high-throughput computational approach to design materials with the targeted properties enhancing performances and durability;
  • Implement an online decision support tool for materials selection based on safe and sustainability criteria.


Joséphine Steck testimonial on the IRISS Workshop


The main concept underpinning NICKEFFECT is the replacement of Platinum (as a catalyst) by Ni-based ferromagnetic coatings. As a result, it will deliver not only new materials specifically oriented to such applications, but also new tools to both model such materials and to support the European industry in the design of metallic coatings materials and processes following SSbD approaches.


NICKEFFECT’s online decision support tool is intended to become an instrument to provide guidance to Industry in the adoption of safe and sustainable criteria when designing new coatings for different industrial applications.