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Safer and more sustainable materials for manufacturing
Date:2/12/2014

Manufacturing industries rely on a supply of raw materials; increasingly these are rare, expensive, difficult to source, and subject to regulation. A 10.3 million grant, awarded to researchers today by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) will be used to find safer, more sustainable alternatives. The energy, automotive, aerospace, and construction industries, amongst others, will benefit from this investment. Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, said: "As one of the eight great technologies of the future, Advanced Materials will ensure safer and more sustainable development of resources to boost the capability of UK manufacturing. This investment in research will help keep the UK ahead in the global race for exciting manufacturing innovations." The four successful winning research projects are led by UCL (University College London), the University of Bristol, the University of Surrey, and the University of York, with industry partners adding a further 2.8 million of investment. The research teams will assess the viability of using different, replacement materials in the manufacturing supply chain, considering their properties, cost, performance, and scalability. They will investigate how production processes or technology will need to adapt to using these newer materials. By the end of the study the research will enable manufacturers to adopt alternatives.

The projects are:

  • Examining alternatives for transparent conducting oxide materials, used in window coatings, solar power panels, phones and computers, from nanoparticle dispersions, inks and thin films. Researchers will replace tin, which is expensive and indium, which is scarce, with common elements like titanium, aluminium and zinc. Led by UCL.

  • Developing new active materials for photovoltaic solar cells based on abundant and low cost elements. The research aims at replacing key elements such as gallium, indium, cadmi
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Contact: EPSRC Press Office
pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk
01-793-444-404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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