Framework to respond to regulatory needs of future nanomaterials and markets.

RIVM worked alongside a consortium of 23 international partners on a safe design for ‘new’ nanoparticles. The FutureNanoNeeds project started with research into nanotechnology to help increase the efficiency of solar cells and improve the energy storage capacity of batteries. RIVM has investigated the safety of the particles used in this technology. FutureNanoNeeds started in 2014 and ended in December 2017.

Safety research into nanoparticles presently concentrates mainly on existing nanoparticles, which are generally fairly simple in their composition. The industry is turning increasingly towards 'new generation’ nanoparticles. The possibilities for applying these particles in the energy sector and other sectors are as yet unknown.

These ‘new generations' are much more varied in shape and structure. At this point, it is not possible to make an accurate assessment of the risks these particles may pose for humans and the environment. The FutureNanoNeeds project focussed on a safe design of the ‘new generations’ of nanoparticles before they go into full-scale production.

In addition to confirming the effects of these new nanoparticles, the consortium developed calculation models to allow the prediction of the risks of new generations of nanoparticles. 

The key outcome of the project was the development of models that, for the first time, allowed us to model the relationship between the hazards of a nanomaterial and some of the specific properties of the nanomaterial. Especially size and shape were found to modulate the hazard, with smaller particles, in general, being the most toxic. Thereupon, spherical particles posed a higher hazard than cuboidal and planar materials of the same chemical composition.


FutureNanoNeeds was funded by FP7-NMP under grant agreement ID: 604602.