RIVM will be working alongside a consortium of 23 international partners on a safe design for ‘new’ nanoparticles. The FutureNanoNeeds project starts with research into nanotechnology that can help to increase the efficiency of solar cells and improve the energy storage capacity of batteries. RIVM will research the safety of the particles used in this technology.

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 is focussing 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 will also be developing calculation models to allow the prediction of the risks of new generations of nanoparticles. These models will be suitable for use by governments and commerce.