There is no doubt that the technological progress contributes significantly to the increase in the productivity and wealth of the regions. Usually the innovative companies are the most productive, competitive and with more accelerated growths. History has shown that some new emerging technologies stimulated innovation and technological progress in a significant way leading to higher levels of productivity and making it easier to develop totally different products and services. These technologies were called Key Enabling Technologies (KETs). KET offer opportunities to new products and processes to a large number of industrial sectors. Additionally KET has contributed to the acceleration of the technological developments increasing productivity and wealth.
EU needs a big share of innovation in order to approach the great challenges that the society is facing, in the upcoming years, namely in what regards climate change, overcoming poverty, social cohesion development and a bigger efficiency in energy and resources. KET require an intensive use of knowledge and are associated high intensity R&D, fast cycles of innovation, capital reversals and highly qualified businesses. These technologies favour innovation in processes, assets and services and have the potential to change the entire economic system. Besides, KET are multidisciplinary and have an impact in several technological scopes, aiming to converge and integrate.
KET are a group of six technologies: micro and nanoeletronics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, industrial, advanced materials, photonics and advanced manufacturing technologies. All of these can be applied to several industries and help to face the challenges of the society, creating advance and sustainable economies. These technologies are the basis for innovation in industrial sectors such as mobility, food, chemistry, electronics, energy, health, construction and telecommunications, with relevance both in emerging as in traditional sectors.
KET are a priority on the European industrial policy with the objective to accelerate exploitation processes of these technologies in the EU towards industrial growth and employment.
From the economic point of view, it is foreseen that the global market for the KET is a trillion Euros, 23% of the products exported in the EU based on these technologies increase the employment with rates around 10, 20% per year. Definitely, the KET development will contribute to the industrial redevelopment, energy and climate change to be compatible, reinforcing its impact on growth and employment creation.
In the project, the KET that will be used on the developments are: nanotechnology, biotechnology and advanced materials. Know more
Nanotechnology is the knowledge, control and handle of the matter on the nanometer scale on the dimensional reach from 2 to 100 nanometers (nm). On this scale, the materials have new and unique properties (chemical, physics, mechanic, optics,...) . It is of great scientific interest and for new applications. Nanotechnology involves several fields such as chemistry, physics, science of materials and engineering being able to have a significant impact in all industries that develop materials. The key lays on the ability to control, synthesize and handle the nanomaterials to obtain specific advantages from its specific properties, in several industrial applications.
Its potential comes from the fact that the physic and chemical properties of the materials drastically change on the nm scale. The following examples show how (extremely) small the scale is:
- One inch is 25.400.000 nanometers
- The thickness of a sheet of paper are 100.000 nanometers
The materials on a nanometer scale have a large specific surface, very superior to that of the same material but on a larger scale. When the specific surface of the material is increase, a larger number of the material (atoms) may be in touch with the remaining materials surrounding it and therefore increase its responsiveness.
Nowadays, there are already applications where nanotechnology is present:
» Nanometer additives for superficial treatments in textiles for multiple uses: anti-stains, hydrophobic, anti-wrinke, anti-bacterial,...
» Sensores and flexible electronics
» Lightweight materials (polymers, cement) with high mechanic resistance for the transports sector
» Nanobiomaterials: enzymes, catalysts of chemical reactions
» Nanomaterials in electric batteries
» Nano-layer with high performance, conductor, multifunctional
» Sun creams and pharmaceutical
» Nanomaterials in electronics and computing to increase velocity, design size and to create systems: transistors, electrodes, RAM memories, high definition screens, flashdrives, RFID cards
» Nanomaterials in medicine for treatments, prevention, diagnosis and regeneration
» Membranes and water treatment technology
» Solar panels (flexible)
Biotechnology covers all the technologic applications that use biological systems and living organisms or its derivatives for the creation or modification of products or processes for specific uses.
Biotechnology includes basic and applied research which covers distinctive focus that come from the technology and the application of biological sciences such as cell biology, molecular , bioinformatics and applied marine microbiology including the investigation and increase of substances bioactives and functional food for the moldecular well being, handling of diseases associated with aquaculture, toxicology and envirogenomics , environmental handling and biosafety associated to the growing and processing of marine organisms and of fresh water, biofuels and management and quality control in labs.
Currently an important number of products are being fabricated using biotechnologic processes: chemical products, polymer, biofuels, vitamins, enzymes... The biotechnologic industry tends to consume fewer resources (recyclable and of natural origins and uses more environmental friendly processes, reaching a sustainable development with a big impact on industrial applications).
This type of industry is promoted according to the governments regulation and for the consumer demand that are increasingly more sensitive to the issues related with the environment.
The concept of advanced materials covers a wide range on the field of the materials and the boundaries between the different types are not clearly defined. It can be included the following groups of materials:
» Advanced metals
» Synthetic advanced polymer
» Ceramic advanced materials
» New composite materials
» Advanced biopolymer
LThe advanced materials present new and different internal structures, with pioneering properties and with high added value. There are numerous examples of advanced materials such as grapheno, FDM Nylon 12CF, which is a thermoplastic filled with carbon fibre resistant enough to replace metallic components in some applications and that it is processed according to fast prototype technologies. It is a composite material with high performance and with low weight that it is used with the Fused Deposition Modelling technology. The High Strength Steels (HSS) are being designed in order to answer the challenges that currently defy the automotive industry namely in what concerns safety, reduction of weight, CO2 emissions and comfort. Even though it is steel, there are complex and sophisticated materials with a chemical composition carefully adjusted and with multi-layered structures in which the heating and refrigeration processes have a key role in the development of its microstructure. The stiffening mechanisms used to achieve properties such as resistance, ductility, tenacity and strain are vast.
On the field of architecture and singular construction, the composite materials of polymeric matrix reinforced with fibreglass, that are used in other industries are beginning to find a market niche due to its advantages related to how quick it is to assemble high resistance to impact and manufactured parts with verifiable industrial processes on the factory (ensuring and maintaining the quality standards), increasing environmental impact, low thermal conductivity and coefficient of thermal expansion.
Aluminium skimmings are also starting to be used on the singular architecture due to its lightness advantages, high specific stiffness and adjustable Young module according to the density, isotropy, absorbing vibration, protection from electromagnetic fields, sound absorption and good thermal properties.