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Industrial process for producing quartz and other quartz-containing raw materials that reduces over 75% the toxicity related to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).

Resumen

Tipo:
Oferta Tecnológica
Referencia:
TOES20200703001
Publicado:
15/07/2020
Caducidad:
16/07/2021
Resumen:
A Spanish university research group has developed a technology to treat quartz and other raw materials that contain it, which reduce considerably the respirable crystalline silica (RCS) toxicity and maintains the industrial properties of the original quartz. They look for companies interested in industrial applications through licence agreement, research and/or technical cooperation agreement.

Details

Tittle:
Industrial process for producing quartz and other quartz-containing raw materials that reduces over 75% the toxicity related to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS).
Summary:
A Spanish university research group has developed a technology to treat quartz and other raw materials that contain it, which reduce considerably the respirable crystalline silica (RCS) toxicity and maintains the industrial properties of the original quartz.

They look for companies interested in industrial applications through licence agreement, research and/or technical cooperation agreement.
Description:
Inhaling high concentrations of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) for prolonged periods of time may result in the pathological reaction known as silicosis. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified RCS present in workplaces, in the form of quartz and cristobalite, as carcinogenic for humans (category 1). In terms of exposure, RCS is probably one of the most widely extended chemical substances in Europe: millions of Europeans are exposed to it in their workplaces.

In the views of this occupational health problem both legislators and industry are setting the bases to protect workers from the RCS exposure. Directive (EU) 2017/2398 amending Directive 2004/37/EC, regulates the exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work, and establishes a corresponding maximum occupational exposure limit (OEL) of 0.1 mg/m3. Indeed, very restrictive measures for handling, packaging, marking, disposing, etc. have to be implemented for any material containing more than 0.1% of RCS.

According to Directive 98/24/EC, employers shall reduce the risk to a minimum by substituting hazardous chemicals by another chemicals or process that prevent the risk from origin, a principle shared by Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 (REACH).

The European Network on Silica (NEPSI), which represents 15 industry sectors, signed the Agreement on Workers Health Protection through the Good Handling and Use of Crystalline Silica and Products containing it, which is mentioned in the Directive (EU) 2017/2398 as a good tool to protect the health of workers.

Quartz is one of the most widely used industrial raw materials. In most cases, in spite of the toxicity, it cannot be replaced due to technical or economic reasons. Having that in mind, a Spanish university research group has developed a technology to produce quartz and other raw materials that contain it, which significantly reduces the RCS toxicity, which consists in an industrial dry process to coat quartz particles.

The technology employs small amounts of coating agents (with or without a catalyst), and makes possible the selection of those agents that best suit to a specific process in which quartz is used as raw material. The industrial properties of the treated quartz do not significantly differ from the original one. Consequently, the quality of the end product is not affected. However, the use of this treated quartz will considerably reduce the RCS toxicity.

The coating of quartz particles is done with organosilanes with no need of an aqueous medium. Therefore, the technology is ready to be integrated into dry industrial processes. It can be easily applied on an industrial scale to produce a vast amount of treated quartz to be used as raw material. Indeed, it can also be easily incorporated in industrial processes to treat the quartz before it is used. For that reason, the technology is equally valid for raw materials (quartz) producers/suppliers and for specific industries requiring the use of quartz.

The technology has been proved feasible for many sectors: ceramic frits, inorganic pigments, casting (moulds), adhesives for building materials and elastomers.

Anyway, quartz is used in many other industrial sectors; so, a study can be conducted to search the appropriate coating agents and the technical viability of the resulting coated quartz for other specific industries.

It is a patented technology and there is an industrial prototype available. The researcher group offers licence agreement and technological or research cooperation to industrial partners interested in exploiting the patent.
Advantages and Innovations:
Technological innovations:

The resulting covered quartz is considerably less toxic than the original one. Some treatments proved to reduce over 75% of the quartz toxicity (in vitro test).

The technology reduces the quartz toxicity (RCS) by coating the quartz particles with no need of an aqueous medium, which makes possible to easily integrate it into dry industrial processes.

Trials conducted in industrial premises proved that the coated quartzes could be used in many industrial sectors.

The technology can be integrated into production processes without significant industrial adaptations and investments.

It does not affect the properties of the final products.

Marketing advantages:

The technology is suitable for many sectors, so it enables licensees to exploit it under a market diversification approach.

The TRL is approximately 6-7. There is no need of significant investments to scale it up industrially and put it on the market.

EU-wide IPR protection will ensure licensees a vast market.
Stage of Development:
Prototype available for demonstration
IPs:
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
License agreement + Technical cooperation agreement:

The ideal partner would be a producer or supplier of industrial inputs providing quartz as raw material to several industries. This partner has to be able to commercialise and exploit the technology based on a license agreement.

The technology can be easily applied in the following industrial sectors: ceramic frits, inorganic pigments, casting (moulds), adhesives for building materials and elastomers, so the research team is open to discuss specific license and technological cooperation agreements for each one these industrial sectors.

The researchers will support the licensee in the industrial scale up of the technology through technological cooperation.

Research Cooperation agreement + technical cooperation agreement:

The research team is ready to study the technical and economic viability of the technology in other industries different than those mentioned above that also use quartz as input. This type of cooperation will take the form of research or technical cooperation agreement.

Client

Type and Size of Client:
University
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Si
Languages Spoken:
English
Spanish

Keywords

Technology Keywords:
02007001 Adhesives
02007016 Caucho
02007008 Hierro y acero, estructuras metálicas
02007003 Materiales y polvos cerámicos
02002002 Recubrimientos