GAIKER and TECNALIA are working on the development of new multifunctional materials for sustainable transport

Bizkaia, News

The MATFUN project researches and develops advanced technologies for multilayer, multifunctional and sustainable materials.

The GAIKER and TECNALIA Technology Centres, members of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance, BRTA, are participating in the MATFUN project, the main objective of which is to research and develop advanced technologies for multilayer, multifunctional and sustainable materials for air and land transport.

Hydrogen is an effective alternative to the use of fossil fuels in transport as it is a very light and abundant element, but for its use it is essential to have a good storage system. GAIKER is working on this aspect in the MATFUN project, in which it is developing multifunctional polymeric structures, based on a barrier layer (liner) reinforced with a thermostable composite, for application in type IV hydrogen tanks in order to achieve polymeric structures with good fire behaviour for use in the railway sector.

The structural composite used in this research is based on sustainable epoxy resins adapted in viscosity and reactivity for filament winding technology. These resins are formulated with halogen-free flame retardants and intumescent coatings are applied on the polymeric structure. Thus, the combination of both flame-retardant strategies allows the fire classification required by the railway sector to be achieved. In addition, the structures will be fitted with non-invasive sensors to monitor the tank during its service life.

On the other hand, in order to improve the hydrogen barrier properties of the thermoplastic tank liners that form part of the tanks, TECNALIA is formulating the plastic material with laminar nanoadditives.
MATFUN is divided into four work packages. In the first, the functionalities identified as relevant in the sector such as sensorisation, H2 permeability and fire resistance of hydrogen tanks are developed. In the second, sustainable bio-based systems are being developed, in the third, the processes of evolved thermoplastic RTM and filament winding for obtaining cylindrical parts are being explored and, in the last, led by GAIKER, four demonstrators will be created (representative part of a battery box, hydrogen tanks, fireproof insulating panel and solar roof) with which the combination of functions, materials and advanced manufacturing processes selected for each of them will be validated.

Funded by the Basque Government as part of the ELKARTEK programme and coordinated by TECNALIA, this research aims to respond to new needs in materials development and proposes the development of functional elements and their combination and associated integration processes to reduce CO2 emissions and thus achieve more sustainable transport.

MATFUN has become part of the “Complementary R&D&I Programme in Advanced Materials” and will therefore extend its activity until 2025 and will receive joint funding from the European Economic Community, the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Basque Government’s Department of Education.


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