NANOPHLOW is a consortium funded by H2020 within the FET-Open program. NANOPHLOW focus on the understanding and exploitation of gradient-driven surface flows ('phoretic' flows), which offer a huge scope for fundamental advances with significant technological implications. Specifically, NANOPHLOW envisages breakthroughs in the areas of energy extraction from salinity gradients (`blue energy’), ultra-filtration and desalination, and the development of novel, highly sensitive protein-separation devices.
Currently, most devices that transport bulk fluids make use of pressure gradients ('pumps') or external forces (e.g. gravity powers hydro-electric turbines). Increasingly, modern technology is addressing problems where fluid transport takes place in submicron sized channels, or in pores. The physical laws of transport in such channels are qualitatively different from those that determine bulk flow; they are poorly understood and barely exploited. NANOPHLOW aims to lay the basis for an entire novel technology where thermal and concentration gradients along nano-sized channels are harnessed to drive devices that have no equivalent on the macroscopic scale.
Such gradient-driven surface flows ('phoretic' flows) offer a huge scope for fundamental advances with significant technological implications. We envisage breakthroughs in the area of energy extraction from salinity gradients ('blue energy'), ultra-filtration and desalination, and the development of novel, highly sensitive protein-separation devices. This new approach will surpass the intrinsic limitations of current technologies. The huge improvement in efficiency will be a game changer and will break the current barriers to develop new technologies such as e.g osmotic energy harvesting
NANOPHLOW contributes to the impact on future leadership by ensuring an active and close participation of two highly dynamical SMSs with the associated academic partners. These collaborations contribute to enhance the position of these SEMs in a very competitive landscape and make them more competitive. NANOPHLOW has led to the preparation of two patents, in which the SMEs are involved. These initiatives and outcomes of the project also contribute to the leadership of the SMEs. NANOPHLOW has attracted a set of highly competitive young researchers. Most of these researchers have started to develop their research projects recently, but we expect their contribution will be more relevant in the second reporting period. The interest we have identified in the research groups involved in the objectives of NANOPHLOW, and the ability we have noticed to leverage attracted in terms of resources from other ongoing activities are indicative that the early stage researchers involved in NANOPHLOW will benefit for a highly dynamic and rich environment. The activities they will lead in this project will contribute very positively to their professional career.