Focus on alternatives to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
At Project ZeroF, safe and sustainable coatings are being developed to replace PFAS compounds in the value chain of food packaging and cushioning textiles.
Coordinated by VTT, Finland's leading research center, 12 research and industry partners from nine countries have been working on the PFAS-free alternatives for 3 years since January 2023.
The goal of the project is to replace PFAS with renewable feedstocks and non-toxic compounds. The materials developed are expected to be highly resistant to water, oil and grease and reduce environmental impact by at least 25%. The ZeroF project is taking a comprehensive approach to achieving this goal, specifically through the Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD) guide. This serves as a compass for material design, optimization of coating formulations and evaluation of their safety and performance. In addition, the cost-effectiveness of the new coatings is considered using a cost-benefit analysis. A life cycle analysis will then assess the environmental impact.
Fraunhofer ISC is focusing on the development of an omniphobic coating for textiles. The ORMOCER® system developed at the ISC is used here as a PFAS alternative, which is optimized via chemical composition, various additives, and nano- and microstructuring.
The project partners are identifying technological, economic, socio-economic and regulatory incentives for new PFAS-free coating materials to facilitate their introduction in the textile and packaging industry. Finally, a certification and regulatory roadmap will be developed to anticipate future regulatory requirements and ease the transition to PFAS-free solutions for other sectors outside the project scope.