Health and Environment
Work Package 4
In the Graphene Flagship’s Health and Environment Work Package, we assess the safety profile of graphene and layered materials and define protocols for their safer use.
We start by looking at the physicochemical properties and bio-nano interactions of graphene and layered materials when they are introduced to biosystems, considering all routes of exposure. We believe that three fundamental steps are necessary for the safety profiles of graphene and layered materials to be fully characterised:
- Maximise the synergy and coordination between different research strategies.
- Monitor toxicity at different levels: cellular, organ, tissue and environmental.
- Define protocols for the materials’ safer use, where necessary
Graphene and layered materials are rapidly approaching working applications in many areas: electronics, optoelectronics, photonics, energy, materials and composites, and biomedicine, just to cite a few. For these new materials to be viable for industrial and clinical applications, it is fundamental to fully understand their impact on health and the environment.
We still have gaps to fill in risk-related knowledge, and this is what drives us. It is therefore crucial to develop a thorough and reliable safety profile of graphene and layered materials and offer solutions if any risks are identified.
In the EU, all manufactured materials and nanomaterials must follow REACH regulations, established by the European Chemicals Agency, in order to be authorised for industrial production and commercialisation. In 2020, our Work Package will work with the European Chemicals Agency to develop and implement the official guidelines for the safety assessment of graphene and layered materials.
Graphene Flagship Spearhead Project GRAPES makes cost-effective and stable photovoltaic panels with graphene and layered materials
One of the Graphene Flagship’s most fundamental goals is to get new graphene-based products into the hands of consumers.
The Graphene Flagship funds comprehensive roadmapping efforts within our Industrialisation Work Package. Our researchers study the state-of-the-art developments based on graphene technologies, analyse the market, and then provide strategic guidance on commercial uptake and industrial impact.
Cecilia Mattevi was an invited speaker at Graphene Week 2021, where she showed us her exciting work on the 3D-printing of energy storage devices – with the help of graphene. "We are very interested in layered materials, in particular graphene, for energy applications" she says.
Sodium is one of the most abundant and affordable metals in the world. Now researchers at Graphene Flagship partner Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, present a concept that allows sodium ion batteries to match the capacity of today's lithium-ion batteries.