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New technology redefines energy efficiency

SURE2COAT Foto: Martin Fossen, SINTEF
A EU project is dedicated to advancing energy efficiency through the development of innovative and eco-friendly corrosion protection methods, with the goal of replacing steel with aluminum.

SINTEF coordinates the SURE2COATproject, which stands for "Sustainable Surface Treatments of Complex Shape Components for Transsectorial Industrial Innovation." The project aims to raise the level of surface treatment methods from research to practical application in industry.

The main goal of the project is to address challenges related to corrosion of aluminium alloys in given environments and improve the effect of “gas-water heaters" where the heat-conducting parts of copper may be covered with a water film that reduces heat transfer.

In three very different applications, the project will demonstrate the new production concepts and demonstrate increased sustainability for the entire production, use and reuse chain of aluminium and copper. We want to address the challenges in the following three applications:

  • Motor housing for the food industry
  • Macro capsules for heat storage
  • Gas-water heaters

For the first two applications, the goal is to replace steel as a material with aluminium alloys, while for the copper-based unit (gas-water heaters) we want to change the structure of the surface using laser.

To ensure relevance and efficiency, the project has partnered up with four industry partners, tnamely SIEMENS, BOSCH, MicroArc and COWA. These partners cover each of the three applications, and their insight and expertise will be critical to realising the project's objectives.

What surface treatment methods are we talking about?

  1. Sustainable aluminium: SURE2COAT is exploring methods such as plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) to create corrosion-resistant surfaces on aluminum alloys. This can replace steel in many applications and significantly reduce its weight, while improving durability and reducing energy consumption.
  2. Hybrid materials: Using techniques such as stainless steel spray coating, your product can achieve the best of both worlds. This means preserving aluminium's light weight and good thermal conductivity while using steel's corrosion resistance. This is especially important for the food industry and other sectors with strict standards.
  3. Laser precision: SURE2COAT will apply laser structuring techniques to alter copper surfaces at the micrometer level. This optimizes heat transfer and reduces water condensation in gas-water heaters.

The importance of sustainability and climate friendliness
SURE2COAT aims to raise the status of the three coating methods from TRL 3 to TRL 6 (Technology Readiness Level). This involves validating that the methods provide adequate corrosion protection, are environmentally friendly and can be integrated into production processes with reduced energy consumption and environmental impact. This initiative represents:

  • New green surface treatment: SURE2COAT seeks to establish sustainable surface treatment methods that will have a positive impact on both the environment and energy consumption.
  • Industrial transformation: By integrating these methods into production processes, the project contributes to a reduction in environmental impact and energy consumption compared to existing technologies.
  • Commercial use: Upon reaching TRL 6, SURE2COAT are approaching commercial use, and the results have the potential to change industries worldwide.

Read more on the project website

Project Period: 2023 - 2025
Total Budget: 5.9 million euros
Funding Source: The European Union

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