El Instituto de Tecnología Cerámica (ITC) participa en el proyecto AMBICOAT, una iniciativa coordinada por el Instituto Tecnológico del Plástico (AIMPLAS) que persigue la purificación del interior de los edificios gracias a la aplicación de recubrimientos avanzados.

The pollution to be found at present in indoor environments is estimated to be two to five times greater than outdoors, which can adversely affect people's state of health. To address this, different innovative cleaning technologies are emerging for indoor environments, which can remedy the effects of many harmful pollutants.

One such pollutant, which has drawn major interest in recent years owing to its impact in indoor spaces, is formaldehyde. This substance leads to irritation of body tissues when it enters into direct contact with these tissues and studies have even found cases of nose and throat cancer (nasopharyngeal cancer) in people exposed to certain amounts of formaldehyde in the workplace. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the EPA have determined that formaldehyde is probably a human carcinogen.

The solutions developed to date have been based on titanium dioxide (TiO₂). However, their main drawback lies in requiring ultraviolet radiation for activation, which makes them inefficient in indoor environments where windowpanes act as UV radiation filters.

To attempt to solve this problem and to improve people's quality of life and health, AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Institute is coordinating the development of coatings that will clean the air in indoor environments. Specifically, coatings are involved for applications on floors, furniture, decorative paints, composites and ceramics based on porous organometallic compounds (MOFs), which allow photodegradation of formaldehyde.

These studies are being performed under the AMBICOAT project, funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities in the public call Collaboration Challenges 2017. Specifically, in Challenge 5 of the public call for Collaboration CHALLENGES: "Action on climate change and efficiency in the use of resources and raw materials".

AMBICOAT is coordinated by AIMPLAS and includes five other partners: Valencia University (ICMOL, MatCo) is in charge of synthesising organometallic compounds, MOFs, and starting a Spin-off to supply MOFs to the industrial partners; AIMPLAS will develop the method of dispersing MOFs in liquid resins, jointly with the firms OMAR COATINGS and PECTRO, which will formulate the different coatings for the various applications. AIMPLAS and ITC, also a technology centre, will apply the coatings. Finally, the firm KERABEN will validate the developments in real demonstrators, in which ITC will measure the formaldehyde degradation of the photocatalytic coatings designed in the project.

Funded by the Ministry of Science, Innovation, and Universities in the public call for Collaboration Challenges 2017, file no. RTC-2017-6428-5.