Research and development projects on nanomaterials

Nano structuresClick to enlarge
Nano structures are more than 1000 times smaller than the diameter of an human hair
Source: eugenesergeev /

The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) is currently funding and guiding the research and development projects on nanomaterials and other advanced materials listed below. For more information on these projects please refer to the research database Umweltforschungsdatenbank UFORDAT in German and the corresponding number.

Table of Contents


Standardisation of methods regarding fate and behaviour of nanomaterials in environmental media – solubility and dissolution rate

Dispersion stability, dissolution (rate) and transformation are considered as most important parameters influencing fate and behavior of nanomaterials in the environment. While there already is a standardized test guideline to establish data on dispersion stability, and while a guidance document on transformation of nanomaterials is underway, a standardized method to determine solubility and dissolution rate of nanomaterials under environment relevant conditions is still missing.
The objective of the project is to develop a working protocol which will include measurements under static and dynamic conditions in order to determine solubility and dissolution rate of nanomaterials under environmental relevant conditions. It is intended to submit the working protocol at OECD level to pursue the adoption as new OECD test guideline. (UFORDAT No. 01080733)


OECD Test Guideline development for nanomaterials: Transformation of nanomaterials under environmental conditions

In addition to their agglomeration (dispersion stability) and dissolution, whether and how nanomaterials are transformed over time via abiotic processes is also important for their behaviour and fate in the environment. This knowledge is significant to understand in which form and amount engineered nanomaterials are present in the environment. The research project aims to develop an OECD test guideline for a quantitative determination of the abiotic transformation processes of nanomaterials, taking into account relevant environmental parameters. The work builds on ongoing activities for the development of an OECD Guidance Document on environmental abiotic transformation of nanomaterials.
In addition, the project will also include investigations to validate a possible test protocol for determining the heteroagglomeration of nanomaterials under consideration of relevant environmental parameters. The basis for this will be the existing OECD test guideline 318 for the determination of dispersion stability of nanomaterials under environmental conditions, which is currently limited to the investigation of homoagglomeration of nanomaterials. (UFORDAT No. 01088269)


Examination and further development of strategic approaches for dealing with advanced materials in chemical safety“ – Study on nanocarriers and their environmental behaviour

The project considers nanocarriers as a case study for advanced materials that pose challenges for risk assessment under EU chemicals legislation. In the project, literature research on existing nanocarriers or those under development and their (potential) applications will be carried out. From the overview thus obtained, three nanocarrier types and the active substances they contain will be selected as examples for further investigations. These nanocarriers are expected to pose particular challenges for risk assessment in terms of material properties, environmental behavior and specific applications (e.g. in medicine or agriculture). For the selected nanocarriers, test strategies will be (further) developed and implemented in the laboratory in order to investigate their environmental behaviour and the potential release of the transported active ingredient under environmentally relevant conditions in more detail. The focus here is on assessing the mobility and degradability of the nanocarrier in aquatic systems as well as the non-intentional release of the active ingredient. The objectives of this research project are: (1) to discuss the preliminary project results in technical meetings with selected stakeholders in order to (2) identify knowledge gaps with regard to the environmental risk assessment of nanocarriers and (3) to develop proposals for the adaptation of existing concepts for assessment. In this way, the project should contribute to the development of a comprehensive risk assessment of the environmental behaviour of nanocarriers. (UFORDAT No. 01103855)


Investigation of ecotoxicological effects of fibrous and platelet-shaped advanced materials for deriving adapted testing strategies

Fibrous and platelet-shaped advanced materials, such as carbon nanotubes, graphenes or MXenes, exhibit exceptional mechanical, electronic, optical and chemical properties. They are therefore being investigated for a variety of applications. These include, for example, optoelectronic applications (e.g. solar cells, light-emitting diodes), sensor technology, composite materials (e.g. for electrical conductivity, EMC shielding), energy storage, catalysts or textiles (e.g. for electrical conductivity, flame retardancy). Fibrous and platelet-like advanced materials may pose methodological challenges for regulatory risk assessment under EU chemical legislation due to their properties. The mechanisms contributing to the ecotoxic effects of these materials are poorly understood. In addition, there is concern that potential ecotoxic effects of the materials are not adequately elucidated via classical methods. Thus, there is a need to develop appropriate testing strategies to identify relevant mechanisms and (sub)lethal effects that allow a specific assessment of the ecotoxic potential of fibrous and platelet advanced materials. In this project, specific mechanisms of action and relevant (sub)lethal effects of these materials will be investigated based on a literature review. Based on that it will be derived which test systems must be used in order to be able to make specific statements on the ecotoxicology of these materials. Selected test systems will be tested and adapted using selected fibrous and platelet materials as examples. In this way, recommendations will be derived as to how non-classical effects could be taken into account in the environmental risk assessment of such materials and what further steps would have to be taken.


UBA commissions an expert opinion on the topic of "Advanced materials for the energy transition

The aim of the expert opinion called “Study to survey the state of knowledge and technology on the application of advanced materials in the various technologies for the production and storage of renewable energies “ is to create an overview of current and future applications of advanced materials in the various technologies for the generation and storage of renewable energies and energy sources. To this end, the expert opinion will research the state of knowledge and technology on current and future applications of advanced materials in the various technologies and to compile a systematic overview. In addition, for the 10 most relevant advanced materials the overview will be expanded to include information on chemical safety and sustainability of the advanced materials used. The project will run from 12/23 - 07/24 and is being carried out by the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM).

Final reports of research and development projects

Research Reports Nanomaterials

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 nanomaterials  nanotechnology  Umweltforschungsdatenbank  UFORDAT