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Project results in POPFREE

Download the final report for the POPFREE project and read the results for each of our six focus cases.

Case: Paper

Consumer information

A consumer information letter presenting general information about PFAS has been prepared and disseminated to the partners. The letter is intended for communication with consumers and the partners are free to change the template and add information about why they are working o substitution of PFAS.

Prototypal trials of FCM at partner facilities

Prototype trials have been performed by Billerud-Korsnäs on a pilot paper machine in April using two formulations prepared by BIM Kemi. Billerud-Korsnäs has also evaluated some barrier properties (porosity and grease penetration time). The initial results are promising although one formulation was difficult to run on the pilot machine. BIM Kemi is looking into the optimization of the formulations.

LCA assessment

An initial risk assessment of the two formulations from BIM Kemi has been performed. A full list of ingredients together with a range of concentration have been used. Overall the ingredients did not present any high risk for the health or environment apart from the biocide used. Discussions are on-going to decide how to handle the biocide.

The plan forward is to continue with LCA, both to identify hot-spots that could have a significant environmental impact as well as to compare different fluorine-free products.

Case: Textile/leather

Test method development

There is a positive correlation between water contact angle measurements on formulations and spray-rate results in treated fabrics, but the number of factors affecting final performance on fabric provides a greater challenge. The importance of fabric properties, auxiliaries and application process was evident in the trials made and following discussions.

What can be concluded is, that a high dynamic contact angle and low roll-off angle on a treated surface or fabric with new base chemistry, shows the chemistry’s potential to be a building block in a DWR formulation. When it comes to the tests of formulation saturation times of fabrics, the wetting abilities of a formulation may indicate that it is more “robust” and has a higher potential for a good application without a specific need for wetting agents which may affect performance.

Bundesmann proves, as expected, to be the toughest test method, good for final selections but a bit too laborious for screening many samples.

DWR formulations testing

The final conclusions from DWR formulation tests will be formulated in January, but findings in the testing indicate that:

  • Formulations from both BIM Kemi and Organoclick perform well for water repellence according to Spray Rate testing.
  • The performance difference between fabrics can be very big for some formulations. It indicates that the application process needs fine-tuning to match each fabric’s properties.
  • In Bundesmann test, one of the tested formulations and the PFAS-free reference had a good result in the rain test.

Partner work in Textile case

Paragon has done experiments with new formulations in a master thesis work, in collaboration with RISE labs.

Carrington has done some parallel trials with BIM Kemi formulations and had similar results as the research team at RISE.

Helly Hansen has done research of their own into current DWR solutions and also tested a novel solution under confidentiality.

Mammut has conducted extensive trials of their own with existing DWR solutions and mapped the challenges and possibilities for going PFAS-free.

Plasma for oleophobicity in DWOR

Trials have been made with plasma deposits to achieve oleophobicity in workwear fabrics, according to requirements by Fristads. The approach was to use PFAS-based C6 chemistry (specific C6 substance for plasma treatment) and to minimize substance use and water contamination while increasing treatment bond to fiber by plasma deposit. Unfortunately, the combination of formulation, treatment parameters, and available fabrics did not fulfill the workwear requirements according to EN ISO 14419:2010, and we decided to stop the trials there. PFAS-free options were not explored since all today known PFAS-free textile treatments are less oleophobic than the C6 treatment used. A summary report with the findings from these trials will be produced.

Supplier guide

Together with Klättermusen, Peak Innovation and RISE IVF are compiling a supplier guide for communication in PFAS substitution and a better understanding of alternatives. It will now go to an external resource for review/additions and then (in January) sent out for review by textile partners.

Case: Cosmetics

A risk assessment has been performed on a fluorinated and non-fluorinated replacement for a lip definer. Overall none of the ingredients in the new formulation have highly negative health or environmental impact.

The possibility to send out a survey to cosmetic manufacturers through the sector organization KoHF was explored but unfortunately, the organization did not agree to send out the survey as they did not see a need to address all PFAS as a group. Dialogue has now been initiated with the Swedish Chemical Agency, KemI, instead. The plan is to organize a dialogue meeting with the cosmetic industry to gather information at the beginning of 2020. The objective is to gain a better understanding of the current status in the sector and the remaining challenges.

The POPFREE project, as well as the use of PFAS in cosmetics, was presented at the Scandinavian Society of Cosmetic Chemists (Scancos) in Oslo on November 22nd. The presentation was focusing on presenting the use of PFAS in cosmetics products and highlighting the environmental perspective to motivate the need for substitution.

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation is looking into evaluating the total release of PFAS from the cosmetic industry.

Case: Film-forming products

The work started by identifying several different film-forming agents, i.e. surfactants. These were characterized by surface tension measurements in water, which tells us about the efficiency of the surfactants (how quickly the surface tension decreases with surfactant concentration), and also their effectiveness (the minimum surface tension that can be achieved). High efficiency means that a low concentration can be used in the formulations and high effectiveness gives a low contact angle and a higher wetting power. The number of suitable surfactants was then narrowed down further by using an internally developed screening method for making coatings. The surfactants that showed the highest performance were then evaluated at the industrial partner on larger sample areas and one has now been identified as a suitable alternative.

The work then continued to replace the surfactants in two other products. A second screening method was used which resembles the method used by the industrial partner that involves larger areas and also a similar way of application of the coating. 2-3 suitable surfactants were identified, and these are being evaluated by the industrial partner on larger sample areas. The surfactants are polydimethylsiloxane based and one is a multi-functional non-silicone gemini surfactant.

The risk assessment of the chemical composition of the film-forming products is ongoing.

Case: Ski wax

FIS Bans Fluorinated Ski Waxes!

On November 23, 2019, the international skiing federation, FIS, decided to stop the use of fluorinated substances in all competitions starting winter 2020/2021. This decision has sent ripples through the ski sports and it is yet to be seen how enforcement, compliance and industry adjustment will be handled with a 1-year notice for the regulation change.

Indoor Glide tests in Gällö, Jämtland

In September, the ski wax case team met in Mid Sweden 365 Ski Tunnel in Gällö outside Östersund to perform glide tests with the sled. The aim was to see whether differences could be measured between different ski waxes. In addition to the sled tests, glide tests with a professional skier were done in a slope with sensors on the side to get times and speeds at different parts of the slope. The week after we were there, the Norwegian Ski Team was there testing skis. The results in both tests showed rather small differences, with the greatest difference between unwaxed and waxed skies. A new test is planned in the tunnel in December.

Vasaloppsmässan

We will participate at Vasaloppsmässan also this year (20/2 – 1/3 2020). Contact Joel Svedlund (joel.svedlund@peakinnovation.se) if you want to participate in the POPFREE stand for some of the days.

POPFREE Ski Goes Global

POPFREE Ski Goes Global has ended. The project's aim was to initiate an international dialogue and pave the way for a phase-out of PFAS-based ski waxes at the international competition level. In a workshop with key players from the ski community in Europe, important activities and measures were collected in an action plan towards PFAS-free competitive skiing. One key point was that robust detection methods for PFAS for skis are crucial for an effective ban on the international elite level. According to the engaged stakeholders from the ski sport, a ban could be implemented within 5 years. This was three months before the FIS decision to ban all fluorinated substances 1 year from today. Even if the timeframe is radically shortened, the activities listed and the stakeholders involved in this process will be important parts of the transition. Find the Roadmap, Fact Sheet and other documents from this project at:

POPFREE FutureSki

We are now working on a proposal for a follow-up project; POPFREE FutureSki. In the POPFREE Ski Goes Global pre-study, four different PFAS screening methods were identified. Since competitive skiing takes place on many levels and in many settings, it is likely that parallel methodologies are needed. The four identified methods that we plan to work with are:

  • SkiFT – an XRF-based method developed by Fraunhofer and NILU, tested in Norway 2019 which needs further development and verification for implementation in elite skiing.
  • Handheld XRF – feasibility tested within POPFREE Ski Goes Global with promising results.
  • FTIR – identified in method screening within POPFREE Ski goes Global.
  • Scent-detecting dog – suggested in the ideation process in POPFREE Ski Goes Global, needs further investigation.

Case: Fire fighting foam

Two partners are involved, Dafo Fomtec and Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals). Dafo Fomtec has made a list of performance requirements for future fluorine-free (F-Free) foam and has been working together with Nouryon and developed some new formulations for testing. Standardized fire test methods are available (EN1568 and SP Method 2580) but also some small scale methods (non-fire tests) are used to study specific parameters, e.g. drainage, expansion, resistance to “fuel pickup”, etc.

In June, 10 small scale fire tests were conducted at RISE Fire Research in Borås. The tests were made according to SP Method 2580 which is a downscaled version of the standard test procedure described in EN 1568. The intention was to get a first indication of the fire extinguishing and burn-back performance with some various formulations using a small addition of particles to stabilize the foam. As a base for the formulations, two standard fluorine-free foams were used, and then particles of two different diameters and at different concentrations were added. The selection of these particles was based on the previous non-fire testing described above. In total 10 small scale tests were conducted where time to 90% control, 99% control, and extinguishment were recorded. Also, the burn-back performance was evaluated in most of the tests. In general, the test results were similar for each foam concentrate both without and with particles. However, in two tests, one formulation indicated a slightly better burn-back performance after the addition of particles.

In order to verify some of the test results, two tests will be conducted according to the EN 1568 standard using a 4,5 m2 fire tray. This will provide a better comparison to commercial fluorine-free formulations as Dafo Fomtec has a large number of test results using this standard. By performing them indoors at RISE Fire Research, the influence of wind will be minimized. The tests will be conducted in the beginning of December 2019.

Laboratory tests have been started on how to improve the salt stability of fire-fighting foams that are used at sea. We will also evaluate viscosity modifying polymers that will maximize the viscosity of the premix keeping the viscosity of the concentrate as low as possible below the performance requirement.

The risk assessment of the chemical composition of F-free foams is ongoing.