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The increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria leads to progressively dangerous health risks in hospitals, livestock stalls, water purification installations and production locations in the dairy industry. Not only do the usual weapons against dangerous bacteria eventually lose their effectiveness, they themselves can also be damaging to public health. New European-wide regulations have been introduced that will quickly phase out these dangerous substances, yet for the time being there are no replacements to protect the public against bacteria. Industry and science, therefore, are working feverishly together on short-term solutions. One of these is in the Dutch-German border region, the INTERREG VA project: Sustainable Surfaces & Membranes (S²M).

The goal of this cooperative venture is developing antimicrobial synthetic surfaces and membrane technologies. These newly developed technologies will find application in new coating materials for use indoors as well as outdoors. Examples of uses are glueing and caulking for hygienic and refrigerated areas, components for sanitary techniques, films and coatings for solar panels, membranes for food and dairy production, and packaging membranes for regulating condensation by food storage, a perennial medium for bacteria growth and spoilage.

Crossing borders

Oost NL has played a facilitating role in setting up this project together with its comparable organization in Germany, Netzwerk Oberfläche NRW based in Münster. In this project, Oost NL fulfills the role of process facilitator Business Development. Business partners located in the Netherlands are Pentair X-Flow, SABA, Van Wijhe Verf, AquamarijnParthian, Smart Materials Printing, and the European Membrane Institute from the University of Twente. They are all working together not only on new technologies, but also developing business cases and establishing new product-market combinations.