Life+, the new European programme for the financial support of products and technologies that protect the environment, was established by (EC) Regulation N° 614/2007 of the European Parliament and Council of 23/05/2007. It took over from the previous LIFE programme (Environment, Nature and Third Countries), the Community Framework Programme for cooperation for sustainable urban development, the Community action programme for the promotion of non-governmental Organizations dedicated to environmental protection issues and the Forest focus programme.

The goal of LIFE+ is to contribute towards the development, implementation and updating of Community policy and legislation in the environmental sector.

LIFE+ co-finances actions with European added value in favour of the environment of the European Union and certain third countries. The projects can be proposed by public and private institutes, organizations or operators.

LIFE+ comprises three different subjects:

More details can be obtained from the following links:

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/

Background and goals

GLAZING is the process whereby a liquid mixture called GLAZE is applied to the surface of the body material so as to create the final appearance of the tile.

Currently, the most widely used glaze is based on lead, a substance that is extremely harmful for both the environment and man’s health.

The lead-free glazes now available on the market are only used to a small extent as they are somewhat difficult to apply (higher temperatures are required to achieve the same viscosity) and are not so attractive as to appearance (less glossy, tendency to turn grey, presence of residual porosity).

Thus the aim of the project is to create lead-free ceramic glazes by using boron instead; glazes with the same quality and characteristics as the lead-based ones and able to achieve an extremely attractive tile finish. This by creating a demo pilot system so as to consolidate the technique.

Protect

The Ascot Group has always paid great attention to the surrounding environment and to the health of its workers. So much so, it has decided to do its utmost to reduce the environmental impact of its ceramic production activities.

This policy gave rise to the “LEAD-COLOURED LEAD-FREE” project, which obtained an important recognition and funds from the European Commission through the LIFE+ financial support programme.

Still in its initial phase, the project will show how boron-based lead-free glazes can be used instead of lead-based glazes in the ceramic industry and how the quality and characteristics of the resulting products are identical to those of products made with traditional glazes, thereby overcoming all the current problems concerning the application and appearance of such glazes.

Owing to the volatile characteristics of boron, the new process will take place in two stages: creation of a new type of frit – fusion of a dry mixture of raw materials, essential if well-vitrified glaze is to be obtained – without lead compounds but based on boron, pre-stabilized at a low temperature with silica and sodium oxide and then mixed only afterwards in a rotary kiln with other glaze components.

Development actions

The project will develop through various different tasks including management and monitoring, technical development and publication of the results.

Implementation actions

Management actions

Publication actions

Expected results

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