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MOXY's impact on Green Transformation 

Climate crisis and unsustainable development increasingly threaten Europe’s tangible cultural heritage (CH), yet environmentally hazardous chemicals persist in CH conservation practice. The Sustainable Development Goals of the EU’s Green Deal vision call for change in CH conservation, but cannot be implemented without effective and affordable green alternatives. Soiling and deposition of carbon-based contaminants (CBC) such as fine particulate pollution, smoke, and vandalism all increasingly present formidable challenges to conservators, and are an emerging threat to the works of art because of the inherent vulnerability of a multitude of surfaces created with unstable and unconventional materials and studio practices. Existing cleaning methods often require toxic solvents, physical contact and water, which can damage many sensitive art materials, and conservators, equipped with only conventional means, now encounter fragile and untreatable surfaces where the fire damage deposits, dust, fingerprints, and other carbon-based soiling cannot be removed at all. MOXY aims to redefine the paradigm in cleaning methodology towards green and  eco-conscious approaches by creating a transformative green, non-contact nascent oxygen technology to selectively remove contaminants from surfaces that may otherwise be untreatable.


The MOXY project will work towards the establishment of a green technology  cluster in cultural heritage to enhance collaboration and communication with other Horizon Europe Green technologies and materials for cultural heritage call projects to create synergy and advance shared goals. 

MOXY's impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

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Non-contact cleaning of soot from the cotton canvas using atomic oxygen by MOXY research team at the European Space Agence ESA.  High definition 3D microscopy (HIROX). Photo: RUPT, Ghent University.


2019 fire of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. 

Among the typical carbon-based contaminants, soot from climate crisis events such as wildfires or museum fires can cause catastrophic soiling damage and development of effective remedies is an acknowledged priority. Ever more frequent wildfires, arson relating to social unrest, and the fire at Notre-Dame (2019) forewarn us of future challenges. In the wake of a fire event, rapid cleaning is necessary to prevent the electrostatic adhesion of corrosive pyrolysis by-products, but the current cleaning means for fire damage are limited, especially when treating friable and porous materials.


Green Technology Cluster in Cultural Heritage 

MOXY is on the frontline of green innovation in cultural heritage. Sustainability is now the major driving force for the emergence of many transformative, which aim to change the world without harm to the environment, society, and the future of humankind.

MOXY has the objective to develop green technology for a broad range of otherwise problematic porous and friable materials. Unlike the cleaning methods currently in use, the AO process does not employ any hazardous substances, such as organic solvents and associated materials (gels, emulsions, cotton swabs, rubber gloves,  filtration system), which increase the carbon footprint of treatments,  considering their full-life cycle assessment LCA. MOXY research will contribute to the green transformation and the long-term preservation of tangible cultural heritage assets by developing a green cleaning technology, which fosters sustainable and zero-waste l approaches.

Synergies with other relevant projects will be created with special attention to the EU-funded projects under HORIZON-CL2-HERITAGE-2021-01-01 and with other relevant EU-funded projects, networks, and initiatives on innovative green and clean technologies in cultural heritage conservation, to foster collaboration and maximise impact and disseminate the MOXY project results beyond consortium partners, to ensure further uptake after the completion of the project. 

MOXY is bridging the gap between space technologies, cultural heritage and sustainability in conservation. MOXY represents an advanced green technological innovation, which will enable cultural heritage professionals to achieve improved results in a green and sustainable manner that seamlessly resonates with the UN Sustainable Development Goals SDGs and the European Green Deal. The main SDG target MOXY contributes to is SDG 11.4 (protect and safeguard cultural and natural heritage).

However, under current circumstances, this SDG can have a negative impact on other SDGs that relate to health, environmental protection, climate change, and safe working environments. Therefore, the development of the green AO technology contributes to multiple SDG targets at the same time, relating to health and health and safety at work, notably SGD 3.4 (reduce mortality from non-communicable diseases), 3.9 (reduce illnesses and death from hazardous chemicals and pollution) and SGD 8.8 (protect labor rights and promote safe working environments).

Promoting the safe use of  cultural heritage assets and collections also contributes to SDG 1.4 (equal rights to ownership, technology, and economic resources, which includes cultural property) and managing wastes properly (whether from conservation treatments or from the safe disposal of chemicals, and contaminated materials and/or collections) contributes to SDGs 9.4 (upgrade all industries and infrastructures for sustainability) and SGD 12.4 (responsible management of chemicals and waste), which in turn contributes to SDG 6.3 (improve water quality, wastewater treatment, and safe reuse), SGD 11.6 (reduce the environmental impact of cities), and SGD 14.1 (reduce marine pollution). Managing and reducing risk contributes to SDG 11B (implementing policies for inclusion, resource efficiency, and disaster risk reduction).

Recognising and delivering legal responsibilities related to health and safety, and environmental protection contributes to SDG 16.6 (develop effective, accountable, and transparent institutions). Encouraging effective use of resources contributes to targets in SDGs 6, 7, and 12.

Mockups of diverse typical art materials mounted on a sample holder in an atomic atomic oxygen space environment simulator LEOX at the European Space Agency ESA.

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