9. Nano Environmental Technologies
Application of nanotechnology which involves the manipulation of materials at the scale of the nanometer to green engineering principles is "Green nanotechnology". It also refers to the use of the products of nanotechnology to enhance sustainability. Maintaining and improving soil, water, and air quality represent some of the most formidable challenges facing global society in the 21st century. Pollutants from such diverse sources as oil and chemical spills, pesticide and fertilizer runoff, abandoned industrial and mining sites, and airborne gaseous and particulate matter from automobiles exacerbate the situation on a daily basis. Detecting and treating existing contaminants and preventing new pollution are among the challenges. Application of nano-materials in diverse fields such as enhancing the production and refining of fuels and reduction of emissions from automobiles, energy storage (batteries and nano-enabled fuel cells),to provide safe drinking water through improved water treatment, desalination, nano-enabled insulation and design of nano-materials for pollution sensing and detection.
The total energy-related market for nanotechnologies at nearly $8.8 billion in 2012 and $15 billion in 2017, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.4% through 2017.
Green nanotechnology refers to the use of nanotechnology to enhance the environmental sustainability of processes producing negative externalities and includes making green nano-products and using nano-products in support of sustainability. Green nanotechnology has been described as the development of clean technologies, "to minimize potential environmental and human health risks associated with the manufacture and use of nanotechnology products, and to encourage replacement of existing products with new nano-products that are more environmentally friendly throughout their lifecycle." Green nanotechnology has two goals: producing nanomaterials and products without harming the environment or human health, and producing nano-products that provide solutions to environmental problems. It uses existing principles of green chemistry and green engineering to make nanomaterials and nano-products without toxic ingredients, at low temperatures using less energy and renewable inputs wherever possible, and using lifecycle thinking in all design and engineering stages. Nanomaterials or products directly can clean hazardous waste sites, desalinate water, treat pollutants, or sense and monitor environmental pollutants. Indirectly, lightweight nanocomposites for automobiles and other means of transportation could save fuel and reduce materials used for production; nanotechnology-enabled fuel cells and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) could reduce pollution from energy generation and help conserve fossil fuels; self-cleaning nanoscale surface coatings could reduce or eliminate many cleaning chemicals used in regular maintenance routines and enhanced battery life could lead to less material use and less waste.
- Pollution sensing and detection
- Treatment and remediation
- Bio-inspired nanomaterial’s and their applications
- Nano sorbents
- Nanotechnology for sustainable energy production
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