Title: Specific Challenges in Nanomaterials Technologies: Environment
Publisher: Max Planck Institüt für Metallforschung
Publication Year: 2009
JRC N°: JRC45845
URI: http://www.mf.mpg.de/mpg/websiteMetallforschung/pdf/GENNESYS/GENNESYS_2009.pdf
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Maintaining and restoring the quality of water, air and soil, so that the earth will be able to sustainably support human and other life, is one of the great challenges of our time. The scarcity of water, both in terms of quantity as well as quality, poses a significant threat to the well-being of people, especially in developing countries. Environmental nanotechnology is considered to play a key role in the shaping of current environmental engineering and science. Looking at materials at the nanoscale has stimulated the development and use of novel and cost-effective technologies for remediation, pollution detection, catalysis and others. There is the huge hope that nanotechnological applications and products will lead to a cleaner and healthier environment. Great hope is also placed on the role that nanotechnology can play in providing efficient and cheap access to clean water for these countries. Particles in the nanosized range have been present on earth for millions of years and have been used by mankind for thousands of years. Nanoparticles occur naturally in the environment in the atmosphere in the form of aerosols, in aquatic systems as colloids, and in soils and the subsurface in a variety of biogenic and geogenic materials. Nanoparticles are also formed as an unintended by-product from human activities during combustion of fossil fuels or biomass. All these types of nanoparticles are also deliberately produced as engineered nanoparticles, in addition to a wide array of newly synthesised forms. These particles are either released unintentionally into the environment or are introduced on purpose, e.g. during remediation of polluted soils.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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