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Home > News > Can Nanotechnology Help with the Oil Spill in the Gulf?

May 10th, 2010

Can Nanotechnology Help with the Oil Spill in the Gulf?

When I saw the initial news reports on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, after I shook my head in despair for that region already struck by Hurricane Katrina just five years ago, I thought of how long it would take for people to turn to nanotechnology for a possible solution to clean up the mess.

I guess I wasn't the only person to think this as the blog Nanopatents and Innovations pulled out at least four patents and/or innovations in nanomaterials that address the cleanup or remediation of oil spills.

"If you are looking for a quick fix from nanotechnology, forget it," says Harper. "Nanotech is already making an impact in reducing energy, and therefore oil use, it is also being used to create stronger lighter materials that can be used for pipelines, and enabling better sensors for early warning of damage, but in terms of cleaning up the mess, the contribution is minor at best."


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