Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International



Home > Press > Green Nanotechnology Investment: Researchers Help Assess Economic Impact of Nanotech on Green & Sustainable Growth

Image shows nanogenerators developed in the laboratory of Zhong Lin Wang at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Credit: Gary Meek
Image shows nanogenerators developed in the laboratory of Zhong Lin Wang at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Credit: Gary Meek

Abstract:
In the United States alone, government and private industry together invest more than $3 billion per year in nanotechnology research and development, and globally the total is much higher. What will be the long-run economic returns from these investments, not only in new jobs and product sales, but also from improvements in sustainability?

Green Nanotechnology Investment: Researchers Help Assess Economic Impact of Nanotech on Green & Sustainable Growth

Atlanta, GA | Posted on March 28th, 2012

Georgia Institute of Technology researchers Philip Shapira and Jan Youtie helped answer that question through research presented March 27th at the International Symposium on Assessing the Economic Impact of Nanotechnology held in Washington, D.C. The researchers highlighted the importance of full lifecycle assessments to understand the impacts of nanotechnologies on green economic development in such areas as energy, the environment and safe drinking water.



"Nanotechnology promises to foster green and sustainable growth in many product and process areas," said Shapira, a professor with Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy and the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at the Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom. "Although nanotechnology commercialization is still in its early phases, we need now to get a better sense of what markets will grow and how new nanotechnology products will impact sustainability. This includes balancing gains in efficiency and performance against the net energy, environmental, carbon and other costs associated with the production, use and end-of-life disposal or recycling of nanotechnology products."



But because nanotechnology underlies many different industries, assessing and forecasting its impact won't be easy. "Compared to information technology and biotechnology, for example, nanotechnology has more of the characteristics of a general technology such as the development of electric power," said Youtie, director of policy research services at Georgia Tech's Enterprise Innovation Institute. "That makes it difficult to analyze the value of products and processes that are enabled by the technology. We hope that our paper will provide background information and help frame the discussion about making those assessments."



The symposium is sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and by the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. Support for Georgia Tech research into the societal impacts of nanotechnology has come from the National Science Foundation through the Center for Nanotechnology in Society based at Arizona State University.



For their paper, co-authors Shapira and Youtie examined a subset of green nanotechnologies that aim to enable sustainable energy, improve environmental quality, and provide healthy drinking water for areas of the world that now lack it. They argue that the lifecycle of nanotechnology products must be included in the assessment.



"In examining the economic impact of these green nanotechnologies, we have to consider the lifecycle, which includes such issues as environmental health and safety, as well as the amount of energy required to produce materials such as carbon nanotubes," said Shapira.



Environmental concerns have been raised about what happens to nanomaterials when they get into water supplies, he noted. In addition, some nanostructures use toxic elements such as cadmium. Energy required for producing nano-enabled products is also an important consideration, though it may be balanced against the energy saved - and pollution reduced - through the use of such products, Shapira said.



Research into these societal issues, which is being conducted in parallel with the research and development of nanotechnology - may allow the resulting nano-enabled products to avoid the kinds of the controversies that have hindered earlier technologies.



"Scientists, policy-makers and other observers have found that some of the promise of prior rounds of technology was limited by not anticipating and considering societal concerns prior to the introduction of new products," Youtie said. "For nanotechnology, it is vital that these issues are being considered even during the research and development stage, before products hit the market in significant quantities."



The nanotechnology industry began with large companies that had the resources to invest in research and development. But that is now changing, Youtie said.



"A lot of small companies are involved in novel nanomaterials development," she said. "Large companies often focus on integrating those nanomaterials into existing products or processes."



Among the goals of the OECD symposium are development of methodologies and approaches for estimating the impacts of green nanotechnology on jobs and new product sales. Existing forecasts have come largely from proprietary models used by private-sector firms.



"While these private forecasts have high visibility, their information and methods are often proprietary," Shapira noted. "We also need to develop open and peer-reviewed models in which approaches are transparent and everyone can see the methods and assumptions used."



In their paper, Youtie and Shapira cite several examples of green nanotechnology, discuss the potential impacts of the technology, and review forecasts that have been made. Examples of green nanotechnology they cite include:



· Nano-enabled solar cells that use lower-cost organic materials, as opposed to current photovoltaic technologies that require rare materials such as platinum;

· Nanogenerators that use piezoelectric materials such as zinc oxide nanowires to convert human movement into energy;

· Energy storage applications in which nanotechnology materials improve existing batteries and nano-enabled fuel cells;

· Thermal energy applications, such as nano-enabled insulation;

· Fuel catalysis in which nanoparticles improve the production and refining of fuels and reduce emissions from automobiles;

· Technologies used to provide safe drinking water through improved water treatment, desalination and reuse.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA

Media Relations Contacts:
John Toon
404-894-6986


Abby Robinson
404-385-3364

Copyright © Georgia Institute of Technology

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Possible Futures

Advances in priming B cell immunity against HIV pave the way to future HIV vaccines, shows quartet of new studies May 17th, 2024

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Aston University researcher receives £1 million grant to revolutionize miniature optical devices May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods/Nanostrings

Catalytic combo converts CO2 to solid carbon nanofibers: Tandem electrocatalytic-thermocatalytic conversion could help offset emissions of potent greenhouse gas by locking carbon away in a useful material January 12th, 2024

TU Delft researchers discover new ultra strong material for microchip sensors: A material that doesn't just rival the strength of diamonds and graphene, but boasts a yield strength 10 times greater than Kevlar, renowned for its use in bulletproof vests November 3rd, 2023

Tests find no free-standing nanotubes released from tire tread wear September 8th, 2023

Detection of bacteria and viruses with fluorescent nanotubes July 21st, 2023

Announcements

Virginia Tech physicists propose path to faster, more flexible robots: Virginia Tech physicists revealed a microscopic phenomenon that could greatly improve the performance of soft devices, such as agile flexible robots or microscopic capsules for drug delivery May 17th, 2024

Diamond glitter: A play of colors with artificial DNA crystals May 17th, 2024

Finding quantum order in chaos May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

International research team uses wavefunction matching to solve quantum many-body problems: New approach makes calculations with realistic interactions possible May 17th, 2024

Gene therapy relieves back pain, repairs damaged disc in mice: Study suggests nanocarriers loaded with DNA could replace opioids May 17th, 2024

Shedding light on perovskite hydrides using a new deposition technique: Researchers develop a methodology to grow single-crystal perovskite hydrides, enabling accurate hydride conductivity measurements May 17th, 2024

Oscillating paramagnetic Meissner effect and Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless transition in cuprate superconductor May 17th, 2024

Environment

$900,000 awarded to optimize graphene energy harvesting devices: The WoodNext Foundation's commitment to U of A physicist Paul Thibado will be used to develop sensor systems compatible with six different power sources January 12th, 2024

Catalytic combo converts CO2 to solid carbon nanofibers: Tandem electrocatalytic-thermocatalytic conversion could help offset emissions of potent greenhouse gas by locking carbon away in a useful material January 12th, 2024

New catalyst could dramatically cut methane pollution from millions of engines: Researchers demonstrate a way to remove the potent greenhouse gas from the exhaust of engines that burn natural gas. July 21st, 2023

Billions of nanoplastics released when microwaving baby food containers: Exposure to plastic particles kills up to 75% of cultured kidney cells July 21st, 2023

Energy

Development of zinc oxide nanopagoda array photoelectrode: photoelectrochemical water-splitting hydrogen production January 12th, 2024

Shedding light on unique conduction mechanisms in a new type of perovskite oxide November 17th, 2023

Inverted perovskite solar cell breaks 25% efficiency record: Researchers improve cell efficiency using a combination of molecules to address different November 17th, 2023

The efficient perovskite cells with a structured anti-reflective layer – another step towards commercialization on a wider scale October 6th, 2023

Water

Two-dimensional bimetallic selenium-containing metal-organic frameworks and their calcinated derivatives as electrocatalysts for overall water splitting March 8th, 2024

Computational system streamlines the design of fluidic devices: This computational tool can generate an optimal design for a complex fluidic device such as a combustion engine or a hydraulic pump December 9th, 2022

Taking salt out of the water equation October 7th, 2022

Scientists capture a ‘quantum tug’ between neighboring water molecules: Ultrafast electrons shed light on the web of hydrogen bonds that gives water its strange properties, vital for many chemical and biological processes July 8th, 2022

Home

Nanomaterials enable dual-mode heating and cooling device: Device could cut HVAC energy use by nearly 20% in the US December 2nd, 2020

New surface treatment could improve refrigeration efficiency: A slippery surface for liquids with very low surface tension promotes droplet formation, facilitating heat transfer May 17th, 2019

Bosch Sensortec launches ideation community to foster and accelerate innovative IoT applications : Creativity hub for customers, partners, developers and makers February 18th, 2019

Iran Develops Water-Repellent Nano-Paint December 5th, 2018

Industrial

Boron nitride nanotube fibers get real: Rice lab creates first heat-tolerant, stable fibers from wet-spinning process June 24th, 2022

Nanotubes: a promising solution for advanced rubber cables with 60% less conductive filler June 1st, 2022

Protective equipment with graphene nanotubes meets the strictest ESD safety standards March 25th, 2022

OCSiAl receives the green light for Luxembourg graphene nanotube facility project to power the next generation of electric vehicles in Europe March 4th, 2022

Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage

What heat can tell us about battery chemistry: using the Peltier effect to study lithium-ion cells March 8th, 2024

Two-dimensional bimetallic selenium-containing metal-organic frameworks and their calcinated derivatives as electrocatalysts for overall water splitting March 8th, 2024

Discovery of new Li ion conductor unlocks new direction for sustainable batteries: University of Liverpool researchers have discovered a new solid material that rapidly conducts lithium ions February 16th, 2024

A battery’s hopping ions remember where they’ve been: Seen in atomic detail, the seemingly smooth flow of ions through a battery’s electrolyte is surprisingly complicated February 16th, 2024

Fuel Cells

Current and Future Developments in Nanomaterials and Carbon Nanotubes: Applications of Nanomaterials in Energy Storage and Electronics October 28th, 2022

The “dense” potential of nanostructured superconductors: Scientists use unconventional spark plasma sintering method to prepare highly dense superconducting bulk magnesium diboride with a high current density October 7th, 2022

New iron catalyst could – finally! – make hydrogen fuel cells affordable: Study shows the low-cost catalyst can be a viable alternative to platinum that has stymied commercialization of the eco-friendly fuel for decades because it’s so expensive July 8th, 2022

Development of high-durability single-atomic catalyst using industrial humidifier: Identification of the operating mechanism of cobalt-based single-atomic catalyst and development of a mass production process. Utilization for catalyst development in various fields including fuel May 13th, 2022

Solar/Photovoltaic

Development of zinc oxide nanopagoda array photoelectrode: photoelectrochemical water-splitting hydrogen production January 12th, 2024

Shedding light on unique conduction mechanisms in a new type of perovskite oxide November 17th, 2023

Inverted perovskite solar cell breaks 25% efficiency record: Researchers improve cell efficiency using a combination of molecules to address different November 17th, 2023

Charged “molecular beasts” the basis for new compounds: Researchers at Leipzig University use “aggressive” fragments of molecular ions for chemical synthesis November 3rd, 2023

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project