At the end of their product life cycle, nanomaterials can enter waste treat ment plants and landfills via diverse waste streams. Little, however, is known about how nanomaterials behave in the disposal phase and whether potential environmental or health risks arise. The current assumption is that stable nanoparticles are neither chemically nor physically altered in waste incineration plants and that they accumulate especially in the residues (e.g. slag). These residues are ultimately dumped. The disposal problem in the case of stable nanoparticles is therefore merely shifted to the subsequent steps in the waste treatment process.
Military organizations around the world, especially in the U.S., have been quicker than most to appreciate the potential of nanotechnology. More money is being spent on nanotechnology research for military applications than for any other area. Public releases about military nanotechnology research and development activities are full about sensors, batteries, wound care, filtration systems, smart fabrics, and lighter, stronger, heat-resistant nanocomposite materials etc. Naturally, nanomaterial safety has become an important issue for military organizations as well.
Researchers have successfully attempted to simultaneously co-generate hydrogen and solid carbon fuels from a mixed hydroxide/carbonate electrolyte in a 'single-pot' electrolytic synthesis at temperatures below 650 C. This is the first demonstration of the co-generation of hydrogen and carbon fuels at a single electrode and from a molten electrolyte. Here, fuel production can be driven entirely by solar energy using the STEP process in which solar thermal energy increases the system temperature to decrease electrolysis potentials.
Drawing attention to the possible implications of extreme weather does not answer the question what we can really do about the risks of climate change, and who will drive fresh solutions. Science - including nanotechnology - is an important part of the answer, and we need human ingenuity to step forward. To accelerate the process and help to push the boundaries of usable energy solutions, the Exergeia Project backs potentially groundbreaking inventions and innovations in all fields of alternative energy.
A new review article examines opportunities and practical challenges that nanotechnology applications pose in addressing the guiding principles for a green economy. There is a general perception that nanotechnologies will have a significant impact on developing 'green' and 'clean' technologies with considerable environmental benefits. The associated concept of green nanotechnology aims to exploit nanotech-enabled innovations in materials science and engineering to generate products and processes that are energy efficient as well as economically and environmentally sustainable.
The adoption of a newly developed, facile synthesis method in catalyst designs may permit the rapid screening of nanoalloys for water contaminants. Given the compositional dynamics of this technique, a series of nanoalloys with different surface compositions can be quickly synthesized using a single starting solution and the optimal metal ratio experimentally determined to find the best catalytic reactivity for degrading the pollutant.
One of the problems with activated carbon is the disposal of adsorbed contaminants along with the adsorbent. Another concern is that its pores are often blocked during adsorption. By contrast, carbon nanotubes' (CNTs) open structure offers easy, undisrupted access to reactive sites located on nanotubes' outer surface. That's why researchers see CNTs as an attractive potential substitute for activated carbon. Researchers now have demonstrated that individual CNTs can be integrated into micrometer-sized colloidal particles without using a heavy or bulky particulate support.
Concern about the depletion of global water resources has grown rapidly in the past decade due to our increasing global population and growing demand for other diverse applications. Since only 2.5% of the Earth's water is fresh, it has been reported that almost half of the world's population is at risk of a water crisis by the year 2025. Accordingly, significant research efforts have been focused on the desalination of brackish/seawater and the remediation and reuse of wastewater to meet the agricultural, industrial, and domestic water demands.