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Posted: Jan 15, 2016

Green nano: Positive environmental effects through the use of nanotechnology (page 4 of 4)

Relevance in the political context
How could such a concept become politically relevant? For one, they evidence the changing debate on nanotechnology: Through the incorporation of a wide spectrum of actors these had the opportunity to bring in their interests at a high policy level in the regulatory debate.37
In Germany, the discussion was generally consensually-oriented38, explaining the thematic width and undifferentiated approach of the design principles. At the same time, they are an indicator that informal self-regulatory policy approaches have a differentiated but increasing influence on the political discourse.39 Approaches like the design principles attempt to answer risk and application-oriented questions and draw connection to societal issues. In this regard, they are in line with the general direction of European research policies, which, for example through RRI, push for technological solution in answering to “grand challenges”.
Environmental effects and potential benefits on the environment through the use of nanomaterials and -technology without a doubt have a standing in the debate. However, for the integration of sustainability into everyday research there are currently more specific (and therefore more appropriate) means than the design principles. There can be different motivations for internal and external incentives for measures aimed at environmental improvement.
This can include such diverse aspects such as research interest, economic benefits of products, or economic advantages in the call for projects. In comparison, the application of the design principles is less effective in pushing “green” technological developments.
Nevertheless, a stronger incorporation of this or similar concepts in future could contribute to the creation of a more unified understanding of terms such as “sustainable nanotechnology”.
Notes and References
1 Steinfeldt, M., Gleich, A.v., Petschow, U., Pade C. and Sprenger R.U., 2010, Entlastungseffekte für die Umwelt durch nanotechnische Verfahren und Produkte (pdf). Kurzfassung UBA, Texte 22/2010.
2 Schomberg R., 2013, A vision of responsible innovation. In: Owen, R., Heintz, M., and Bessant, J. (eds.) Responsible Innovation. London: John Wiley, pp.51-74.
3 See endnote 2, p. 69.
4 Reihlen, A., Jepsen, D., 2012, Nachhaltige Nanotechnologien. Bericht. (pdf) ÖKOPOL, Institut für Ökologie und Politik. Hamburg.
5 See endnote 4.
6 Steinfeldt, M., Gleich, A.v., Petschow, Ul, Haum, R., 2010, Nanotechnologies, Hazards and Resource efficiency. A three-tiered approach to assessing the implcations of nanotechnology and influencing its development. Springer 2010.
7 See endnote 6, pp. 10-13.
8 See endnote 6, pp. 203-221.
9 BMU, 2010, Verantwortungsvoller Umgang mit Nanotechnologien. (pdf) Bericht und Empfehlungen der NanoKommission 2011.
10 See Schwarz, A., 2009, Green Dreams of Reason. Green Nanotechnology Between Visions of Excess and Contorl. In: Nanoethics, 2009, 3: pp. 109-118. And see Karn, B., 2008, The Road to Green Nanotechnology. In: Journal of Industrial Ecology, 2008, vol. 112. No. 3, pp. 263-266.
11 Schmidt, K.F., 2007, Green nanotechnology: It’s easier than you think. (pdf) Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Project on Emerging Nantechnologies. Pen 8, 2007
12 See endnote 11.
13 See endnote 11, pp. 11-19.
14 EPA: Definition of Green Chemistry
15 EPA: Green Engineering
16 EPA, 2006, Green Chemistry's 12 Principles.
17 See endnote 15
18 Kurath, M., Nentwich, M., Fleischer, T., Eisenberger,I., 2014, Regulierungskulturen und -strategien der Nanotechnologie in Deutschland, Österreich, der Schweiz und der Europäischen Union. In: Gazsó, A., Haslinger, J., 2014, Nano Risiko Governance. Springer. pp.101-132.
19 See endnote 18, p. 106f.
20 Fuchs, D., 2013, Die Umsetzung eine green nano Konzepts in der aktuellen Nanotechnologie-Forschung. Zur Umweltrelevanz und Nachhaltigkeit der Nanotechnologie, Masterarbeit, Universität Wien. p. 95.
21 See endnote 18, p. 106f.
22 AG Green Nano der deutschen Nanokommission, 2010, Aspekte einer nachhaltigen Gestaltung von Nanotechnologien – 13 Designprinzipien.
23 Tantamount to nano characteristics: Characteristics of a material which appear if the material is in the nanometer range. The interest in nanomaterials often concerns these characteristics as they are often different from the material’s characteristics in another range.
24 See endnote 22, p. 4.
25 The selections is merely exemplary and does not intend to constitute an exhaustive project listing.
26 Basics and application of radiant energy (such as light) for inter alia the emission, transmission and processing of information.
27 Information on the PLATON research project
28 Fuchs, D., 2014, Green nano und der Forschungsalltag – Niederschlag eines Konzepts in der aktuellen Nanotechnologie-Umweltforschung. In: Gazsó, A., Haslinger, J., 2014, Nano Risiko Governance. Springer. pp. 81-98, p. 92f.
29 See endnote 28, p. 93f.
30 See endnote 28, p. 94.
31 See endnote 28, p. 93f.
32 See endnote 20, p. 78f.
33 The resource and energy intensive production of electronic components requires inter alia rare resources such as, e.g., rare earths. See endnote 20, p. 75f.
34 See endnote 20, p. 84f.
35 See endnote 28, p. 95f.
36 See endnote 28, p. 95f.
37 See endnote 18, p. 122f.
38 See endnote 18, p. 125.
39 See endnote 18, p. 127.
By NanoTrust, Austrian Academy of Sciences. NanoTrust Dossiers are published irregularly and contain the research results of the Institute of Technology Assessment in the framework of its research project NanoTrust. The Dossiers are made available to the public exclusively on

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