Posted: November 6, 2009

Presentations from the OECD Conference on the Potential Environmental Benefits of Nanotechnology

(Nanowerk News) The speakers' presentations from the OECD "Conference on Potential Environmental Benefits of Nanotechnology: Fostering Safe Innovation-Led Growth" are now available online on the OECD site.
Nanotechnology is an emerging technology which could significantly contribute to raising living standards and improving the quality of life. It has already been applied in many products from energy efficiency, to healthcare, to environmental protection, and to information and communication technologies. Many more applications are expected in the future. Ways of maximising the benefits of nanotechnology, along with ensuring human health and environmental safety with regard to nanomaterials, is becoming an important topic for discussion, a new source of economic growth and a potential “win-win” opportunity for both the environment and the economy. In this respect, the conference output will significantly contribute to accelerating OECD’s current efforts for fostering “green” and innovation-led growth.
Objective and Scope
The conference covered both the opportunities and the challenges of the use of nanotechnologies for potential environmental benefit. The conference aimed at learning from international expertise and identifying ways in which to improve in a timely manner policies with the potential to enhance both short- and long-term economic growth.
The conference provided an opportunity for governments, academia and industry to consider the state-of-the-art of nanotechnologies, their potential to bring environmental benefits and any potential human health and environmental safety concerns at the same time.
In particular, the conference addressed sustainability and life cycle aspects in a variety of sectors in which nanotechnology has the potential to give rise to environmental benefits. Thus, the conference explored the environmental profiles of emerging nanoscale innovation with the goal of encouraging development of technologies that can result in environmental gain while addressing unintended consequences.
The following topics were addressed:
  • Pollution Reduction;
  • Cleaner production;
  • Other benefits including environmental remediation; and
  • Societal drivers such as policy innovations, and business/NGO leadership.
  • Key areas for case studies included:
  • Energy generation, storage and conservation
  • Catalysis;
  • Cleaner production;
  • Water treatment and purification;
  • Remediation;
  • Environmental monitoring; and
  • Green chemistry – synthesis and processing of chemicals.
  • Programme
    The programme consisted of the following sessions:
    Plenary Session One: Setting the Scene
    Plenary Session Two: Life Cycle Perspectives
    Parallel Session One: Water Treatment and Purification
    Parallel Session Two: Environmental Sensing
    Parallel Session Three: Clean Car Technology
    Parallel Session Four: Cellulose Nano Fibres
    Parallel Session Five: Site Remediation
    Each session explored and discussed the pre-eminent perspectives within each field in order to address:
  • State-of-art technologies;
  • Potential environmental benefits;
  • Potential human health and environmental safety concerns and issues; and
  • A framework and policies to evaluate and address these factors together.
  • Source: OECD