A need for improved efficiency in nanomanufacturing

Oct 28, 2008

New research shows that environmental gains derived from the use of nanomaterials may be offset in part by the processes used to manufacture them. Research published in a special issue of the Journal of Industrial Ecology, a peer-reviewed journal owned by Yale University and headquartered at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, highlights the need for improved efficiency in the manufacturing of nanoscale materials to reduce energy use, emissions, solid waste, and the use of toxic input materials.

"Research in this issue reveals the potential of environmental impacts from nanomanufacturing to offset the benefits of using lighter nanomaterials," says Gus Speth, dean of the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "To date, most attention has focused on the possible toxic effects of exposure to nanoparticles¬ and appropriately so. But the 'old-fashioned' considerations of pollution and energy use arising from the production technologies used to make nanomaterials need attention as well."

One study, by Vikas Khanna and colleagues at the Ohio State University, found that the life-cycle environmental impacts of carbon nanofiber (CNF) production may be as much as 100 times greater per unit of weight than those of traditional materials. According to another paper by Hatice Şengül and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago, strict material purity requirements, lower tolerances for defects and lower yields of manufacturing processes may lead to greater environmental burdens than those associated with conventional manufacturing.

"There is often a misconception that nanoscale production will necessarily be green and clean," says David Rejeski, director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), which helped support the production of this special issue. "This research shows that clean nanoscale production is not happening everywhere and it probably will not without a concerted effort by government and industry to green the emerging production infrastructure for nano materials and products."

Full text of the articles in the special issue is available for download at www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/jie-nano .

Source: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Explore further: Interaction of carbon nanotubes and the blood-brain barrier

Related Stories

Climate censorship gains steam in red states

Apr 17, 2015

While plenty of people found humor in the recent news that officials in Florida and Wisconsin are censoring state workers' ability to talk about, much less work on, climate change, other states are not necessarily laughing. ...

Measuring the value of science

Apr 16, 2015

Reports about the worthy contributions of science to national economies pop up regularly all around the world – from the UK to the US and even the developing world. ...

Crickets aren't the miracle source of protein

Apr 16, 2015

Crickets are not all that they're cracked up to be as an alternative, global source of protein in the human diet to supplement or replace livestock consumption, according to newly published research completed ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.