Nanotechnology Project


Green Nanotechnology III—Engineering Green Nanotechnology

Wednesday, April 26, 2006, 2:30pm

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WASHINGTON – Today’s engineers have developed cutting-edge tools and design techniques for making new, innovative products in more environmentally friendly ways. Can these tools and techniques be used to engineer nanotechnology products that are more energy efficient and nonpolluting than present-day materials and production methods? Can nanotechnology products be engineered to reduce their environmental impact throughout their life cycle?

As part of its GreenNano initiative to advance the application of green chemistry and green engineering principles to nanotechnology, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies hosted a program focused on the engineering prospects for green nanotechnology. The session explored how environmentally benign manufacturing, and green engineering and design can be integrated into nanoproduct manufacturing. It also examined the tools engineers need to manufacture nanomaterials and products “greenly,” and the engineering challenges posed by moving to the nanoscale.

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide. There are an estimated 200 consumer products now on the market which claim to contain engineered nanomaterials or to use nanotechnology—everything from cosmetics to computers.

There also are more than 600 electronics components, raw materials, drug delivery technologies, and research, process, and software tools which are used to research nanoscale technologies, manipulate nanomaterials and fabricate at the nanoscale. The National Science Foundation predicts that the global marketplace for goods and services using nanotechnologies will grow to $1 trillion by 2015 and employ 2 million workers.