Nanotechnology Project


Green Nanotechnology IV—Policy Options For Greening New Technologies

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 • 10:30 – 11:30 A.M.

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Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 5th Floor Conference Room

Green Nanotechnology Policy: Opportunities & Choices

WASHINGTON – Nanoengineered materials are a rapidly growing segment of the international marketplace of consumer products and manufacturing. Titania nanosize particles are in sunscreens and paint. Carbon nanotube composites are—or soon will be—in automobile tires. Silica nanoparticles are being used as solid lubricants, and nanomaterials are in shampoos, cosmetics and face creams.1

These small-scale materials are poised to make a large-scale impact. They are on people’s skin, and in clothing, homes, cars, factories, and stores. By 2015, the National Science Foundation estimates that nanotechnology will have a $1 trillion impact on the global economy, and employ 2 million workers.

Governments and regulatory agencies are working to keep up with this fast pace of commercialization. What policy incentives can they put in place to encourage a “green” nanotechnology industry that uses energy efficiently and produces minimum waste? What can government do to promote development of nanotech applications that will safely clean up industrial pollution, improve solar energy, or purify water? How can current regulatory barriers—which may discourage the substitution of better nano-based alternatives for older, more hazardous chemicals and manufacturing processes—be overcome? How do government and industry ensure that nanoengineered materials will not have adverse human health or environmental impacts?

The GreenNano series aims to advance development of clean technologies using nanotechnology, to minimize potential environmental and human health risks associated with the manufacture and use of nanotechnology products, and to encourage replacement of existing products with new nano products that are more environmentally friendly throughout their lifecycle.