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Nanotechnology provides 'green' path to environmentally sustainable economy

WASHINGTON, DC As products made with nanometer-scale materials and devices spread to more industries and markets, there is a growing opportunity and responsibility to leverage nanotechnology to reduce pollution, conserve resources and, ultimately, build a "clean" economy, advises a new report from the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.

A "strong marriage" between nanotechnology and the principles and practices of green chemistry and green engineering "holds the key to building an environmentally sustainable society in the 21st century," concludes Green Nanotechnology: It's Easier Than You Think. Summarizing proceedings at a national American Chemical Society symposium and four workshops held in 2006, the new report was authored by science writer Karen Schmidt for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, an initiative of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The report explores potentially beneficial links between nanotechnology essentially, science and engineering practiced on the molecular scale and green chemistry and engineering, which aim to minimize environmental impacts through resource-conserving and waste-eliminating improvements in processes and products. It concludes with recommendations for proactive federal policy measures to help the fast developing field of nanotechnology to "grow up" green.

The report cites examples of research progress toward using nanotechnology to accomplish environmental goals in combination with commercial or other objectives. "With greater ability to manipulate matter and tailor properties, it should be possible to make products and processes with reduced toxicity, increased durability and improved energy efficiency," according to the report.

For example, James Hutchison, a University of Oregon chemist, uses DNA molecules in a novel process that holds promise for building nanoscale patterns on silicon chips and other surfaces. The e
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Contact: Sharon McCarter
sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4016
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
26-Apr-2007


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