Green nanotechnology and Sustainability

Everybody knows what is nanotechnology, it is the study and control of matter at the nano-scale, rearranging atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology has made marvelous contributions in the world of science especially in computer science and medical science.

But have you heard of green nanotechnology? The name itself suggests that it has something to do with greenery. It is the study of how nanotechnology can benefit the environment, such as by using less energy during the manufacturing process, the ability to recycle products after use and using Eco-friendly materials.

It builds on the principles of green chemistry and green engineering, and focuses on using the unique effects that occur in nano-scale materials.

Green nanotechnology can help to provide clean water to billions of people via novel filtration techniques, and has the ability to decontaminate dirty water. It can help in increasing the use of renewable energy and help in waste management too.

It can also influence the design of nano-materials and products by eliminating or minimizing pollution from the production of these materials.

It is all about making green nano-products and using them in support of sustainability. Sustainable development refers to a development that meets the needs of the present of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It will aim at producing nano-materials without harming environmental or human health.

Nanotechnology can help reduce agricultural waste and bring down pollution levels. Scientists are working on nano-engineered enzymes that will allow simple and cost-effective conversion of cellulose from waste plant parts into ethanol.

Another example is rice husk that can become a source of renewable energy with nanotechnology. When rice husk is burned into thermal energy or bio-fuel a large amount of high quality nano-silica is produced, which can be further utilized to make other materials such as glass or concrete.

Nano sensors dispersed in the field can also detect presence of plant viruses and the level of soil nutrients.

Nanotechnology can reduce manufacturing costs for solar cells as a result of using a low temperature process.

Nanotechnology is being hailed as the next sunrise industry for India. The Department of Science and Technology of the Central Government has announced a national initiative in nano-materials, while the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, has pioneered the study of nanotechnology in India. Prof. C.N.R Rao and the center has done world class research in nanotechnology using state of the art equipment.

A stream of nanotechnology-based products is beginning to emerge in India, with applications in the security realm. Besides D.R.D.O. (Defense Research & Development Organization) serious researches are also taking place in institutions like IIT, and Madras University.

Hopefully, in the near future as we advance further in the field of green nanotechnology, it will help us in replacing existing products with Nano-products that are more environment friendly.