Nanotechnology and Green Technology Can Work in Tandem toward Eco-friendly Manufacturing
Nanotechnology is continually transforming the way organizations across various industries function, including electronics, chemicals, medicine, coatings, agriculture, energy, and cosmetics. Companies can develop new and more sustainable technologies by integrating nanomaterials into their products. In addition to enhancing product designs and improving performance, nanotechnology has the potential to boost sales, and in turn, increase revenues. An example that substantiates this claim is of Lux Research which has accumulated more than a trillion dollars from the commercial sales of their nanotechnology-enabled products in 2015 across Europe and the USA.
The manufacturing processes of nanomaterials and chemicals are similar in nature, producing hazardous pollutants that adversely affect the environment. Although these side effects can be significantly reduced during the design phase itself, not many companies pay attention to it. As a result, companies need to become more conscious environmentally and use green technology for minimizing the environmental effects of manufacturing nanomaterials.
Green technology can even be made to work in tandem with nanotechnology to develop products for environmental applications, including nano-enabled sensors, water treatment systems, and remediation of harmful waste. Other indirect environmental applications of nanotechnology include reduction of waste by designing smaller products or saving energy consumed in transportation by using lighter nanomaterials in the production of automobiles.
In addition to making nanomaterials more environment-friendly, green nanotechnology also aims to use nanomaterials that can make the existing manufacturing processes that involve chemicals less harmful. Some of the methods to achieve this include the use of supercritical carbon dioxide, ionic fluids, or water in place of volatile organic solvents. The waste in these manufacturing processes can also be eliminated by implementing self-assembly or templating.
One of the most straightforward methods to create greener nanotechnology is by resorting to renewable or non-toxic materials. Also, techniques such as microwaving, facile thermal, as well as hydrothermal can boost the conservation of energy.
With the world becoming more ecologically aware, the use of green technology in the initial stages of manufacturing will soon become a prevalent practice across industries. However, products that are entirely green can only be created by revamping the entire product lifecycle along with understanding the impact on nanotechnology on each stage of the process.