Displaying 1-14 of 14 key documents
Source: Society for Technology and Action for Rural Advancement (TARA) | November 2010
This report gives background information on current applications of nanotechnology for providing clean drinking water. It includes both technologies still being developed in the laboratory and those that have reached the market.
New water filters and purification systems are now being designed with nanomaterials including carbon nanofiltration membranes, and nanocatalysts such as iron and silver. Such technologies could help countries in the developing world cope with the pressures of a growing population and stressed water services.
The review features research into water nanotechnologies from around the world, with special attention to those developed and marketed in India's water sector. It points to key challenges that may hinder their impact in providing clean drinking water to the poor, and identifies technologies that could be further researched and developed.
Source: Meridian Institute | 2006
This report, written for the Meridian Institute by a team of scientists from South Africa and Sri Lanka, describes the general issues facing projects aimed at improving access to clean water in the developing world, as well as the specific challenges facing nano-based projects.
The authors describe a number of water treatment devices that incorporate nanotechnology, including nanofiltration membranes, attapulgite clays and zeolites, nanocatalysts, magnetic nanoparticles and nanosensors. More importantly, they outline potential opportunities associated with these technologies, and possible risks.
The paper includes two case studies of projects designed to improve access to clean water — one in Bangladesh based on a conventional approach using sari cloth to remove cholera from water, and one in South Africa that incorporates a nanofiltration membrane.
This feature article from Nanowerk, written in collaboration with scientists, provides a short introduction to the role nanotechnology could play in resolving water shortage and quality issues.
The authors describe how nanotechnologies are being used in water filtration, especially nanotechnology membranes incorporating carbon nanotubes and dendrimers. They also examine how nanotechnologies and materials such as zeolites, carbon nanotubes and biopolymers can be used to remove, reduce or neutralise heavy metals and other contaminants that pose a threat to human health. And they briefly discuss the issue of using nanotechnology to develop water disinfectants.
Source: UK Royal Society, UK Royal Academy of Engineering | 2003
In 2003, the UK Government commissioned the UK Royal Society, and the UK Royal Academy of Engineering, to conduct an enquiry into the potential risks and benefits of nanotechnology. For this, they collected evidence from various parties, including the science and technology officer of the British Consulate in Brazil, Alexandra Ozorio de Almeida.
In her questionnaire answers, Ozorio de Almeida described the Brazilian research institutes and developments in nanotechnology. She estimated that the development of nanotechnology will receive some 77.7 million reais (US$30 million) from the government between 2004 and 2007.
Ozorio de Almeida gave details of federally funded nanotechnology research networks, funding agency efforts, the location of research teams, and regulatory frameworks. At the time of the evidence, there were no regulations on research and development in nanotechnology, but a bill was underway. In addition, public interest and knowledge about the field was not very strong or accurate, wrote Ozorio de Almeida.
Source: Meridian Institute | June 2004
In June 2004, the Meridian Institute held a meeting of nanotechnology science policy advisors from 25 countries and the European Union. Argentina, Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa were all represented.
In preparation for the meeting, participants were asked to answer a questionnaire. In it, they described national research and development programmes, funding and regulations for nanotechnology. They were also asked to say what they believed were the key issues that needed to be addressed in order to ensure the responsible development of nanotechnology.
The Meridian Institute's website provides access to the completed questionnaires, including answers and presentations from the developing nations mentioned above. These documents offer valuable insight into the growing industries of the most important nanotechnology players in the developing world.
The final report of the June meeting, also available on this site, includes a chapter summarising the discussions that took place in a workgroup on nanotechnologies in developing countries.
Source: ETC Group | January 2003
This report analyses the technological trend for decreasing size, focussing specifically on nanotechnology and its implications. Produced by the ETC Group, a Canadian non-governmental organisation and critic of nanotechnology, it provides an overview of nanotechnology, its impacts and risks.
With plentiful background material, the report describes in detail the range of present and future 'atomtechnologies', how they work, and some of the new products we might expect to see in the near future. It identifies the major players in the field, including governments, universities and companies small and large, and goes on to make policy recommendations.
The report urges caution regarding the adoption of nanotechnology and warns of its potential negative impacts. Highlighting the lack of intergovernmental forums focussing on nanotechnology, it calls for governments and civil society organisations to form an 'international convention for the evaluation of new technologies'. The report also contains a useful glossary.
Source: University of Toronto, Canada | February 2003
This paper by Anisa Mnyusiwall and colleagues at the University of Toronto, Canada reviews the state of nanotechnology literature, funding and policy documents.
Writing in the journal Nanotechnology, the authors say that although nanotechnology promises great developments for medicine, electronics and materials and has abundant funding, quality research on its ethical, legal and social implications is lacking. This is not because of a lack of funds, they say, but rather a need for quality proposals.
Summarising the key concerns about nanotechnology, they warn that unless the 'ethics gap' is closed, nanotechnology itself is under threat: public fear may prompt its rejection before its potential has been fully assessed. The authors call for funding to be set aside to address this, and for large-scale interdisciplinary research on ethical issues, capacity building, public engagement, and the involvement of developing countries.
Source: ETC Group | September 2003
In this communiqué, the ETC Group, a Canadian non-governmental organisation and critic of nanotechnology, illustrates the lack of regulation and risk evaluation in the implementation of nanotechnologies.
Following a forest fire in the United States, a soil-stabilising nanotechnology product was sprayed over 1,400 acres (567 hectares) of mountainside, in order to limit erosion and protect the local community's water supply. The group say that a field test of the same product showed that as well as limiting erosion, it affected biodiversity — preventing the emergence of native plants.
The ETC Group says the technology was implemented with limited scrutiny. They call upon scientists to propose 'best practices' for nanotechnology research and for governments to develop regulations transparently based on the group's recommendations and public debate.
Source: Center for Responsible Nanotechnology
In this document, the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology identifies 30 studies it feels are necessary in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of all significant issues in anticipation of the implementation and development of nanotechnology over the coming decade.
The studies are presented in five sections. The first three cover fundamental theory, capabilities of potential nanotechnologies, and the development of self-contained molecular manufacturing systems capable of producing duplicates at an exponential rate. In section four, studies that measure performance of products are suggested.
Policy-related issues are covered in section five, the largest part of the report. It suggests 14 "essential" studies, covering some of the potential negative implications of nanotechnology.
Source: European Commission | 2004
This report is the outcome of a workshop organised by the health and consumer protection directorate-general of the European Commission in March 2004. It considers the threats to human and environmental health posed by nanotechnology and makes recommendations to minimise these risks.
Among its recommendations the report highlights the need for clear terminology, guidelines, public dialogue, a registry of nanoparticles, and control over their production and release. The panellists unanimously agree that knowing the toxicity of bulk material (effectively, organised conglomerates of nanoparticles) does not help predict the potential adverse effects of the corresponding nanoparticles.
The report includes a commentary on the range of policy options available to regulate nanotechnology. There is also a selection of short contributions from the experts consulted. These offer concise introductions to some of the wider issues under discussion.
Source: Foresight Institute | October 2004
These guidelines, published by the US Foresight Institute, include self-assessment scorecards that are intended to gauge how well nanotechnology professionals, the industry itself, and government policymakers comply with safety measures.
In the preamble, the authors say that accepting responsibility for new nanotechnology capabilities is "not optional", and that dealing with the military, security and environmental issues proactively will be crucial to the field's successful development. Many of their safety and security concerns focus on the potential for self-replication in some emergent types of molecular nanotechnology (MNT).
The three scorecards cover areas of major risk. The industry card, for instance, includes an entry on working with carbon nanotubes, which demand specialised hygiene controls to avoid inhalation or absorption. The guidelines finish with a section chronicling the scorecards' history, which are intended to be a 'living document', subject to revision and modification. The authors welcome ideas for improving them and hope that eventually, the guidelines will form the basis for a legally enforceable framework within which MNT can develop safely.
Source: CMP Cientifica | July 2002
This detailed overview by CMP Cientifica, one of Europe's largest information providers on nanotechnology, aims to introduce the wide variety of technologies falling under the nanotech umbrella and lay them out in a way that shows the scope and timing of their impacts. Intended for governments, venture capitalists, large corporations and scientists working in relevant disciplines, the paper looks at the field as a whole, current financing, and possible future directions.
The authors point out nanotechnology's tremendous diversity and applicability, emphasising that it is not just about miniaturisation, but also about rendering materials atomically exact. They show how developments are already being seen in drug delivery, solar energy, catalysts, coatings, bioanalysis tools and much more. As a result, the discipline already attracts funding approaching some US$4 billion a year from public and private sources.
Casting an eye over the technology's future, the authors see molecular nanotechnology — the manufacture of robotic machines on a molecular scale — as potentially hugely important. The possible problems thrown up by the self-replication of these machines are also briefly examined. The paper ends with a detailed summary of applications and an appendix listing milestones in the field.
Source: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) | October 2003
Emmanuel Hassan and Jerry Sheehan from the directorate for science, technology and industry of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provide a useful introduction to nanotechnology and its implications in this article in the OECD Observer. They give examples of how nanotechnology is expected to yield advances in information technology, materials science, medicine and biotechnology.
A brief analysis of market implications of nanotechnology development follows. The authors show the number of nanotechnology publications and patents is rising at great pace and investment in the sector is set to increase. The authors highlight the importance of multidisciplinary research centres and of public and private funding that promotes the exchange of information whilst developing skilled human resources. Citing successful public-private initiatives they highlight the need for creation of a "common data pool" of literature, databases and patents.
Hassan and Sheehan end with a call for more research and a tacit acknowledgement that policymakers need to be well informed as their decisions will guide the future development and implementation of nanotechnology.
Source: Institute of Nanotechnology | 2004
This article by the Institute of Nanotechnology in Stirling, Scotland, succinctly defines the increasingly important field of nanotechnology, which encompasses precision engineering, electronics, electromechanical systems and biomedical applications such as drug delivery.
'Nanospeak' terminology such as 'top-down' versus 'bottom-up' approaches (that is, machining and etching materials versus building structures atom by atom) is explained. The multidisciplinary nature of the field is also outlined: uniquely among high-tech disciplines, nanotechnology brings materials scientists and mechanical and electronics engineers together with biologists, physicists and chemists.
Glenn McGee, associate director of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics in the United States, has contributed a section on the ethical and social issues that are emerging as the field grows. These range from creating new life forms, and mixing genetic material from different species, to integrating humans with machines via 'smart' pacemakers and the like, and developing nanomachines that trawl our bloodstreams. He concludes that the size of many problems will make many decisions on nanotechnology spending "troubling".