The economic contributions of nanotechnology to green and sustainable growth

Title: The economic contributions of nanotechnology to green and sustainable growth
Format: Chapter
Publication Date: 2015
Description: © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.One of the impact promises associated with nanotechnology is that it will facilitate greener and more sustainable economic growth. We explore the extent to which nanotechnology development and commercialization is achieving this goal, drawing on secondary sources and available data. After defi ning the concepts of nanotechnology and green and sustainable development, we examine six nanotechnology application areas that are pertinent to green growth and sustainability. These application areas are assessed relative to their scale and scope through market forecasts, green benefi ts and potential issues and limitations. These six application areas are: nanoenabled solar cells, energy storage, nanogenerators, thermal energy, fuel catalysis, and water treatment. Nanotechnology-enabled applications in these areas offer potential benefi ts, such as reduced costs, less toxicity, greater effi ciency, operating frequency, voltage, reduced complexity, and reliability. However, many sales forecasts associated with these applications have been adjusted downwards not only as a result of the economic downturn in the fi rst decade of the 2000s but also due to the limited value offered by these nanotechnology-enabled application compared to what is already on the market (the incumbent technology). We fi nd that while green nanotechnologies have the potential to make contributions both to addressing green challenges and to fostering sustainable economic development, development and diffusion is taking longer than previously anticipated, and in some cases the promised scale of benefi ts is unlikely to be realized. Additionally, the potential life cycle environmental overheads of some complex engineered nanomaterials must be taken more fully into account in assessing net contributions to green growth.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Green Processes for Nanotechnology: From Inorganic to Bioinspired Nanomaterials. 409 - 434. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-15461-9_15.
Related Departments:
  • School of Public Policy