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Nanomaterials an open access nanoscience
The list of environmental problems. That the world faces may be huge. But, some strategies for solving them. They are remarkably small. First explored for applications in microscopy and computing. Nanomaterials made up of units. They are each thousands of times smaller than. The thickness of human hair. These are emerging as useful for tackling threats of our planet. Well – being.
Scientists across the globe are developing nanomaterials. It can efficiently use carbon dioxide from the air. As well as capture toxic pollutants from water. As well as degrade solid waste into useful products.
Nanomaterials could help us mitigate pollution. They are efficient catalysts. As well as mostly recyclable. Now, they have to become economical for commercialization. It is better to replace present day technologies completely. Says Arun Chattopadhyay. A member of the chemistry faculty. At the Center for Nanotechnology. Indian Institute of technology Guwahati.
To help slow the climate changing rise in atmospheric in CO2 levels. Researchers have developed nano CO2 harvesters. It can suck atmospheric carbon dioxide. And deploy it for industrial purposes.
“Nanomaterials can convert CO2 into useful products like alcohol. The materials could be simple chemical catalysts or photochemical. In nature that work in the presence of sunlight. “Chattpadhyay, who has been working with nanomaterials. To tackle environmental pollutants for more than a decade.
While nanoparticles have potential to solve environmental problems. The small size that makes them useful for environmental cleanup. It also raises special concerns. About health and persistence in the environment. “The long – term effects of using nanomaterials have not been evaluated. Yet, ” says chattopadhyay.
The U. S National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Others are funding research to evaluate. The potential effects of engineered nanoparticles. On health and the environment. Researchers are also creating models to predict nanomaterials transport and fate in the environment. As well as their potential effects on humans. If concerns that have been raised can be adequately dealt. Nanomaterials could play a big role in helping us. Cope with environmental challenges in the years ahead.
Another area being explored for application of nanomaterials. It is managing organic waste, which can pollute land and water. If not handled properly. “Farms and food industry generate humongous amounts of biodegradable waste. We must find ways to manage it efficiently, ” says Debjyoti Sandhu. A professor of engineering at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Karnataka in India.
One of the oldest methods to treat biodegradable waste is to dump. It into tanks called digesters. These are full of anaerobic microbes. It consume the material, converting it into biogas fuel and solids. They can be used as fertilizers. But, anaerobic digestion is slow.
Most toxic dyes used in textile and leather industries. It can be captured with nanoparticles. “Water pollutants such as dyes from human. It created waste like those from tanneries could get to natural sources of water like deep tube wells or groundwater. If wastewater from these industries is left untreated”, says Chattopadhyay. This problem is rather difficult to solve”.
An international group of researchers. It was led by professor Elzbieta Megiel of the University of Warsaw in Poland. Its reports that nanomaterials have been widely studied for removing heavy metals and dyes from wastewater. According to the research team, adsorption processes using materials containing magnetic nanoparticles. They are highly effective and can easily performed. Because such nanoparticles have a large number of sites on their surface. It can capture pollutants and don, t readily degrade in water.