An Overview on Role of Nanotechnology in Green and Clean Technology

Review Article

Austin Environ Sci. 2017; 2(3): 1026.

An Overview on Role of Nanotechnology in Green and Clean Technology

Rani K* and Sridevi V

Department of Chemical Engineering, AUCE (A), Andhra University, India

*Corresponding author: Rani K, Department of Chemical Engineering, AUCE (A), Andhra University, India

Received: August 09, 2017; Accepted: August 31, 2017; Published: September 08, 2017


Nanotechnology is a rapidly growing science of producing and utilizing nano sized silver particles. Nano particles compared to bulk materials exhibit improved characteristics due to their size, distribution and morphology and are used in various scientific fields. Now, engineers are studying ways that it can be made beneficial to the environment. There are general perceptions that nanotechnology will have a significant impact on developing “clean” and “green” technologies with considerable environmental benefits and this has been branded as “Green Technology”. Meaning of green technology is the technology which is environmental friendly developed in such a way that it doesn’t disturb our environment and conserves natural resources. The objectives of nanotechnology are to create eco-friendly processes and products. Conflicting with this positive message is the growing body of research that raises questions about the potentially negative effects of engineered nanoparticles on human health and environment. The main aim of this review is to give about an overview on green technology in association with nanotechnology and its complications and benefits.

Keywords: Fossil fuels; Nano silver particles; Nano fibers; Electro winning



“It is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular and supramolecular scale. Nano scale is the scale of things between 1 to 100 nanometers”. It is the engineering of functional systems at molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced. In its original sense, nanotechnology refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products [1]. It sometimes referred to as general purpose technology, that’s because in its advanced form it will have significant impact on almost all industries and all areas of society. The concepts that seeded nanotechnology were first discussed in 1959 by renowned physicist Richard Feynman in his talk “there is plenty of room at the bottom” in which he described the possibility of synthesis via direct manipulation of atoms. The term nanotechnology was first used by “Norio Taniguchi” in 1974 [2].

The ability to see the nanosized particles has opened up a world of possibilities in a variety of industries and scientific industries. Because it is essentially a set of techniques that allow manipulation of properties at a very small scale, it can have many applications. It has many advantages in various fields, like medical (nano medicine), clothing (fabric), and environmental (eg. Water purification systems), privacy and security (nano electronics), food industries (for better food productions), fuel cells, solar cells, fuels, sporting goods, etc. So it has this much of advantageous it is picking up the pace and has got a lot of people talking [3]. It is true that nanotechnology have helped us achieve many great things for the world but at the same time; there are certain disadvantages of this technology as well. The presence of nanomaterials is not in itself a threat; it is only certain aspects that can make them risky, in particular their mobility and their increased reactivity. Only certain properties of certain nano particles were harmful to living beings or the environment would be faced with a genuine hazard. In this case it can be called nano pollution. This only proves the fact that nothing is perfect and each thing has its positives and negatives.

Now, researchers are studying ways that it can be made beneficial to environment. This has been branded as Green Technology since it focuses on the nano scale that needed to be overcome to ensure and produce ecofriendly processes. Green technology acts to reduce contaminants and harmful processes through directly counteracting them or through altering the conditions that create them. It is the technology which environmental friendly, developed and used in such a way that, it doesn’t disturb our environment conserves natural resources [4].

Green technology

“It is a continuously evolving group of methods and materials, from techniques for generating energy to non toxic cleaning products”. Due to rapid industrialization and urbanization toxic elements are released into environment resulting global warming. Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history. Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) and other air pollutants and greenhouse gasses collect in the atmosphere and absorb sunlight and solar radiation that have bounced off the earth’s surface. Normally, this radiation would escape into space, but these pollutants, which can last for years to centuries in the atmosphere, trap the heat and cause the planet to get hotter. That’s what’s known as the greenhouse effect [5]. Combustion of fossil fuels generates sulfuric, carbonic, and nitric acids, which fall to Earth as acid rain, impacting both natural areas and the built environment. Monuments and sculptures made from marble and limestone are particularly vulnerable, as the acids dissolve calcium carbonate. Fossil fuels also contain radioactive materials, mainly uranium and thorium, which are released into the atmosphere. Moreover, these environmental pollutions impacts on the human beings because its particles of the fossil fuel on the air cause negative health effects when inhaled by people. These health effects include premature death, acute respiratory illness, aggravated asthma, chronic bronchitis and decreased lung function [6]. One of the best examples of green technology would be the solar cell. A solar cell directly converts the energy in light into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaics. Generating electricity from solar energy means less consumption of fossil fuels, reducing pollution and green house gas emissions. It is a relatively young market place but investor interest runs a very high response to global warming fears and increasing scarcity of many natural resources. It uses renewable natural resources that never depletes, so future generation can also benefit from it. It can effectively change waste pattern and production in a way that it won’t harm the planet [7].

By applying green technology leads to:

• Reduce the usage of non-renewable resource-We can minimize the usage of non-renewable energy and conserve it for the future.

• Reduce energy usage-Leading to long term cost saving.

• Life time and property value-With proper maintenance green technologies can have long life times. A small wind system can last up to 20 years.

• Increase human quality in life-We are able to live in a world there are less pollution and healthier environment.

The aim is green approach taken when constructing structures to promote healthier, better and conductive to both the internal patrons as well as the environmental as whole.

Goals of green technology

Goals of green technology are many. To meet the needs of society in ways without damaging or depleting natural resources on earth is the main Goal of green technology. A few of them are:

1) Sustainability-Meeting the present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

2) Source Reduction-Reducing waste and production by changing patterns of production and consumption.

3) Innovation-Developing alternatives to technologieswhether fossil fuel or chemical intensive agriculture-that have been demonstrated to damage health and environment.

4) Energy-May be the most urgent issue for green technology, this includes the development of alternative fuels, new means of generating energy and energy efficiencies.

5) Green Building-It encompasses everything from the choice of building materials to where a building is located.

6) Green Chemistry-The invention, design, and application of chemical products and processes to reduce or to eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances.

Types of green technology

Listed below are some popular examples of the types of green technologies and practices we’re interested in.

1) Green Chemistry-It is philosophy of chemical research and engineering that enocourages the design of products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances.

2) Green Nano Technology-Producing nano materials and products without harming the environment and human health.

3) Green Building-It refers to a structure using a process that is environmentally responsible and eco friendly too. It involves building’s life cycle; from design, construction and maintenance, renovation and demolition.

4) Green Information Technology-Aims to reduce the carbon footprint generated by the information systems. This designs which can reduce the negative effects of human activity.

5) Green Energy-Is the energy produced by natural resources, i.e., sunlight, wind, rain, tides, plants, algae and geothermal heat which put very small impact on the environment than fossil fuels i.e., oil, gas, coal etc.

Green Nanotechnology or Green biotechnology

Nanoparticles are viewed by many as fundamental building blocks of nanotechnology. They can be synthesized using a variety of methods including physical, chemical, and biological and hybrid techniques. They are the starting point for many ‘bottom-up’ approaches for preparing nano structured materials and devices. As such, their synthesis is an important component of rapidly growing research efforts in nano scale science and engineering. Nanoparticles of a wide range of materials can be prepared by a variety of methods. An attempt to describe advances in a wide range of synthesis methods has been made, at the expense of detailed coverage of any particular technique [8].

The synthesis of metallic nanoparticles involves top-down and bottom-up approaches by chemical, physical, and biological means as shown in Figure 1. Biogenic syntheses of silver nanoparticles are classified under bottom up approach. Several methods have been employed to synthesize silver nanoparticles, including chemical reduction, microwave-assisted synthesis, ultrasonic-assisted reduction, electrochemical reduction, template method, photo induced or photo catalytic reduction, irradiation reduction, micro emulsion method, and biochemical reduction.