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Greening Nano Technology

By Angelique van Engelen     Oct 5, 2008 in Environment
Green tech might thrive on clever solutions to reduce energy usage but real innovation has more to do with making production processes of tangible materials green. This is where nano technology comes into play.
Estimates of the National Science Foundation reveal that by 2015 nanotechnology will be worth $1 trillion in the global economy. Over 2 million people will be working in this sector by then.
For the time being, nano-engineered products are the subject of both intense speculation and distrust. Consumers are aware of the technology's potential, but because production processes are so intricate they display doubts about safety. Another criticism the industry suffers from is that the production of advanced materials often leads to the creation of hazardous waste that ordinary technology doesn't know how to dispose of.
The few nano products that actually are green at the core tend to receive tons of publicity. Take the environmentally friendly gold particles for example. They're the first to hit the (manufacturing) market place and from what it looks like now, the gold particles have great potential. GreenNano, a new nano tech company has started to commercialize the creation of gold nano particles from purely biological materials. The environmentally benign particle was invented by Kattesh Katti, a renowned professor of radiology and physics attached to MU's School of Medicine and College of Arts and Science.
Gold particles are much in need for industrial use ranging from cancer treatment to automobile sensors to cell phones and hydrogen gas production. The method used by Katti's company eliminates the use of synthetic chemicals involved in the production of gold nano particles.
Synthetic chemicals have very negative impacts on the environment but the new method, published in the journal Small by Katti's research team, submerses gold salts in water and then adds soybeans. A complex nature-induced procedure then turns out gold nano particles, according to the research team, which also includes Raghuraman Kannan and Kavita Katti.
GreenNano has spent the last year focusing on development, commercialization and worldwide supply of gold nano particles for medical and technological applications. And the creation, marketing and distribution of the new product is not where the story ends. Katti says that because the method has now changed, it’s leading to other researchers developing new ways for usage. We've truly landed in a new era.
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