Environmental Nanoscience Initiative
The Environmental Nanoscience Initiative was £5m programme split over two phases. Its aim was to answer some questions of basic nanosciences research; into fate and behaviour, ecotoxicology and ecological effects of engineering nanoparticles.
Background & objectives
Nanotechnology is the design and manufacture of substances typically between one and several hundred billionths of a metre in size. In this size range the properties of substances can change quite radically, offering potentially large socio-economic, health and environmental benefits. For example, nanofuel additives could help reduce emissions and particles from diesel engines. Nanoparticles may also be able to help remove persistent pollutants in soils and groundwaters. The potential for use of nanomaterials is huge and is reflected by an explosion in global research and development investment.
Reports & key findings
The following case studies are linked to this research programme. Full details of each case study are available from NERC's Science Impacts Database.
New 'nano-toxin' sensor for continuous monitoring licensed to Modern Water (PDF, 57KB)
Synopsis: A miniature 'mimic membrane' on a chip, that detects dissolved pollutants down to the nano-scale, has been licensed to a UK-based company specialising in protecting water supplies and in water and wastewater treatment.
Managing nanoparticle wastes from consumer products (PDF, 56KB)
Synopsis: A new discovery about nanoparticle behaviour in sewage treatment plants will improve the environmental management of nanoparticle wastes from foods, cosmetics, medicines and other products.
The following documents and links are related to or give more information about this programme.
- The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 27th Report: Novel Materials in the Environment: The case of Nanotechnology (2008) - external link
- UK Government response to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) report 'Novel materials in the environment: the case for nanotechnology' - external link
- How the UK government is co-ordinating risk - related research - external link - in nanotechnologies
- How the UK government is supporting the positive development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies by encouraging industry and researchers to provide information to government through the UK Voluntary Reporting Scheme for Nanoscale Materials - external link.
- EU Commission Nanotechnology homepage - external link
- USEPA Nanotechnology: Research Projects - external link
- Defra Nanotechnologies - research reports: Characterising the potential risks posed by engineered nanoparticles - external link
- EU Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks - Nanotechnologies - external link
- USEPA Nanotechnology: Publications and Proceedings - external link
- The Woodrow Wilson Nanotechnology Inventories - external link