The rapid evolution of nanoscience and nanotechnology during the past two decades has demonstrated that nanotechnology holds the keys to many of the technological advancements of the 21st century in different sectors (pharmaceutical, electronic, energy, textile, coatings and paintings) which relies, at least in part, on having novel materials with unique properties derived from their small size. For energy sector, i.e., nanomaterials technology intervenes at a number of stages of the energy flow that starts from the primary energy sources and finishes at the end user. There are just a few examples that prove that the limitation in non-renewable energy sources (oil, gas, coal and nuclear) can be solved by technological developments aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing emissions of renewable energy sources. These solutions in both energy and other sectors in general, require overcoming a number of technology limitations, for which nanotechnology brings a unique opportunity.

Nanotechnology is a field of applied science concerned with the study and control of materials and phenomena at length scales between 1 nm to 100 nm. Consequently, nanomaterials have unique properties arising from their nanoscale dimensions but the effect of using these new materials on the health and environmental is still unknown. Governmental agencies and research organizations are continuously working on the development of analyses and methods to evaluate the risks of manufacturing and using nanomaterials for both health and the general environment. Research into potential risks is beginning to produce results but we are still far from an understanding of the environmental implications of the nanomaterials.

Nanotechnology and the Environment, intends to present a comprehensive overview of the up-to-date progress with regard to different aspects of nanomaterials research and development that are closely related to their manufacture, properties, storage, transport, usage and release to the environment, identifying the critical areas undergoing further research. The goal of this book is to analyze the impact of each aspect of nanomaterials on the human body and the environment discussing tools to evaluate the balance between potential risks and rewards.

This book does not cover in detail all the specific implications from nanomaterials to biological and environmental systems, but it is an excellent starting point for the future development of this field. In a broader sense, it collects the effect on the environment for six engineered nanomaterials: titanium dioxide, silver, zero-valent iron, carbon black, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes.

Written in a clear and lively language, it comprises over 300 pages and is divided into 11 chapters. The opening chapter introduces the reader to the scope of the book. Kathleen Sellers summarizes in this chapter the current state of the nanotechnology and society highlighting the need of a serious analysis of potential risks and benefits of nanomaterials use by the point of view of both the scientists and also the society. The following chapters deal with the properties, uses and manufacturing as well as transport and fate of nanomaterials. Chapter four to nine provide information on possible risks to human health and environment and the development of regulations to manage those risks. The paradox of using nanomaterials to remediate environmental pollution is discussed on chapter ten. The book finishes with a chapter on the frameworks for evaluating the balance between risk and reward of nanomaterials. It provides the right balance between scientific rigor and simplicity and general interests for a broad audience highlighting the key role of science and technology on solving global problems, and the social responsibility that we all share. Consequently, it is an excellent reference guide.

Nanotechnology and the Environment
Kathleen Sellers, et al.
CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group · 2008 · 296pp
ISBN: 978-1-4200-6019-5