Sustainability 2010, 2(10), 3323-3338; doi:10.3390/su2103323

Sustainable Nanotechnology: Through Green Methods and Life-Cycle Thinking

Department of Industrial and Information Engineering, University of Tennessee, 416 East Stadium Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 September 2010; in revised form: 9 October 2010 / Accepted: 18 October 2010 / Published: 25 October 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Futures)
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Abstract: Citing the myriad applications of nanotechnology, this paper emphasizes the need to conduct “life cycle” based assessments as early in the new product development process as possible, for a better understanding of the potential environmental and human health consequences of nanomaterials over the entire life cycle of a nano-enabled product. The importance of this reasoning is further reinforced through an illustrative case study on automotive exterior body panels, which shows that the perceived environmental benefits of nano-based products in the Use stage may not adequately represent the complete picture, without examining the impacts in the other life cycle stages, particularly Materials Processing and Manufacturing. Nanomanufacturing methods often have associated environmental and human health impacts, which must be kept in perspective when evaluating nanoproducts for their “greenness.” Incorporating life-cycle thinking for making informed decisions at the product design stage, combining life cycle and risk analysis, using sustainable manufacturing practices, and employing green chemistry alternatives are seen as possible solutions.
Keywords: nanotechnology; life-cycle assessment; nanomanufacturing; nanomaterials; risk assessment; sustainability; energy intensity; green chemistry; DfE; human health impacts

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MDPI and ACS Style

Dhingra, R.; Naidu, S.; Upreti, G.; Sawhney, R. Sustainable Nanotechnology: Through Green Methods and Life-Cycle Thinking. Sustainability 2010, 2, 3323-3338.

AMA Style

Dhingra R, Naidu S, Upreti G, Sawhney R. Sustainable Nanotechnology: Through Green Methods and Life-Cycle Thinking. Sustainability. 2010; 2(10):3323-3338.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dhingra, Rajive; Naidu, Sasikumar; Upreti, Girish; Sawhney, Rapinder. 2010. "Sustainable Nanotechnology: Through Green Methods and Life-Cycle Thinking." Sustainability 2, no. 10: 3323-3338.

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