New Green Nanotechnology Initiative Launched 'It's Not Easy Bein' Green,' or Is It?

Feb 08, 2006, 00:00 ET from Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Project on Emerging
 Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars -- a
 project supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts -- today announced a series of
 meetings and a symposium that will result in an important report about how to
 apply the principles of green chemistry and green engineering to
     This new GreenNano series at the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies aims
 to advance development of clean technologies using nanotechnology, to minimize
 the environmental and human health risks associated with the manufacture and
 use of nanotechnology products in general, and to encourage replacement of
 existing products with new nano products that are more environmentally
 friendly throughout their lifecycle.
     This initiative is being led by Dr. Barbara Karn, on detail to the Project
 on Emerging Nanotechnologies from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
 Office of Research and Development. For the past five years, Dr. Karn managed
 EPA's nanotechnology research program. She is a nationally recognized expert
 in combining nanotechnology with green chemistry, industrial ecology, and
     According to Dr. Karn, "The GreenNano series is designed to explore
 everything from new nanotechnology products claiming to be better for the
 environment -- because of saved energy, reduced waste, or safer materials used
 -- to smart engineering and business practices. It will look at government
 policies that offer incentives for developing such low-risk practices. The
 effort also will highlight research in green nanotechnology applications,
 including an eight session nanotechnology research and environment symposium
 at the American Chemical Society meeting in Atlanta, GA during March 26-30,
     "Green nanotechnology isn't a distant 'Star Trek' fantasy," said Dr. Karn.
 "Today, scientists are using nanotechnology to develop small, highly efficient
 and portable personal solar cells -- using a flexible polymer sheet that can
 be rolled up and taken anywhere to recharge communications devices like laptop
 computers and mobile phones.  Key nanotechnology companies and researchers are
 taking responsibility to ensure that nanotech products are produced in
 environmentally safe ways and that their risks to humans and the environment
 are minimized both during production and consumption.  We want to highlight
 these efforts and look for ways to help encourage that kind of innovation."
 The first event on Thursday, February 16th at 2 p.m. at the Wilson Center in
 Washington, D.C. will attempt to define green nanotechnology based on what we
 have learned from green chemistry and from the development of environmentally
 friendlier manufacturing processes and products.
     "Muppet character Kermit The Frog is famous for singing the song, 'It's
 Not Easy Bein' Green,'" said Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies Director
 David Rejeski. "But we believe that nanotechnology can be 'green' and help to
 enable a better environment. We also think the U.S. could be a global leader
 in green nanotech, and that government policy incentives should be directed
 toward this goal. We know that green nanotechnology can be a source of
 American jobs and company profits in the future."
     "Nanotechnology holds tremendous potential for pollution prevention and
 sustainability, especially in the areas of clean water, energy, and efficient
 sensors. We are interested in bringing together stakeholders from government,
 industry, the research community, and citizen organizations who are committed
 to ensuring that nanotechnology helps create a new, more sustainable economy,"
 said Rejeski.
     In addition to Dr. Karn, the February 16th event will feature Dr. John
 Warner, professor and director, Green Chemistry Program, School of Health and
 the Environment, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and co-author of The
 12 Principles of Green Chemistry; and Dr. Jim Hutchison, professor of
 Chemistry, University of Oregon, the head of the green chemistry Hutch Lab
 research group and holder of a U.S. patent for a process his lab created that
 manufactures a gold atom nanoparticle without the environmentally harmful
 effects usually associated with its creation.
     For a complete schedule of GreenNano programs over the next six months,
     Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture
 things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a
 meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.
     According to EmTech research, there are currently about 80 consumer
 products now on the market containing engineered nanomaterials -- everything
 from cosmetics and sun screens to tennis rackets and golf balls. There are
 more than 600 electronics components, raw materials, drug delivery
 technologies, and research, process, and software tools which are used to
 research nanoscale technologies, manipulate nanomaterials and fabricate at the
     The National Science Foundation predicts that the global marketplace for
 goods and services using nanotechnologies will grow to $1 trillion by 2015 and
 employ 2 million workers.
     The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the
 Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to
 helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible
 health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information
 about the Project, log on to
     CONTACT: Sharon McCarter of Woodrow Wilson International Center for
 Scholars, +1-202-691-4016,

SOURCE Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars