News Column

Findings in Environmental Engineering Reported from Virginia Tech (Life Cycle Assessment of "Green'' Nanoparticle Synthesis Methods)

August 22, 2014

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Ecology, Environment & Conservation -- Research findings on Environmental Engineering are discussed in a new report. According to news reporting originating in Blacksburg, Virginia, by VerticalNews journalists, research stated, "In recent years, 'green'' nanomaterial synthesis methods that rely upon natural alternatives to industrial chemicals have been increasingly studied. Although the feasibility of synthesizing nanoparticles (NPs) using phytochemicals, carbohydrates, and other biomolecules is well established, environmental burdens of these synthesis processes have not been critically evaluated from a life cycle perspective."

The news reporters obtained a quote from the research from Virginia Tech, "Environmental impacts of nanotechnologies may potentially be reduced by applying green chemistry principles. However, doing so without evaluating the life cycle impacts of the processes may be misleading; merely replacing a conventional chemical with a natural or renewable alternative may not reduce environmental impacts. To explore this issue, we conducted a comparative, screening-level life cycle assessment (LCA) of gold nanoparticle (AuNP) synthesis using three conventional reducing agents and 13 green reducing agents. We found that a substantial portion of the energy footprint of AuNP synthesis is due to the embodied energy in gold. As a result of this embodied energy, even green AuNP synthesis methods have significant environmental impacts that are highly dependent upon reaction times and yields. Our results showed that LCA can elucidate the different environmental impacts of AuNP synthesis processes, help in choosing processes with reduced life cycle impacts, and directing decisions for future research and data collection efforts. We also discuss some challenges in conducting LCAs for nanotechnologies and highlight some major gaps in the green nano-synthesis literature that limit the comparability of reported green synthesis protocols."

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "This research showed that screening-level LCAs can direct nanotechnology research toward more environmentally sustainable paths."

For more information on this research see: Life Cycle Assessment of "Green'' Nanoparticle Synthesis Methods. Environmental Engineering Science, 2014;31(7):410-420. Environmental Engineering Science can be contacted at: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc, 140 Huguenot Street, 3RD Fl, New Rochelle, NY 10801, USA. (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. -; Environmental Engineering Science -

Our news correspondents report that additional information may be obtained by contacting P. Pati, Virginia Technical, Virginia Technical Green Engn Program, Blacksburg, VA 24061, United States. Additional authors for this research include S. McGinnis and P.J. Vikesland.

Keywords for this news article include: Virginia, Blacksburg, United States, North and Central America, Environmental Engineering

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2014, NewsRx LLC

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Ecology, Environment & Conservation

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters