Is Automotive Ready for Hydrogen Fuel? Battery Powered Ev’s (BEV) vs Fuel Cell Powered (FCEV) Vehicles – The ‘Green Shift’ is On


With global sustainability legislations shifting the automotive market away from combustion engines, you’ve probably heard somebody utter “my next car will be electric”. If you haven’t, it’s likely you will soon. However, one fuel source doesn’t fit all. Making the green shift in the automotive market will require other sustainable fuel sources. Here Mats W Lundberg, head of sustainability at Sandvik, maps out the road towards hydrogen fuel.

The move away from petrol, diesel and hybrid cars can seem like a shifting target. Despite deadlines for the ban on such vehicles varying by country, we can be sure that global change is happening — and soon. Automakers and drivers alike will need to adjust to a more sustainable future, but how can you decide which resource will power your vehicle?

BEVs versus FCEVs

TOYOTA-master1050Credit…Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

The automotive sector typically views battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as competing technologies. While BEVs use electricity stored in a battery that powers the vehicle’s electric motor, FCEVs are powered by fuel cells. 

A fuel cell converts energy stored in molecules into electrical energy. Only oxygen and hydrogen are required to power the fuel cell — the former is readily available in the atmosphere, and the latter can be generated through electrolysis. 

FCEVs can offer better weight economy, effectively powering larger vehicles such as haulage that need to limit unnecessary weight gain. Vehicles that travel long distances or that need to refuel quickly are also more suited to hydrogen. Hydrogen is also a good choice for longer-term storage, since it is a gas that can be stored in tanks and containers, while battery lifetime can suffer if the batteries are not charged and discharged correctly.

However, hydrogen’s sustainable future relies on the production of green hydrogen — produced through electrolysis powered by renewable resources. Currently, around 96 per cent of hydrogen is generated from fossil fuels, so developments must still be made if FCEVs are going to match the feasibility of BEVs.

Despite green hydrogen’s slow development, across Europe many projects are already underway to test and deploy hydrogen buses, taxis and other large vehicles, spurring on investment in re-fueling stations and other infrastructure that will be critical to the roll-out of FCEVs.

Fuel cell Bus 1 F4

For instance, the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) project seeks to deploy 139 new zero emission fuel cell buses and associated re-fueling infrastructure across five European countries. JIVE is co-funded by a 32 million euro grant from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking under the European Union Horizon 2020 framework program for research and innovation. Planned operating sites include the UK, Belgium, Germany, Italy and Denmark.

Elsewhere, British carmaker Jaguar Land Rover is working on a government-sponsored initiative, Project Zeus, that will develop fuel cell technologies for its larger vehicles. While the project remains in early development and the focus is on developing hydrogen powertrain technology, the first concept developed as a result of Project Zeus is likely to be an Evoque-sized SUV.

Getting Prepared

As sustainable and viable hydrogen solutions begin to take off, hydrogen infrastructure will also be key to delivering the fuel source to the automotive industry. Infrastructure doesn’t only involve producing the fuel itself, but also the pipework to transport it, and the development of the fuel cells. A key component in this infrastructure is steel.

High quality steel tubes will be an important requirement for gas companies, who will require flexible solutions to set up re-fueling stations. Sandvik is already working with leading gas and engineering company, Linde, and is supplying its portable Solution in a Container to help the company build re-fueling stations across Europe. The stainless steel alloy tubes transport hydrogen from a storage tank to a dispenser.

Linde’s hydrogen gas is transported under both low and high pressures of up to 900 bars, so Sandvik’s tubes meet strict safety guidelines. The long tubes eliminate the need for conventional fittings, such as cone and thread connections or welding, which normally connect shorter tubes. Removing these connections helps reduce the risk of leakage and station shutdowns.

In addition to hydrogen transport infrastructure, materials technology is also central to fuel cell development. The Sandvik Sanergy® product platform consists of a coated strip for a critical fuel cell stack component. The strip is ready to be pressed to bipolar fuel cell plates, eliminating the costly need for individual plate coating. Today Sandvik has a unique, large-scale production facility in Sandviken, Sweden, and is ready for fuel cell technology to take off.

As we move away from petrol and diesel, many automakers are entering new territory. While BEV technology is well underway, it’s important to recognize that other sustainable options may better suit certain automotive requirements. Hydrogen fuel cells remain a working progress, but ongoing investment and their clear potential make hydrogen a strong contender for the industry’s greener future.

Nanotechnology’s Full Potential: A Clear Picture

Clear Picture providingaclA new tool capable of carrying out simultaneous nano-sized measurements could soon lead to more innovative nanotech-based products and help boost the EU economy. Indeed the tool, developed by scientists cooperating through the EU-funded UNIVSEM project, has the potential to revolutionise research and development in a number of sectors, ranging from electronics and energy to biomedicine and consumer products.

Nanotechnology, which involves the manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular scale, has led to – such as graphene – and that include new and medicines. Up until now however, nanotech R&D has been hampered by the fact that it has not been possible to achieve simultaneous information on 3D structure, chemical composition and surface properties.

Clear Picture providingacl

This is what makes the UNIVSEM project, due for completion in March 2015, so innovative. By integrating different sensors capable of measuring these different aspects of nano-sized materials, EU scientists have created a single instrument that enables researchers to work much more efficiently. By providing clearer visual and other sensory information, the tool will help scientists to manipulate nano-sized particles with greater ease and help cut R&D costs for industry.

The project team began in April 2012 by developing a vacuum chamber capable of accommodating the complex sensory tools required. In parallel, they significantly improved the capabilities of each individual analytical technique. This means that users now need just one instrument to achieve key capabilities such as vision and chemical analysis.

Preliminary tests demonstrated that the achieved optical resolution of 360 nanometres (nm) far exceeds the original 500 nm target set out at the start of the project. This should be of significant interest to numerous sectors where cost-efficient but incredibly precise measurements are required, such as in the manufacture of nano-sized surgical tools and nano-medicines.

Electronics is another key area. For example, the UNIVSEM project could help scientists learn more about the properties of quasiparticles such as plasmons. Since plasmons can support much higher frequencies than today’s silicon based chips, researchers believe they could be the future for optical connections on next-generation computer chips.

Plasmon research could also lead to the development of new lasers and molecular-imaging systems, and increase solar cell efficiencies due to their interaction with light. Another exciting area of nanotechnology concerns silver nanowires (AgNWs). These nanowires can form a transparent conductive network, and thus are a promising candidate for solar cell contacts or transparent layers in displays.

The next stage is the commercialisation of the instrument. The multi-modal tool is expected to spur nanotechnology development and enhanced quality control in numerous areas – such as the development of third generation solar cells – and create new opportunities in sectors that have until now not fully tapped into the potential of .

Explore further: Using nanoparticles to better protect industrial applications

More information: For further information, please visit:

Europeans and Nanotechnologies

Euro BTjDRW7IAAAuJtmNanOpinion project undertook a multichannel activity on public engagement in nanotechnologies (NT). The project used an innovative outreach approach, focusing on dialogue, to monitor Europeans‘ opinions on NT across Europe. It included surveys, social media, discussions, street labs, events in public and semi-public spaces, etc.

A total of 8.330 people filled in the questionnaire and  approximately 15.000 citizens were engaged in more than 20 live events, including activities in the streets, debates and workshops. Besides, a total of 1.556 students were engaged in school activities and NanOpinion contents on social media reached thousands of users too. In parallel, a mass media campaign was carried out by the media partners, who published 6 supplements and 161 articles, on blogs and microsites, reaching hundreds of thousands of visitors.

All data and results of the project can be easily visualized in a microsite by clicking the link below. You will find the results divided into country, level of education, etc. It also contains a booklet with policy recommendations and gives an overview of which attitudes Europeans have towards nanotechnologies.


Applications of Nanomaterials Chart Picture1

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NANOTECHNOLOGY – Energys Holy Grail Artificial Photosynthesis




What is Nanotechnology?
A basic definition: Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced.
In its original sense, ‘nanotechnology’ refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.

Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology. A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.

This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold. It is therefore common to see the plural form “nanotechnologies” as well as “nanoscale technologies” to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested 3.7 billion dollars. The European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars

Computer Chips Get Smaller .. Cost Less .. with Nanotechnology

Printing Graphene Chips(Nanowerk News) Not so long ago, a computer filled a  whole room and radio receivers were as big as washing machines. In recent  decades, electronic devices have shrunk considerably in size and this trend is  expected to continue, leading to enormous cost and energy savings, as well as  increasing speed.
Key to shrinking devices is Terascale computing, involving  ultrafast technology supported by single microchips that can perform trillions  of operations per second.
Using Terascale technology, semiconductor components commonly  used to make integrated circuits for all kinds of appliances could measure less  than 10 nanometres within several years. Keeping in mind that a nanometre is  less than 1 billionth of a metre, electronic devices have the potential to  become phenomenally smaller and require significantly less energy than today – a  development that will revolutionise the electronics industry.
Despite progress, the technology for producing these ultra-small  devices has a long way to go before being reliable. To advance the work, the  EU-funded project TRAMS (‘Terascale reliable adaptive memory  systems’) sought to improve reliability by improving chip design.
The TRAMS team conducted in-depth variability and reliability  analyses to develop chip circuits that are much less prone to errors. These  circuits feature new designs that yield reliable memory systems from currently  unreliable nanodevices.
The main challenge was to develop reliable, energy efficient and  cost effective computing using a variety of new technologies with individual  transistors potentially measuring below five nanometres in size.
The team investigated a number of technologies and materials  with potential to make Terascale computing a reality. These included:
  • carbon  nanotubes;
  • new  transistor geometries, such as FinFETs;
  • state-of-the-art  nanowires, which offer very advanced transistor capabilities for use in a new  generation of electronic devices.
Using models, the researchers analysed reliability – from the  technology to the circuit level.
These advances are expected to redefine today’s standard  ‘complementary metal-oxide semiconductors’ (CMOS). The team’s results would help  Europe’s manufacturers develop CMOS devices below the 16 nanometre range. The  biggest challenge will lie in reducing CMOS devices to below five nanometres – a  development that now starts to look possible.
From communication and security to transport and industry,  CMOS-based devices of the future promise to redesign the technology we use,  introducing radical energy and cost savings.
The TRAMS consortium includes universities and companies from  Spain, Belgium and the UK. The project was coordinated by Spain’s Universitat  Politècnica de Catalunya, and received almost EUR 2.5 million in EU funding. The  team concluded its work in December 2012.
Source: Cordis

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NANOTECHNOLOGY – Photons to Electricity Nano Based Solar Cells

longpredicte“Dr. Sargent provides us with a very detailed presentation on integrating ‘nanotechnology’ and photovoltaics. It is well recognized the ‘solar energy model’ will require advancements to lower manufacturing (production) costs and …

… “harvest” with greater efficiencies the available (and abundant) renewable source of energy from our sun.”  –  GenesisNanoTechnology



Published on Jul  9, 2013 

What is Nanotechnology? A basic definition: Nanotechnology is the engineering of functional systems at the molecular scale. This covers both current work and concepts that are more advanced. In its original sense, ‘nanotechnology’ refers to the projected ability to construct items from the bottom up, using techniques and tools being developed today to make complete, high performance products.

Nanotechnology (sometimes shortened to “nanotech”) is the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. The earliest, widespread description of nanotechnology referred to the particular technological goal of precisely manipulating atoms and molecules for fabrication of macroscale products, also now referred to as molecular nanotechnology.


A more generalized description of nanotechnology was subsequently established by the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers.

This definition reflects the fact that quantum mechanical effects are important at this quantum-realm scale, and so the definition shifted from a particular technological goal to a research category inclusive of all types of research and technologies that deal with the special properties of matter that occur below the given size threshold.


It is therefore common to see the plural form “nanotechnologies” as well as “nanoscale technologies” to refer to the broad range of research and applications whose common trait is size. Because of the variety of potential applications (including industrial and military), governments have invested billions of dollars in nanotechnology research. Through its National Nanotechnology Initiative, the USA has invested 3.7 billion dollars. The European Union has invested 1.2 billion and Japan 750 million dollars


Nanotubes images



Nanofuture – David Bradburn

There is not much you can do today without witnessing the involvement of nanotechnology to some degree; nanotechnology is present in almost every part of our lives. Transport, entertainment, communications, most electronic technology, including TVs, computers and cameras, and even in our food; for creating new textures, packaging, taste, and performance enhancement. There is very little we can do in the 21st Century without paying some credit to nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is pivotal to global markets and worth billions of dollars annually, when you look at the United States and the interest in performance of Apple Inc. you can begin to understand the role nanotechnology will have in our lives over the next few decades.


To try and create a more cohesive structure to how nanotechnology works across all of these areas and begin to explore the opportunities it holds, NANOfutures was set up. NANOfutures was actually set up in 2010 to address these challenges and opportunities, it was set up to run for two years with funding from the European Union. NANOfutures is known as a European Technology and Innovation Platform or ETIP, bringing together industry, academia, research establishments, NGOs, SMEs, policy, legal and all other sectors with interest or involvement in nanotechnology.


The most important findings from the ETIP is their Research and Industrial Roadmap report, which charts a strategy for accelerated growth to 2020 for a safe and commercially viable nanofuture. NANOfutures had some very challenging targets and given the diversity of issues facing this area of science, this is a useful result for us to continue growing.

Click below to access more MT blog listings:

The Biomaterials blog

The Characterization blog

The Energy blog

The Nanotechnology blog

The Polymers and Soft Materials blog

Using nanoparticles to remove pollutants and contaminants from wastewater

201306047919620(Nanowerk News) The Fraunhofer Institute for  Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB and its European partners have  developed several effective processes for eliminating persistent pollutants from  wastewater. Some of these processes generate reactive species which can be used  to purify even highly polluted landfill leachate while another can also remove  selected pollutants which are present in very small quantities with polymer  adsorber particles.
Biological stages in wastewater treatment plants are not able to  remove substances such as drugs, found in the wastewater of medical centers, or  halogenated compounds and cyanides from industrial wastewater. This is why  antibiotics and hormonally active substances such as bisphenol A from plastics  manufacturing have already accumulated in the environment and can be traced in  ground water and even in some samples of drinking water. Such persistent  pollutants require a special purifying treatment to remove them from wastewater.  Our tests have shown that oxidative processes with hydrogen peroxide or ozone as  the oxidizing agent are especially effective.
It is usually necessary to adapt or combine various processes in  order to be able to degrade the many different components present in industrial  wastewater in an effective and efficient manner. The Fraunhofer Institute for  Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB runs a pilot plant in Stuttgart  for testing standard processes either individually or in any desired  combination. The IGB has added two new methods which generate reactive species,  especially hydroxyl radicals, efficiently. Hydroxyl radicals oxidize pollutants  into smaller, more degradable organic molecules or mineralize them completely to  carbon dioxide. In the first method, reactive molecules are generated  electrochemically in a combined anode/cathode process and in the second by means  of atmospheric pressure plasma. Neither method requires the addition of  additives.
Oxidative electrochemical treatment of landfill  leachate
Within the CleanLeachate project funded by the EU (grant  agreement no 262335),, the Fraunhofer IGB has developed an  oxidative process which does not require additives and which is, thanks to its  electrochemical operating principal, suitable for treating extremely turbid  wastewaters. A consortium of six partners from five European countries is  currently treating highly polluted leachate from landfill sites with a combined  anode/cathode process, in which a membrane separates an electrolytic cell into  two separate chemical reaction areas. Top priority was given to choosing the  most suitable electrode material, especially for the anodes, where the hydroxyl  radicals are generated as reactive species when voltage is applied. The polluted  water flows past the anode where it is oxidized and is then pumped to the  cathode where the components are reduced.
The treatment is now being tested in continuous operation on a  landfill site in Czechia. This has lead to improvements such as the lowering of  the chemical oxygen demand and the overall nitrogen concentrations to below  legal limits and the fulfilment of wastewater regulations. To make the process  ready for marketing, a prototype was automated and made portable to test further  types of wastewater, while gathering experience and reliable data for further  optimization steps.
Open plasma processes for water purification
Another new approach for purifying water involves the use of an  atmospheric pressure plasma. A plasma is an ionized gas containing not only ions  and electrons but also chemical radicals and electronically excited particles as  well as short wave radiation. Plasma can be ignited by means of an  electromagnetic field e.g. by applying high voltage. The plasma glow is  characteristic and can be seen in the fluorescent lamps of neon signs used for  advertising purposes. In a technical sense, plasma processes have already been  used specifically for modifying and cleaning surfaces for a long time now.
Open plasma reactor
Open  plasma reactor. (© Fraunhofer IGB)
This principle is currently being applied by the partners of a  joint water plasma project, funded by the EU, entitled “Water decontamination  technology for the removal of recalcitrant xenobiotic compounds based on  atmospheric plasma technology”, grant agreement no. 262033,,  in which a plasma is used for purifying water in an oxidative process. The  result is a plasma reactor in which the reactive species formed in the plasma  can be transferred directly to the contaminated water. The reactor is “open” so  that the plasma is in direct contact with a flowing water film. The plasma  reactor is designed in such a way that a plasma can be ignited and maintained  between a grounded electrode in the form of a stainless steel cylinder within  the reactor and a copper network acting as high voltage electrode. To do so,  high voltage is applied. The copper network is on a glass cylinder which acts as  a dielectrical barrier, also shielding the reactor to the outside. Polluted  water is pumped upwards through the stainless steel cylinder in the center of  the plasma reactor. When the water flows down the outer surface of the cylinder,  it passes through the plasma zone between the stainless steel cylinder and the  copper network where the pollutants are oxidized.
In laboratory experiments, Fraunhofer researchers were able to  decolor a methylene blue solution completely within a few minutes. Cyanide was  also broken down effectively by 90 percent within only 2 minutes. Based on such  promising results, the process is now being tested on a larger scale. One of the  project partners is working with a demonstrator which can purify 240 liters of  contaminated water in one hour. The results will be used to continually optimize  the design of the reactor and its process controls. The ultimate aim is to bring  the reactor to market together with further partners from industry. The open  plasma process has a high potential due to the fact that there is no barrier  between the plasma, where the oxidative radicals are formed, and the  contaminated water.
Removing trace substances with selective adsorber  particles
Pollutants can also be removed effectively from wastewater with  selective adsorbers. An adsorption stage is particularly effective when  pollutants are strongly diluted, present in low concentrations or highly  specific. The process is also advisable when a wastewater component is degraded  to a toxic metabolite in biological purification stages. In such cases, it could  be better to remove the substance selectively by pre-treating the wastewater  before it reaches the wastewater plant.
To this aim, the Fraunhofer IGB has developed a single stage,  cost-effective process for producing polymer adsorber particles. In NANOCYTES®,  our patented process, functional monomers are transformed into small  nanoscopically sized polymeric adsorber particles, so-called specific polymeric  adsorber particles (SPA)[GDC1] , with a cross-linking agent. The selectivity of  the adsorber particles can be increased by adding the target molecules to be  removed from the water to the mixture. The trick works like this: once the  monomers have been polymerized, the target molecules can be removed from the  adsorber particles. They leave behind a kind of “imprint” which adsorbs the  target pollutants.
These particles possess a high specific surface area and the  particle surface is easily accessible without limitations. In addition this  approach offers a large flexibility in the design of the surface chemical  properties and the adsorption behavior. A large variety of different monomers  (mono-, bi- and trifunctional) can be used. They are selected on the basis of  physico-chemical properties such as solubility, miscibility and non-covalent  interactions with the target molecules. The particle properties can therefore be  tailor-made for special separation problems.
Fraunhofer researchers have been able to remove bisphenol A and  penicillin G selectively from wastewater. The adsorber particles are chemically  and thermically stable and can be used for a wide range of applications e.g. as  a layer in a composite membrane or as a matrix on packing materials. Once the  pollutants have been adsorbed, the adsorber particles can be regenerated and  re-used. An adsorption column is available at the Fraunhofer IGB for research  experiments.
Systems solutions for water supply and water  treatment
These innovative processes for water treatment complement the  Fraunhofer IGB’s portfolio in the fields of water purification and water  treatment. Together with further processes for water treatment and recovering  wastewater components as energy and fertilizing salts, the Fraunhofer IGB is  steadily optimizing wastewater treatment plants and improving DEUS 21, a system  for the semi-decentralized purification of household wastewater.
Source: McGill University

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Charting Europe’s nanotechnology roadmap

Mega UploadsNanotechnology is opening the way to a new industrial  revolution. From ‘individualised’ medical treatments tailored for each patient  to new, environmentally-friendly energy storage and generation systems,  nanotechnology is bringing significant advances. Exciting new futures await  those businesses able to get ahead in the race to turn this wealth of promise  into commercial success.




But in a field which requires a high degree of  coordinated effort involving many different stakeholder groups, including  researchers, policymakers and commercial players across a wide variety of  industrial sectors, it has perhaps been inevitable that fragmentation,  disconnectedness and duplication have stood in the way.
NANOfutures was set up in 2010 to tackle exactly  this problem of fragmentation. Supported by European Union (EU) funding,  NANOfutures is a European Technology and Innovation Platform (ETIP) bringing  together industry, research institutions and universities, NGOs, financial  institutions, civil society and policymakers at regional, national and European  levels. Acting as a kind of ‘nano-hub’ for Europe, NANOfutures is dedicated to  fostering a shared vision and strategy on the future of  nanotechnology.

Reflecting its  objective of achieving a truly cross-sectoral approach, breaking out of  individual industry silos and addressing the major nanotech issues which are  common to all sectors, NANOfutures set up a steering committee which included  representatives from 11 European Technology Platforms (ETPs) – sector-specific  networks of industry and academia – including those for textiles, nanomedicine,  construction and transportation. Chaired by Professor Paolo Matteazzi of Italian  specialist nanomaterials company MBN Nanomaterialia, the committee also included  ten nanotechnology experts, each one chairing a NANOfutures working group on  cross-sectoral topics such as safety, standardisation, regulation, technology  transfer and innovative financing.

This approach allowed  NANOfutures to identify key aspects of nanotechnology and its exploitation in  which all players – from researcher to politician, financier, commercial  developer, regulator or end-user – were involved and therefore had common  interests.

One of the major successes achieved by the two-year project was  securing an agreement by all 11 ETPs on a set of research and innovation themes  for the next decade. “The ETPs agreed to focus their private efforts, and call  for increasing public efforts, on such themes in order to bring European  nano-enabled products to successful commercialisation, with benefits for the  grand challenges of our time such as climate change, affordable and effective  medicine, green mobility and manufacturing,” says the project’s coordinator,  Margherita Cioffi of Italian engineering consultancy D’Appolonia.

The most tangible result of this, and the key outcome from  NANOfutures, was the development and publication of a ‘Research and Industrial  Roadmap’ setting out, in Ms Cioffi’s words, “a pathway up to 2020 which will  enable European industry and researchers to deliver and successfully  commercialise sustainable and safe nano-enabled products.” Divided into seven  separate thematic areas, or ‘value-chains’, the roadmap covers European  priorities from materials research to product design, manufacturing, assembly,  use and disposal. It describes both short- and longer-term actions with the aim  of providing a practical guide for EC and Member State governments, research  centres and industry, as well as standardisation and regulation bodies.

Other benefits directly resulting from the project, Ms Cioffi  adds, were the sharing of safety best practices, the creation of partnerships to  promote product development, training and other services, and the bringing  together of relevant SME businesses with potential users and investors during  specially organised Technology Transfer workshops.

Since it is not a product in itself, but a method with an  enormous range of potential applications, nanotechnology naturally reaches into  a diverse range of human activities. Paradoxically, almost, this very richness  and universality of its benefits leads to a fragmentation of effort which acts  as a barrier to its efficient exploitation. By bringing together the various  stakeholders to create a unified, strategic approach, replacing fragmentation  and duplication with a focus on areas of agreed priority and common interest,  NANOfutures has played an invaluable role in promoting the rapid development of  nanotechnology – with its twin benefits of societal usefulness and enhanced  European competitiveness.

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Nanotechnology policy making – mandatory tools

Posted: Apr 3rd, 2013  By Michael Berger. Copyright © Nanowerk

Nanotechnology policy making – mandatory tools

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk Spotlight) Governments are charged with  determining whether chemical substances, and products that include those  substances, can be used without adversely affecting humans and other living  beings. Science helps inform policy decisions by providing information on the  benefits and drawbacks of a technology or a product of that technology. So much  for the theory.

Currently, there are significant limitations in the  environmental, health and safety (EHS) data available for nanomaterials.  Furthermore, although a wide variety of test methods and guidance for regulatory  testing of bulk chemicals is available, a number of them will need significant  modification before being applicable to nanomaterials. Complicating things, science is quite divided on how to assess  nanotechnology materials and applications.

Consequently, as the public  discussion about the regulation of nanotechnology in general, and nanomaterials  in particular, heats up, emerging opinions on the applicability of existing  regulation differ substantially (read more: “Regulating  nanotechnology – how adequate is current regulation?”) and so do views on  which regulatory options best address the current lack of information about  environment, health and safety risks of nanomaterials, as well as the regulatory  uncertainty and concerns expressed by the politicians, members of the public and  industry, and investors (read more in our previous Nanowerk Spotlight: “Science  policy considerations for responsible nanotechnology decisions”).

A new, two-part survey in Global Policy (“The Challenges of Nanotechnology Policy Making PART 1. Discussing  Mandatory Frameworks” and “The Challenges of Nanotechnology Policy Making PART  2. Discussing Voluntary Frameworks and Options”), compiled by Claire  Auplat, a professor at the Novancia Business School, Paris, France, outlines  the different frameworks policy makers have developed. The first part of the  survey, which we are covering today in this Nanowerk Spotlight,  introduces nanotechnology policy making and the reasons for its complexity, and  offers a panorama of the set of mandatory tools that are currently  available to regulate nanotechnologies.

The second part, which will appear in  our Spotlight tomorrow, provides an outlook of the set of voluntary tools  that coexist with the mandatory ones. First, let’s look at the typology involved: Mandatory or voluntary regulationAs we will see, In nanotechnology, there are many initiatives of  voluntary regulation. These constitute new layers of regulation that  stakeholders decide to add to the mandatory ones which they must comply with. Geographic level of regulationRegulation happens at different levels, from the local one to  the international one.

The terms ‘international’, ‘regional’, ‘national’ and ‘local’ usually refer to the bodies which pass the said regulations, not to the  areas covered by them. The geographic scope of some regulations goes beyond that  of the body that passed them. To continue with the example of the EU regulation,  when a specific law targets the products or substances manufactured or imported  in the EU, its scope may in effect be much larger since it may impact producers  globally. The targets of regulationRegulation has two broad targets, either the products or  substances themselves, or those exposed to them, like people or the environment.  The distinction is not always clear-cut, but in the case of nanotechnology  regulation there is a trend to move from the former to the latter.

The following is a list of existing tools of mandatory  nanotechnology governance:

REACH, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and  Restriction of Chemical Substances – EC 1907/2006REACH is the European Community Regulation on  chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration,  Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The law  entered into force on 1 June 2007.

REACH is a general framework and it does not apply specifically  to nano substances. Critics of the law say that because most nano substances are  so small, they are produced in quantities that are below one tonne per year,  which means that they go unregulated. REACH can in fact apply to substances produced or imported in  volumes below 1 tonne per year if they are considered to be of very high  concern. This means in effect that risks from certain nano scale substances  could be addressed through REACH if they were identified as being ‘substances of  very high concern’ as defined in Article 57, for example as being persistent,  bio accumulative and toxic (PBT) substances. Novel food regulation, regulation EC 258 /  97-1997This European regulation laid out rules for the  authorisation of ‘novel’ foods.

According to a European Parliament press release of March 2011 the use of  nanotechnology in food production, for example as an antibacterial agent, or to  alter flavour or color is growing and the European Parliament called for further  checks to be developed to adequately assess the safety of such foods. They also  wanted food containing nano ingredients to be labelled. However, due to a  failure to reach agreement on the new rules ‘there will continue to be no  special measures regarding nanomaterials in food’ the EP statement said.

Regulation (EC) no 1223 / 2009 of the European  Parliament and of the council of 30 November 2009 on cosmetic  products.  This law – the first international law  specifically designed for nanotechnologies – includes a review of the safety of  nanomaterials and will take effect in July 2013, with gradual implementation  started in December 2010. All cosmetic products will be subject to a safety  assessment and to a premarket notification and approval procedure.

This law specifically sayes: “The Regulation prohibits the use  of substances recognised as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction  (classified as CMR), apart from in exceptional cases. It provides for a high  level of protection of human health where nanomaterials are used in cosmetic  products.” The regulation also requires traceability of a cosmetic product  throughout the whole supply chain, as well as clear labelling including the name  and address of the responsible person, and the presence of all ingredients  containing nanomaterials, with their names followed by (nano).

Toxic substances control act inventory status of carbon  nanotubes. Generally speaking, the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)  regulates all chemical substances. However, since the passing of the TSCA Inventory Status of Carbon Nanotubes in 2008, some  nanomaterials have been considered as specific chemical substances and are  therefore subject to special regulation.

Federal insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide  act. Under this U.S. federal regulation, all pesticides  distributed or sold in the U.S. must be registered by the Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA ruled in 2006 that the Samsung silver  ion generating washing machine, which released nano silver ions into wash  water, was subject to registration requirements under FIFRA because it  incorporated a substance intended to prevent, destroy or mitigate pests, and was  therefore considered a pesticide.

DTSC chemical call in: carbon nanotubes, quantum dots,  nanosilver,  nano cerium oxide, nano titanium dioxide, and nano zinc  oxide. California law authorizes the Department of Toxic Substances  Control to request information regarding analytical test methods, fate and  transport in the environment, and other relevant information about specified  chemicals. The Department has conducted two chemical information call-ins. In 2010,  Round One sought information on carbon nanotubes.  In 2011, Round Two sought  information on quantum dots, nanosilver, nano zero valent iron, nanocerium  oxide, nanotitanium dioxide, and nanozinc oxide.  Visit Round One and Round Two for the responses from manufacturers  and importers of these chemical substances.

The manufactured nano scale health and safety ordinance.  Section 15.12.040 Berkeley city council ordinance.  This municipal ordinance was passed in December  2006 by the city council of Berkeley, CA, and was the first case in the world of  mandatory regulation specifically targeted at nanotechnologies. It amended  existing health and safety rules to demand a full toxicological report from all  facilities manufacturing nanoparticles.

NIOSH Current Intelligence Bulletin (CIB) 63 on  occupational exposure to titanium dioxide. This NIOSH CIB, based on NIOSH’s assessment of  the current available scientific information about this widely used material, 1)  reviews the animal and human data relevant to assessing the carcinogenicity and  other adverse health effects of TiO2; 2) provides  a quantitative risk assessment using dose-response information from the rat and  human lung dosimetry modeling and recommended occupational exposure limits for  fine and ultrafine (including engineered nanoscale) TiO2; and 3) describes exposure monitoring techniques,  exposure control strategies, and research needs. NIOSH recommendations are nonbinding, and should therefore be  listed under the voluntary initiatives. However, they can be seen as an initial  step to mandatory regulation enacted by OSHA, which is why CIB 63 was considered  a landmark in nanotechnology regulation.

French code de l’environnement, Livre V, Titre II,  Chapitre III, (articles l523-1 to l523-5). According to this text, manufacturers, importers  or distributers of nanoparticulates must inform relevant authorities, and  provide information about the substances involved. The information relates to  intended use of substance, quantities involved, identity of the professional  users, and danger relative to exposure in terms of health or of environmental  risks. The data provided can be made available to the public.

The code states  that national interest may lead to a request to opt out of REACH regulation. Auplat concludes that there is currently no strong backbone to  global nanotechnology policy making. “On the one hand, there are various pieces  of regulation which are disconnected and seem to emerge more or less in an ad  hoc way. On the other hand, at the international level, the position of large  international organizations like the EU is not stable: they have until now not  favoured specific regulation of nanotechnologies considering that existing  frameworks were sufficient, and they seem to be changing their minds.”

By Michael Berger. Copyright © Nanowerk

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