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Nanomaterials go Green

The environment could also benefit from nanotechnology, particularly when it comes to wastewater treatment. Researchers are working on the possible use of nanoparticles of metal oxides (iron, titanium, cerium, aluminum, etc.) to treat wastewater or clean up contaminated ground. “When a surface coated with a nanofilm of titanium oxide is exposed to sunlight, it can break down organic pollutants (pesticides) and potentially dangerous disease-causing microorganisms (bacteria and viruses) present in water. But this technique is still uncommon, and only used for the treatment of effluents containing a limited number of pollutants,” explains Jean-Yves Bottero from CEREGE.1 In another process, ceramic membranes based on nanoparticles of iron oxyhydroxide (ferroxanes) are used for the nanofiltration of polluted effluents. This green chemistry holds out great promise, especially in developing countries where water is often contaminated.

Notes :

1. Centre Européen de Recherche et d'Enseignement des Géosciences de l'Environnement (CNRS / IRD / Université de Provence / Université Paul-Cézanne / Collège de France).

Contacts :

Jean-Yves Bottero,
Jérôme Rose,


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