| Project objectives:
The main objectives of NanoRem are to:
1. Identify the most appropriate nanoremediation technological approaches to achieve a step change in remediation practice.
2. Develop lower cost production techniques and production at commercial scales of nanoparticles.
3. Determine the mobility and migration potential of nanoparticles in the subsurface, and relating these both to their potential usefulness and also their
potential to cause harm.
4. Develop a comprehensive set of tools to monitor practical nanoremediation performance and determine the fate of nanoparticles.
5. Engage in dialogue with key stakeholder and interest groups to ensure that the work meets their needs, is and agree its most sustainable and and appropriate
whilstuses, balancing benefits against risks.
6. Carry out a series of full scale applications in several European countries to provide realistic cost, performance, fate, and transport findings.
The 2010 projected world market for applications of environmental nanotechnologies was suggested to be approximately $6 billion (Joint Research Centre
(JRC)C Ispra 2007) across four sectors: remediation, protection, maintenance, and enhancement, of which remediation is thought to represent the fastest
growing area. These predictions portrayed a major opportunity for nanotechnology in the rapidly growing worldwide remediation sector.
Nanotechnologyies used for remediation, or “nanoremediation”, isare primarily employed for treating soils in the saturated zone and groundwater insitu.
They are not used for the treatment of unsaturated soils as the nano particles are rapidly inactivated or inefficient in the presence of air. Nanotechnologyies
could offer a step-change in remediation capabilities as indicated by laboratory scale findings, which show that the range of treatable contaminants and
the speed by which they can be degraded or stabilised can be substantially increased over insitu saturated zone remediation technologies (Müller and Nowack
2010). In practice this step change and the JRC predictions for nanotechnology use in remediation made in the mid-2000s have not been achieved to date.
There have been relatively few large-scale applications of nanoremediation. Bardos et al., (2011) identified 58 examples of field scale applications
of nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) from a wide range of information sources. Only 17 of these were in Europe (Czech Republic and Germany), although bench-scale
nanoremediation research is widespread across the EU. Furthermore, the practical use of nanoremediation was found to be largely confined to the treatment
of chlorinated solvents insitu. This niche already has well established techniques (particularly insitu bioremediation and insitu chemical redoxuction).
The reasons for this failure in market development were most recently reviewed in the UK, where nanoremediation has not been permitted at all (Anon, 2012).
Costs are thought to be high compared with other technologies. In addition, in some countries, the environmental use of nanoparticlesNPs is seen as potentially
hazardous or risky as an activity, leading to precautionary and conservative regulatory positions and questions have also been raised about the general sustainability
of nanoparticlesNP use in remediation. Finally, information published from field application projects is typically insufficient to draw firm conclusions
about the effectiveness of the remediation. Nevertheless, in each case, but the indications are that so far nanoremediation has not demonstrated a “step-change”
in performance over existing solutions, largely because of the limited mobility and stability of the nanoparticlesNPs used.
The current circumstances reflect an unrealised potential for nanoremediation in contaminated land restoration, both in terms of potentially facilitating
a greater return of land and aquifers to a usable state, and in terms of the development of nanotechnology products and services in the environmental sector.
NanoRem is designed to unlock this potential and so support both the appropriate use of nanotechnology in restoring land and aquifer resources and the development
of the knowledge‐based economy at a world leading level for the benefit of a wide range of users in the EU environmental sector.