This Environmental briefing produced by Spinverse Oy and Empa outlines the social and economical relevance of nano-enabled photocatalysis, provides background information on the technology, and highlights further challenges to be addressed. The summary was produced for the ObservatoryNANO project, which is funded under FP7. The challenges in treating waste- and drinking water are dependent on the origin of the water. Problematic substances in wastewater can include organic matter and/or different trace contaminants. Industrial wastewater may additionally contain heavy loads of metals or organic compounds. In drinking water production microbe contamination needs to be addressed especially in developing countries, but also for remote locations without access to a centralized drinking water supply.
Global demand for water treatment products reached $44.6 billion in 2008 and it is predicted, by Freedonia Group Inc., to increase annually by 5.7% reaching $59 billion by 2013. The worldwide turnover of nanotechnological applications in water and wastewater treatment reached $1.6 billion in 2007 and was predicted to increase to $6.6 billion in 2015. In 2015 the leading countries in water treatment with nanotechnological methods are proposed to be the USA, Germany, Japan, and China. Disinfection is one of the fastest growing market segments with broad applications and benefits; photocatalysis with nano-catalysts is a promising method for disinfection.
The ObservatoryNANO project is funded under FP7 for four years from April 1st 2008 and includes 16 partners from 10 European States. Its primary aim is to support European decision-makers with information and analysis on developments in nanoscience and nanotechnology (N&N). The final goal of the observatoryNANO project is to establish a permanent European Observatory on Nanotechnologies, to provide ongoing, independent support to decision-makers.