(462e) Application of Screening-Level Life Cycle Assessment to Emerging Nanoproducts: Nanosilver Textiles and CNT Electronics

Meyer, D. E. - Presenter, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Upadhyayula, V. K. K. - Presenter, New Mexico State University

As global concerns for environmental sustainability grow, emerging technologies must be scrutinized early in deployment to insure they represent the most environmentally conscious option.  Screening-level Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) can provide a quick tool to identify the life cycle hot-spots and focus research efforts to help minimize the burdens of a technology while maximizing its benefits.  This talk examines the application of LCA to emerging nanotechnologies using case studies of nanosilver socks and a field emission display device (FED) containing carbon nanotubes (CNTs). The use of nanoscale silver in consumer products has exploded in popularity because of antimicrobial effects, making it the largest nanocomponent in use.  The use of CNTs in nanoproducts is expected to offer numerous environmental benefits such as energy efficiency and the waste reduction. Although these products are considered beneficial to society, some attention must be given to the potential environmental impacts arising throughout the life cycle as production demands escalate.