Tag Archives: sustainability

Honey, could you please unzip my electronics?

The UK’s National Physical Laboratory has been proceeding with an interesting project on reusable electronics, ReUSE (Reuseable, Unzippable, Sustainable Electronics), according to the Oct. 30, 2012 news item on Nanowerk,

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), along with partners In2Tec Ltd (UK) and Gwent Electronic Materials Ltd, have developed a printed circuit board (PCB) whose components can be easily separated by immersion in hot water. …

The electronics industry has a waste problem – currently over 100 million electronic units are discarded annually in the UK alone, making it one of the fastest growing waste streams.

 

It was estimated in a DTI [Dept. of Trade and Industry]-funded report, that around 85% of all PCB scrap board waste goes to landfill. Around 70% of this being of non-metallic content with little opportunity for recycling. This amounts to around 1 million tonnes in the UK annually equivalent to 81 x HMS Belfasts [ships]

This revolutionary materials technology allows a staggering 90% of the original structure to be re-used. For comparison, less than 2% of traditional PCB material can be re-used. The developed technology lends itself readily to rigid, flexible and 3D structures, which will enable the electronics industry to pursue new design philosophies – with the emphasis on using less materials and improving sustainability.

Here’s a video demonstrating the technology, from the ReUSE project news page,

I had to look at this twice to confirm what I was seeing. (I worked for a company that manufactured circuit boards for its products and the idea of immersing one of those in hot water is pretty shocking to me [pun intended].)

Sustainable nano society?

There’s a new nanotechnology organization according to the June 15, 2012 news item on Nanowerk,

Nanotechnology has a window of opportunity to aid in the sustainability of the planet. A group of scientists and engineers has recognized this remarkable chance to raise up a sustainable industry while helping sustain the environment, economy and society. The Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) promotes research, education, and responsibility to fulfill its mission.

The first meeting, November 4-6, 2012, in Washington DC features plenaries by Nobelist Sir Harry Kroto and National Nanotechnology Initiative founding father, Mihail (Mike) Roco and over 100 individual presentations.

Here’s more about the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization, from the home page,

The Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) is a non-profit, worldwide professional society comprised of individuals and institutions that are engaged in:

  • Research and development of sustainable nanotechnology
  • Implications of nanotechnology for Environment, Health, and Safety
  • Advances in nanoscience, methods, protocols and metrology
  • Education and understanding of sustainable nanotechnology
  • Applications of nanotechnology for sustainability

SNO’s purpose is to provide a professional society forum to advance knowledge in all aspects of sustainable nanotechnology, including both applications and implications.

I find Roco’s involvement in the Nov. 2012 meeting interesting in light of some comments Dexter Johnson made in his June 8, 2 012 posting on Nanoclast (on the IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers]) about Roco’s current campaign to encourage international nanotechnology research cooperation (Note: I have removed links from the excerpt),

Roco was the man behind turning a scattering of papers in condensed matter/solid state physics or chemistry into a national initiative. In doing so, he unwittingly—or not—launched an international nanotechnology arms race, which has seen at least 35 countries jump on to the bandwagon since the NNI was started.

Make no mistake, this “race” is no joke. There are billions of dollars at stake and national reputations seem to be built up on success in crossing the vague finish line before some other country.

So after unleashing this billion-dollar nanotech arms race, Roco now is urging collaboration in nanotech to provide the push the field needs to progress.

Well, yes, of course, and it’s about time somebody said it. It probably couldn’t have come from a better source either.

Dexter provides some good insight into the impact Roco has had on nanotechnology research in the US and internationally and, personally, I find these new developments quite fascinating.

Joint India-Australia nanobiotechnology research centre opens in India

I first wrote about the TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Research Centre (a joint India-Australia partnership) in my Nov. 30, 2010 posting when the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was first signed. According to the Feb. 24, 2012 news item on Nanowerk, the centre has recently opened,

Speaking at the inauguration of the new lab facilities, Hon’ble Louise Asher, MP and Minister for Innovation, Services & Small business, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Australia said, “This outstanding facility is the result of a dynamic partnership between The Energy and Resources Institute of India (TERI) and Victoria’s [Australia] own Deakin University to augment research in the area of Nano Biotechnology, which will enable efficiency, effectiveness and provide solutions for a sustainable future.”

Highlighting the importance of TERI-DEAKIN partnership, Dr RK Pachauri, Director-General, TERI said, “Research at TERI seeks to find solutions to problems related to attaining sustainability and environmental degradation and has made a difference to the lives of many people. The organization’s commitment to these areas is a continuous process, and setting up the TERI-Deakin Nano Biotechnology Research Centre is one of the means through which, TERI plans to create capacity and expertise for technological solutions to problems of inefficient use of natural resources.”

Professor Jane den Hollander, Vice Chancellor, Deakin University said that the centre provided a hub for up to 50 PhD students who are undertaking research under the Deakin India Research Initiative (DIRI).

“What is particularly pleasing about this centre is that it is tackling research into global issues such as food security for a growing world population, sustainable agricultural practices and environmental sustainability,” she said.

The new facility opened in Gual Pahari, Gurgaon, approximately 35 mins. away (by car) from New Delhi, India (according to Feb. 24, 2012 article in the Asian Scientist about the new TERI-Deakin Nanobiotechnology Research Centre).