Thursday, December 17, 2015 - 4:00pm
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Pierce Hall, Rm. 100F, 29 Oxford St., Cambridge

Environmental Sciences & Engineering Lecture

Dr. Matthew J. Eckelman, Northeastern University College of Engineering, will discuss “Life Cycle Modeling of Nanomaterials to Inform Green Synthesis, Product Design, and Public Policy.”

Abstract: Much scientific and policy attention on nanomaterials has focused on their potential releases from products to the environment and their toxicity to ecosystems and human health.  These emissions are highly variable in quantity and physico-chemical characteristics and cannot easily be generalized.  At the same time, nanomaterials are highly energy- and chemicals-intensive to produce, and their synthesis results in indirect environmental and health impacts through non-nano emissions to air, water, and soils.  We apply a combination of experimental testing and modeling to study the relative risks posed by nanomaterials in consumer products, using life cycle assessment (LCA) tools and engineering models of fate, transport, exposure, and effects.  Through studies of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) in a range of end-use applications, we have found, for example, that green synthesis methods can increase rather than decrease environmental impacts; that energy efficiency is the best way to reduce CNT toxicity; and that risks posed by nano-enabled consumer products often have little or nothing to do with their nanomaterial content. Nanomaterials offer tremendous technological advantages and we have used similar techniques to estimate potential energy, environmental, and health benefits of nano-enabled products, so that risks can be evaluated at a policy level. These results underline the importance of taking a life cycle approach in evaluating the risks and benefits of emerging materials and products.

Contact Name: 

Olivera Saric Knezic

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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Environmental Sciences & Engineering Lecture | Harvard University Center for the Environment


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