How Does Nanotechnology Combat Global Warming and Climate Change

How Does Nanotechnology Combat Global Warming and Climate Change

Nanotechnology involves the usage of nanoparticles that are so small that it is impossible for someone to see them with a naked eye yet they hold such powerful characteristics that now they are being used in almost every field of work for beneficial purposes.

Nanotechnology is widely being used in maintaining climatic changes and controlling global warming. It has proved to be an effective and very beneficial tool for the protection and maintenance of the environment and to fulfill the purpose of keeping the environment pollutant free. It is indeed proving to be a healthy weapon for the whole of mankind.


The production of materials and particles at nanoscale dimensions is a concern of nanotechnology. The materials that are being produced are known as nanomaterials and the particles being produced are known as nanoparticles, respectively. Exotic and rarely unique characteristics are exhibited by them which the traditional bulk materials don't possess. The processes or systems offering services and/or goods that are attained at the level of nanometer from the matter are defined as nanotechnology, for instance, from sizes of one-billionth of a meter.

At the molecular level, the principle of structure manipulation is known as Nanotechnology. It has the capability of building molecular systems having a precision of atom-by-atom, using different nanomachines. Nanoscience is known as the study of principles of such structures and molecules that contains 1 dimension between 1-100 nanometers at least, such structures are the nanostructures. These nanostructures being used in beneficial nanoscale devices are known as nanotechnology. For dealing with nanomaterials, science and its classic laws are not enough. A high surface-to-mass ratio, large surface area, and high aspect ratio are contained by the nanomaterials. Nanomaterial's remarkable characteristics majorly influence the chemical, electrical, physical, and mechanical properties.

Single Metal Oxide Nanoparticles

Benefits of Nanotechnology in dealing with Global Warming and Climate Change

There are three layers comprising nanoparticles: the core, the shell layer, and the surface layer. Different molecules, for instance, polymers, surfactants, and metal ions are usually contained by the surface layer. At times, even a single material is contained by the nanoparticles and at times it contains a combination of various materials.

The electromagnetic and chemical properties determine whether nanoparticles exist as dispersed aerosols, colloids, or suspensions. The size of the nanoparticles determines their properties. Smaller than 50 nm, copper nanoparticles are super hard materials that do not display bulk copper's characteristics of ductility or malleability. Super paramagnetism, quantum confinement, and surface plasmon resonance are dependent on the nanoparticle’s size. Magnetic materials display superparamagnetism, semiconductor Q-particles display quantum confinement, and metal particles display surface plasmon resonance. According to research, the solar radiation’s absorption in the photovoltaic cells in nanoparticles is higher as compared to the thin films of bulk material’s continuous sheets because of the smaller size of nanoparticles and capability of absorbing solar radiation in a greater amount

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Global warming and nanotechnology

The most significant concern to the environment, currently, is global warming and it is probably going to stay a concern for a long time. Carbon-associated gas emission that is made by man, usually causes Global warming, those are also referred to as greenhouse gases, leading to vast climate concern/change.

Fossil fuel combustion is the carbon emissions major source, fossil fuels are oil, coal, and gas in automobiles, power plants, industrial facilities, other transportation vehicles, and other artificial and natural sources. Nanotechnology is believed for lessening the requirement of fossil fuels, therefore being a positive impact when it comes to global warming.

Almost zero emissions are caused by applications of renewable energies (solar and hydrogen fuel cells) Nanotechnology and its products are primarily involved in renewable energy applications. Global warming can be stopped by increasing the efficiency and usage of renewable energy and lessening the fuel consumption alongside. This is one way to finally stop and slow down global warming. Global warming is negatively impacted by the process of manufacturing nanomaterials and nanodevices.

The average temperature of the Earth’s surface is rapidly increasing with global warming. Since 1880, 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit) is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s surface. The global warming rate is increasing. In 400 years, the last two decades of the twentieth century were the hottest. The greenhouse gas emissions will keep on increasing and so will the average temperature of Earth’s surface, which may increase to 2°C and 6°C by the 21st-century end. Global warming’s influence is way greater than just an increase in the earth’s surface temperature. Other global warming impacts are secondary and primary pollutants, coastal erosion, melting glaciers, and various infectious diseases. Being small in impact, these natural causes are still in play.

Nanotechnology reduces global warming

The most significant factor and the greatest concern to the environment in global warming is our fossil fuel addiction. Recently, industries and mobiles caused a huge increase in greenhouse gases like CO2. According to the NOAA, in the atmosphere, CO2 levels since the time of the industrial revolution are 40% higher and now are 387 parts per million (ppm). The combustion of fossil fuels is the carbon dioxide emissions biggest source in the atmosphere, for instance, coal, gas, and oil.

The ozone layer, health, and the environment are damaged by greenhouse gases, the damage is irreparable. All countries should give urgent attention to global warming as it is an international issue now. This issue can be addressed in different ways.

  1. Improve the efficiency of the current technologies, and lessen energy consumption.
  2. Stop fossil fuels' luxurious usage in industries and automobiles, and renewable energy resources should be used.
  3. Be tangled in the management of carbon, involving converting and separating carbon into beneficial products.

Also, a great role is being played by nanotechnology in improving the efficiency of current technology. Green nanotechnology's latest concept has a way to lessen potential health and environmental hazards through the development of new clean technologies with the help of nanoproducts and nanomanufacturing. Also, there is a need to design and develop new nano products and replace the old ones with the new nano products which are environment- and human-friendly.

Mainly, two main aims are possessed by green nanotechnology: making such nanomaterials that end the environmental problems, and the other is to make engineered nanomaterials with no side-effect to human health or the environment. The principles of green engineering and green chemistry are used in this concept for producing non-toxic nanomaterials by using renewable resources, and less energy. During the production, one should keep in mind the product’s or material’s lifecycle thinking. The major aim of green nanotechnology is to make the process of nanomanufacturing more friendly to the environment.

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Nanotechnology and Climate change

According to researchers, CO2-negative and CO2-neutral technologies bring hope as they can cause vast economic advantages but the right political and social support is needed for those kinds of innovations. To help in dealing with the changes in the climate, Nanotechnology can be used in the following ways.

1. Stop subsidizing technologies like biodiesel, bioethanol, or biogas

Still driven by CO2 growth operations, their effect is very debatable. It's supposed to be a positive effect, but the non-subsidized innovations were left to compete with other technologies. The other technologies were highly competitive due to the massive support they had.

2. Invest in disruptive technologies

Currently, disruptive technologies are gaining less support than their requirement. A new culture of entrepreneurship and investment is needed for driving these disruptive changes. These changes in dispersion should be seen as a massive opportunity by those countries which are not currently doing great under the current system as the technologies and industries based on CO2 dominates it. It's a question to them of their social attitudes, and whether they want to accept risks or not. New disruptive technologies should be found by the government too in the research centers. In Europe, scientists are told by the policy-makers and industry to think inside the box.

3. Prioritise cheap energy storage

Sustainable energy (water, solar, and wind) broadly spread penetration directs toward the requirement of affordable energy storage. The energy storage in comparison to current technologies in the medium term should be at least 10 times cheaper (current storage is €200/kWh). The disruptive technology that's needed can be this cheap technology if it allows electrical energy's reversible storage in the shape of chemical bonds (fuels). Bottlenecks can be unblocked by nanotechnology in the conversion of power to fuel cells and gas, and solar energy to fuel.

4. Promote biomass-based technologies

Agriculture’s waste products are converted into non-combustible materials (buildings and pavements) by biomass-based technologies, by definition they are CO2 negative and can cure the broad problem of CO2 (carbon is six times more bound by the planet Earth than all humankind's current carbon footprint; CO2 release can be addressed by the waste streams alone). Atmospheric CO2 might even get less due to such methods. Carbon materials can be used in a vast amount for the improvement of soil and could help in fertilizing anthropogenic badlands. While helping in economic and nutritional growth, it would be an elegant method to tackle CO2. These CO2-negative technologies are required to keep global warming at a limit of 2°C if the emissions of carbon dioxide are not reduced to the needed level rapidly.

5. Develop oxy-fuels

Cheap water electrolysis from solar electricity or Nano science-based cheap artificial photosynthesis contains oxygen which can support the technology of oxy-fuel. The produced oxygen doesn't need much purification and solar hydrogen may combine with it to make the base of CO2-neutral liquid transportation fuels. Nanocatalyst will majorly determine this as it is a good method of converting low-value carbon sources into fuels and chemicals of high value through the usage of the sun's energy and using carbon as a (CO2-neutral) carrier. The only barrier now is that stakeholders want to sell older and different technology.


Global warming and climate change have very adverse and harmful effects on the environment and in conclusion harmful to humans themselves. To overcome adversity, scientists have found the nanotechnological approach to overcoming this cause and so far it is being proved beneficial. Nanotechnology is affordable and reliable in the source of a better and healthier environment. 

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16th May 2022 Hannah Rose

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