If nanotechnology is to represent societal as well as technical progress, It will have to contribute to the solution of global problems such as water quality. Providing clean and affordable water to meet human needs is a grand challenge of the 21st century. Worldwide, water supply struggles to keep up with the fast growing demand, which is exacerbated by population growth, global climate change, and water quality deterioration. The need for technological innovation to enable integrated water management cannot be overstated. Nanotechnology holds great potential in advancing water and wastewater treatment to improve treatment efficiency as well as to augment water supply through safe use of unconventional water sources.
Given the importance of clean water to people in developed and developing countries, numerous organizations are considering the potential application of nanoscience to solve technical challenges associated with the removal of water contaminants. Technology developers and others claim that these technologies offer more effective, efficient, durable, and affordable approaches to removing specific types of pollutants from water. A range of water treatment
devices that incorporate nanotechnology are already on the market and others are in advanced stages of development. These nanotechnology applications include:
• Nanofiltration membranes, including desalination technologies;
• Attapulgite clay, zeolite, and polymer filters;
• Magnetic nanoparticles; and
• Nanosensors for the detection of contaminants