Opportunities and Challenges to Commercializing Nano-Enabled Technologies

Reference Presenter Authors
Paul Westerhoff Westerhoff, P.(Arizona State University); Kidd, J.(Arizona State University); Maynard, A.(Arizona State University); Zimmerman, J.(Yale University); Lessons learned from stakeholder engagements and two formal surveys will be presented with an eye towards innovation and commercialization of nano-enabled technologies. We engaged several stakeholder groups to understand implementation and regulatory challenges around bring nano-enabled water technology to the marketplace. This involved detailed analysis of three types of products (nano-silver impregnated carbon block, TiO2 photocatalysis, and Pd/In hydrogenation). We investigated six knowledge gaps that influence third-party validation and regulatory concerns. Additionally, we discussed how four commercial companies and two start-ups marketed and found niches based upon utilization of nanomaterials (NMs) in their technology. We recently conducted two formal surveys on the perceptions of i) industry (n=65 respondents) and ii) public (n=1900 respondents) on opportunities and concerns related to use of nanotechnology to purify water. The findings are discussed in regard to specific adoption of nanotechnology in drinking water and also broader adoption and acceptance of emerging technologies that hold promise to improve environmental outcomes. Results from the industry survey of research, marketing and executives show that the major concern for industry are costs and public perceptions of NM-enabled point-of-use (POU) devices for drinking water purification. 49% of respondents stated that governmental regulation of NMs would be the preferred approach to ensure public safety, followed by the certification of POU devices (28%). 57% of industry survey respondents were concerned that public perceptions will influence the long-term viability of nanoenabled POU devices. Respondents believe that NMs with high EHS concern (CNTs, Ag) are least likely to be accepted by the public for used in POU devices, with the exception of TiO2. 90% of public survey respondents had little to no prior knowledge of NMs or their use in numerous consumer products. Respondents were more likely to purchase conventional POU devices than ones containing NMs, but the majority (64%) claimed they would likely or probably change their opinions around using NMs to treat their drinking water if they were given more information. When we incorporated responses regarding previous knowledge of NMs, we found that the less knowledge respondents had of NMs, the more willing they would be to use them to treat their drinking water. 65% of respondents with prior knowledge of NMs were unwilling to drink water treated with NMs. Respondents considered the safety of the device as being most important to them. 30% of respondents stated that they would purchase the POU device with NMs if it worked as effectively as a competitor and was half the price, and 26% of respondents stated that they would purchase the drinking water purification product with NMs if it worked 2x as effectively as a competitor and was half the price.
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