Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact UsRisk Management Sustainable Technology


Introduction | Environmental Issue or Problem | Research Approach |
Clients and Collaborators | Selected Publications | Contact


Nanotechnology research by green chemistry and life cycle perspective researchers includes the synthesis and use of nanoparticles in environmentally benign processes, and a life cycle assessment of nanoparticles.

Environmental Issue or Problem

Assessing nanotechnologies such as nanocomponents, nanoproducts, and nanoprocesses with life cycle assessment provides an opportunity to be proactive in preventing or minimizing adverse potential effects on human health and the environment over the entire life cycles of the nanotechnologies. Applying green chemistry principles to craft more environmentally benign synthetic methods that involve nanomaterials provides chemists with ways to prevent or minimize negative impacts on human health and the environment.

Research Approach

Life cycle assessment researchers will assemble a complete life cycle inventory for specified nanoproducts with nanoscale silver and carbon nanotube components. The inventory will be expanded to enable full cradle-to-grave assessments with quantification of benefits in the use phase of the life cycle.

Using green chemistry principles, EPA chemists and their collaborators are synthesizing nanoparticles using more environmentally benign starting materials and solvents. They are using magnetic nanocatalysts that are easily recycled, making other reactions greener. Their innovations have been used in environmental remediation technologies.

Clients and Collaborators

The completion of a life cycle inventory for nanoparticles is part of a larger effort by a transdisciplinary group of EPA toxicologists, environmental engineers, chemists, chemical engineers, and life cycle assessment practitioners. The team will construct impact assessment models for integrating life cycle analysis into the risk management of emerging materials, such as nanoproducts.

Green remediation technologies developed by EPA researchers are being commercialized in collaboration with VeruTEK.

Additional Collaborators

Air Force Research Laboratory

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (India)

University of Cincinnati

University of Montpellier (France)

Selected Publications

Upadhyayula, V.K., D.E. Meyer, M.A. Curran, and M.A. Gonzalez. (Accepted 2011). “Life Cycle Assessment as a Tool to Enhance the Environmental Performance of Carbon Nanotube Products: A Review.” Journal of Cleaner Production, DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2011.12.018.

Ahammed, S., A. Saha, and B.Ranu. (2011). "Hydrogenation of Azides Over Copper Nanoparticle Surface Using Ammonium Formate in Water." J. Org. Chem., 76: 7235–7239.

Guidance to Facilitate Decisions for Sustainable Nanotechnology (PDF) (75 pp, 1.08 MB) (EPA/600/R-11/107) September 2011

Nadagouda, M.N., T.F. Speth, and R.S. Varma. (2011). "Microwave-Assisted Green Synthesis of Silver Nanostructures." Accounts of Chemical Research, 44, 7: 469–478.

Smuleac, V., R.S. Varma, B. Baruwati, S. Sikdar, and D. Bhattacharyya. (2011). "Nanostructured Membranes for Enzyme Catalysis and Green Synthesis of Nanoparticles." ChemSusChem, 4, 12: 1773–1777.

Virkutyte, J. and R. S. Varma. (2011). "Green Synthesis of Metal Nanoparticles: Biodegradable Polymers and Enzymes in Stabilization and Surface Functionalization." Chemical Science, 2, 5: 837–846.

Meyer, D.E., M.A. Curran, and M.A. Gonzalez. (2010). "An Examination of Silver Nanoparticles in Socks Using Screening-Level Life Cycle Assessment." Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 13, 1: 147–156.

Polshettiwar, V. and R.S. Varma. (2010). "Nano-Organocatalyst: Magnetically Retrievable Ferrite-Anchored Glutathione for Microwave-Assisted Paal-Knorr Reaction, Aza-Michael Addition and Pyrazole Synthesis." Tetrahedron, 66, 5: 1091–1097.

Varma, R.S. (2010). "Fabrication and Visible-Light Photocatalytic Activity of Novel Ag/TiO2-xNx Nanocatalyst." New Journal of Chemistry, 34, 6: 1094–1096.


Rajender Varma
Nanotechnology: Green Chemistry

David E. Meyer
Nanotechnology: Life Cycle Perspective

Risk Management Research: Air & Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Research | Technology Research: Sustainable Technology | Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV) | Technology Assessments

Jump to main content.