Owing to their small particle size, nanoparticles (NPs) may exhibit unique properties, which in turn may allow utilisation of nanoparticles in novel applications. Nanoremediation has a potential niche in remediation projects where excavation is not possible and an in situ, process based remediation technique is required.
Nanoremediation may offer notable advantages in some remediation applications for example their relative speed of action and potential applicability to source term problems. These benefits are site specific and niche rather than representing some kind of over-arching step change in remediation capabilities, although this over-arching potential may remain a possibility, for example treatment of recalcitrant problem compounds such as fuel oxygenates.
Based on NanoRem’s work the main selling points for nanoremediation are:
• Increasing regulatory confidence, facilitated in large part by NanoRem
• Broad source and pathway management applications
• Rapid effectiveness compared with in situ biological remediation (ISBR) and conventional approaches to in situ chemical reduction (ISCR)
• Resilient to conditions inhibitory to ISBR and can facilitate ISBR / Synergistic with ISBR and ISCR
• Portable and more rapidly deployed compared to options like pump and treat
• Reduced risk of taint of sensitive aquifers (e.g. compared with injection of organic substrates for ISBR)
• Ecological and aquifer impacts now relatively well understood compared to ISCR and ISBR
• Rapid initiation of treatment by nZVI can also support faster initiation of ISBR.
A detailed treatment of the risks and benefits of nanoremediation use and its exploitation are provided in the NanoRem ToolBox (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/project-deliverables.aspx); along with guidance on its appropriate use (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/bulletin-shelf.aspx#TB1) and detailed applications guidance (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/nanoparticles_and_tools.aspx#TB1).