As all sectors of industry look to change their ways in order to increase environmental awareness and become eco-friendly, the nanotechnology sector believe their inherent ways of doing things are creating a green industry from the ground up. Nanotechnology allows for more efficient production cycles, more effective elimination of hazardous wastes and the abolition of many solvents or environmentally damage stages in the production process.
The semiconductor industry is an area that shows great promise for 'greening' through the use of nanotechnologies. Until now microchips and the like are manufactured by taking a piece of base material and removing unwanted material by mechanical or chemical means to produce the desired product. Nanotechnologies will allow the item to be built up molecule-by-molecule, eliminating waste material and the use of hazardous etching chemicals.
Using nanoscale coatings, where they are more suitable, can eliminate thick, inefficient polymer coatings on materials. Nanotechnologies can be used to break down hazardous materials at room temperature where high temperature furnaces must currently be employed.
Nanotechnologies are also being used to develop more efficient solar and other energy generation products. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is working with the Oregon State University on several MicroElectro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) including a thin thermoelectric generator (TEG) and micro scale heat pumps and combustion systems.