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Implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)Agenda: The Role of Nanotechnology


Creativity and innovation to solve sustainable development challenges

Javier Patarroyo

Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), javier.patarroyo@icn2.cat

Oscar Hernando Moriones

Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), oscarhernando.moriones@icn2.cat

Edgar E González

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Faculty of Engineering

nanoCiTec, egonzalez@nanocitec.org

Víctor Puntes

ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.

Vall d’Hebron Institut de Recerca (VHIR), 08035, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

victor.puntes@gmail.com

Ignasi Gispert

Applied Nanoparticles SL

info@appliednanoparticles.eu

The UN General Assembly adopted unanimously on 25 September 2015 the New Sustainable Development Agenda (Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development)known as “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. The SDG Agenda includes 17 global goals at its core and 169 targets, and is a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030. The 17 SDGs are integrated—that is, they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Interestingly, unlike their predecessor (the Millennium Development Goals) the Sustainable Development Goals (SGSs) [1] explicitly call on all of us, including business and scientific communities, to apply their creativity and innovation to solve sustainable development challenges: “52.”We the Peoples” are the celebrated opening words of the UN Charter [2]. It is “We the Peoples” who are embarking today on the road to 2030. Our journey will involve Governments as well as Parliaments, the UN system and other international institutions, local authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society, business and the private sector, the scientific and academic community and all people. Millions have already engaged with, and will own, this Agenda. It is an Agenda of the people, by the people, and for the people– and this, we believe, will ensure its success” [3]. 

From this perspective, it can be said that the urgency in taking action has been universally agreed [4] and it is the responsibility of all citizens, including the scientific and business communities [5]. But, what implies for nanotechnologists to assume their responsibility towards SDG? What implications for our daily work within, around and outside the laboratory as researchers and as innovators?

In can be said that the overarching implication of accepting the (added) responsibility to work towards the implementation of the SDG Agenda is the commitment to incorporate into the design of nanomaterials (and/or the products that incorporate nanomaterials) the values associated with SDG. In this sense, our commitment is to follow the design for values (DfV) principles [6] in our work.

Design for Values (DfV)

Generally speaking, the basic cha-racteristics of the DfV approach states that:

1) If values can be imported to technology and shape the space of actions of human being, then we need to learn to incorporate and express shared values in the things we design;

2) Conscious and explicit thinking about the values that are imported to our inventions is morally significant;

3) Value considerations need to be articulated when choosing research project, and afterwards, early on in the process at the moment of the design and development when they can still make a difference and through the whole life of the project [7].

This statements are clearly opposite and actively confronted to the conceptualization of R&I as value neutral. Taken to an extreme interpretation, conceptualizing R&I as a value neutral endeavor means that moral values of developers, users and society hardly play a role and that the obligation of researchers/innovators is not to interfere their work with personal/social values but to focus on meeting functional requirements formulated by clients and users. From this perspective it is only the market success of the innovation that legitimize it [8]. On the contrary, and from our perspective it has to be understood that R&I is never value neutral in the sense that functional (technical) and non-functional (moral concerns/values) requirements have to be accommodated in to design process, among other reasons because if we ‘abstain from working with values in an explicit and reflective way, we run the risk that commercial forces, routine and bad intentions would freely reign and impose values on technology that were not discussed and reflected upon by relevant parties’  [9].

From this perspective, our position represents a moral/political option voluntarily rooted in Care Ethics [10].

R&I Driven by care and sustainability

Rooted on such backgrounds we strive to develop R&I driven by Care and Sustainability. Care for a new trinity of concepts: ‘Soil’, ‘Soul’, and ‘Society’ [11]. This is, care for what we do, how and why we do it, care for what we explore and why we do it, care for other people, care with your budget, care for social consequences, etc. And Sustainability (in its ‘Economic’, ‘Social’ and ‘Environmental’ dimensions) for your R&I outcomes and as a societal final goal. The implementation of such approach is done by iteratively working all our projects from a set of dimensions [12], namely: courage, rigor, safety and sustainability, inter and transdiciplinarity, critical, creativity and elegance.

The remaining of this article will be focus on a Case Study that exemplify how all those principles are put in practice in one research and innovation project: the use of small doses of designed iron oxide nanoparticles (NPs) that stimulates bacteria metabolism and accelerates the production of biogas in conditions of Anaerobic Digestion. We have called this project “BioGAS+” and it is the result of intensive research that started in 2008. Since then we have travelled the long road from laboratory to market, always driven by the ultimate aspiration of transforming waste into appealing raw materials in an efficient and sustainable way while contributing to key SDG, such as climate change targets, energy and food security, resource efficiency, improved air quality, the development of bio-economy, symbiotic and circular economy.

Nanotechnology, energy and the environment

As previously said, value considerations need to be articulated specially when selecting research projects and future innovation. From this perspective, interestingly, energy harvesting, transformation and storage is a physicochemical phenomenon which fundamental length is few nanometres. Few nanometres is what has to move the excited electron to make carbon bonds, the size of molecules that breaks releasing energy or the crystal domains that accumulates energy. Besides, while in biological systems catalytic processes are accomplished by specific proteins, in artificial photosynthesis inorganic catalysts transform target molecules into useful products [13].   In addition, it has to be underlined that there is a close correlation between energy extraction and use and the environment [14]. In principle, the environment  is the beginning and the end of the energy sources and energy by-products. From this perspective, nanotechnology has a great potential within the realization of SDG.

Following with this reasoning and going one step further, there is the hybridation of nano and microbiology to tune up the environment (nano-microbiology): Microbial species are used to interact with the nanometric inorganic world that surround them. Microbes extract essential elements from their surroundings, from the smallest grains and accidents of natural nano and microparticles [15] as much as microbes synthesize NPs of toxic species to mineralize them and thus detoxify the environment. Inorganic NPs can also act as electrodes and assist biological processes as anaerobic digestion, describe as DIET (Direct Interspecies Electrical Transfer) or they can act as essential element providers to control (promote or inhibit) their growth, as the case of iron to induce microbial proliferation or silver to reduce their proliferation.  The last case is the one that we employ to enhance the production of biogas in anaerobic digesters (BioGAS+).

Methanisation and the carbon cycle

The majority of the energy around us comes directly or indirectly from the sun. The small remaining extra portion comes from heat at the centre of the planet that is slowly cooling, from the gravitational pendulum of the moon and the seas, and from splitting heavy atoms in nuclear reactors. The rest, like the wind, is produced by the sun, which heats air masses that expand and become lighter displacing cooler ones. The wind also moves the waves. And hydroelectric power, is the Sun who pumps up the water. And there is the sun energy stored in chemical bonds by biology. This is why wood burns. And coal is fossilized wood.

Photosynthesis is a very interesting way to store energy. Trees are made of condensed air by converting CO2 into organic molecules and carbon based materials. Only a part of the water and little amounts of essential minerals are taken by the roots and come up to the leaves by capillarity. The roots are also made of air, from the CO2 in the air that is reduced by the sun via the photosynthesis. Thus, when the tree and the trunk are burned, the heat generated is a portion of the energy they took from the sun to build themselves. A portion, because there is always a loss of energy in any transformation, dissipated in form of entropy.

A chemical reduction reaction that begins with CO2 in the atmosphere, accumulates it in the form of hydrocarbons and, progressively, in a multistep manner, evolves towards carbon, petroleum and shale gas. CO2 is taken from the atmosphere, digested, transformed into more complex molecules and oxygen released. Ironically, the end of life in the planet will occur when no more CO2 is available in the air, when all the Carbon has been buried in solid and liquid forms into the rocks and the ocean depths.  “Ironically”, the massive extraction of fossil fuels that is taking place nowadays, is subtly altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere by releasing vast amounts of CO2 that was previously reduced by photosynthesis, thus going back in geochemical time, with very apparent consequences for climate change [16].

All organic matter, the biosphere, in its natural reduced state, is immersed in an atmosphere rich in oxygen, and has stored energy. As such, organic waste, pig manure and excrements also store energy. When something stops living, it decomposes. Being alive prevents us from decaying in a few hours. This decomposition ends up returning humidity in the form of water vapour, degraded organic matter, ultimately in the form of CO2, small parts of other gases, and ashes with nitrates, phosphates and small amounts of other inorganic matter. Interestingly, if this process occurs in conditions where there is a low oxygen concentration, such as the naturally occurring underwater, underground or in man-made closed recipients; the organic matter can degrade into methane, CH4. This is because a fraction of this organic matter, in the form of archaea bacteria, can breathe the oxygen bound in organic molecules and release methane. This molecule can easily be stored and transported for its posterior burning into CO2 and water, releasing thus all the energy contained in its four chemical bonds.

Note that, due to the fact that every molecule of CH4 ends up being oxidized to CO2 and that a molecule of CH4 causes up to 20 times more greenhouse effect than a molecule of CO2, it is the responsibility of everyone, in order to create a cleaner planet with a more stable atmosphere, to prevent CH4 from entering the atmosphere and rather to introduce it into our stoves, vehicles and heaters. When this CH4 comes from CO2 in the atmosphere that was trapped by recent photosynthesis, returning it to the atmosphere will assure the maintenance of a constant concentration of gases in the atmosphere, while combustion of fossil fuels is altering it.

This process of transformation of organic matter into methane, or methanization, is not a spontaneous chemical process [17].  It is produced by consortiums of specialized archaic bacteria. These bacteria were among the first inhabitants of our planet. It is said that in that prehistoric world without any free-oxygen on the atmosphere, life forms incorporated carbon into their organic matter by capturing CO2 through photosynthesis. In the process they released 2 atoms of oxygen that progressively accumulated as a toxic waste in the atmosphere. Oxygen is of course very reactive, and it was very toxic back then. This is why we can still use oxygenated water, H2O2, as a disinfectant. It burns things. And it was this waste from life, from initial metabolism, that caused the first massive extinction 2.400 million years ago in the Precambrian era [18] (once life has been set to be started 3.500 million years ago). Not all Precambrian forms of life disappeared. Some stayed alive in places without a good oxygen supply, at the bottom of wells, between rocks, inside of living things (the concentration of free oxygen inside the body is very low; it’s all transported by haemoglobin), and they produce methane. This is why sewers explode when there is an accidental spark. These bacteria are everywhere, proliferating whenever they have the opportunity to access organic matter in the absence of oxygen – be it excrement, under skin or corpse.  When exposed to oxygen, many of these microbes die while some form spores to wait for more optimal conditions for their biochemical living.

Figure 1. Carbon cycle.

Nanomicrobiology: Iron Oxide nanoparticles to stimulate bacterial proliferation and biogas production

Both anaerobic and aerobic bacteria need iron for their functioning, like animals, plants and fungi. In fact, all life forms base part of their metabolism on the oxidative reduction of iron ions between valence states +2 and +3. In physiological conditions, iron can easily afford to donate or take an electron. Taking and giving away electrons is the essence of (bio) chemistry. Normally, bacteria does not store iron, as mammals do with ferritin, therefore, they need to take it from the environment.  In the environment, there is a great abundance of iron in its inorganic form. The planet’s core is made of iron and it is the fourth most abundant element in the crust. But it takes an important biochemical effort to transform the iron found in rocks into biologically available, like in blood. For us, eating screws or red soil will never cure anaemia, but microbes can do it, even if they also prefer to take iron already inserted in the biological units. Thus, when bacteria infect an organism, the largest and most immediate genetic expression alteration they experiment has to do with the finding, trapping and use of iron for their proliferation. And it is for this reason that when bacteria are detected by the immune system, one of the first defence actions of the host is to remove iron and sugar available in blood  [19].

Interestingly, in this context, in conditions of anaerobic breakdown, in the absence of oxygen, small doses of mixed iron oxide NPs serve as a catalyst that stimulates bacteria metabolism and accelerates the production of biogas (a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen, mainly CO2 and CH4). This is based on the effects of the presence of essential trace elements in the methanogenesis process, and the optimized dosing when using small unstable NPs that corrode and dissolve as ions provider. Thus, the process that converts organic waste into raw matter for energy production is optimized by simply adding a small dose of iron oxide NPs either to a large waste treatment reactor, a septic tank or a homemade biodigester.

In fact, the use of small doses of save and sustainable iron oxide NPs to stimulates bacteria metabolism is a core development in what we consider a fairly untouched field of nanomicrobiology. Until now, the focus has been on the toxicity of engineered nanoparticles on microorganisms  [20] and the antibacterial properties on NPs [21], even nanobiomimicry [22] but the study of beneficial microbes  [23] and how designed nanomaterials can enhance their natural function in a save and sustainable way is a new approach that deserve attention and that can be a game changer to the implementation of SDG.

BioGAS+ : The iron oxide nanoparticles aditive

Once reached the conclusion that addition of Fe ions to an anaerobic bacterial reactor can increase methane production, we started our journey from laboratory to market and, finally, released BioGAS+. The ambition of BioGAS+ is to help solving the current underperformance of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Plants by introducing the first additive based on iron oxide NPs for outstanding energy production enhancement and/or preventing bacterial disaster in biogas digesters [24]. BioGAS+ goes far beyond the state-of-the-art and contribute to the implementation of SDG. The aspiration is to transform waste into appealing raw materials in an efficient and sustainable way so that biogas production is converted in a profitable market capable of competing and surpassing fossil fuels based economy effectively [25].

Figure 2. Fe3O4 nanoparticles during anaerobic digestion.

Based on our previous experience in the fields of nanosafety & nanosustainability [26] we have developed BioGAS+ under the principles of “safety by design” [27] , “green chemistry” [28] and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)  [29]. Regarding safety, we follow broader Nanosafety Guidance and Frameworks published by some European institutions focused on nanosafety, as NanoRiskCatA Conceptual Decision Support Tool for Nanomaterials (from the Environmental Protection Agency of the Danish Ministry of the Environment) [30] , and Working Safely with Nanomaterials in Research & Development (developed by The UK NanoSafety Partnership Group and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of the UK Government) [31].

Regarding Sustainability, we are committed to work in the greenest and most environmentally friendly conditions possible, by following the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry developed by Paul Anastas and John Warner in 1998; a list of requirements that an ideal “green” or environmentally friendly chemical, process or product would follow or accomplish [32].

For this reasons, we are confident that the production process of BioGAS+, based on magnetite (Fe3O4) NPs follows all of the aforementioned principles: starting with the low inherent hazard of the product itself. There is plenty of literature about the innocuous or very low toxic nature of magnetite nanoparticles [33],  iron being a life-essential oligoelement, and iron oxides, even in the nanometric form, are natural abundant materials [34].  Our raw materials cannot be considered scarce or non-renewable feedstock. Moreover, in our production process the NPs are synthesized in situ in aqueous media at room temperature and are always processed as a colloid, never as a dry powder, thus avoiding airborne exposure. Being carried out at room temperature, the production process has a very low energetic demand (except for the generation of the required stirring power). The washing waters of the NPs production are recovered and directly used as base for further synthesis. Regarding the application, the size and dose of the NPs are purposely designed to completely dissolve during the tens of days of the different anaerobic digestion retention times. During the research phase, we work under a zero NPs emission principles, this is the destruction of the nanometric nature of the waste, this is by either dissolving the NPs (normally under acid conditions) into molecular species, or increasing their concentration and force their irreversible aggregation, including sintering at low temperatures. This transforms nanowaste into well known “macro” waste substances that are recycled following the established procedures.

Figure 3. Magnetite (Fe3O4) nanoparticles.

BioGAS+ iron oxide nanoparticles additive for biogas output optimization in Colombia (BIP-CO)

Colombia, signatory of the SDG Agenda, is building a comprehensive regulatory framework to combat climate change, favor renewable sources of energy and implement sustainable waste management policies with a sustainable and circular economy vision. Within this framework, biogas (a renewable energy sources produced during anaerobic digestion of organic substrates) is repeatedly highlighted as offering a set of multipurpose advantages: converts organic waste in raw materials, capture methane emissions, can be stored and supplied on demand, can be converted in heat, gas and/or electricity and is a decentralized energy source.

In addition, Colombia has identified several of those advantages as strategic:

– Within waste management policies, as a proper way of dealing with organic waste while capturing methane emissions (also helping to reach Climate Change emission targets);

– Favoring substitution of Natural Gas (NG) vehicle fleet to Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) in a country where 25% of vehicle fleet uses NG;

– Increase local farmers’ living standards, especially in the ZNI (Zonas No Interconectadas – off grid areas).

But Colombia cannot take full advantage of all this strategic possibilities due to the difficult optimization of the complex processes occurring inside anaerobic digesters and, as a consequence, the low conversion rates of organic waste to energy. Existing technologies and products approaching these problems only obtain modest production increases or/and require costly structural changes in the biogas process. As we have seen early on, to radically reverse this situation, BIOGAS+ additive offers a disruptive nanotechnology-based innovation.

Because we believe that BIOGAS+ can transform biogas energy in a competitive renewable energy source that bring its full potential in helping to comply with Colombian Sustainable Development Goals objectives, we have started a project to launch BIOGAS+ in the Colombian biogas market through the co-creation of a local value chain.

We propose to develop BIOGAS+ value chain by transferring our know-how on the production of BIOGAS+ nanoparticles and integrating the collaboration and active participation of Colombian nanotechnology and biogas stakeholders for setting up a set of Case Studies.

The introduction of nanotechnology in the biogas sector in Colombia requires a clear strategy in order to give confidence to final costumers and users. Applied Nanoparticles SL and Nanocitec will design and develop a strategy based on Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) that implies transparency, communication and dialogue and a product development that follows the safer and sustainable by design paradigm while implementing this technology.

The active participation of biogas stakeholders will be canalized by the co-creation and development of three Case Studies. Although any Biogas Plant is a potential end user of BIOGAS+ (regardless of size, feedstock or technology used) we have requested the collaboration of those biogas experts, associations and users, that share our vision of the role of biogas as a renewable energy source. We have chosen to focus in biogas plants using waste as feedstock (poultry, pig, bovine, agricultural and organic urban solid waste) and in those areas where biogas helps to the internalization of social, energy and environmental externalities (energy supply in the ZNI Off-grid area and biogas plants producing Renewable Natural Gas as substitution to Natural Gas Vehicle fleet).

This positioning is underpinned by all our commitment expressed in this article and our believe that it is possible to work for the common good while making profitable business (making money doing good) within the knowledge that sobriety and minimal resources employment needs to becomes a common practice for the future homo sustainable.

FUNDING

The authors acknowledge support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programe under grant agreement nº822273 and Innowwide grant agreement 2019-1470 BIP-CO. This document reflects only the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Notes & References

[1] Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E. The Resolution was signed by 193 Countries

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/sep/25/global-goals-summit-dignitaries-convene-for-a-day-to-define-the-world.

https://www.businessroundtable.org/business-roundtable-redefines-the-purpose-of-a-corporation-to-promote-an-economy-that-serves-all-americans

[2] https://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/preamble/

[3] https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

[4] See for all, the conclusions drawn on the last Report from the IPCC published on 2018

https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/chapter/spm/

[5] The Scientific community has clearly advocated for action as it can be seen (for all ad as the most recent example) the Declaration signed by more than 11,000 scientist from around the world, clearly and unequiv-ocally stating that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.

https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/biz088/5610806

William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R Moomaw Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency BioScience, biz088,

https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz088 Published: 05 November 2019

But also a global shift within the business community is on its way, as can be exemplified by the The Business Roundtable (BRT) (a non-profit association based in Washington, D.C. whose members are chief executive officers of major U.S. companies) that in August 2019 redefined modern standards for corporate responsibility that includes the protection of the environment by embracing sustainable practices

https://www.businessroundtable.org/business-roundtable-redefines-the-purpose-of-a-corporation-to-promote-an-economy-that-serves-all-americans

[6] DfV is the process of functional decomposition by which the full range of relevant values (economic, ecologic and social) informs design choices following a conscious and reflexive procedure. From this perspective, DfV is a proactive approach regarding the incorporation of values in design (by analyzing the values and operationalize them into the design, ethical issues can be addressed in the design phase). J. Timmermans, Y. Zhao, J. van den Hoven, Ethics and Nano-pharmacy: Value Sensitive Design of New Drugs. Nanoethics (2011) 5: 269 – 283.

DfV approach holds that the variety of stakeholders’ values might be taken as a point of departure for the re-design of technological systems is such a way that divergent values can be accommodated. The scope of DfV extend not only to technology, but it has to be considered that values are also embedded in the institutional context and in the process of interaction between stakeholders. Hence, the prevention of controversies over conflicting values may also be pursued by redesigning the institutional context. A. Correljé, E. Cuppe., M. Dignum, U. Pesch, B. Taebi. Responsible Innovation in Energy Projects: Values in the Design of Technologies, Institutions and stakeholder Interactions. In Responsible Innovation 2. Concepts, Approached, and Applications. Bert-Jaap, Ilse Oosterlaken, Henny Romijn, Tsjalling Swierstra, Jeron van den Hoven Editors. Springer. 2015. 183 – 200.

[7] J. van den Haven, P. E. Vermaas, I van de Poel, Design for Values: An Introduction. J. van den Haven et al (eds.). Springer Science & Business Media. Dordrecht. 2015. 1 – 11.

[8] R. Von Schomberg A vision of responsible innovation (2013). In: R. Owen, M. Heintz and J Bessant (eds.) Responsible Innovation. Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society. Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 51 – 74.

http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1119966361.html

[9] J. van den Hoven, Value Sensitive Design and Responsible Innovation. In: R. Owen, M. Heintz and J Bessant (eds.) Responsible Innovation. Managing the Responsible Emergence of Science and Innovation in Society. Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 75 – 83.

http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1119966361.html

[10] “On the most general level, we suggest that caring be viewed as a species activity that includes everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes our bodies, ourselves, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life-sustaining web.” Fisher, Bernice, and Joan C. Tronto. “Toward a Feminist Theory of Care.” In Circles of Care: Work and Identity in Women’s Lives, edited by Emily K. Abel and Margaret K. Nelson. State University of New York Press, 1990. We are specially appealed by care ethics because Indigenous ethics and feminist care ethics offer a range of related ideas and tools for environmental ethics. These ethics delve into deep connections and moral commitments between nonhumans and humans to guide ethical forms of environmental decision making and environmental science. See Kyle Powys Whyte and Chris Cuomo. Ethics of Caring in Environmental Ethics: Indigenous and Feminist Philosophies. The oxford handbook of Environmental Ethics. Edited by Stephen M. Gardiner & Allen Thompson. Oxford University Press 2017. Chapter 20. 234 – 247.

[11] Kumar, Satish. Soil, soul, society: A new trinity for our time. Lewes: Leaping Hare Press, 2013.b This approach is very close to what is stated in the first sentence of the Preamble of the SDG Agenda: “This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity”.

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld.

[12] The election of such dimensions and no others is, up to some point arbitrary, but covers the whole set of aspects when our focus starts in the laboratory floor. The selected dimensions derive from Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and Sustainability Studies literature, specifically from those proposing tools for implementation.

[13] Barber, J. & Tran, P. D. From natural to artificial photosynthesis. J. Royal Soc. Interface 10, (2013).

[14] Indeed, nanoparticles have interesting properties and attributes to disperse, trap and react with pollutants that make them suitable to address the precise removal of undesirable substances from the different environmental matrices. A clear example is the use of magnetite to remove toxic As from water. C.T. Yavuz, J.T. Mayo, W.W. Yu, A. Prakash, J.C. Falkner, S. Yean, L.L. Cong, H.J. Shipley, A. Kan, M. Tomson, D. Natelson, V.L. Colvin. Science (Washington, DC), 314 (2006), p. 964.

[15] In geochemistry, a nanoparticle is an unstable intermediate between the molecular species and the microparticles, much more stable in our surrounding nature.

[16] At the beginning, when the Earth was very young, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 98%. Now it is only 0.03%. Of course the temperature before was 240-340 ºC on the surface of the planet while it is 13ºC now. Similarly, the concentration of free oxygen was almost non-existent and today it is at 21%.

[17] A steak lost in space will be around forever. Putrefaction is not a physicochemical degradation like the one that molded cliffs and valleys, but rather a biological process.

[18] Apparently, we needed four more to get ready to produce the sixth.

[19] This is a classic example of burning a city and its reserves before it falls in the hands of the enemy. The infected person is thus weakened so as not to provide nutrients to the bacteria that have invaded the organism. Ironically, many years ago, someone thought it was a good idea to combat the symptoms of an infection, like apathy, tiredness and anemia with iron supplements, which exacerbated the virulence of the infection at once.

[20] Melissa A. Maurer-Jones, Ian L. Gunsolus, Catherine J. Murphy, and Christy L. Haynes, Toxicity of Engineered Nanoparticles in the Environment. Anal Chem. 2013 Mar 19; 85(6): 3036–3049.

[21] Mohammad J.Hajipour, Katharina M.Fromm, Ali Akbar Ashkarran, Dorleta Jimenez de Aberasturi, Idoia Ruiz de Larramendi, Teofilo Rojo, Vahid Serpooshan, Wolfgang J.Parak, Morteza Mahmoudi, Antibacterial properties of nanoparticles, Trends in Biotechnology, Volume 31, Issue 1, January 2013, Pages 61-62

[22] Biomimetics, also known as bionics, biognosis, or biomimicry, is the use and implementation of concepts and principles from nature to creating new materials, devices and systems.  All biological systems have their most basic properties and functions defined at the nanoscale from their first level of organization. The overall aim of nanotechnology in biological systems then is to hierarchically assemble molecules into objects and vice versa, using bonds that require low energy consumption. Nanotechnology provides tools and platforms for the investigation and transformation of biological systems, and biology serves as the source of inspiration for creating new devices and systems integrated from the nanoscale

https://web.stanford.edu/group/mota/education/Physics%2087N%20Final%20Projects/Group%20Gamma/index.htm

[23] https://www.wageningenacademic.com/loi/bm

[24] E Casals, R Barrena, A García, E González, L Delgado, M Busquets‐Fité et al. Programmed iron oxide nanoparticles disintegration in anaerobic digesters boosts biogas production. Small 10, 2801-2808, 2014.

http://www.bionanoenergy.org/index.php/bip-co/

[25] Nowadays the critical advantages of anaerobic digestion are countered by unsustainable approaches to the biogas production and the dependence on fluctuating subsidies. Applied Nanoparticles product, the trace element supplementation BioGAS+, can triple the biogas yield, increase the range of profitable feedstock and rescue digesters under undesirable inhibition processes. This unprecedented performance is an economical boost that changes the current uncertain biogas market situation, fostering a sustainable and profitable biogas production.

[26] https://www.biogasplus.info/2017/01/25/potential-nanoparticles-toxicity/

[27] Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg, Angela Kallhoff, Iris Eisenberger, Making Nanomaterials Safer by Design?, Nanoethics (2017) 11:277–281

[28] Haohong Duan, Dingsheng Wang and Yadong Li, Green chemistry for nanoparticle synthesis, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2015, 44, 5778

[29] Roland Hischier, TobiasWalser, Life cycle assessment of engineered nanomaterials: State of the art and strategies to overcome existing gaps, Science of the Total Environment 425 (2012) 271–282

[30] NanoRiskCat A Conceptual Decision Support Tool for Nanomaterials (from the Environmental Protection Agency of the Danish Ministry of the Environment). We follow it as our benchmark framework on Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials. It provides clear and detailed guidance on mapping and assessing risk that yields into a  simple and visual final report for each given nanomaterial based on five-colour coded dots; three of them covering areas on exposure potential (for professional end-users, for consumers and for the environment), and the remaining two covering hazard evaluation (for humans and for the environment). We chose it for the simplicity of the approach and the visual clarity of the final report obtained as output. We are confident that we can apply it to our BioGAS+ product, as most of the required input data is already available, and we will obtain the missing one from an EU H2020 Project in which our product is one of the chosen case studies.

[31] Working Safely with Nanomaterials in Research & Development (developed by The UK NanoSafety Partnership Group and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) within the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) of the UK Government). This is very general on dealing with all sorts of nanomaterials in a safe way, and we consider that some amendments should be made to include more nanoparticles focused to completely suit our circumstances, but we follow it for its concise and useful guidance on some areas, especially on Engineered Exposure Control Measures, Personal Protection Equipment, Disposal of Nanomaterials and Labelling and Signs.

[32] Anastas, P. T.; Warner, J. C. Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice, Oxford University Press: New York, 1998, p.30. These 12 principles are as follows: 1. Prevention; 2. Atom (matter) Economy; 3. Less Hazardous Chemical Syntheses; 4.Designing Safer Chemicals; 5. Safer Solvents and Auxiliaries; 6.Design for Energy Efficiency; 7. Use of Renewable Feedstocks; 8. Reduce Derivatives; 9. Catalysis; 10. Design for Degradation; 11. Real-time analysis for Pollution Prevention; 12. Inherently Safer Chemistry for Accident Prevention. List and description taken from: http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/greenchemistry/what-is-green-chemistry/principles/12-principles-of-green-chemistry.html

[33] J S Weinstein et al. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2010 Jan; 30(1): 15–35. ii) N. Singh et al. Nano

Reviews Vol 1 (2010) incl Supplements iii) B. Ankamwar et al. Nanotechnology. 2010 Feb 19;21(7):75102  iv) M. Mahmoudi et al. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2010 Jan 1;75(1):300-9 v) A. Sanchez , S. Recillas, et al. (2011). TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry 30(3): 507-516

[34]http://www.lulu.com/shop/v%C3%ADctor-puntes-and-josep-salda%C3%B1a-cavall%C3%A9/nanoparticles-before-nanotechnology/ebook/product-20635604.html

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