Important challenges in the global water situation, mainly resulting from worldwide population growth and climate change, require novel innovative water technologies in order to ensure a supply of drinking water and reduce global water pollution. Against this background, the adaptation of highly advanced nanotechnology to traditional process engineering offers new opportunities in technological developments for advanced water and wastewater technology processes. Here, an overview of recent advances in nanotechnologies for water and wastewater treatment processes is provided, including nanobased materials, such as nanoadsorbents, nanometals, nanomembranes, and photocatalysts. The beneficial properties of these materials as well as technical barriers when compared with conventional processes are reported. The state of commercialization is presented and an outlook on further research opportunities is given for each type of nanobased material and process. In addition to the promising technological enhancements, the limitations of nanotechnology for water applications, such as laws and regulations as well as potential health risks, are summarized. The legal framework according to nanoengineered materials and processes that are used for water and wastewater treatment is considered for European countries and for the USA.
Keywords: nanotechnology, water technology, nanoadsorbents, nanometals, nanomembranes, photocatalysis
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