Key among the conference’s objectives were identifying the range of environmental challenges that could benefit from nanotechnology, the possible environmental benefits from applying these technologies, and challenges for developing, commercializing, and applying nanotechnology for environmental benefit. The conference also sought to review key, state-of-the-art technologies that have the potential to provide environmental benefits, to consider the environmental, health, and safety implications related to the use of nanotechnology for beneficial environmental purposes, and to discuss policy measures for addressing challenges in the application of nanotechnology for environmental benefit and their relevance in the context of future OECD work programs.
Structurally, the conference consisted of a keynote presentation; two plenary sessions that introduced the conference, framed the desired outputs from the conference, and offered various perspectives on nanotechnologies; eight parallel sessions that focused on specific technological case studies through workshops; and a plenary wrap-up session.
Each of the eight parallel sessions, or “workshops” as they were called, lasted three-and-one-half hours and included five or six presentations by different speakers. Each workshop focused on specific case studies involving various applications of nanotechnology. The workshops included sessions on: water treatment and purification; environmental sensing; clean car technology; cellulose nanofibers; site remediation; better batteries enabled by nanoscale innovation; agricultural nanotechnology; and greener nanoproducts.