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Chinese, Mexican scientists expect nano technology to tackle environmental pollution

Updated: Aug 21,2017 9:51 AM     Xinhua

CANCUN — Around 70 scientists from China and Mexico joined in a workshop in Cancun on Aug 20 to discuss how to use nano technology to develop renewable energy and remedy environmental pollution.

During the “Mexico-China workshop on Nano Materials,” Sandra Rodil, a professor at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) said, since China and Mexico are both developing countries, environmental issues are the common problems the two nations are facing during their industrialization and urbanization.

Rodil is among one of many scientists who pointed out at the workshop that Mexico and China have been suffering from water quality problem so that they need more efficient and environment-friendly methods to deal with it.

The current method to purify industrial wastewater by using iron powder is expensive and leaves a large amount of sludge behind as a byproduct. Mexican and Chinese scientists are seeking to research and find more environment-friendly ways to solve this problem.

S. Velumani, with the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, introduced their experiment to remove heavy metals in drinking water, based on the nanomaterials they designed and developed.

Chinese scientist Zhang Lin, with South China University of Technology, maintained that heavy metal does not only come from industrial solid wastes, but also from the process of treating wastewater containing heavy metal via using nanomaterials. She then introduced her innovative way to reduce this side effect.

Nano technology could also help resolve problems of air pollution besides water pollution, said Sun Lingdong, a professor in chemistry at Peking University. Sun said Chinese scientists have managed to produce nanomaterials to change the pollutants into other substances that leave no harm to human beings.

Scientists at the workshop also discussed possible nano solutions for energy saving, storage and conversion. “In the future, we could possibly apply the nano technology to manufacture more powerful battery with extended life,” said Li Jun, a professor at Tsinghua University.

Li noted that nano technology has long been expected to make revolutionary changes to human society, which is especially important in areas such as new energy resources, new materials and biomedicine.

Co-organized by City University of Hong Kong, UNAM, Autonomous University of Aguascalientes and Chinese Academy of Sciences, the workshop has been held for the third time.

Juan Antonio Zapien, a professor at the City University of Hong Kong and also one of the workshop’s organizers, said China and Mexico have great potential in the field of nanotechnology.

“We hope that through this workshop, scientists from the two countries will get to know each other more and find a better way for future cooperation,” Zapien said.

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