Beyond Nano and Biotech: Step into the Future Factory!
However, the business model for these and the way they will be organized and built is yet to be decided. The biotechnology world is prone to contamination by unwanted microbial, viral and fungal species.
Therefore, good housekeeping and cleanliness is of paramount importance and most biotechnology factories are and will be characterized by their very clean sterile operating conditions, along with careful containment of waste streams.
From Waste to Worth: Creating New Value Chains
In common with many other chemical processes, such factories will endeavor to make every use of ‘waste’, including thermal and carbon dioxide for feeding into other processes in the factory. This zero waste, maximum thermal efficiency attitude is becoming embedded in the psyche of process engineers.
A good example that is emerging is the use of energy harvesting from waste heat, fluid flow or vibration to provide electrical power for sensors that are now more integrated into the plant, often eliminating the need for a lot of cabling but making use of wireless telemetry.
Nanotechnology has the potential to provide significant improvements and changes to materials via an incremental approach as well as to provide truly transformative action in various areas. These sectors include low energy lighting, new energy storage and energy conversion and nanomedical developments.
There will be a need for significant scale-up to occur so that nanoparticles and other nanostructures can be massproduced under tightly controlled conditions and then incorporated into materials and products.
This ‘journey’ is just the beginning. We are already aware of the potential hazards of nanoparticles that might be inadvertently released into the environment or workplace, so their use will be strictly controlled and this in itself is going to lead to beneficial new ways to control waste streams emanating from future factories.