German chems support Berlin resolution on nanotechnology

03 July 2009 16:47  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s chemicals industry is supporting a parliamentary resolution on the development of nanotechnology and nanomaterials, an industry group said on Friday.

In the resolution passed on Thursday, Germany’s lower house, the Bundestag, raised 20 demands on the government in promoting the sector's development.

These included measures to streamline government action on this emerging field, to help ensure that start-up firms would have enough capital, and to better communicate the opportunities and risks of nanomaterials, among other demands.

The Bundestag’s resolution was a positive move in promoting nanotechnology and nanomaterials, and thus good for growth and wealth creation in Germany, Gerd Romanowski, general manager for science, technology and the environment at Frankfurt-based Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), said.

Nanotechnology’s most promising applications were in energy and climate protection, he said, and pointed to areas such as photovoltaic products and batteries for electronic cars as examples.

VCI was also supporting the Bundestag’s call to take seriously concerns about the safety of nanomaterial, he said.

However, Romanowski rejected the Bundestag’s demand for the registration of consumer products that contained nanomaterials.

The EU had already taken steps to ensure that food products and cosmetics containing nanomaterials would be registered, and there was no need for Germany to duplicate this process, he said.

Also, Romanowski questioned the need for special laws for the sector.

Existing rules and regulations on chemicals and the environment also applied to nanomaterials, and industry was working with German and European regulators to apply those rules appropriately to the sector, he said.

He noted that VCI member firms had already launched a number of projects to ensure safety, and he said that VCI, for its part, had issued a number of guidelines and papers on nanomaterials.

German research group Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IDW) said last week that the global market for nanomaterials-based products and processes could be worth up to $3,000bn (€2,130bn) by 2015.

So far, 30 countries had initiated research and development programmes for nanotechnology, IDW said.

More details about the Bundestag’s resolution are available, in German language, in a pdf file on its website.

($1 = €0.71)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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