When you get past the economic crisis, then the energy crisis, and then the Global Warming crisis, there is one rather large crisis that gets ignored: the water crisis.
Nanotechnology has been offering for some time solutions and promises of even greater capabilities in the future when it comes to addressing the issue of clean drinking water. Moving these technologies to industrial scale has remained largely elusive, but there appears to be an increasing amount of research in applying nanotechnology to water applications, which could start to show dividends.
In further evidence that there appears to be a critical mass of research in how nanotechnology can address the water purification issue, Philip Ball in an article for the New Scientist chronicles the history and latest developments of how carbon nanotubes are being used to filter out harmful ions from water, thereby making desalination more efficient.
According to the article, in further research it could be possible for the technology to lead to the capability of separating mixtures of hydrocarbon gases, filtering CO2 from a power plant chimney, or even extracting the gas directly from the air.
The latter bit should excite those environmentalists who are more alarmed at the plight of the polar due to global warming than they are at those who don't have access to clean drinking water.