Nanomaterial Fate and Speciation in the Environment (NanoFASE)
The NanoFASE model predicts the fate and bio-uptake, across space and time, of nanomaterials entering soils, freshwaters, estuaries and waterbed sediments. It is used to assess pollution risk from nanomaterials entering the environment.
NanoFASE is a water-soil-organism model that predicts the concentration, fate and bio-uptake of nanomaterials entering the soil and aquatic environments across space (up to whole catchments) and time (years to decades, with approx daily timesteps). It combines empirical data with process-based understanding and works by coupling submodels for environmental compartments (soils, rivers, bed sediments, lakes, estuaries and the sea) then simulating the transport of nanomaterials between these compartments. The model takes account of the fact that, within each compartment, nanomaterials can transform between different forms and states, and be taken up by the biota present, through processes such as soil erosion, bioturbation, hydrology, sediment dynamics, physical and chemical reactions of nanomaterials (including heteraggregation), dissolution and chemical transformation. The NanoFASE model must be coupled to a source of data on nanomaterial releases (inputs) either to soils or directly into surface waters. The model can also be coupled to an atmospheric deposition model to simulate the fate of nanomaterials which were emitted to the atmosphere and subsequently deposited to the land or water surface.
The NanoFASE model was the main output of the EU NanoFASE project (2015-2019) coordinated by UKCEH. Further development projects are underway including: addition of a map-based interface (NanoSolveIT); extension to other nanomaterials and to other geographical regions (EU ASINA project: anticipating safety issues at the design stage of nanoproducts; SAbyNA development of safer nanomaterials); and extension to other contaminants (pharmaceuticals in ETERNAL project, microplastics in NERC Global Partnerships project DEPICTION).
Few fate and exposure models exist that are spatially and temporally resolved, and consider more than a single environmental compartment (eg a river). NanoFASE uniquely considers multiple linked environmental compartments with spatial and temporal resolution at catchment and larger scales. It considers soil erosion and bioturbation, hydrology, sediment dynamics as well as the physical and chemical reactions of nanomaterials such as heteraggregation, dissolution and chemical transformation.
NanoFASE was developed by UKCEH with EU consortium partners including: RIVM (Netherlands); University of Vienna (Austria); and Wageningen University (Netherlands).
NanoFASE is open access: available to use at no cost via the weblink. As the model is still under development, we recommend contacting UKCEH for guidance on how to use it.
Development of the model was funded by: EU NanoFASE programme (2015-2019); other EU research grants; UKRI-NERC research grants; and industry contracts.