The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: October 19, 2008
Nanotechnology in the energy sector - from conservation to revolutionary approaches
(Nanowerk News) Today, nanomaterials are the foundation for a fast-growing approach to energy saving. Indeed, nanotechnology offers the ability to enhance many key properties of energy technologies to achieve sustainability and secure the future energy supplies.
In the near future the impact on the energy sector will mainly be improvement of efficiency in current technologies. For instance, more and more companies are investing in 'Green Nanotechnology' by creating products that are friendly to the environment and save energy. Reduction of carbon emissions is fast becoming the number one priority of corporations and industrial nanotech can make a positive contribution to this issue. Other companies address the rapidly growing clean-burn fuel market.
Energy saving also includes technologies such as better insulation, solid sate lighting and reduction of weight of automobiles by the use of carbon nanotubes and nanofibers in composite materials for weight reduction in automotive applications.
In the longer term, nanotechnology will help promote the use of revolutionary new energy sources such as hydrogen and solar panels.
Efficient plastic solar cells are extremely desirable because they are inexpensive and light weight, especially in comparison to traditional silicon solar panels. But they must at least convert about 8 percent of the light that hits them to become practical and economically useful electrical power generators.
Researchers have worked for years to create flexible organic solar cells that can be wrapped around surfaces, rolled up or even painted onto structures.
New energy generation processes will also be dominated by applications in hydrogen fuel cells. Transport should be the dominant application for this research area.
During the NanoEnergy conference, to be held in Paris Tapis Rouge Conference Center next week (October 21-23 October), researchers and industry will address these aspects in detail through up-to-date contributions.