Posted: February 18, 2010

Could nanomaterials save the world, and make a profit?

(Nanowerk News) The latest issue of NANO Magazine explores the advances in nanotechnology towards creating sustainable technologies. Nanomaterials for the Future - clean, green and profitable contains articles on clean tech, next-generation batteries, biofuels and the advances made towards nanoparticles which are capable of tolerating extreme heat, opening the doors for them to be used in everyday systems. The Magazine also features an interview with Harold Craighead of the Nanobiotechnology Center at Cornell, a Profile of the nanotech activities in the Asia Pacific and an article from Andy Garland discussing the applications of nanotechnology to consumer goods.
Advances in nanotechnology and the desperate need for the development of new materials, coatings, fuels and more efficient systems could play a major part in helping nations to reach emission-reduction targets – when they finally agree on what these are. Max Lu, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Functional Nanomaterials at the University of Queensland, writes in this issue on the potentials of nanotechnology for the future of sustainable technologies. In his article he says that sustainable energy and associated clean technologies are not only big challenges for the 21st century, they are also great business opportunities globally. He discusses investment and some progress being made in clean tech systems.
In this issue, we also feature some current research into clean technologies. Colm O'Dwyer from the University of Limerick writes about the role that nanomaterials will play in the next generation of rechargeable batteries. He believes that the next generation of lithium-ion batteries, fully based on nanomaterials, will soon be here, followed by lithium-air batteries and others using organic materials.
Biofuels could provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, but their availability is hampered by the need for cheaper and more reliable production methods. James Palmer from Louisiana Tech writes about new techniques that are being developed to make biofuel production more economically viable.
One factor that has slowed down the use of nanomaterials in everyday systems is their unreliability in extreme heat, which is a problem in many industrial processes which can involve reaction temperatures exceeding 600 degrees Celsius. Pittsburgh researchers have found a way, by pairing nanoparticles together, of creating metallic nanoparticles capable of tolerating extreme heat.
Also featured is an article by R. David Holbrook on the food industry's road toward nanotechnological innovation while Nanoposts analyst, Andy Garland looks at how nanotechnology is being exploited by brand owners as a tool for creating new products. Nigel Hawkins comments on strong political drivers for the development of new clean technologies.
The brilliant materials scientist, Harold Craighead, is our profiled interview for this issue. Dr Craighead has served as Director of the Nanobiotechnology Center at Cornell since it was established in 2000. His expertise in nanofabrication has also led to the establishment of an Oncology Center, focused on exploring how nanofabrication techniques may help model and treat cancer. Within the Nanobiotechnology Center, nanofabrication and cell growth techniques are also involved in a major project on the study of plants for the production of energy, industrial chemicals and green materials. Dr Craighead speaks to Ottilia Saxl about his work and his belief that success comes frombreaking down barriers, and how his research visions today have been influenced by the life sciences.
See more about the issue, and how to subscribe to the magazine at the new redesigned website:
Source: Nano Magazine