Posted: February 9, 2008

Nanotechnology and energy event: The future of nanoenergy

(Nanowerk News) If you happen to be in The Netherlands towards the end of the month, this sounds like an interesting event to go to: the future of NanoEnergy, Amsterdam, February 28, 2008.
While nanotechnology's impact will be major, if not revolutionary, in many domains, from aerospace to medicine to computing, its impact in the domain of energy (production, storage, transmission and consumption) is set to be equally profound but peculiarly complex.
Touch points in the buzz areas of fuel cells, batteries and solar energy are important and numerous. Less numerous but potentially equally important are influences on sequestration, electrical transmission, insulation, coal liquefaction, geothermal energy and more.
Depending on how the economics pans out, nanotech could drive decentralisation of power generation (e.g. local solar plus batteries or fuel cells) or greater centralisation (superconducting fibres). It could support our battle against global warming (solar, geothermal) or hinder it (coal liquefaction to power our cars).
Of course, apart from being an unusually complex dynamic, it is also a hugely important one - the very fabric of the developed world is woven with cheap, reliable energy. Any substantial loss of this would lead to disruptions in supplies of food and raw materials, our ability to travel and communicate and to heat and light our homes, and quite possibly to global energy wars.
Nanotechnology will help to radically change the existing dynamic, but how?
Paul Holister, Nanotechnology & Energy: Nanotechnology and the New Energy Landscape
For generations, little has changed in the way the world uses energy. The very fabric of the developed world is now critically dependent on a few monolithic fossil-fuel-based systems.
This status quo is under threat from political instability, environmental worries, and, arguably, because the oil is simply running out.
At the same time, a wealth of energy-related developments is emerging from the fertile fields of nanotechnology.
This collision of cross-pollinating technologies and geopolitical pressures looks set to lead us into a strikingly different energy landscape.
Joop Schoonman, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, Dept. DelftChemTech - Energy, Delft University of Technology: Nanostructured Materials for Decentralised Power Generation
Advanced solar cells and novel rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are required for the development of decentralised power production. With regard to a Hydrogen Economy, the combination of solar cells and commercial electrolysers for the splitting of water in oxygen and hydrogen is being studied worldwide to store solar electrical energy in the form of the energy carrier hydrogen. This energy carrier can be converted into electrical energy in a fuel cell with water molecules as the reaction product. Innovative devices for decentralised power generation, based on nanostructured structured materials, will be presented in this lecture.
Arjen Vollebregt, Department Manager, Gas Turbines & Structural Integrity, Aerospace Vehicles Division, National Aerospace Laboratory NLR: Nanotechnology in aerospace applications - current research at NLR
The National Aerospace Laboratory NLR is actively exploring the possible applications of nanotechnology for aerospace. Currently two application domains are being researched: thermal barrier coatings in gas turbine engines and bulk metals. This presentation gives an overview of the pros and cons of the current state of the art in nanotechnology and a way forward for the mentioned domains.
More information here:
Source: Club of Amsterdam
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