05 Mar 2014

Nanotechnology can help solve the world’s energy problems

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Six top Nanotechnology Applications to save our Planet

With a growing concerns about the climate change and the reduction in natural reserves of fossil fuels, how would nano tech innovation help the matter? Lux Research is reporting that by implementing just six top nanotechnology applications, leading industrialized countries like the US, Germany and Japan could save up to 12% of their energy.

Lux Research’s Nanotech’s Answer Key to the Energy Problem report describes the ongoing efforts of the innovation and nanotechnology communities highlighting distinct returns for all of us, who can ultimately profit from lower energy bills.

The report identified six key nano-enabled applications:

Low-friction tribological coatings in automotive engines
Nanofiber air filters
Nano-enabled insulation
Lightweight nanocomposite automotive parts
Thermochromic windows
Quantum dot (QD) enabled light sources

Three distinctly different geographical regions were selected: US, Germany and Japan for the study. Energy consumed by residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation applications was calculated and compared to the energy consumption that would result if the above applications were fully implemented.

For US an automotive energy consumption dominates the calculations with the biggest energy reduction found in low-friction tribological coatings and lightweight nanocomposites. German climate requires better thermal insulation of property. With nano-enabled insulation applications Germans could save up to 6.8% of their energy. Lighting applications in Japan using QD-enabled LEDs could save the country up to 3.3% of total energy consumption by 2020.

“Full adoption of all six nanotechnologies listed could reduce total energy consumption by 12%, which would be comparable to shutting down all the coal plants in the US,” said David Hwang, an analyst for Lux Research and the report’s lead author. “A more realistic adoption scenario could see a 1.6% drop in consumption that, while less impressive, is still substantial compared to the potential impact of energy conservation or renewable energy generation”.