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Nanotechnology and Energy

Directory of theories and practical applications, as well as companies that are utilizing nanotechnology for improving energy generation techniques as well as deriving new energy modalities altogether.


Applications to Energy

Nanotechnology could turn out to be the most important technological development for advancing energy technolgies in well over one hundred years. Nanotechnology, which means building technology on the molecular or nano (billionths) scale, has already started to impact solar energy and battery storage technology. Nanotechnology might someday allow for far more powerful, more efficient and less expensive solar and battery storage technology. Nanotechnology is a rather young field, only gaining acceptance in the late 1990s, so the potential for future nanotechnology-based energy advancements is very high in coming years.


  • Carbon Nanotubes and other Nanotechnology Solutions for Renewable Energy - From vastly increasing efficiencies in solar power to reducing costs of hydrogen generation, the alternative energy sector is seeing a range of nanotech developments. Reducing the amount of raw product necessary for technology production, carbon nanotechnology cuts costs and conserves our precious non-renewable resources. (PESWiki; Aug. 13, 2008)
  • Solar > Nanotech could make solar energy as easy and cheap as growing grass - Scientists are working to produce cheap, sustainable solar energy by imitating nature. Nanotechnology researchers like California Institute of Technology professor Nate Lewis are exploring nanoscale materials that mimic the architecture of grass and photosynthesis to capture and store the sun's energy. (PhysOrg; Sept. 17, 2007)


  • Aerogels - This 87-year old technology will improve ultracapacitors by swapping in carbon nanotubes, since they have a extremely high surface area, carbon aerogels are used to create ultracapacitors with values ranging up to thousands of farads. It is already used a a super-insulator and for collecting stardust by NASA. (PESWiki; August 18, 2008)

Example of Nanotechnology Effecting Energy Technology

An example of how nanotechnology affects energy technology is recent announcements by battery companies that indicate that by using nanotechnology to design new anodes and cathode materials, they are able to greatly increase the amount and rate of energy that can be transferred to a battery, and reduce the recharge times significantly as a result.

Battery companies have also introduced nanotechnology battery designs that are capable of storing more energy than previous designs, by making better use of a battery's storage potential.

Solar engineers have reported early nanotechnology-based breakthroughs in solar technology that might: allow a far wider spectrum of solar energy to be captured by future solar cells, allow solar cells to be able to convert solar energy to electricity far more efficiently, allow solar collectors to be painted on just about any surface, and could bring down the cost of solar technology significantly.

Exotic Free Energy Technologies Using Nanotech

At PESWiki

  • Featured: Hydrogen / Water > as Fuel > Electrolysis / Nanotechnology >
    Ohmasa Gas makes water as fuel more feasible - Mr. Ohmasa, president of Japan Techno, has devised a method of producing an unusual hydrogen-oxygen gas by using low frequency vibrations to circulate the water upon which electrolysis is run, creating a highly stable H2-O2 gas called Ohmasa gas which exhibits unusual characteristics. For example, Ohmasa gas doesn't explode under pressure. (PESWiki; Nov. 2, 2009)
  • Nanosolar a leader in the drive to make solar affordable - Nanosolar has developed proprietary technology that makes it possible to simply roll-print solar cells with performance and durability similar to silicon-wafer cells, while cutting the costs, making solar affordable. The long-term limitation will be the growing scarcity of Indium. (PESWiki; April 6, 2008)
  • Nanoflex can increase all lighting efficiencies - The nano optical coating on Nanoflex™ provides ideal diffusive and reflective surface to capture light rays from any light source including fluorescent lamps to enhance illumination by 50% on average, both for retrofits as well as new fixtures, enabling the reduction of the number of fixtures.
  • Nanotube Super Capacitor Battery - MIT researchers are developing a battery based on capacitors that utilize nanotubes for high surface area, enabling near instantaneous charging and no degradation. Estimating ~5 years to commercialization. (June 10, 2006)
  • Power Chips™ Convert Heat to Electricity - Chips use thermionics to convert heat directly into electricity with a Carnot heat pump efficiency of up to 70-80%. This will be one of the first industrial applications of nanotechnology.
  • Nansulate Paint Creates Efficient Thermal Barrier - Industrial Nanotech, Inc has a line of non-toxic paint products that integrate nanotechnology to provide insulative properties, corrosion resistance, mold resistance. They are also engineering a method to generate electricity from the thermal gradient to which the coating is exposed.

Companies & Technologies

  • Featured: Nanotech >
    The Less than Exotic Free Energy Technologies of Nanoholdings - Nanoholdings is a company that has developed multiple technologies that incorporate nano-materials. Their CEO, Justin Hall, recently gave a TED talk discussing their discoveries. It seems when it comes to energy technology, they are still thinking too far "inside of the box" -- ignoring more exotic, and more robust solutions. (PESN and BeforeItsNews; December 5, 2011)
  • Feature: Nanotech / Electromagnetic > Kanarev >
    Kanarev critiques Nobel Prize in Physics - Russian Professor Ph. M. Kanarev presents facts about the thickness of graphene and the theoretical bensole molecule, concluding that the statement concerning the one-atom-thick carbon film is erroneous. A video he sent in an earlier email announced "the world's first self-rotating electric generator." (PESN; Oct. 13, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Oil > Ecological Impact > Gulf Oil Disaster > Clean-up >
    Ecosphere Technologies Files Patent to Raise BP Oil to Surface - Ecosphere Technologies, Inc., a diversified water engineering and environmental services company, has filed a new patent based on its patented Ozonix technology to help BP and other energy exploration companies recover oil during a deepwater spill. The Ozonix Deepwater Oil Recovery Process will aid in raising oil to the surface with the help of millions of nano bubbles thus reducing the release of toxic elements to the sea water. (Ecosphere Technologies, Inc.; June 14, 2010)
  • Piezoelectric / Nanotech / Biomimicry / Water Heating >
    Vein-Like Piezoelectric Shower Harvests Water Pressure to Heat Water - This concept for a self-heating piezoelectric shower combines inspiration from the human body’s circulatory system with technological innovations in piezoelectricity. The fluid web of piping heats water by utilizing energy from friction produced by flowing water through the piezoelectric nano channels, which produces electricity by which heat is applied to the water. (Inhabitat; Apr. 29, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Thermal Electric >
    Carbon nanotubes offer new way to produce electricity - MIT scientists have discovered that moving pulse of heat traveling along the miniscule wires known as carbon nanotubes can cause powerful waves of energy. These "thermopower waves" can drive electrons along like a collection of flotsam propelled along the surface of ocean waves, creating an electrical current. The previously unknown phenomenon opens up a new area of energy research. (GizMag; March 8, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Solar > R&D >
    Scientists turn light into electrical current using a golden nanoscale system - Material scientists at the University of Pennsylvania have demonstrated the transduction of optical radiation to electrical current in a molecular circuit. The system, an array of nano-sized molecules of gold, respond to electromagnetic waves by creating surface plasmons that induce and project electrical current across molecules, similar to that of photovoltaic solar cells. (PhysOrg; February 12, 2010 )
  • Nanotechnology / Solar / Batteries >
    New nano-material could lead to self-washing windows and solar panels - Researchers from Tel Aviv University have discovered a new nanomaterial that can repel dust and water and could provide a self-cleaning coating for windows or solar panels. The new material is made up of molecules of peptides that “grow” to resemble small forests of grass. The coating also acts as a super-capacitor, thereby possibly providing an energy boost to batteries. (GizMag; December 3, 2009)
  • Solar > Photovoltaics
    Nanopillar Solar May Cost 10x Less Than Silicon - A team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have developed a new kind of flexible solar cell that consist of an array of 500-nanometer-high cadmium sulfide pillars printed on top of an aluminum foil... If this could be done on a roll-to-roll process, the cost could be 10x less than crystalline silicon panels. (MIT Technology Review; July 06, 2009)
  • Solar Innovations >
    A Hybrid Nano-Energy Harvester - Researchers have combined a nanogenerator with a solar cell to create an integrated mechanical- and solar-energy-harvesting device. This hybrid generator might be used, e.g., to power airplane sensors by capturing sunlight as well as engine vibrations. (MIT Technology Review; April 09, 2009)
  • Nanoparticles from Particular GmbH - Particular provides highly pure nanoparticles using a new laser ablation process that can produce noble metal nanoparticles without any rests of chemical presursors. Platinum nanoparticles that are highly interesting for catalytic processes are available at particle sizes below 10 nm in water and solvents like acetone or alcohols.
  • EnerG2, a University of Washington Startup, Unveils Technology - EnerG2 is developing novel materials—synthetic carbon powder, carbon monoliths, nanocomposites, and others. It intends to use the stuff for applications like natural gas storage, hydrogen storage, more efficient solar cells, and “ultracapacitors” to replace traditional batteries. (Xconomy; Nov. 3, 2008)
  • Harvesting the sun's energy with antennas - Nanoantennas absorb energy in the infrared part of the spectrum and can take in energy from both sunlight and the earth's heat, with higher efficiency than conventional solar cells. Individual nanoantennas can absorb close to 80 percent of the available energy. (Idaho National Lab; Jan. 2008)
  • Cheap, Efficient Thermoelectrics via Nanomaterials - Researchers at MIT and Boston College have developed an inexpensive, simple technique for achieving a 40 percent increase in the efficiency of a common thermoelectric material, bringing the technology closer to becoming economically feasible for a wide range of waste heat recovery. (MIT Technology Review; March. 20, 2008) (MIT EI)
  • Piezoelectric > Power from Fabrics - Researchers at Georgia Tech have made a flexible fiber coated with zinc oxide nanowires that can convert mechanical energy into electricity. The fibers, the researchers say, should be able to harvest any kind of vibration or motion for electric current. (MIT Technology Review; Feb. 14, 2008)
  • Hydrogen > Buckyballs Can Store Concentrated Hydrogen - Researchers from Rice University have discovered that it's possible to store hydrogen inside buckyballs. The buckyballs can contain up to 8% of their weight in hydrogen, and they are strong enough to hold it at a density that rivals the center of Jupiter. (Rice; Mar. 20, 2008)
  • Solar > Hairy Solar Panels From Nanowire - Researchers have grown light-absorbing nanowires on carbon-nanotube fabric, made from exotic materials that can absorb more energy from the sun than silicon. The aim is to produce flexible, affordable solar cells that will achieve efficiency of 20% within five years, and 40% longer term. (TreeHugger; Feb. 7, 2008) Slashdot; May 19, 2008]
  • Batteries > Nanowire Battery Holds 10 Times The Charge - Stanford researchers have found a way to use silicon nanowires to reinvent the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power laptops, iPods, video cameras, cell phones, and countless other devices. Could also be applied to electric vehicles. (Science Daily; Dec. 20, 2007) (See Slashdot)
  • Piezoelectric > Nanowire Extracts Energy from Motion - Researchers at the University of Illinois are working on making a nanogenerator out of barium titanate, which exhibits a greater piezoelectric effect than zinc-oxide, to convert miniscule mechanical energy into electricity for biosensors and tiny portable devices. (MIT Technology Review; Oct. 22, 2007)
  • Virus-Built Electronics - A new way to fabricate nanomaterials from harmless viruses as building blocks could mean batteries and solar cells woven into clothing. The programmed viruses coat themselves with the materials and then, by aligning with other viruses, assemble into crystalline structures useful for making high-performance devices. (MIT Technology Review; Oct. 23, 2007)
  • Batteries > Weaving Batteries into Clothes - A novel machine that makes nanostructured fibers could be the key to a new generation of military uniforms that take on active functions such as generating (e.g. solar) and storing energy. (MIT Technology Review; Oct. 9, 2007)
  • Nanowire generates power by harvesting energy from the environment - As the sizes of sensor networks and mobile devices shrink toward the microscale, and even nanoscale, there is a growing need for suitable power sources. Because even the tiniest battery is too big to be used in nanoscale devices, scientists are exploring nanosize systems that can salvage energy from the environment. (PhysOrg; Sept. 27, 2007)
  • Water + Sunlight = Solar Hydrogen - Scientists are developing a cheap, viable photoelectrolytic technology that would split water into hydrogen and oxygen using sunlight. Using thin films of titanium iron oxide nanotube arrays, they reported a photoconversion rate of 1.5%, and are now optimizing to obtain closer to the theoretical maximum around 12.9%. (TreeHugger; Aug. 17, 2007)
  • Self-Assembling Biological Nanobattery - The iron-containing protein, ferritin, can hold either a positive or negative charge, and it self-assembles relatively easily into a uniform nanolayer. NASA has filed a patent to create one layer of one charge, then cover it with another layer of the opposite charge. NASA reckons its battery is not only stable and robust, but can be produced easily and quickly too. (New Scientist Tech; July 16, 2007)
  • Nanogenerator Provides Continuous Direct Current - Researchers have demonstrated a prototype nanometer-scale generator that produces continuous direct-current electricity by harvesting mechanical energy from such environmental sources as ultrasonic waves, mechanical vibration or blood flow. (PESN; April 7, 2007)
  • Nanotechnology and Photovoltaics - Solar power for less than $1. Nanosys Inc. combines their nanocomposite photovoltaic technology with precisely engineered inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals, yielding light-weight, flexible host-matrix. (FreeEnergyNews feature)
  • Hydrogen Storage Capability Published in Science - Liverpool and Newcastle researchers inject hydrogen gas at high pressure into tiny pores (10-9 Meters) of a specially-designed material to give a dense form of hydrogen, which can then be released per need. (PhysOrg; Oct. 14)
  • Inexpensive, Easy To Produce Solar Panels - Researchers at NJIT have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets. The process uses tiny carbon Buckyballs to trap electrons, combined with carbon nanotubes, which conduct current better than any conventional electric wire. (The Energy Blog; Jul. 19, 2007)
  • Thin Film Batteries 40 Times More Efficient - Micro-generation of energy is set to bring a worldwide economic revolution brought by the availability of thin film batteries that are more fuel-efficient, charge within minutes, and hold a charge 40 times longer than existing batteries. Thin film batteries can be charged from renewable energy sources and used to power the home and car. (Nanotechnology Now; Feb. 19, 2007)
  • Nano Thin Film PV - Liquidia is developing high-efficiency, cost-effective patterned thin film photovoltaic solar cells based on their PRINT platform for precision nanomolding. It combines photolithographic precision with a scalable continuous manufacturing process. (Renewable Energy Access; Oct. 5, 2007)
  • MultiProbe - [1] designs and manufactures a combined 6-head imaging and atomic force nanoprobing tool, used by the world's leading electronics companies to help in the development of increasingly smaller, faster and more affordable devices. Qualified for 32nm and larger technology nodes. (MultiProbe; Aug 15 , 2008)
  • PolyFuel, Inc. - PolyFuel works to create engineered membranes that provide breakthrough performance in fuel cells for portable electronic and automotive applications. (
  • Pacific Fuel Cell Corp. - Proprietary Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology. Development of PEM Fuel Cell with Carbon Nanotube-Based Electrodes. (
  • DayStar Technologies, Inc. - Renewable energy/photovoltaic (PV) technology development and commercialization business. Plans to revolutionize solar power components by using nanotechnology to reduce their size and change their shape for a number of applications. (
  • Energy Consulting Group - Provides worldwide access to critical nanotechnology intellectual property (IP), strategy, partners, sales channels development and financing that enable our clients to maximize their return on advanced energy / power and related initiatives. (
  • Headwaters, Inc. - Provides technologies and service that maximize the value of fossil fuels while creating new sustainable energy technologies for the future. The company has developed a proprietary nano catalyst technology. (
  • Hydrocarbon Technologies, Inc. - The term "nanocatalyst" is derived from "nanometer", meaning one-billionth of a meter, and is used by industry to describe catalysts which are engineered at nanometer-scale precision. HTI works at an even smaller scale, actually at the molecular level, to control the exact geometry of a catalyst's structure. (
  • Kainos Energy Corporation - Kainos Energy combines established materials and fuel cell technologies with a revolutionary nanomaterials process technology to create commercially viable fuel cells. (
  • Konarka Technologies, Inc. - Konarka develops and commercializes photovoltaic products that convert sunlight and indoor light into electricity. [how related to nano?] (
  • mPhase Technologies Inc. - Partnership with Lucent Bell Laboratories for commercializing nano technology creating intelligent power sources. (
  • Nanosolar, Inc. - Bringing to market a new generation of solar electricity cells with unprecedented cost/performance and ease of handling. (
    • Nanosolar Inc, of California - plan to produce solar energy for less than 5 cents per kilowatt-hour using 3D nanocomposite ultra-thin-absorber cells. (The Hindu, India; Feb. 3, 2005)
  • Nuclear Solutions, Inc. - Business objective includes development of licensable product technologies for use in products and services intended for homeland security, defense, nanotechnology, and environmental technology applications. (
  • US Nanocorp (USN) incorporated as a vehicle to identify, develop, and commercialize value-added products in the field of energy storage and energy conversion devices which exploit the extraordinary properties of nanostructured materials. (

Water Desalinization

  • Nanotubes Produce Desalination Breakthrough - Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is developing a nanotube membrane on a silicon chip the size of a quarter that may offer a cheaper way to remove salt from water, offsetting energy costs of desalination by as much as 75 percent. (; May 19, 2006)

Research and Development

  • Nanotech / Solar >
    A Nano-Approach to Solar Rivals the Entire Market - A small team of experts at Magnolia Solar have come together to develop a nanostructure-based coatings to replace silicon and thin-film approaches. They are working on a concept that would allow for the full absorption of all light, boasting efficiencies of 15 to 20 percent as low as 50 cents per watt. (EnergyDigital; March 19, 2012)
  • Featured: Nanotech / Storage > Batteries > Solid State >
    Prieto Battery Offers 1000x Power Density - Amy Prieto of Colorado State University is developing a new battery technology that utilizes copper antimonide nanowires, and an ultra thin polymer electrolyte. Once fully developed, the battery is expected to offer a huge increase in power density, a reduction in the time it takes to charge, and almost unlimited recharge cycles. (PESN and BeforeItsNews; August 24, 2011)
  • Nanotech > Motors >
    World's smallest electric motor made from a single molecule - Chemists at Tufts University's School of Arts and Sciences have developed the world's first single molecule electric motor, a development that may potentially create a new class of devices that could be used in applications ranging from medicine to engineering. (PhysOrg; September 4, 2011)
  • Solar / Nanotech > R&D >
    MIT: Get Lots of Solar Energy in a Little Light - Researchers at MIT will use a way to concentrate sunlight so they can get a more powerful solar energy -- up to 100 times than current traditional photovoltaic cells. They use a solar funnel with carbon nanotubes - hollow tubes made of carbon atoms to capture and focus light energy. The drawback is the price of carbon nanotubes. (Solar Energy Utilize; January 11, 2011)
  • Nanotech / Batteries > Li-ion >
    Sandia Creates World’s Smallest Single Nanowire Battery - Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have succeeded in creating the world’s smallest battery that consists of a single nanowire (as the battery’s anode) which is one seven-thousandth the thickness of a human hair. The hope is that this will help scientists discover what occurs inside lithium-ion storage devices and how they charge and discharge. (Inhabitat; December 13, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Lighting >
    Gold nanoparticles turn trees into streetlights - Yen-Hsun Su of Academia Sinica in Taiwan implanted gold nanoparticles into Bacopa caroliniana plants and found that, when exposed to high wavelength ultraviolet light, the gold nanoparticles can produce a blue-violet fluorescence that triggers a red emission of the surrounding chlorophyll. (GizMag; Nov. 11, 2010)
  • Big Brother / Nanotech / Batteries > Li-ion >
    Batteries smaller than a grain of salt - Research funded by DARPA is pushing the limits of this technology and trying to create some of the tiniest batteries on Earth, the largest of which would be no bigger than a grain of sand. These tiny energy storage devices could one day be used to power the electronics and mechanical components of tiny micro- to nano-scale devices. (Physorg; October 19, 2010)
  • Piezoelectric / Nanotech >
    New piezoelectric device harvests wasted energy from electronics - A new device made out of piezoelectric material by researchers at Louisiana Tech University could allow a wide range of electronic devices to harvest their own wasted operational energy. It is coated with a carbon nanotube film on one side that causes the cantilever to bend back and forth repeatedly when it absorbs light and/or heat. (GizMag; Oct. 11, 2010) (Inhabitat)
  • Nanotech / Waste to Energy > Waste Heat > Thermal Electric > Solid State >
    Turning Waste Heat Into Power via Nanotech Molecules - Using a theoretical model of a so-called molecular thermoelectric device, a technology being developed at the University of Arizona harvests waste heat and cleanly converts it directly into electrical power, and requires no moving parts. A rubber-like polymer sandwiched between two metals acting as electrodes can do the trick, taking advantage of the laws of quantum physics. (Univ. of AZ News; Sept. 23, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Storage > Batteries > Li-ion >
    Paper-Thin Batteries Provide Bendable Power - New carbon nanotube-based technology could literally allow companies to paint layers of electricity-holding lithium-ion on standard pieces of paper. The new batteries, which are just 300 μm thick, are thinner and more flexible, and they exhibit higher energy density and other electrical advantages, compared with other types of thin batteries. (Chemical & Engineering News; Sept. 20, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Biomimetics / Solar >
    Plant-Mimicking Solar Cells Can Self-Assemble - Scientists at MIT have created a breakthrough solution to one of the biggest problems facing solar cells by mimicking the world's best harvesters of solar energy: plants. Over time, sunlight breaks down the materials in solar cells, leading to a gradual degradation of devices aiming to harvest the energy in that light. Plants don't have this problem. (EcoGeek; Sept. 7, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Solar > Thin Film >
    Transparent Solar Spray Transforms Windows Into Watts - Norwegian Company EnSol AS has developed a remarkable new spray-on solar film that allows windows to generate solar power without clouding the view. The material consists of metal nanoparticles embedded in a transparent composite matrix that can be easily sprayed on. And the cells don’t just work on glass — they can be used on the rest of the house, too! (Inhabitat; Aug. 10, 2010)
  • Nanotech / Batteries >
    Carbon Nanotube Batteries Pack More Punch - Carbon nanotubes are attractive materials for battery-making because of their high surface area, which can accept more positive ions and potentially last longer than conventional batteries. Instead of this design, researchers at MIT have introduced something new — using chemically modified carbon nanotubes as the positive ion source themselves. (Science; June 20, 2010)
  • Batteries >
    Batteries Made from Regular Paper - A group of Stanford University researchers have shown that ordinary paper can be turned into a battery electrode simply by dipping it into carbon-nanotube inks. The resulting electrodes, which are strong, flexible, and highly conductive, might be used to make cheap energy storage devices to power portable electronics. (MIT Technology Review; Dec. 9, 2009)
  • Solar > PV >
    3-D photovoltaic systems go where the sun don’t shine - Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a new type of three-dimensional PV system using optical fiber that promises solar generators that are foldable, concealed and mobile, meaning they could be hidden from view and leave rooftops panel-free. Sunlight entering the optical fiber passes into the nanowires, where it interacts with the dye molecules to produce electrical current. (GizMag; Nov. 2, 2009)
  • Batteries >
    Longer-Running Electric-Car Batteries - In an advance that could help electric vehicles run longer between charges, researchers at Stanford University and Hanyang University in Ansan, Korea, have shown that silicon nanotube electrodes can store 10 times more charge than the conventional graphite electrodes used in lithium-ion batteries. (MIT Technology Review; Sept. 23, 2009)
  • Geothermal >
    Cheaper Geothermal - Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA, say they've developed a superior type of heat-extracting fluid using nanomaterials that could dramatically improve the economics ( of producing renewable power from low-temperature geothermal resources. The proprietary liquid can potentially boost the rate of heat capture by 20 to 30 percent. (MIT Technology Review; July 24, 2009)
  • Piezoelectric >
    Secrets Of Electricity-Producing Materials - A team of University of Houston scientists has set out to both amplify and provoke the potential in materials known as piezoelectrics, which naturally produce electricity when subjected to strain, such as mechanical movement or jostling. The objective is to create nanodevices that can power electronics, such as cell phones, MP3 players and even biomedical implants. (Energy Daily; July 29, 2009) (Thanks Jim Dunn)
  • Solar > Thin Film >
    Project Sage: Bringing Solar Power to the Masses - Nano-scale research at the Univ. of Arizona could one day lead to photovoltaic materials thin enough, flexible enough and inexpensive enough to go not only on rooftops but in windows, outdoor awnings and even clothing. The goal for UA scientists is to understand and control the interfaces in these devices to enable the development of long-lived solar energy conversion devices on tough, flexible and extremely low-cost plastic substrates. (PhysOrg; July 23, 2009)
  • Batteries >
    Printable batteries - For a long time, batteries were bulky and heavy. Now, a new cutting-edge battery by Fraunhofer ENAS is revolutionizing the field. It is thinner than a millimeter, lighter than a gram, and can be produced cost-effectively through a printing process. (PhysOrg; July 2, 2009)
  • Solar Machines >
    Tiny boats made of nanomaterials are powered directly by sunlight - Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, are using carbon nanotubes to build small, simple waterborne machines propelled directly by sunlight. In theory, they say, these machines could be scaled up to make energy-generating pumps directly powered by the sun. (MIT Technology Review; April 13, 2009)
  • Nanotechnology / Storage > Capacitors >
    Print-on-Demand Power - Flexible carbon-nanotube supercapacitors could give more power to cell phones and other electronics. Researchers have made the first printable supercapacitor. This high-performance energy-storage device performs better than conventional supercapacitors currently on the market. (MIT Technology Review; April 27, 2009)
  • Nanotechnology / Batteries >
    Nanotech Batteries For A New Energy Future - Researchers at the Maryland NanoCenter at the University of Maryland have developed new systems for storing electrical energy derived from alternative sources that are, in some cases, 10 times more efficient than what is commercially available. (ScienceDaily; March 22, 2009)
  • Sun-powered device converts CO2 into fuel - Powered only by natural sunlight, an array of nanotubes is able to convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapour into natural gas at 20 times higher than with other nanotech methods. (New Scientist; Feb. 18, 2009)
  • Harnessing Hamster Power with a Nanogenerator - Researchers have demonstrated that a nanogenerator can be driven by irregular, low-energy biomotion, including the tapping of a human finger and a hamster's erratic running and scratching. (Video) (MIT Technology Review; Feb. 11, 2009)
  • Carbon Nanotechnology >
    Carbon Aerogels and Ultracapacitors - This technology will improve ultracapacitors by swapping in carbon nanotubes. This greatly increase the surface area of the electrodes and the ability to store energy since the amount of energy ultracaps can hold is related to the surface area and conductivity of electrodes. So.. since they have a extremely high surface area, carbon aerogels are used to create ultracapacitors with values ranging up to thousands of farads. (Greg Allen; April 13, 2008)
  • True properties of carbon nanotubes measured - For more than 15 years, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been the flagship material of nanotechnology. Researchers have conceived applications for nanotubes ranging from microelectronic devices to cancer therapy. Their atomic structure should, in theory, give them mechanical and electrical properties far superior to most common materials. (PhysOrg; Aug. 15, 2008)
  • 'Small' research at MSU leads to advances in energy, electronics - A Michigan State University researcher and his students have developed a nanomaterial that makes plastic stiffer, lighter and stronger and could result in more fuel-efficient airplanes and cars as well as more durable medical and sports equipment. (PhysOrg; July 31, 2008)

Non-energy but could be helpful in energy devices

  • DNA Makes Nanotube Transistors - A new DNA assembly methodology may allow scientists to create transistors from carbon nanotubes, a first step in harnessing these structures for commercial circuits. (MIT Technology Review; Dec. 3)
  • Mechanical Valve Design Goes Nano - Combining molecular ing with old-fashioned mechanics yields a design for a nanoscale valve that controls the flow of minute amounts of fluids. (MIT Technology Review; Oct. 14, 2004)

Environmental Concerns

  • Some Nanotubes Could Cause Cancer - New studies suggest that long carbon nanotubes behave like asbestos. Not all types of carbon nanotubes behave like cancer-causing asbestos. The "Nature Nanotechnology" article showed that short nanotubes (those less than 15 micrometers long) and long nanotubes that have become very tangled do not cause inflammation and lesions. (MIT Technology review; May 22, 2008)
  • Nanotech > Nano Safety Alert - Decades of research have brought these materials to a stage where they can provide real value to the world, including several energy applications. However, worker safety, consumer health, and the environmental impacts of such materials have to a large degree been ignored. (MIT Technology Review; Jan. 2, 2007)


In the News

See News:Nanotechnology - separate index page


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