Energy - Overview - About the sector - Text web content

Energy sustainability is one of the main global challenges facing the world today. Nanotechnology has the potential to contribute to energy sustainability by reducing consumption, improving the infrastructure for energy generation, transmission and use, and offering new methods for energy production.

Nanotechnology is being applied to improve energy sustainability at levels from the research bench to the production line. In solar energy, work is underway to make existing systems for the conversion of light to electricity more efficient, to find new and improved methods of conversion using novel materials such as quantum dots and nanowires, and to better connect energy capture from the sun to the grid. Developments in nanotechnology are also focused on enabling more efficient production of hydrogen from water and on improving its storage. Nanotechnology is providing solutions for storage, addressing the high cost and short running times of batteries for electric vehicles and consumer electronics through new materials and their application. Carbon nanotubes are being viewed as high-strength, lightweight materials for the rotor blades of wind and other turbines. Nanomaterials can also be used to lubricate bearings, reduce heating of components and provide enhanced wear resistance, thereby increasing energy efficiency. Biological processes often operate at the nanoscale and nanotechnology has a role to play in alternatives in optimising the conversion of biomass, including algae, into energy.