Clean energy is seen as one of the most effective solutions to tackle climate change. According to a new study by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), almost 80 percent of the world's energy supply could come from renewable sources by 2050. As energy demand continues to soar, there is greater need to reduce our carbon footprint. Recently, nanotechnology has emerged as a promising new option for creating clean energy technologies.
A series of studies published in the journal Technology and Innovation - Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors depicts how a nanotechnology research conducted in Florida could potentially enhance energy efficiency. A new nanophosphor-based electro-luminescence lighting device will now be able to cater to the exact wavelengths of light needed for indoor photosynthesis in indoor, hydroponic agriculture. The nanotechnology-based light also has the potential to reduce energy costs significantly.
Similarly, researchers at the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic are looking at the use of nanoscale "rectenna" devices to convert waste heat into electrical energy. Rectennas are a combination of an antenna and a tunnel diode. They observed that some of the recent advances in nanotechnology have made harvesting of solar energy by rectenna more viable.
In a first-ever experiment of its kind, American researchers at the Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered the capability of very small metal nanoparticles for making fuel from water. They found that the use of gold particles smaller than one nanometer resulted in greater hydrogen production than other co-catalysts tested.
More recently, Venezuela also began studying the use of nanotechnology for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases caused by the oil industry. Venezuela is responsible for 0.48 percent of worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases and 0.56 percent of carbon dioxide, as per the Ministry of the Environment. Using nanotechnology, researchers are aiming at reduction of emissions of nitrous oxide and methane, two of the most potent greenhouse gases.
No doubt, green nano products based on clean energy applications are an emerging market. As the development of green nanotechnologies gains momentum, more strides are expected to be made in this space going forward.