from the deep-in-the-heart-of-Texas dept.
An article in the Houston Business Journal ("Nanotechnology may help city keep energy capital title", by A. Coleman, 1 June 2001) makes the audacious claim that "Houston is the center of research into nanotechnology", and ponders how nanotech may help the oil capital retain its primacy in energy production industries. The article quotes Richard Smalley, director of Rice's Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, who says he does not know of any short-term applications of nanotechnology to energy, but the long-term benefits will be tremendous: lighter-weight materials, better insulation, and, in the very long term, solar energy generation. "If there is an answer to our solar energy needs it most certainly will be nano," says Smalley.
The article also mentions potential applications of nanotechnology in molecular electronics (quoting Riceís James Tour) and in oil exploration, extraction and processing, as well as cleaning up spills and pollution from fossil fuels.