[UPDATE: see the comments for some skepticism about this product.] Normally we only expect insulation to save energy, not generate it. Now a nanotechnology-based coating will move the state-of-the-art to the second category, as brought to our attention by Meridian:

U.S. company Industrial Nanotech, Inc. is developing a thermal insulation material that can use the temperature differential created by insulation to generate electricity. Industrial Nanotech CEO Stuart Burchill said: “The benefit of a thin sheet of thermal insulation that could be used in the walls or attics of homes or in the walls of commercial buildings and, instead of just helping conserve energy could create energy, is incalculable. The fact that there is almost always, day or night and anywhere in the world, a difference between the temperature inside a building and outside a building gives us an almost constant source of energy generation to tap into.”

Very cool. Near-term nano is starting to really deliver. Just wait until more advanced Productive Nanosystems arrive. To hear about those, join us next week at our conference in the DC area (PDF) on Oct. 9-10. —Christine