Potential of nanotechnology for clean energy draws attention of US presidential candidates

Potential of nanotechnology for clean energy draws attention of US presidential candidates

A role for nanotech applications can be seen in the responses to the US energy crisis made by both candidates for the US Presidency. In remarks prepared for delivery in Lansing, Michigan Senator Barack Obama called for new energy for America. Among the many steps he advocated:

The second step I’ll take is to require that 10% of our energy comes from renewable sources by the end of my first term — more than double what we have now. To meet these goals, we will invest more in the clean technology research and development that’s occurring in labs and research facilities all across the country and right here at MSU, where you’re working with farm owners to develop this state’s wind potential and developing nanotechnology that will make solar cells cheaper.

A recent MSU news release highlighted the energy applications of a new nanomaterial developed in the laboratory of MSU researcher Lawrence Drzal—xGnP Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets.

“XGnP can either be used as an additive to plastics or by itself it can make a transformational change in the performance of many advanced electronic and energy devices,” Drzal said. “It can do so because it’s a nanoparticle with a unique shape made from environmentally benign carbon, and it can be made at a very reasonable cost.”

As a step toward solving American energy problems, Senator John McCain has suggested a national prize of $300 million for anyone who can develop a better, more efficient car battery. Although Senator McCain did not mention nanotechnology in his proposal, nanotech solutions for better batteries were mentioned in several comments posted in response to the article.

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One Comment

  1. AST August 8, 2008 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    I’m all in favor of nanotech, but I don’t think it’s helpful to constantly promote it in a way that suggests it’s a quick fix for our current energy crisis.

    We have allowed ourselves to become dependent on hostile or unstable nations who are hardly as concerned about the environment as we are. We would do better by developing our own natural resources and investing the economic returns in promising new technologies, without announcing the Next Nano Thing until it’s ready to market.

    If I have misinterpreted the state of these developments, I apologize, but I can’t imagine anything here enabling us to wean ourselves from oil overnight.

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