Nanotechnology – energy savings
Nanotechnology is often referred to as being a “key technology” of the 21st century, and the expectations for innovative products and new market potentials are high. The prediction is that novel products with new or improved functionality, or revolutionary developments in the field of medicine, will improve our lives in the future. Importantly, these technical innovations have also raised great hopes in the environmental sector.
One of the multiple arias where the nano-technologies are applied is the energy savings through weight reduction or through optimized function:
- In the future, novel, nano-technologically optimized materials, for example plastics or metals with carbon nanotubes (CNTs), will make airplanes and vehicles lighter and therefore help reduce fuel consumption;
- Novel lighting materials (OLED: organic light-emitting diodes) with nanoscale layers of plastic and organic pigments are being developed; their conversion rate from energy to light can apparently reach 50 % (compared with traditional light bulbs = 5%);
- Nanoscale carbon black has been added to modern automobile tires for some time now to reinforce the material and reduce rolling resistance, which leads to fuel savings of up to 10%;
- Self-cleaning or “easy-to-clean”-coatings, for example on glass, can help save energy and water in facility cleaning because such surfaces are easier to clean or need not be cleaned so often;
- Nanotribological wear protection products as fuel or motor oil additives could reduce fuel consumption of vehicles and extend engine life;
- Nanoparticles as flow agents allow plastics to be melted and cast at lower temperatures;
- Nanoporous insulating materials in the construction business can help reduce the energy needed to heat and cool buildings.