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Holister on nanotechnology and energy

Paul Holister, winner of the 2003 Foresight Prize in Communication, has an upcoming book on nanotechnology and energy to be published by John Wiley. While we wait for that, we can read this interview at Excerpt:

At the other extreme of nanotech impact, you have solar energy. We are children in this area, and the playground is built on the nanoscale. Almost any development is going to involve nanotech — an intriguing recent exception being the use of lenses to focus light on old-fashioned silicon photovoltaics, thus demanding less of this expensive material. This is one of the areas where nanotech-enabled technology could well be revolutionary.

But what makes for a revolution in energy generation? Two things: availability and economics. The fact that solar energy is so bountiful — enough hits the Earth in a minute to meet our global requirements for at least a week — makes it potentially revolutionary; it’s just the cost of capturing that energy that has been standing in the way. Reduce that enough, or increase the cost of the alternatives, and you have a revolution.

Bring it on! —Christine

7 Responses to “Holister on nanotechnology and energy”

  1. Leroy Falconer Says:

    i agree with this %100, while the energy is given freely it is the cost of harnesting this energy and using it to specific need is the prob.
    so no doubt if it could become a cheaper and more redily source of energy( in all means, house hold electrical and so on) then no doubt you would have a revolution

  2. hannabeprakash srikanth Says:

    i too agree that harnessing the plenty could potentially give a jumpstart to the availability if resouses when its just the right time having dwindled all the fossil fuels

  3. Charles H. Tankersley Says:

    come to think of it, we could with today’s available technology, begin to build our homes with (a few nanotech improved composites) non-poluting materials such as steel (recycled?) and concrete. Cover the roof with (nanotech enhanced) solar cells to provide the power to disassociate water, releasing the oxygen to the atmosphere and enrich the natural gas (fossil fuel) system with the hydrogen. With hybred solid oxide fuel cells fuel cells (fuel cell+heat engine driven generator) delivering electric power at near 80% to 95% efficiency, the home can produce enough energy to supply several neighbors. The cost would be high to start, however, with governments’ assistance (some isalready provided), the costs and many of our polution and energy problems will decline. I feel the need is now, not at some point in the future. It has taken mankind a century to produce the problem, but mankind can dedicate the 21st century to reducing the problem if he starts NOW.

  4. daveorbit2 Says:

    Solar energy is most abundent between 10 am and 2 pm. Electrical usage is highest from 4 to 6 pm in the summer. Home electrical loads continue all night. How can solar provide for night time generation. It is at best an auxillary generator.
    If the solar is used to make H2 then the H2 can be stored.

  5. Aubrey Veazey Says:

    It’s a shame it has taken us so long to open our eyes and say, lets try this. We need to be harvesting the energy of the sun, wind, and water and eliminate the senseless pollution from burning fossil fuels. Its almost as if the big oil companies feel they only can meet the energy needs of the world. Lets move toward a more efficient bountiful energy source that won’t pollute our environment and deplete our natural resources.

  6. Jeremy Dombroski Says:

    Solar panels in use today for homes store the energy collected by day in a bank of batteries for use at night. With more efficient capture and storage solutions coming out of Nano, fully energy self-sufficient homes will become more of an economic reality for folks.

    It all boils down to economics, if somebody comes up with a cheap-N-easy alternative to grid-electricity then people will buy it. So long as the solar investment seems more expensive fossil fuels win.

  7. Technut News » Our Technological Future - Mixed Bag #18 Says:

    [...] Holister on nanotechnology and energy [...]

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