There is a current fashion to relate everything to cleanteach or sustainability, and nanotech is no exception. In fact since the dawn of nanotechnology there has been much speculation over how nanotechnologies can enable a green and sustainable future, whether in replacing all manufacturing with table top nano assemblers or developing cleaner and more efficient ways of generating energy.
But despite all the hype, there has been no attempt to quantify the effect of nanotechnologies, so we thought it was time to put some numbers on it. This is the first report to quantify that impact in dollars, tons of materials and tons of carbon dioxide.
You can find a summary of the results in the free white paper here, or in the full report from Cientifica “Nanotechnologies for Sustainable Energy: Reducing Carbon Emissions Through Clean Technologies and Renewable Energy Sources“if you want to see the detailed numbers and the reasoning behind them.
The key points are that
- The major near-term benefit of nanotechnologies will be in reducing weight in the transportation sector with nanocomposite materials quickly diffusing across the automotive and aerospace industries
- Over the next seven years, highest growth opportunities will come from the application of nanomaterials to making better use of existing resources rather than generating new forms of renewable energy
- Highest growth rates will be in the development of renewable energy sources while the materials sector is already crowded
- Current applications of nanotechnologies will result in a global annual saving of 8 thousand tons of carbon dioxide in 2007, rising to over a million tons by 2014
It is a subject that we will be returning to on a more regular basis as both nanotechnologies and the desire to reduce emissions increase in importance. From a policy point of view it is important to know which technologies will have what kind of impact, and when, while business is more concerned with how to profit from the sustainability boom. We’ll be keeping an eye on both areas.