Table of Contents
Key Findings of Study
Nanotechnology development has attracted a lot of interest from global energy, automotive, and consumer electronics stakeholders such as Toshiba, LG, Samsung and Apple.
In wind turbines, nano-composites enable the development of lighter but stronger rotor blades and enhance corrosion resistance with the help of nano-coatings. The corrosion resistance also applies for bearings and power trains.
Li-ion batteries are the products that are mostly influenced by nanotechnologies in the energy storage domain. The innovations include nanostructured electrodes, and ceramic separator foils. The applications are directed toward consumer electronics and electric vehicles.
Nanotech in solar PV projects mainly appears in the form of nano-optimized solar cells that are applicable to a number of cells such as polymeric, dye-sensitized, thin film and multiple junction. The performance of the cells can be improved with the help of anti-reflective coating or by implementing coatings that improve absorption of sunlight.
Fuel cells are a viable option for energy generation-on-demand and nanotechnology improves the performance with carbon aerogels, carbon nanotubes, metals oxides and electrolytes for higher energy densities. Also, nanoporous materials such as organometals and metal hydrides promises developments in the fuel cells/micro fuel cells domain.
Most of the technologies are still in R&D phase. Proper commercialization can be expected by late 2016 in countries such as USA and China. Innovations in Europe are led by Germany, UK and the Nordic countries. There has been very few instances of commercialization so far.
Nanoporous materials (such as zeolites) are also employed for absorptive hydrogen storage, which supports hydrogen fuel cells technology.
R&D Focus Areas
Graphene is a pure carbon with very thin thickness, and also exhibiting superior semiconductor properties, which triggered most researchers to incorporate this material in solar structures. Use of graphene in solar cells still in demonstration phase.
•A joint team from Oxford University, UK, and Universitat Jaume I, Spain create a photovoltaic (PV) cell by combining graphene, titanium dioxide and perovskite structure. This combination reduce processing temperature, thus reducing cost, while still maintaining 15.6% conversion efficiency of solar cell.
•Researchers from Rice University, USA, combined graphene with carbon nanotubes as electrode for dye-sensitized solar cells. This electrode is to replace platinum electrode, which has adhesion and brittleness problems. This also encourages electrons to move freely, thereby improving conductivity.
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