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Nanotech Group Targets Energy Security

Getting nano–solar cells, batteries, across the "valley of death" is key
nanotechnology-energy-environment-development



ISTOCKPHOTO/ALWYNCOOPER

Lockheed Martin Corp. is joining forces with a new trade association to promote the commercialization of innovative clean-energy technologies.

The NanoAssociation for Natural Resources and Energy Security (NANRES), which launched yesterday, plans to work on developing and commercializing nano-projects that focus on alternative domestic energy sources, with the goal of strengthening the country's resource security. It has members in the defense, clean energy, nanotechnology, finance and environmental sectors.

"The nexus between national security and energy and the environment will become increasingly evident as the effects of climate change limit our access to natural resources and issues stemming from our ongoing addiction to oil and other fossil fuels exacerbate," said Erin Ross, the group's president, in a statement.

Nanotechnology involves manipulating matter at the nanoscale, down to 1/100,000 the width of a human hair. Researchers are testing ways to use nanotechnology to revolutionize energy applications, including solar panels and lithium-ion batteries that are more efficient and space-based sensors that can monitor climate change. Nanomaterials also could one day extract energy from waste heat.

Nanotechnology will be a $3.1 trillion industry by 2015, NANRES estimates, buoyed by an increased demand for technological innovation to meet pressing environmental and energy concerns. But nanotech research has struggled to advance beyond the "Valley of Death," the gap between laboratory and market, because the need to create new materials is almost always capital-intensive.

Industry and academia have responded by partnering to help commercialize technologies. For example, Lockheed Martin last year partnered with Rice University to develop new technologies for a broad range of applications in electronics, energy and security.

Reprinted from Greenwire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500

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