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Report: Nanotech Can Cut Green Energy Costs

Wind turbines at dusk (NREL)

(National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

In a new report, a technology research company estimates the use of available nanotechnologies can significantly reduce the cost of producing energy from renewable sources. ABI Research in New York says that worldwide investment in renewable energy will top $2 trillion on a cumulative basis from 2010 through 2015, but over that same period using nanotechnologies in the solar and wind markets could save nearly $300 billion in capital expenditure.

ABI Research anticipates that between 2010 and 2015 new solar photovoltaic installations and new wind installations implemented over that period will total 652 gigawatts of new energy production. Fuel cell shipments will total more than 35 million units over that period as well, indicating that sector is getting closer to large-scale commercialization.

The new report, “Nanotechnologies for Renewable Energy Generation,” examines how the use of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in the production of photovoltaic solar cells, wind turbines and blades, and fuel cells, can increase these products’ efficiency in generating electricity, as well as reducing manufacturing costs and improving durability.

Research director Larry Fisher of the company’s emerging technologies research incubator says, “The addition of nanomaterials to the manufacturing processes makes solar cells, wind turbines, and fuel cells cheaper to produce, while improving their efficiency in generating electricity.” Fisher cites as an example, wind turbine blades than can be made stronger, lighter, and more durable with nanomaterials, and to last longer while generating more electricity.

Related: Student, Company Produce Nanotech for Solar Cells

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