DOE: Nanomanufacturing for Energy Efficiency workshop report (2007)

Subject Area:
Non-NNI External Workshop Reports
EHS-related Documents
Author: DOE
Publication Date: Dec. 1 2007

Industrial stakeholders recognize that significant energy savings are possible from the use of nanotechnologies in industrial manufacturing settings. Estimates of 0.5 to 1.1 quadrillion Btu/year* of energy savings and over 60 million metric tons of CO2e/yr† reduction have been predicted as benefits from a limited set of nanotechnology applications in the chemicals, refining, and maritime industries alone. Given this potential, accelerating the development of nanomanufacturing technologies is critical in reducing industrial energy consumption and strengthening the global competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector. However, substantial technical challenges must be overcome to enable a commercially viable nanomanufacturing industry.   More then 100 industry experts, scientists, and engineers met on June 5-6, 2007 at the Nanomanufacturing for Energy Efficiency Workshop to identify nanomanufacturing research, development and demonstration (RD&D) needs and business initiatives that, if implemented, will lead to sizeable energy reductions and increased productivity in the industrial sector in the next 5 to 10 years. The following crosscutting manufacturing areas were identified as target applications:  
  • Catalysis – lower temperature reactions and reduction of byproducts
  • Coatings – low-friction, low-drag, and self-lubricating surfaces
  • Light-weighting – reduced rotating, sliding, and conveying weights
  • Material modification – ultra-hard, wear-resistant, and enhanced properties
  • Separations – alternative to distillation and evaporative processes
  • Thermal management – superior heat transfer fluids, low conductivity barriers
  • Thin films – thermoelectric heat recovery, energy storage

The Workshop sessions identified two applied research and engineering challenges in developing a reliable industrial nanomanufacturing base:

  • the ability to produce nanomaterials with the requisite qualities and in quantities useful for industry manufacturing applications, and
  • the ability to integrate these nanomaterials at an industrial scale into useful products without losing the nanomaterial’s unique properties that produce the desired result.

Nanotechnology Fact

The NNI community extends beyond the Federal Government and includes grantees, students, companies, technical and professional societies, foundations, and others engaged in nanotechnology research and development. This vibrant community exists in large part as a result of the efforts of the NNI agencies over the past two decades. With the expansion of scientific knowledge in nanotechnology, formal and informal collaborations have developed among researchers across a diverse range of fields and countries. These interactions and collaborations have been and continue to be facilitated by agency activities including public–private partnerships, research centers, and networks. In addition to providing fabrication, characterization, and testing capabilities, the NNI’s physical infrastructure also provides a place for researchers, industry, and ideas to mix, further expanding the community. This community has broken down the traditional disciplinary boundaries and laid the foundation for interdisciplinary discovery, which is increasingly vital to research as fields converge.

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