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

Nanotechnology encompasses science, engineering, and technology at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. Just how small is that? A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. For reference, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nanometers thick. Nanoscale matter can behave differently than the same bulk material. For example, a material’s melting point, color, strength, chemical reactivity, and more may change at the nanoscale.

Researchers seeking to understand the fundamentals of properties at the nanoscale may call their work nanoscience; those focused on effective use of the properties may call their work nanoengineering. Encompassing nanoscale science, engineering, and technology, nanotechnology involves imaging, measuring, modeling, and manipulating matter at the nanoscale.

Learn more in the Nano 101 section.

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