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.