Many People do not Believe in the Potential of Nanotechnology. E.ON does!
Therefore the aim of the 2008 call was to support research focused on novel, more powerful and cost-effective uses of nanotechnology in the field of energy production, conversion, storage and use. A total of nine research projects were awarded with the E.ON Research Award in April 2009.
New Nanostructures - Improved Energy Efficiency for Personal Electronic Equipment
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (London, UK)
he project aims to develop miniature power generators which operate on reclaimed waste heat using silicon and silicon-germanium nanostructures. The portable devices feature thermoelectric cells with semiconductor-based modules intended for use with mains- or battery-operated electrical appliances. They will generate electricity from the heat produced by electrical resistors and from waste heat. The electricity generated can then be used, for example, to re-charge appliance batteries and thereby improve overall energy efficiency.
Solar Cells of the Future Thanks to Carbon Nanotubes
University of Surrey - The Advanced Technology Institute, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences (Guildford, UK)
So far, no major progress has been made in the development of low-cost, efficient and reliable organic/polymer electronic components (plastic electronics) for large-scale mass production of solar photovoltaic units. Now novel carbon nanotubes in an organic composite material are expected to provide a breakthrough with respect to improved carrier mobility and long-term stability. In practice, this establishes the basis, for example, for the development of novel, large-area photovoltaic solar cells which are both efficient and cost-effective.
Diamond Nanoparticle Energy Converter for Highly Efficient Solar Generation
University of Bristol - School of Chemistry (UK)
Infrared radiation from solar light will be used to generate electricity in novel devices called thermionic energy converters. Nanotechnology will enable the development of special electrodes based on diamond powder, which is available on an industrial scale. The thermionic converter has the potential of achieving efficiencies of more than 40 percent when converting solar light to electricity.
High-Performance Nano-Sorbent for the Removal of CO2 - More Efficient Production of Hydrogen from Biofuels
University of Sydney - Laboratory for Sustainable Development (Australia)
A new nano-based CO2 sorbent is to be developed to improve production of hydrogen as an energy source from sustainable biofuels and non-recyclable industrial waste such as tires and plastics. The main goal is to develop a commercial-scale process where hydrogen is produced from locally-available materials while, at the same time, CO2 is separated for capture and storage. On this basis climate-friendly production of hydrogen may contribute on a large scale to further reducing CO2 emissions.
E.nanowires - for Solar Photovoltaic Generation and High Performance LEDs
Lund University - Faculty of Engineering (Sweden)
The E.nanowires project proposes a common, nanotechnology based electronic platform to enable a new generation of solar photovoltaic cells and lower-cost production of more efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs). These diverse applications will use nanowires based on silicon to create a high performance semiconductor. The project seeks to improve harvesting of the sun's light as electricity and lower the current 20 - 25 percent of electricity that is used for lighting.
Hydrogen from Solar Energy - at Low Cost and with Minimum Environmental Impact
University of Nottingham - School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (UK), University of Patras - Department of Chemical Engineering (Greece)
An innovative photo-catalytic process for the conversion of biomass to hydrogen is to be developed at laboratory scale, followed by pilot plant trials. The technique will be able to produce hydrogen fuel at ambient conditions using just three renewable resources: solar light, biomass and water. Energy-carrying hydrogen may then be used in a number of applications, including production of electricity with the use of fuel cells.
Nanotechnology for Optimized Natural Gas Storage in Vehicles
University of Erlangen-Nuremberg - Chair of Chemical Reaction Engineering (Germany)
As a fossil fuel which emits relatively low levels of CO2, natural gas could be an option for use as a motor fuel, until all-electric vehicles are more widely available. This project deals with the challenges involved in the storage of natural gas and pursues a completely new approach: Studied are sorption materials with tailored micropores in the sub nanometer region and superior heat transfer properties. These materials can help to avoid hot spots during fast charging and discharging of adsorptive storage tanks, which improves the safety and storage capacity.
Nanoelectrodes to Generate Low-Cost Hydrogen
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V, ISE Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Freiburg, Germany), University of South Carolina Research Foundation (Columbia, SC, USA)
Hydrogen as an energy storage medium may make an important contribution to meeting the challenges of aligning the availability and demand for renewable energies. In the electrolysis of water to produce oxygen and hydrogen, the focus of research and development in this project is on reducing costs and improving long-term reliability of components. The aims include developing nano structured electrodes which improve electrolysis, are stable with a long life and help reduce costs significantly.
Nanomaterials - More Efficient Heating and Cooling Systems
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., UMSICHT Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (Oberhausen, Germany)
In developed nations, domestic properties are one of the largest consumers of energy. Improvements in energy efficiency therefore mainly focus on heating, ventilation and air conditioning applications and the use of renewable energies. This project aims to develop solar-powered units for residential heating and cooling. Other potential heat sources are waste heat, district heat or process heat from small CHP plants. The goal is to manufacture significantly smaller and more compact main components using the latest nanomembrane technology and install self-cleaning nano-coated surfaces in the cooling units.