nanotechnologies

How do nanotechnologies contribute to the energy transition?

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The energy transition, which aims to increase energy efficiency and the share of renewable sources in the "energy mix", requires new technological solutions to be put in place and accepted by society. What exactly can nanotechnology, which seems to have a strong potential for innovation in this area, contribute? Can certain nanomaterials meet the challenges of energy capture (photovoltaic, thermoelectricity), storage (batteries, hydrogen) and insulation of structures and buildings? Are they safe for the environment? The NanoResp Forum in November 2015 addressed the advantages and disadvantages of nanotechnologies, their costs and their social perception from the point of view of their energy applications.
 
With :
- Didier NoëlSenior Researcher in Chemistry and Nanotechnology, EDF R&D
The landscape of nanotechnologies applied to energy transition
- Negar Naghavi, research director at the CNRS, Institute for Research and Development on Photovoltaic Energy (IRDEP)
Nanotechnology and photovoltaics
- Caroline PetignyHead of Sustainable Development and Scientific Relations, BASF France
Nanotechnologies and energy efficiency
- Mathieu BrugidouSenior Researcher in Sociology, EDF R&D
Applications of nanotechnologies to energy: the different ways in which the public is taken into account
- Fernand Doridot, Lecturer-researcher, Centre Ethique Technique et Société (CETS), ICAM of Lille
Life cycle, energy gains, toxicity... Counter-arguments and criticisms against the "green nanotechnology" programme
 

Nanotechnologies and energy transition. A few points of reference

Background
 
Aorld energy demand is expected to increase by 30 % by 2040 and electricity demand by 70 %, according to the International Energy Agency.[1]. However, climate change requires the use of more "low-carbon energy" and a reduction in the share of fossil fuels in consumption, which would also reduce the economic burden of oil and gas supply and secure production.
 
In the European Union, the "climate and energy framework[2]adopted in October 2014, and the Energy Roadmap to 2050[3] set three main objectives for 2030:
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % compared to 1990 levels ;
- increase the share of renewable energy to at least 27 % ;
- improve the energy efficiency of at least 27 %.
In France, the Energy Transition Law, published on August 18, 2015 [4], includes these objectives, but many implementing decrees are still missing.[5]. Concerning the supply of electricity, the Ademe recently published a study to "highlight the obstacles and measures to be implemented to accompany a policy of massive growth (80 % or more) of renewable electrical energy".[6]. In this scenario, the development of energy storage solutions of different sizes appears to be of paramount importance.
 
New energy technologies
 
In a recent study, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation (ISI, Karlsruhe), on behalf of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), concludes that nanotechnology will make a significant contribution to the energy sector, especially solar and storage, which is a pillar of the energy transition.[7].
 
Photovoltaic solar
In addition to the current monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon sectors, nanotechnologies could, for example, make it possible to use nanostructured silicon (nanowires), with the best yield, and would encourage the emergence of new photovoltaic sectors.
 
Energy storage
- Fuel cells: For example, in proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs), the mechanical temperature resistance and swelling resistance of the membrane can be improved by silica nanoparticles.
- Hydrogen storage in the form of solid and nanostructured magnesium hydrides (MgH2), coupled with a hydrogen generator by electrolysis or photolysis of water, could become competitive. The hydrogen can then be used to power fuel cells or transported for other applications such as cogeneration plants.[8].
- Supercapacitors: the use of nanomaterials should increase their energy storage capacity
- Electrochemical storage batteries: Nanotexturing of electrode materials allows to obtain a better capacity of lithium-ion batteries or to develop alternative technologies.
 
 

Nanomaterials and their applications for electrical energyLavoisier, Coll. EDF R&D, 2014. 

EuroNanoforum 2015 see session 1

Energy Materials Industrial Research Initiative (EMIRI)

Renewable Energy Guide 

 
[1] http://www.iea.org/
[2] http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2030/index_fr.htm
[3] http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2050/index_fr.htm
4] http://www.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/La-loi-de-transition-energetique,40895; http://www.vie-publique.fr/actualite/panorama/texte-discussion/projet-loi-relatif-transition-energetique-pour-croissance-verte.html
[5] http://www.lemoniteur.fr/article/loi-transition-energetique-le-calendrier-des-decrets-devoile-30059045
[6] http://www.ademe.fr/mix-electrique-100-renouvelable-analyses-optimisations
[7] http://www.iec.ch/about/brochures/pdf/technology/IEC_TR_Nanotechnology_LR.pdf
[8] http://www.mcphy.com/
 
 

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