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Nanotechnology: Small particles for great challenges

Nanotechnology is about manipulating particles to make new materials. In one of the potentially most far-reaching projects, scientists want to prevent heat from disappearing during the burning of fossil fuels. This will dramatically increase the efficiency and reduce global warming.

Imagine if your jacket could charge your Ipod only by using your body heat. Or think in an even bigger perspective and imagine a world, where all waste heat could be absorbed and transformed into usable power.This can be reality.

At the iNano centre at Aarhus University, researchers are working hard to turn nanoscience into practical projects. This includes several fields concerning environmental issues, including thermo electrical materials;

These materials, when changed dramatically by being manufactured from different types and sizes of nanoparticles, are altered in capacity and function.
“These materials can absorb waste heat and transform it into power,” tells Tina Fredsted, scientific coordinator at iNano.
t the moment the world is only using 35-45 percent of their available energy. The process of changing the fossil fuels into energy produces heat, and this is where a lot the energy is lost.

Thermo electrical materials therefore offer an interesting solution in the attempt to increase the energy output from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels make up more than 80 percent of the world’s energy consumption, and a

So far this heat has not been utilized, but by using thermo electrical materials the wasted heat could be turned into power, enormously increasing the ouput of energy sources .  

By Sofie Skamris

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