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August 28th, 2009
Fighting Climate Change at Nanoscale
Climate laws alone cannot shift the global energy paradigm to clean, renewable sources by 2050, but with the help of nanoscience they just might.
U.S. scientists are on the leading edge of nanoscience work that has the potential to facilitate a quantum leap in technology innovation.
This relatively new area of scientific work involves control of materials at the atomic, or molecular, level causing it to undergo a quantum change that makes it lighter and better by increasing the surface size and strength of products, explains Wade Adams, director of the Richard B. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology at Rice University.
"Enabled by nanotechnology, electric cars will happen faster than we ever thought possible," Adams says, explaining that nanoscience is increasing the charge life of batteries, which improves travel distance for electric cars between charges. He notes that a lithium-ion battery patented by A123 Systems uses a nanophosphate cathode chemistry material instead of cobalt oxide, which will provide the Chevy Volt a 200-mile driving range.
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