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Nano and energy

Energy production

Solar panel 'wallpaper'

One of the big promises of nanotechnology is cheaper and more efficient solar power. Nano can help make very thin and flexible solar cells which are made in what's called a roll-to-roll process in the same way wallpaper is printed.

While flexible solar cells are cheaper to produce they are not yet as efficient at collecting the energy from the sun as the silicon-based ones. But the cost and effectiveness of these flexible solar cells continues to drop as manufacturing methods improve.

In the future, you might be able to wallpaper the outside your house with solar to get all your energy from the sun.

Thermoelectricity - generating electricity from heat

Another area where nano is transforming an 'old' technology is thermoelectricity in which energy is converted to electricity and vice versa. Applications might include cooling computers and running fridges, converting the energy from cars into electricity, even replacing engines in cars in the future. It already works in some cars to use the energy from the car to power the heated seats.

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