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Energy and Nanotechnologies: Australia’s Future Essay

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Updated: Mar 31st, 2022

Written by Greg Tegart, the article, “Energy and nanotechnologies: Priority areas for Australia’s future”, discusses the use of nanotechnology for energy research to develop alternative and efficient sources of energy that can meet the current challenges of climate change and the high-energy requirement by emerging economies (Tegart, 2009, pp. 1240-46). It describes the application of nanotechnology in energy production, the integration of materials derived from nanotechnology in energy storage devices, and the development of environmentally friendly approaches to energy sustainability in Australia. The research and applications of nanotech materials like solar thermal systems, photovoltaic cells, and fuel cells are described as technologies capable of enabling countries such as Australia to meet their energy challenges. The author argues that, given the concerns about the security and sustainability of the current fossil energy sources and the impacts on climate change, nanotechnologies involving an integrated approach provide the best means of meeting these challenges. The author describes the improvement in energy efficiency, harvesting and storage, sustainability, and cost reduction in the energy sector as the applications of these nanotechnologies.

Background

Given the concerns about the sustainability and the security of the energy supply, the fast pace of economic development, the connection between global warming and fossil fuels, the author seeks to investigate alternative energy efficient technologies for energy conversion, transmission and, use. The main aim of the author is to present the viewpoints and advances in energy nanotechnologies from various experts to find solutions to the current energy challenges. At the current rate, the energy demand would exceed the supply, given the over-reliance on non-renewable sources of energy like oil by most economies. In addition, fossil fuels contribute to climate change and the available technologies are not sufficient to substitute the fossil fuels. Based on these observations, the author recommends an integrated approach involving the use of various nanotechnologies to promote energy use efficiency. The approach used in the study involves combining the different expert views into energy solution technologies. The article derives its findings from a study carried out by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), which involved collecting the views of energy experts using questionnaires and integrating them into future energy solutions for Australia with respect to increased electricity demands in the cities.

The research established that climate change, fast rate of economic growth, sustainability, and security of supply as the major concerns that influence the future energy policy for Australia. After the assessment of the views collected, the research found out that nanotechnology can be applied in Australia in three different ways viz. short-term needs including energy conservation and photovoltaic cells, medium term needs, which involve energy conversion using nano-materials, and long-term needs usage, which involves a nano-based hydrogen economy.

In my opinion, the author’s description of the application of nano-materials in recent energy harvesting and storage advances provides important insights that are required in the energy sector to meet the increasing demand for energy. However, I think the technologies should be applied in a way that includes the environment to reduce degrading environmental impacts. The article has been helpful to me, particularly regarding the nano-materials and their potential to meet the current global energy challenges. However, I feel that the environment is not addressed sufficiently and the impact of the nano-materials on the environment is still unclear and needs more research. In addition, the article does not present the most recent nanotechnologies including solar and hydrogen technologies. To improve the paper, I would recommend the author to focus more on the potential impacts of nannanomaterials on the environment and the latest advances in energy nanotechnologies.

References

Tegart, G. (2009). Energy and nanotechnologies: Priority areas for Australia’s future. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 76, 1240-1246.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Energy and Nanotechnologies: Australia’s Future." March 31, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/energy-and-nanotechnologies-australias-future/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Energy and Nanotechnologies: Australia’s Future'. 31 March.

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