3 Renewable-Energy Nanotech Projects to Watch

Nanotechnology being developed by researchers in Florida could be the key to increased energy efficiency across applications ranging from harnessing ocean waves to growing plants indoors.

by / November 20, 2012
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

According to three studies published in the journal Technology and Innovation – Proceedings of the National Academy of Inventors, nanotechnology research being conducted in Florida could improve energy efficiency in several different applications.

One such project, which is being developed by researchers at the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Florida Atlantic University, will attempt to use the energy in ocean waves and current, Phys.org reported. Through research and development of materials and marine current turbines, great advances in harnessing the ocean's kinetic energy can be made, according to researchers.

Another project, which is being developed by engineers from the University of South Florida's Clean Energy Resource Center, attempted to use “rectenna” devices to convert waste heat into electrical energy. These devices capture thermal radiation, which oftentimes is an overlooked source of renewable energy, according to Phys.org. Rectennas, which are a combination of an antenna and a tunnel diode, could be more efficient than solar power if the technology is made to be more efficient.

Physicists from the University of South Florida are looking at ways to use nanotechnology in greenhouses to improve energy efficiency. For use in hydroponic agriculture, a new lighting device -- called a nanophosphor-based electroluminesence lighting device -- could be used to create precise wavelengths of light required for indoor photosynthesis, eliminating wasted energy and saving growers money.

More information on these and other research projects can be found at the Technology and Innovation journal.

Photo of hydroponics courtesy of Shutterstock