Nanotechnology for the energy challenge

Nanotechnology for the energy challenge 

Javier Garcia-Martinez and Ernest Moniz (eds)

Weinheim, Germany: Wiley-VCH2010 | 497pp | ?120.00 (HB)

ISBN 9783527324019

Reviewed by George Chen


This book’s cover picture stimulates the imagination as to the important contributions that nanotechnology can make in the field of energy: the earth is locked up inside a giant buckminsterfullerene with an inserted golden key waiting for a turning hand. Having researched nanomaterials and energy for some years, I found the book refreshing and informative.

It covers three main areas related to energy - conversion from renewable sources, storage and transport, and sustainability - and explores efficiency improvements through nanotechnology. Written by 37 international contributors, many of whom are world-leaders in their own fields, the book presents concise accounts of the principles of relevant nanotechnologies, and offers authoritative assessments on historical and current research findings.

The book relates the advantages and perspectives of nanotechnology to either traditional energy fields (such as photovoltaics, thermoelectricity, fuel cells, hydrogen and catalysis) or new frontiers (including dye-sensitised photoelectrochemical cells; lithium-ion batteries, supercapacitors; superconductors, biofuels; CO2 capture and storage; organic light-emitting and electrochromic and thermochromic devices).

Chapter 10 in particular highlights the energetic costs in nanofabrication, either top-down or bottom-up; this aspect is unfortunately overlooked by many. The various unconventional approaches described in chapter 10 deserve the attention of all researchers of nanotechnology.

The book has a good index of technical terms, good quality graphical illustrations and a good reference list for further information. The book, which can be read either as a monograph, or by dipping into chapters of interest, should be of value to all researchers in energy and nanotechnology.