1/31/2013 10:25:59 AM
Intelligent Utility: Nanotechnology set to revolutionize smart grid evolution
The definition of nanotechnology is simple: It’s merely technology that manipulates matter at the atomic level. When I think of nanotechnology, however, I often picture the complicated, such as a tidal wave of the tiniest of robots doing the greatest of medical work: repairing organs, binding skin. In essence, I envision a Philip K. Dick science fiction world of nano. The truth is, though, nanotechnology is already hard at work inside paints (known as wet nano for its use of water) and even the technology of our smart grid industry (known as dry nano for its use of structures).
“Nanotech is a platform,” said Dr. Pradeep Haldar, vice president for clean energy programs with the College of Nanoscale Science & Engineering with the University of Albany (UAlbany CNSE). “It’s not single product or process. With the help of nano, we can make technology better and cheaper. We can make electronic devices along the smart grid smarter.”
A driver in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s economic development blueprint in New York, UAlbany CNSE is dedicated to education, research, development and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience and nanoeconomics. The college’s Albany NanoTech Complex is an 800,000-square-foot megaplex. CNSE and over 300 corporate partners employ more than 2,700 working scientists, researchers, engineers, students and faculty on site, with an additional 1,000 to be enabled by a planned expansion.
Dr. Haldar views power electronics (tech widgets along the lines, in substations and control centers) as the main area of the smart grid where nanotechnology can make a serious impact, creating devices that are faster and cheaper and enabling those devices to be used in a lot more places and with a lot more flexibility.