Nanotechnology to Battle Climate Change



The right use of nanoparticles yields lesser fuel consumption and harness renewable energy sources against climate change.

Climate change is no more fiction. We are witnessing the change in the last decade with increasing temperatures, alarming pollution levels, rise in sea levels, and ocean acidification. The level of CO2 emissions has risen to painful levels. According to WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, CO2 levels in 2019, crossed 410 parts per million, which was larger than the annual growth rate in the last decade. 

Nanotechnology, the nascent field of science emerges to be an efficient contributor in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The University of Adelaide researchers in 2013, had developed a new nanomaterial that reduces CO2 emissions from coal-powered fire stations. There are several other scientific developments in the field of nanotechnology and its use. The Guardian report mentions how nanotechnology can turn bricks into batteries. The report further says, “The new technology exploits the porous nature of fired red bricks by filling the pores with tiny nanofibres of a conducting plastic that can store charge. The first bricks store enough electricity to power small lights. But if their capacity can be increased, they may become a low-cost alternative to the lithium-ion batteries currently used.”

Nanotechnology in reducing fuel consumption

Fuel consumptions by vehicles are one of the main contributors to CO2 emission and producing greenhouse gases. Using nanoparticles in the construction of vehicles will reduce their weight, which in turn lowers fuel consumption. Nanoparticles are great catalysts with better air-to-fuel mixing and aid better fuel combustion, Nanoparticles fuel additives are significant contributors to ensure maximum energy efficiency. For example, Cerium Oxide is proven to be an efficient catalyst due to its high surface-volume ratio.  

Efficient Use of Renewable Energy

Nanoparticles on solar panels use less energy and provide maximum efficiency. They increase the energy storage and improves the performance of a specific device. Graphene being a stronger nanomaterial, yields better performance of renewable energy sources. Traditional solar panels are silicon-based and hence very expensive to humans. Incorporating nanomaterials will reduce the costs and make it affordable by adopting thin-film flexible solar panels. Photovoltaic cells based on nanoparticles and polymers will ensure maximum use of energy from the sun. 

Waste Management 

We are on the verge of losing our freshwater resources due to immense pollution by organic, inorganic, and chemical waste. Nanotechnology is a great technique to treat wastewater. Nanomaterials signify as purifying agents since they are tiny particles and highly reactive. Nanomaterial has distinct characteristics like high surface area-volume ration and hence, can effectively absorb pollutants and help treat them. 

They are also said to be efficient in treating radioactive waste. 

What Other Benefits?

Nanotechnology can be used in sensors to detect underground water levels or degradation levels in smart grids. They play a pivotal role in the development of smart cities. Nanotechnology also helps in harvesting CO2 by capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reusing it for industrial purposes. This amount of CO2 can also be converted into usable gases like methane. 

Nanotechnology is yet to be received by mainstream industries in their operations. Embracing Nanotech can be a prominent step towards fighting climate change and preserving greener earth for our posterity.