Energy Challenges, Nanotech Solutions?

NISE Network product
Description: 

This forum places participants in the role of a governmental funding agency and asks them to consider how nanotechnology should fit into the timeline and scope of future national energy policy.

A scientific expert begins the forum by providing a brief intro to nanotechnology and describing some of its potential benefits and possible uncertainties. A short video follows with three expert perspectives who discuss three possible energy funding strategies: Nanotechnology-dependent energy technologies. Existing alternative energy technologies. Conservation and energy efficiency.

The participants are then asked to consider how they would allocate $100 million of hypothetical research and implementation funding between the strategies. Discussion cards describing various hypothetical scenarios are then presented to the groups, and the groups are asked to consider whether and how these scenarios might change their funding allocations.

Audience: 

Objectives

Big Idea: 
Given the potential energy benefits as well as the unknown environmental and health risks and the uncertainties associated with nanotechnology, how should nanotechnology research fit into domestic energy policies in the near future?
NISE Net Content Map: 
  • Nanoscience, nanotechnology, and nanoengineering lead to new knowledge and innovations that weren't possible before.
  • Nanotechnologies—and their costs, utility, risks, and benefits—are closely interconnected with society and with our values.

Credits

Funding: 
Developed for the NISE Network with funding from the National Science Foundation under Award Numbers 0532536 and 0940143. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.
Permissions: 

Creative Commons license image Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike

Development Process: 

NISE Network products are developed through an iterative collaborative process that includes scientific review, peer review, and visitor evaluation in accordance with an inclusive audiences approach. Products are designed to be easily edited and adapted for different audiences under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. To learn more, visit our Development Process page.