Energy and nanotechnology workshop to focus on solar energy

10/13/04

Rice University has invited experts from government, industry, and academia to share ideas

Prospects for solar energy in the 21st century will be analyzed by scientists, policy-makers, economists and industry experts meeting at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston Oct. 16-17 for Rice's second Energy and Nanotechnology Workshop. Topics to be discussed include the state of the solar industry, a rationale for renewable energy, the economics and public policy of solar-derived energy, the science and technology of photovoltaic, thermal and photocatalytic systems and the potential of new materials to advance the science of solar power.

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Konarka Technologies, Shell Solar, BP Solar, New York University, University of California-Berkeley, Kassel University, Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, California Institute of Technology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, University of Houston and Rice University are on the program. "Identifying new and clean but affordable energy supplies for the growing U.S. economy will be a key challenge facing the next generation of Americans," said Edward Djerejian, director of the Baker Institute.

Nobel laureate Richard Smalley, University Professor, the Gene and Norman Hackerman Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics, is the key organizer of the conference as well as of Rice University's effort to find meaningful breakthroughs in energy science. "What is needed in U.S. energy science is a vast effort capable of providing a new nontraditional source of energy that is at least twice the size of all worldwide energy consumed today, and have it readily available by the middle of the 21st century," he said. Amy Myers Jaffe, the Wallace S. Wilson Fellow for Energy Studies at the Baker Institute and associate director of the Rice Energy Program and the Shell Center for Sustainability, noted, "This workshop will investigate potential contributions of solar-derived energy to a more efficient electricity grid in the United States and the role of nanoscience in advancing solar technology."

Co-sponsoring the private workshop with the Baker Institute are Rice's Environmental and Energy Systems Institute, the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) and the Shell Center for Sustainability. These entities have invited top experts from the United States and abroad to allow industry, government and academia to blend their talents and knowledge to come up with innovative approaches to harness and utilize solar power.

"As we move toward the middle of the 21st century, it will be critical that we find revolutionary breakthroughs in energy science and technology," said Wade Adams, director of CNST. "CNST has a strong commitment to this goal, and we're excited about bringing together scientists and policy-makers to discuss how nanoscience can be harnessed to promote the growth of solar power."

Source: Eurekalert & others

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