Sergio Kapusta: A lot of the things that are important to life – and a lot of the things that are important to energy – they all occur at the very small scale.
Sergio Kapusta is a scientist at Shell. When he says “small,” he means the scale of atoms and molecules – the scale of a new technology, nanotechnology.
Sergio Kapusta: We think that nanotechnology has the potential to help us produce more energy. It can help us produce energy from more difficult sources, and it can also help us protect the environment, remove CO2, clean the water. That’s the promise of nanotechnology.
Kapusta said engineering at very small scales can dramatically improve the strength of steel, for example. He said some nanoparticles will be able to “sense” their environment – relay that information to scientists – and even repair themselves.
Sergio Kapusta: Applications of these self-repair materials could be for pipelines, pipelines that will not leak. Because if they break, before they leak, they will repair themselves.
Plus nano has applications in renewable energy.
Sergio Kapusta: Catalysts that are based on nanotechnology will make the conversion of hydrogen into energy that is in a fuel cell much more efficient than it is today.
Many scientists believe nanotech is part of the solution to the energy challenge of this century.
This podcast was made possible in part by Shell – encouraging dialog on the energy challenge.
Our thanks to:
Shell Chief Scientist, Materials
Shell Global Solutions
Jorge Salazar has conducted thousands of in-depth interviews with scientists in the process of creating science content for EarthSky. He also helps host the 90-second EarthSky podcasts. Jorge has a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He knows a lot about a lot of different things. For EarthSky, he has explored subjects as diverse as nanotechnology, ecosystem-based management, climate change, global health, international environmental treaties, astrophysics and cosmology, and environmental security. His penetrating research style, poetic writing, and ability to track down and speak with Nobel prize-winning laureates, all make him a huge asset to EarthSky.