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Posted: June 22, 2009

Nano technology isn’t the future: It’s today

Nano Renewable Energy Summit continues Tuesday at DU

Patricia Kaowthumrong

“Colorado is the Mesopotamia of the renewable energy industry,” said Vincent Caprio at the 2nd Annual Nano Renewable Energy Summit, which began Monday at the University of Denver.

The summit wraps up today with speakers including Mohan S. Misra, founder and CEO of Ascent Solar, and Jack Uldrich, a global futurist and author.

If you go:
What: 2nd Annual Renewable Energy Summit
Where: University of Denver Cable Center
When: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, June 23

While nanotechnology – the study of controlling matter on a molecular and atomic scale – sounds hard to relate to everyday life, it’s used to produce hundreds of everyday products, ranging from batteries to solar cells, said Caprio, the NanoBusiness Alliance ’s senior vice president.

Entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers gathered at the conference to talk about how the science -- and Colorado companies and organizations -- can serve a much larger role in solving the planet’s thirst for energy.

Speaker Dan Arvizu, director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, said renewable energy is a very small piece of the planet’s resources. But nanotechnology can be used to find alternative options for energy.

 “We need to invent the future we want,” Arvizu said.

Speaker David Gregg’s company Citizenre Corporation is doing just that. Citizenre re-engineered how solar electricity is brought to the market by making the installation of solar power as simple as subscribing to satellite TV. 

Gregg, Citizenre’s president and CEO, said he hopes to help meet the increase in demand for energy in the future; by 2050 the population is expected to swell to 9.1 billion and the demand for energy will quadruple in fast-growing countries such as China and India.

“Human history will remember this as a quantum leap into progress,” Gregg said of his company’s solar innovation. “If we’re going to change the world, we must lead by example.”

However, there are roadblocks including the high cost of the technology, which Gregg said he expects will subside as the economy rebounds and financing becomes more readily available.

And as nanotechnology advances, it will continue to benefit renewable energy businesses, said Caprio of the NanoBusiness Alliance,  which has more than 200 members, including companies from General Electric to Thornton-based Ascent Solar.

“Businesses should understand that these growing renewable energy companies using nanotechnology are creating jobs,” he said. “And that helps the entire community and stimulates the economy.”

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Patricia Kaowthumrong is a student at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Contact her at

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Readers Respond

One of the more exciting advances coming soon is the emergence of household robots. In 2005, Toyota announced that it plans to begin selling humanoid robots (meaning robots with bodies like people, with a head, torso, arms, legs, hands and feet, that can perform similar physical movements to a human) in 2010 for around $1,000 US. And, of course, like all electronics, they’ll face competition and will all rapidly get better and cheaper. By 2025, the personal robot industry is expected to be a bigger industry in the US than the automobile industry....<a href="">make solar panels </a> By make a solar panel on 2009 09 09

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