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Innovations for energy efficiency.

Innovations for energy efficiency

A variety of research projects, still in the early stages of development, could repay small investments with large increases in energy efficiency, suggests a new report from the National Academy of Sciences, based in Washington, D.C. The report, "Innovative Research and Development Opportunities for Energy Efficiency," highlights seven research areas, including heat transfer, materials processing and sensors.

One interesting topic is the chemical synthesis of materials. Instead of the "heating and beating" of bulk materials in traditional metallurgy, methods are now being developed for producing more uniform materials by starting at the molecular level and building up. Another exciting new technology is the preparation of strong, defect-free cements that are as tough as cast iron. In these new cements, polymers replace some of the water normally used.

However, the Department of Energy, which originally requested the report to guide its funding of energy conservation research projects, no longer has the funds to do so. "It's an awful situation," says chemist R. Stephen Berry of the University of Chicago, who helped compile the report. Moreover, industry is not stepping in to fill the gap, he says. Increasingly, U.S. researchers may seek collaborators in countries like Japan where such research is supported more strongly.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 8, 1986
Words:208
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