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Ritschkoff looking forward to the real-life nano-energy applications

– This programme – energy efficiency with nano technology – has vitalized Nordic collaboration. New partners have found each other. So it has been a good tool for matchmaking as well as innovation, said chairman of the programme committee, Anne-Christine Ritschkoff, at a two-day seminar in Copenhagen late November. The programme was initiated in 2008 by the Nordic Council of Ministers, as part of the Nordic Top-level Research Initiative, and will continue through 2014.
Ritschkoff looking forward to the real-life nano-energy applications

“The Nordic programme on nano technology and energy efficiency has been good for matchmaking as well as innovation,” said chairman of the programme committee, Anne-Christine Ritschkoff. Photo: Dag Inge Danielsen

– Nano technology provides some exciting new possibilities for sustainable and efficient energy supply. All of these four projects have achieved excellent results, even though not all of them have been successful in everything they have done.  That is the nature of research, said Ritschkoff, who is Chief Technology Officer of VTT Technical Research Center, Finland.

She is especially proud of the TopNano project, using nano technology to prevent ice on airplanes and other surfaces, and also the Enesca project, or salt-and-paper battery, using green algae as a basis for storing energy.

– I am sure all our four projects will be successful by the end of the day, and I am looking forward to see the real-world applications.

A joint Nordic facility needed

In general, Anne-Christine Ritschkoff thinks Nordic collaboration in the research field should be exploited more:

– Each country has its strengths, and together we are such a powerful unit. I think so much more can be done if we join forces. We are rich in natural resources, but much more can be done to utilize them in the best possible way. One thing we could do together in the Nordic region is to establish a joint demonstration and piloting facility for certain research areas. That would be very beneficial and help the research environments on the long pathway from concept to commercial product!

Which are the main future benefits that nano technology will give us?

– It is an enabling technology, which will prove useful in many areas.  Some people think it sounds scary, but I think that is because it is hard to understand. We are very concerned about nano safety, and creating safety standards will be a priority. In a way, nano technology is like using chemicals. Some chemicals are harmful, some are useful and good for us!

The seminar on nano technology and wind power was organized by Nordic Innovation and the Top-level Research Initiative.