Nano happenings in Alberta (Canada); smart windows, again; reading postage stamps

The first Nanotechnology Systems Diploma programme in Canada is going to be offered through the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is September 2010. Alberta as I’ve noted previously is home to Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology and its provincial government is providing substantive  support to an emerging nanotechnology sector. From the news item on Azonano,

The Canadian nanotech sector is just beginning to emerge, and Alberta is a major player. The Alberta government unveiled a nanotechnology strategy in 2007, outlining an investment of funds and infrastructure aimed at capturing a $20 billion share of the worldwide nanotechnology market by 2020. Alberta now boasts a growing nanotech enterprise sector of more than 40 companies, with many located in the Edmonton region.

Meanwhile, the Alberta Centre for Advanced Micro Nano Technology Products (ACAMP) is holding a seminar for Alberta’s conventional energy sector about nano and micro technology products. From the news item on Nanowerk,

Today at ACAMP’s latest seminar, Alberta’s conventional energy industry learned how nanotechnology, micro-systems and micro-fluidics can play a powerful role in enhancing operational performance, reducing costs and promoting efficient extraction of oil and gas resources, while opening new markets for Alberta companies worldwide.

“Micro and Nano technologies for conventional energy applications are extremely important in Alberta,” said Ken Brizel, CEO of ACAMP, “enhancing operational performance allowing for efficient extraction of oil and gas resources. Innovative new products are being developed and used locally enabling Alberta companies to compete worldwide.”

As for other parts of the Canadian nanotechnology scene such as the proposed new legislation by NDP (New Democrat Party) Member of Parliament, Peter Julian, I have sent his office some questions for an email interview and will hopefully be able to publish his responses here. (The proposed legislation was mentioned in yesterday’s posting, March 10, 2010.)

As I speed through this posting, I will take a moment for one of my pet interests, windows. Kit Eaton at Fast Company recently wrote a piece about a Dutch company that’s created ‘smart windows’ (from the article),

Whereas every home has windows. And this fact has led Dutch company Peer+ to create Smart Energy Glass panels that generate current from the sun while also acting as like those old-fashioned devices that lets you see right through a wall. But that’s not all. Similar to the other up-and-coming LCD glass treatments that let you blank a window at the flick of a switch (removing the need for curtains, blinds or shutters,) these smart windows also have selectable darkness. Darkest is the highest privacy mode, and thanks to a trick of the optics concerned, also leads to the most efficient power generation from solar input. And you can even choose between a range of shades for the glass and also incorporate logos or text into the panels, which will appeal to countless businesses.

There are some images of these windows embedded in the Fast Company article. As Eaton notes (and I heartily concur), adoption of technologies of this type will occur readily as the products become  more attractive or more stylish.

Still with the windows, the US Department of Energy has made an additional investment in SAGE Electrochomics with a $72M conditional loan guaranteed. From the news item on Nanowerk,

SAGE will transform the way buildings use energy by mass producing a revolutionary new kind of dynamic glass that can change from a clear state to a tinted state at the push of a button. Windows using SageGlass® technology control the amount of sunlight that enters a building, significantly reducing energy consumed for air conditioning, heating and lighting. The company will tap the DOE funding to build a high-volume manufacturing plant next to its headquarters in Faribault, Minn., ramping up production for commercial, institutional and residential applications.

I notice these windows do not include  self-cleaning component. Ah well.

Getting back to the Dutch for my final bit today, a postage stamp you can read like a book or use for a letter. From the William Bostwick article on Fast Company,

“Hey, did you read the stamp I sent you?” There’s no need for a letter when the stamp you use is a book. Rotterdam designer Richard Hutten has designed a new stamp for Royal TNT Post, in honor of this year’s Dutch Book Week, that doubles as a tiny tome. The 3×4 centimeter stamp opens up into an 8-page, 500-word story by Joost Zwagerman.

That’s it for today as I get ready for the PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) webcast.

2 thoughts on “Nano happenings in Alberta (Canada); smart windows, again; reading postage stamps

  1. Pingback: Smart windows: electrochromic and photochromic « FrogHeart

  2. Pingback: Nano exhibit at Hong Kong Science Museum « FrogHeart

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