generation, transmission, distribution, digital quality power
Within the next 25 years, the electric power utility system in the U.S. will face a number of serious challenges. These will include issues related to diminishing supplies and increasing costs of fossil fuels, the demands for a reduction in the emissions of greenhouse gases, an increasing requirement for distributed generation and its integration into the grid system; and an increased demand for "digital quality power". Digital devices are highly sensitive to the slightest fluctuations in power supplies, and it is expected that 30% or more of the demand in 2025 will be for power capable of meeting this requirement. Nanotechnology offers possible solutions to these challenges, and this paper will describe a number of these, and the opportunities and requirements. Many of the examples are evolutionary in character, based on the improvement of technologies that are currently in research and early development. However, the magnitude of the problems suggest a need for what have been called “disruptive technologies” by Christensen and others, and this paper will also examine this issue.