healing composites, and responsive materials for inexpensive monitoring and self-diagnostic capabilities.


While it is hard to exaggerate the seriousness of the global energy challenge, the required sense of urgency in U.S. society with respect to this challenge is not yet apparent. There are no quick or singular solutions to meeting the growing global energy requirements; the cost-effectiveness of solar energy remains unresolved, the efficiency of the photochemical splitting of water is still very poor, fuel cells suffer from longevity problems, bioethanol and biodiesel fuels compete with the food chain, and society has still not embraced nuclear energy. A sustained effort on a broad range of options is therefore required. The aggressive development of renewable energy sources must be accompanied by an equally determined effort to reduce energy consumption and waste across all sectors. The Committee on CMMP 2010 believes that a substantial increase in funding for energy-related education and research would set the United States on the path to solving this technological challenge. Priority research areas should include photovoltaic cells, fuel cells, hydrogen generation and storage, thermoelectrics, catalysis, nuclear power, solid-state lighting, and batteries. Crosscutting areas benefiting a variety of energy-related options include new materials development, catalysis science, membrane design, nanoscience advances, and advances in materials design and the modeling of materials properties. New materials will be particularly important in meeting this challenge, and the committee looks forward to the recommendations of the current National Research Council study on “Assessment of and Outlook for New Materials Synthesis and Crystal Growth” for realizing this need.

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