RENO, Nev., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The president and CEO of Altair Nanotechnologies (Altairnano), today urged the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to provide increased federal funding for nanotechnology, suggesting that the initiative could be compared to the man- on-the-moon or Human Genome projects. "What we need is an initiative -- similar in scope to the Human Genome project -- with the goal of establishing broad empirical data and models for the predictability of the environmental, health and safety risks of commercially-interesting nanomaterials," said Alan J. Gotcher, Ph.D., president and CEO of Altairnano. "Private-sector participation is critical -- federal funding to for-profit companies has to be accepted as a trade-off for their sharing of results." In a committee hearing on the future of nanotechnology, Gotcher provided details on such Altairnano products as its unique Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery materials that can enable the production of full-sized, fully-electric vehicles with the same acceleration and cruising speeds as conventional vehicles. He also described chemical/biological sensors that can detect and display information about life-threatening biohazards, and stressed that companies such as Altairnano are committed to maintaining a strict sense of environmental stewardship. "The hyperbole about nanotechnology is tremendous, but the potential for this technology to change our lives in many fundamental and positive ways is real," said Gotcher. "For instance, our innovative nano-structured electrode materials for Li-ion batteries will enable realistic production of fully- electric vehicles unlike any available today. Those vehicles will, in turn, help us break our dependence on foreign oil." And those vehicles are just several years down the road. Recently, Altairnano produced and tested its first batch of Li-ion battery cells at its Indiana-based facility. Data reveal that unlike other batteries, Altairnano's cells have twice the power of current batteries, yet function safely in extreme temperatures. They are able to start and run at minus-22 degrees Fahrenheit, and function safely up to 480 degrees -- particularly important considerations in such extreme environments as aerospace and military applications. As for the chemical/biological sensors, Altairnano continues its work with the universities of Western Michigan and Nevada-Reno to develop arrays capable of detecting a wide spectrum of potential explosives, chem/bio weapons and illegal drugs. Gotcher was one of only two industry voices asked to testify during the hearing on "Developments in Nanotechnology." For a copy of his testimony, or an interview, please contact Matt Taylor (202-367-1631, firstname.lastname@example.org.) ABOUT ALTAIR NANOTECHNOLOGIES INC. Altair ("Altairnano") is a leading supplier and innovator of advanced ceramic nanomaterial technology. Based in Reno, Nevada, Altairnano has assembled a unique team of materials scientists who, coupled in collaborative ventures with industry partners and leading academic centers, have pioneered an array of intellectual property and products. The company has scalable manufacturing capability to meet emerging nanomaterials demands. Altairnano's two divisions, Life Sciences and Performance Materials, are focused on applications where its nanotechnology may enable new high growth markets. For additional information on Altairnano and its nanomaterials, visit http://www.altairnano.com.
SOURCE Altair Nanotechnologies Inc.