Skip to 0 minutes and 4 secondsWelcome back to week three of How To Survive On Earth-- Energy Materials for a Sustainable Future. Last week, we learned about some fantastic new materials that might allow us to capture the sun's energy and turn it into electricity cheaply and sustainably, and allow us to survive on earth. Well, at least during the day. We have to have a cheap and sustainable way to store that electricity for use when the sun isn't shining, during the day and night. Well, we've been storing electricity with batteries for years, but just not doing it very well.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsMore than seven billion batteries are manufactured every year, and as you know when your phone dies, your remote control stops working, or your car stops, that's still not very good. And even the best batteries, the lithium ion batteries that are powering most new electric vehicles, are still not good enough or cheap enough, only allowing a driving range of 400 kilometres for a car that costs double that of a petrol driven equivalent.

Skip to 1 minute and 21 secondsBut the question is not why can't we make better batteries, but rather why aren't there better and cheaper energy storage materials? This week, we will look at how we can design and create new energy storage materials for better batteries, and find out how an amazing new form of carbon, the same element in coal that we have used for energy for thousands of years, might be one key to better batteries. This week, let's go to the laboratory.

Welcome to Week 3

Welcome back to week three of How To Survive On Earth- Energy Materials for a Sustainable Future.

Last week, we learned about some fantastic new materials that might allow us to capture the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity cheaply and sustainably, and allow us to survive on earth. Well, at least during the day.

We have to have a cheap and sustainable way to store that electricity for use when the sun isn’t shining, during the day and night.

The answer is closer than you think as we’ve been storing electricity with batteries for years, but just not doing it very well. Even the best batteries, the lithium ion batteries that are powering most new electric vehicles, are still not good enough or cheap enough, only allowing a driving range of 400 kilometres for a car that costs double that of a petrol driven equivalent.

But the question is not why can’t we make better batteries, but rather why aren’t there better and cheaper energy storage materials? Materials that are also readily and commercially available.

This week, we will look at how we can design and create new energy storage materials for better batteries, and find out how an amazing new form of carbon, the same element in coal that we have used for energy for thousands of years, might be one key to better batteries.

This week, let’s go to the laboratory.

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How to Survive on Earth: Energy Materials for a Sustainable Future

University of Wollongong

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