In the second episode of the series, Horizons presenter Adam Shaw visits the Royal Institution in London to meet Nobel Prize-winning chemist Professor Sir Harry Kroto to discuss the importance of developing new sources of renewable energy.
Best known for his role in the groundbreaking discovery of C60, a new form of carbon molecule, heralded as one of the cornerstones of the burgeoning field of nanoscience, Sir Harry Kroto argues that new sources of renewable energy will play a vital role in meeting the increasing demand for power from an ever expanding and rapidly urbanising global population.
Sir Harry Kroto discusses his belief that organic chemistry could provide a solution to the need for more sustainable sources of energy, including the role C60 could play in the development of the next generation of solar power.
“We use a million years’ worth of fossil fuel in one year,” says Professor Sir Harry Kroto. “We have to up our efficiency by a factor of a million, that’s the problem. But I think in the future, chemistry - or what I call 21st century chemistry, nanoscience and nanotechnology - has the possibility of solving many of these problems of sustainability.”
In Cambridge, Adam meets the team at Eight19 / Azuri who believe that the latest developments in printable plastic organic photovoltaic cells, which use carbon instead of silicon, could bring cheap renewable solar power to millions of off-grid consumers in developing countries.
Finally Adam travels to Boston to meet Harvard professor Daniel Nocera, creator of the ‘artificial leaf’, a device that aims to mimic the natural process of photosynthesis in plants to turn solar energy into storable hydrogen gas, which could revolutionise the way we look at power.
The Horizons series, sponsored by DuPont, airs weekly on Saturdays at 01:30 and 08:30, Sundays at 14:30 and 20:30 (all times GMT).
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This episode of World News Horizons broadcasts on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April.
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I think in the future, chemistry - or what I call 21st century chemistry, nanoscience and nanotechnology - has the possibility of solving many of these problems of sustainability.”