This issue of Horizon looks at the research and technology that is helping Europe generate more energy while emitting less greenhouse gas.
During October, Horizon looks at wind turbines that can float far out to sea, and innovative materials to make solar panels that can generate more energy from the sun. We report from the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in the south of France, where world powers are collaborating on a nuclear fusion reactor which will operate at temperatures ten times hotter than the core of the sun.
Horizon also examines some of the innovative ideas that are helping Europeans save more energy in the home, and explores the world’s most sustainable office building.
This video gives an overview of what the EU is doing in the field of energy research and innovation.
These videos give you more information about specific areas of energy research:
Dr Suchitra Sebastian is looking for materials that are so conductive they do not lose any energy at all, and if she succeeds it would be a step towards reducing the amount of electricity required to power homes, factories and offices, helping producers of renewable power meet Europe’s burgeoning energy needs.
From wind turbines in Germany to solar panels in Spain, regions across the EU are using natural resources to become specialists in their own type of sustainable energy, bringing much-needed investment for businesses and citizens.
Ministers representing many of the world's main economic powers met on 6 September 2013 to show their support for one of the world’s most ambitious scientific experiments – a nuclear fusion reactor that will operate at temperatures ten times hotter than the core of the sun.
Dumped waste, from used nappies to industrial by-products, have long wound up in landfills and can take hundreds of years to decay. In October we speak to the scientists figuring out how to keep such items in use to reduce rubbish and create a so-called circular economy. We learn about new efforts to mine industrial waste for the rare metals that go into making aircraft parts, pacemakers and bicycle gears, and find out about the culture shift needed to develop a zero-waste society. We also speak to the researchers building a biorefinery to turn soiled nappies into fertilisers and raw materials, and look at whether seaweed could become the next plastic.
The model of our universe as expanding at an accelerated rate has given rise to theoretical constructs such as dark energy and dark matter, which scientists believe could make up 95% of the universe. In September, Horizon takes a deeper look at what we really know about the expanding universe. We speak to Prof. Subir Sarkar, who believes that the Nobel-winning discovery that universe expansion acceleration could be a fluke, and the scientists who are trying to answer the question by allowing us to better measure the expansion rate. We also look at the significance of accurately measuring gravity in deep space, and what dark matter haloes can tell us about the existence of dark energy.
Bill Gates and the European Commission have launched a €100 million investment fund designed to bring radical clean energy technologies more quickly to market in order to promote energy efficiency and cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Hydrogen can be used to power cars, supply electricity and heat homes, all with zero carbon emissions. The snag is that the vast majority of hydrogen itself is derived from fossil fuels – a fact that scientists are now hoping to change. They plan to clean up production to kickstart a dedicated economy – something that has already found small-scale success in Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
Europe's leadership 'more important than ever', says Gates.
The goal is to remove reliance on fossil fuels.
A circular economy needs new business models and reusable products, says Felipe Maya.