Removing carbon dioxide from natural gas to reduce emissions, creating biosensors to detect molecules and enhancing night vision goggles – the potential applications of graphene seem endless.
But what are the biggest challenges in getting the one-atom-thick material out of the lab and onto the factory floor?
This September, Horizon talks to scientists who are turning graphene into membranes that can strip impurities from water, and we find out how one of the big hurdles is working out how to grade graphene.
And we hear from the scientific director of graphene-maker Graphenea, who believes that the graphene market could be extremely attractive for companies once applications start to come online.
In 2013, the EU launched the EUR 1 billion Graphene Flagship - its biggest-ever research initiative - with the goal of developing applications for graphene within a decade by bringing together researchers from academia and business.
For more information http://graphene-flagship.eu/
Graphene production could become a very attractive market for small- and medium-sized enterprises, according to Dr Amaia Zurutuza, scientific director of the graphene production company Graphenea, but it might take a while.
Pure graphene is impenetrable to even the smallest atoms but with a few adjustments it is giving rise to a new generation of permeable membranes, with possible applications from water filtration to reducing power station emissions.
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.
Tracking people’s daily and lifetime movements will determine link between environment and mental health, says Dr Marco Helbich.