Explore the Hidden World of Energy Storage and How it Holds the Keys to a Greener Future on "Search for the Super Battery"

Search for the Super Battery
Courtesy of Nick Mann/WGBH

“NOVA: Search for the Super Battery”
Wednesday, February 1 at 9 PM ET on PBS
(Check your local listings)
          We live in an age when technological innovation seems to be limitlessly soaring. But for all the satisfying speed with which our gadgets have improved, many of them share a frustrating weakness: the batteries. Even though there have been some improvements in last century, batteries remain finicky, bulky, expensive, toxic and maddeningly short-lived.

          The quest is on for a “super battery,” and the stakes in this hunt are much higher than the phone in your pocket. With climate change looming, electric cars and renewable energy sources like wind and solar power could hold keys to a greener future... if we can engineer the perfect battery.

          In Search for the Super Battery, renowned gadget geek and host David Pogue explores the hidden world of energy storage, from the power--and danger--of the lithium-ion batteries we use today, to the bold innovations that could one day charge our world. He wants to uncover what the future of batteries has in store for our gadgets, our lives – and even our planet. Might the lowly battery be the breakthrough technology that changes everything?


          You’ve seen all those exploding batteries in people’s pockets? Mike Zimmerman from Tufts University may have found a solution to that -- a next-generation battery that could be revolutionary and double the energy density in electric cars — and also be scaled-up for our phones and devices and prevent lithium batteries from exploding in our pockets as we seen in the news. NOVA has the first TV interview with Zimmerman in his lab .

          The program will delve into several possible solutions, like a solid plastic electrolyte battery, a salt water battery, a flow battery and an electromagnetic battery. NOVA can’t tell us if the grid super battery will be the one solution or if it will be a mix of several technologies. However, if we really want to integrate renewable into the grid and trade our carbon-spewing vehicles for greener ones, a lot of energy storage will be in our future.