Because the total amount of traditional energy is limited, people have a huge demand for cleaner and greener new energy alternatives. Now, the emergence of graphene is unleashing the possibility of its application in the energy field, which can create a greener, more efficient and sustainable future.
Since it was first separated in 2004, graphene has become a research hotspot for new materials in the 21st century. Graphene has been adopted by many industries, the most notable of which is healthcare and key material applications. And currently, graphene technology is being applied to renewable energy.
According to a report in the Financial Times in 2019, it is estimated that by 2040, coal, oil and natural gas will still account for about 85% of the world's primary energy supply, and today this proportion is about 90%. These data emphasize the need for people to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy. Another report also pointed out that in the next 5 years, due to the gradual maturity of the solar field, the global renewable power supply may increase by 50%.
In the "Graphene Flagship Program" project, an important measure related to renewable energy is the establishment of solar farms. The goal of the project is to create the world’s first solar farm using graphene on the Greek island of Crete. The current project mainly explores the production of graphene solar cells, which can promote the EU’s reduction of fossil fuels rely.
In fact, the solar farm project has made huge and sustainable progress in the development of solar modules. This involves the production of large-area graphene perovskite solar cells; a single photovoltaic panel assembled from connected solar cells is designed to improve solar energy efficiency and reduce solar energy costs.
Reducing dependence on non-renewable energy is an important thing, but how will sustainable development in the field of energy storage be achieved? According to the Battery Innovation Alliance (CBI) data, by 2025, the global demand for battery energy storage will greatly increase, and graphene and other related materials will play a vital role in coping with this growth.
With this in mind, another energy project of the "Graphene Flagship Program"-"Large-scale production of silicon-based graphene lithium-ion battery technology", aims to improve the quality of lithium-ion batteries' electrodes. This project promotes the integration of silicon-based graphene composite materials into lithium-ion batteries for high-power applications such as high-energy storage.
Due to the large surface area, high conductivity, light weight, high chemical stability and mechanical flexibility of graphene, it can effectively improve the capacity, charging rate and stability of lithium-ion batteries. In fact, the application of graphene in batteries will greatly improve the life and charging time of batteries in electronic products such as electric vehicles, mobile phones, notebook computers, and greatly improve the user experience.
These innovative projects can open the door to the latest research and new areas of product design. For this reason, the design and mass production of silicon-based graphene lithium-ion batteries and the world's first farm using graphene are just a few of the projects that the Graphene Flagship Program is working on with the focus on sustainable development.
Although graphene's influence on the energy industry remains to be seen, its journey has just begun, and it can already create development opportunities for future energy storage and energy conversion applications. Graphene and other related two-dimensional materials may be the green and renewable alternatives to the traditional materials that engineers have found. These materials are also needed for the development of new generation energy equipment and products.
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