Search for the Super Battery

Explore the hidden world of energy storage and how it holds the keys to a greener future. Airing February 1, 2017 at 9 pm on PBS Aired February 1, 2017 on PBS

Program Description

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. Though they have improved 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. Join host David Pogue as he 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.

Broadcast Credits

HOSTED BY
David Pogue
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Chris Schmidt
CO-PRODUCED BY
Cara Feinberg
WRITTEN, PRODUCED, AND DIRECTED BY
Daniel McCabe
EDITED BY
Daniel McCabe
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Stephen McCarthy
ADDITIONAL CAMERA
Jason Longo
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Julie Crawford
PRODUCTION MANAGEMENT
Pellet Productions
SOUND RECORDISTS
Glenn Berkovitz
Steve Bores
Adriano Bravo
Jim Choi
Jim Gallup
Don Hale
Mark Haygen
Richard Pooler
Chris Rudyk
ASSISTANT CAMERA
Nick Schwyter
Joshua WeinhauS
Jason Longo
MUSIC
APM
ANIMATION
Mitch Butler
PROP MASTER
Bob Burns
ONLINE EDITOR AND COLORIST
David Bigelow
AUDIO MIX
Heart Punch Studio
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Benjamin Goebel
ASSISTANTS TO DAVID POGUE
Jan Carpenter
Cindy Love
SCIENCE ADVISORS
Jay Apt
Michael J. Aziz
Neil Dasgupta
Steven Greenbaum
Simon Jones
Neil Rasmussen
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
Construct Films
Neil Dasgupta and Kevin Wood
Discovery Access
Dominion
Footage Bank
Framepool, Inc.
Weber Shandwick
Getty Images
iStock
LG Chem Power
PBS NewsHour
Pond5
San Francisco Travel Association
Sandia National Laboratories
Science Photo Library
Shutterstock, Inc.
Southern California Edison
YouTube/Timothy Cade via Storyful
Streamline Films, Inc.
Tesla Motors
University of Michigan
Vionx Energy
Wazee Digital
SPECIAL THANKS
Mark Barteau
Big Dog Garage, LLC
Chatham Bars Inn
Doug Morris
Elizabeth Pond
Ice Energy
Christian Lastoskie
Arden Johnson
Alan Kalf
Richard Kaner
Nicholas Kassanos
Maher El-Kady
Maxwell Technologies
Nick Mann
Amy Mast
Ann Marie Sastry
Steve Renter
Michael Thackeray
Wilson Creek Winery
UniEnergy Technologies
Miles O'Brien
Yet-Ming Chiang
JAY LENO SCENCE
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Gary Glassman and David Huntley
NOVA SERIES GRAPHICS
yU + co.
NOVA THEME MUSIC
Walter Werzowa
John Luker
Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
ADDITIONAL NOVA THEME MUSIC
Ray Loring
Rob Morsberger
CLOSED CAPTIONING
The Caption Center
POST PRODUCTION ONLINE EDITOR
Spencer Gentry
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS
Jennifer Welsh
PUBLICITY
Eileen Campion
Eddie Ward
RESEARCH
Ana Aceves
SENIOR SCIENCE RESEARCHER
Caitlin Saks
NOVA ADMINISTRATOR
Anne Barleon
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Linda Callahan
PARALEGAL
Sarah Erlandson
TALENT RELATIONS
Janice Flood
LEGAL COUNSEL
Susan Rosen
DIGITAL MANAGING PRODUCER
Kristine Allington
SENIOR DIGITAL EDITOR
Tim De Chant
DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA
Lauren Aguirre
RIGHTS MANAGER
Lauren Miller
BUSINESS MANAGER
Ariam McCrary
POST PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
Brittany Flynn
SUPERVISING PRODUCER
Kevin Young
POST PRODUCTION EDITOR
Michael H. Amundson
BROADCAST MANAGER
Nathan Gunner
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Elizabeth Benjes
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCER
David Condon
PROJECT DIRECTOR
Pamela Rosenstein
DIRECTOR, BUSINESS OPERATIONS & FINANCE
Laurie Cahalane
SENIOR SCIENCE EDITOR
Evan Hadingham
SENIOR PRODUCER
Chris Schmidt
SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER
Melanie Wallace
DEPUTY EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Julia Cort
SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula S. Apsell

A NOVA production by Miles O’Brien Productions, LLC, for WGBH Boston.

© 2017 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

This program was produced by WGBH, which is solely responsible for its content.

Original funding for this program was provided by Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the David H. Koch Fund for Science, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

IMAGE:

Image credit: (cooling towers, Byron IL)
© Allkindza/Getty Images

IMAGE:

Image credit: (David Pogue and battery)
© Cara Feinberg/WGBH Educational Foundation

Participants

Guenter Conzelmann
Argonne National Lab
George Crabtree
Joint Ctr Energy Storage Research
Alexis Georgeson
Tesla Motors
Denise Gray
LG Chem Power
Theo Gray
Chemist and Author
Daniel Kammen
University of California, Berkeley
Doug Kim
Southern California Edison
Joshua Lamb
Sandia National Labs
Greg Less
Univ. of Michigan Battery Lab
Y. Shirley Meng
UC San Diego
Jeff Sakamoto
University of Michigan
Seth Sanders
Amber Kinetics
Venkat Srinivasan
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Leigh Anna Steele
Sandia National Labs
Levi Thompson
University of Michigan
Lynn Trahey
Argonne National Lab
Steven Visco
PolyPlus Battery Company
Jay Whitacre
Aquion Energy
Mike Zimmerman
Ionic Materials

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