As global energy demand continues to rise at an alarming rate, and the devastating environmental impacts of guzzling fossil fuels like oil and coal are increasingly evident, decarbonisation of the economy is of utmost importance to our future. For this reason, governments around the world are setting ambitious targets for reaching “net zero” and are investing heavily to increase renewable energy production, develop new technologies like nuclear fusion and make the transition to electric vehicles. So how might superconductors be able to help?
Superconductors are very special materials that can carry huge amounts of electricity without losing any energy at all in the process. Harnessing this amazing property could not only lead to dramatic savings in the cost of distributing energy around the countryside and storing electricity that has been generated by renewables, but can also enable us to make the really high strength magnets needed to replicate the nuclear fusion process that powers the stars.
In this public lecture, Professor Susie Speller (Materials Department, University of Oxford) will introduce the extraordinary properties of superconductors, and will explore the practical challenges of deploying these very complex materials in revolutionary technologies. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception where Susie will launch her new book, a primer that introduces superconducting materials to non-expert readers: A Materials Science Guide to Superconductors: and How to Make Them Super (OUP).