Plastic + Egg Whites = Bioplastics

After studying the antibacterial properties of bioplastics, researchers found that albumin looks to be the most promising.Image: Cal Powell/UGA

After studying the antibacterial properties of bioplastics, researchers found that albumin looks to be the most promising.
Image: Cal Powell/UGA

Since Leo Baekeland’s invention of Bakelite in 1907, plastic has undergone a lot of transformation. Now, plastic isn’t just used in toys and phones—it also has promising potential in medical applications.

Researchers from the University of Georgia are creating bioplastics from albumin—a protein found in eggs with significant antibacterial properties—to expand plastic’s potential into areas such as wound healing dressing, sutures, catheter tubes, and drug delivery.

“It was found that it had complete inhibition, as in no bacteria would grow on the plastic once applied,” said Alex Jones, a doctoral student at the University of Georgia. “The bacteria wouldn’t be able to live on it.”

The development detailed in this study is critical due the high percentage of hospital-acquired infections.

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Electrolyte Additives Improve Li-ion Performance

dahn-researchThe electric car industry is on the rise, but battery performance for these vehicles is still not where it needs to be to implement wide-scale usage. To address this issue, researchers from Dalhousie University have produced a ternary blend of electrolyte additives to improve the performance of the li-ion cell.

An open access paper recently published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) details a novel development in electrolyte additives that, once applied to the li-ion cell, demonstrate a very high charge-discharge capacity.

The team began their study by investigating the performance of NMC pouch cells and electrolytes with various sulfur or phosphorus electrolyte additives.

They concluded that the new additive will improve the life cycle performance of the li-ion battery, as well as improve upon its safety.

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Graphene Light Bulb

When it comes to light bulbs, we’ve seen a lot of transformation since Thomas Edison’s practical incandescent bulb. Since then we’ve delved into fluorescent lights, and more recently, LEDs. Now we’re moving on to the next big thing in light bulbs, and that just may be graphene.

The new bulb is projected to last longer and cut energy use by 10 percent.

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Costa Rica Goes 100% Green

costa-ricaOne small step for renewable energy, and one giant leap for Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has not burned one fossil fuel in over 75 days. The country is currently running completely on renewable energy, primarily due to heavy rains and geothermal energy.

The country is now producing enough electricity though hydropower systems, such as pump storage and run-of-the-river plants, to power the majority of Costa Rica. Pair that with additional geothermal, solar, and wind energy sources and 100 percent renewable energy efficiency is achieved.

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Nanocarbons Division Award Winner

Guldi_DirkDirk Guldi of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg will be awarded the 2015 Nanocarbons Division Richard E. Smalley Research Award for his outstanding contributions to the areas of charge-separation in donor-acceptor materials and construction of nanostructured thin films for solar energy conversion.

The prestigious award was established in 2006 to recognize in a broad sense, those persons who have made outstanding contributions to the understanding and applications of fullerenes.

Dr. Guldi’s career has a robust background in academia and research. He has held positions at Notre Dame Radiation Laboratory, and has also served as the Associate Editor of the journal Nanoscale. Since 2004, Dr. Guldi has authored or co-authored more than 300 peer-reviewed articles and has been named among the world’s 2014 Highly Cited Researchers by Thomas Reuters.

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Submit Your Nominations for ECS Society Awards

linford-hHenry B. Linford Award

Henry B. Linford was a distinguished professor of chemical engineering at Columbia University and known for his work and research in electroplating and corrosion of metals. With a Society history dating back to 1936, Dr. Linford served as ECS secretary for 10 years and president of The Electrochemical Society from 1961-62.

Through his role as an educator and work in electroplating and corrosion, Dr. Linford became one of the most highly recognized members of ECS. In 1936, Henry B. Linford was awarded the Weston Fellowship of $1,000 from The Electrochemical Society. The Weston Fellowship remains an ECS award as part of the our Summer Fellowships program. Dr. Linford was also the recipient of the Acheson Medal and Prize in 1960.

The Henry B. Linford Award for Distinguished Teaching was established in 1981 for excellence in teaching in subject areas of interest to the Society and continues the cycle of recognition. Submit your nominations today.

Application Deadline: April 15, 2015.


de-noraVittorio de Nora Award

Electroless plating is the non-electrical plating of metals to achieve uniform coatings by a process of controlled autocatalytic reduction. We’ve seen a major expansion of electroless plating in plastics, as in the plating of printed electronic circuits. Today, a large number of consumer goods are coated by this method to create durable and attractive surfaces.

Electroless plating was co-discovered in 1944 by Dr. Abner Brenner who was also the first recipient of the ECS Vittorio de Nora Award. The de Nora Award was established in 1971 for contributions to the field of electrochemical engineering and technology. Submit your nominations today.

Application Deadline: April 15, 2015.

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Electrochemistry Advances Sustainable Energy

Rutgers researchers Martha Greenblatt (left) and Chalres Dismukes (right) have developed a cost-effective energy storage technology to advance sustainable energy.Image: Nick Romaneko/Rutgers University

Rutgers researchers Martha Greenblatt (left) and Chalres Dismukes (right) have developed a cost-effective energy storage technology to advance sustainable energy.
Image: Nick Romaneko/Rutgers University

Dan Fatton, ECS Director of Development & Membership services, spotted an article in My Central Jersey that details a potential game changer in sustainable energy.

Researchers from Rutgers University may have just found the key to advancing renewable resources and potentially growing an energy infrastructure based on sustainability.

The researchers from Rutgers’ Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department have recently developed a novel patent-pending energy storage technology grounded in electrochemical science. The new technology is said to not only be cost-effective, but also a highly efficient way to store sustainable energy for later use.

The research published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science addresses the feasibility of widespread utilization of sustainable power.

“We have developed a compound, Ni5P4 (nickel-5 phosphide-4), that has the potential to replace platinum in two types of electrochemical cells: electrolyzers that make hydrogen by splitting water through hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) powered by electrical energy, and fuel cells that make electricity from combining hydrogen and oxygen,” co-author of the study Charles Dismukes explained to My Central Jersey.

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ECS Podcast – Jon Gertner, Author

Our second episode of ECS Podcast features Jon Gertner, author of The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation. Listen as we explore one of the most innovative institutions of the 20th century and how it revolutionized computing and information technology.

This episode of the ECS Podcast is available below and is free to download! (Also available through the iTunes Store and RSS Feed.)

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Ten Women Who Changed the Tech Industry Forever

Computer pioneer Grace Hopper

Computing pioneer Rear Admiral Grace Hopper as a LEGO minifigure.
image by: pixbymaia, image license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

One of the quotes I like to keep on my desk is, “A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things.”

“Amazing Grace” Hopper, who said those words, certainly did new things. She was a computer programming pioneer, and the first woman at Yale University to earn a doctorate in math.

She is perhaps most noted for having invented key software technologies that laid the ground for today’s computer languages, and which remain a part of our everyday life. She was able to convince industry and government agencies to agree on a common business programming language, called Cobol, which (among many uses) is still used when you withdraw money from a cash machine.

She also worked on a device called the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, which worked out flight trajectories for rockets. Named for her are many places and objects, including the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Hopper, the Department of Energy’s flagship computer system “Hopper,” and the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer at NERSC.

Read about just ten of the many women who changed the tech industry forever.

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Leading Clean Energy Innovation

nrel-logoRecently, I had the opportunity to visit the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for an alumni meeting of the Executive Energy Leadership Academy (Energy Execs), a program that empowers executives to integrate clean energy solutions in their own communities.

Since its inception, more than 200 representatives of industry, government and non-profit organizations have completed the Energy Execs program, delivered through the Executive Energy Leadership Academy. In 2014, I participated in the abbreviated program which offers decision-makers a look at renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. As part of the experience, we received briefings by NREL technology experts, research laboratory tours and visits to renewable energy installations.

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