Solar Hope: Bringing Light to the World

Slobodan Petrovic, founder of Solar Hope, speaking at the Edison Theatre during the 228th ECS Meeting.

With 1.6 billion people—a quarter of humanity—living without electricity, it is clear that something must be done to bring power and hope to areas of the developing world. Solar Hope, a nonprofit organization founded by Slobodan Petrovic of the Oregon Institute of Technology, is addressing that very issue of energy access through its deliverance of solar power to areas of Africa.

Since its establishment in 2010, Solar Hope’s driving force has been to deliver the gift of light to areas of the world that are most in need.

“Electricity provides opportunities to save lives,” says Petrovic.

The organization relies solely on student volunteers and donations to implement life-saving projects. By installing alternative energy solutions, Solar Hope is able to power schools and hospitals, as well as provide a safe way for those living in these areas to receive electricity.

Electricity in Africa

In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depends on wood, charcoal, and animal dung for its energy needs. Solar Hope’s implementation of electrochemical energy technologies can eliminate the danger of these types of energies, all while providing more efficient lighting to classrooms and giving hospitals enough power to adequately refrigerate vaccines.

“We’re delivering modern technology to improve the lives to citizens,” says Petrovic.

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JES Collection of Invited Battery Review Papers

Battery2-bit-TIFF-194Read the 21 papers in the collection.

From Doron Aurbach, Technical Editor, Batteries and Energy Storage:

The field of advanced batteries is highly dynamic and important. The development and commercialization of Li ion batteries can be considered as one of the most important successes of modern electrochemistry. This battery technology is now challenged to power electric vehicles. The requirements of high energy density drive  intensive work on novel battery systems, beyond Li ion technology (Li-sulfur, metal-oxygen batteries and more).

We are proud and happy to publish a special collection of papers on advanced batteries and related research efforts.

Twenty-one experts in the field were asked to submit review/opinion papers on topics related to advanced battery research, based on their experience. We believe that this collection of papers provides our readership an important update and guidelines for further studies and development work.

Read the 21 papers in the collection.

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Addressing Critical Issues in Renewable Energy

Franklin Orr, U.S. Under Secretary for Science and Energy, delivering the keynote address at the fifth international ECS Electrochemical Energy Sumit.

Franklin Orr, U.S. Under Secretary for Science and Energy, delivering the keynote address at the fifth international ECS Electrochemical Energy Summit.

Today kicked off the fifth international ECS Electrochemical Energy Summit. ECS President Dan Scherson opened the summit by welcoming attendees and putting these critical topics in renewable energy into perspective.

“The research you are doing directly addresses some of the major issues people are facing around the world,” says Scherson. “Our work is about the sustainability of the plant.”

Since its establishment in Boston in 2011, the summit has grown substantially in magnitude. This year, the keynote speaker was Franklin Orr, U.S. Under Secretary for Science and Energy. Among his many responsibilities, Orr oversees the Department of Energy’s (DOE) offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, as well as the office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

The Future of Renewable Energy

“We’re really looking for a cost effective energy system, security for energy resources, and—even more importantly now than it was a few years ago—the environmental security,” says Orr.

Orr discussed the Quadrennial Technology Review, a recently published work by the DOE. Focusing on the energy infrastructure of the United States, the report seeks to find ways to modernize and make more secure the energy infrastructure.

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Adam Heller and ECS Through the Years

Remember our Official ECS Major League Trading Cards? This year, we're adding a special card in honor of Adam Heller to the series.

Get your official Adam Heller trading card at the 228th ECS Meeting!

With the fifth international Electrochemical Energy Summit and the ECS Lecture by Adam Heller, the  228th ECS Meeting is poised to be one of our most significant programs in the history of the Society. While Heller’s contributions to science are well known—from lithium batteries to biomedical engineering to photoelectrochemistry—his connects to ECS may not be as familiar, but nonetheless run deep.

Notably, this is not the first lecture delivered by Heller at an ECS meeting. During the 180th ECS Meeting in 1991, Heller delivered one of four ECS lectures entitled “On the Impact of Electrochemistry on Biomedicine and the Environment.” Now, 28 years later Heller will be delivering yet another lecture at the 228th ECS Meeting in the same location as the 180th. With his scientific themes transcending the years, his lecture this year is entitled “Wealth, Global Warming and Geoengineering.”

Over 50 Years of Innovation

Aside from delivering the much anticipated ECS Lecture at the 228th ECS Meeting, Heller will also be accepting the Heinz Gerischer Award for his fundamental and applied contributions to electrochemistry and its uses. This award is especially significant due to the connection between Heller and Gerischer.

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First Communication Article Published

JESECS just published its first Communication article in JES entitled “CommunicationIn Situ Formation of Anticorrosive Mg (OH)₂/Carbon Composite Film on Magnesium Alloy by Absorbic Acid-Assisted Hydrothermal Process.”

The authors are Takahiro Ishizaki, Naosumi Kamiyama, Erina Yamamoto, Sou Kumagai, Tomohito Sudare (all from Shibaura Institute in Tokyo, Japan), and Nagahiro Saito (Nagoya University).

Communications is a special category of short article for publication in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) or ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology (JSS). “Communication” are brief articles or reports that describe impactful research wherein dissemination prior to a full complete study/paper will substantially benefit the electrochemical or solid state community.

This article will be free in the ECS Digital Library for a limited time.

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The Riddle of Microscopy

[Click to enlarge]

[Click to enlarge]

Photos and text by Galina Strukova and Gennady Strukov.

In a response to a recent call for photos, Galina Strukova sent us some great shots of the microworld of palladium-nickle alloy.

You’re looking at pictures of real objects of the palladium-nickel alloy, the size of the samples ranging from tens of micrometers to 1-2 millimeters.

They are produced via self-organization of nano-sized (several nanometer in diameter) wires growing on porous membranes under the action of electric current pulses. The authors have managed to isolate and photograph them by means of a modern electron microscope. They have described this 3D sculptures in scientific journals.

Such antenna-like samples are expected to find application in nanotechnology. Now we can produce such “sculptures” from various metals “by order,” examine them and admire their elegant forms.

However, it is still a riddle. Why does it so closely resemble plants and seashells? Does this mysterious self-organization have anything in common with formation of plant leaves, fungi, and seashells?

Read Strukova and Strukov’s previous installment, “The Beauty and Mystery of the Microworld.”

PS: Do you have interesting science photos you’d like us to share on the ECS Redcast Blog? Send your pictures and a short write-up to We’re always looking for great guest posts!

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ECS Takes Down the Pay Wall for OA Week

oa_week_reg2ECS is celebrating Open Access Week this year by making all the content—over 120,000 articles—in the ECS Digital Library freely accessible from October 19 through 25, 2015.

The ECS Digital Library is home to the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, the flagship journal of ECS, published continuously since 1902, and to the ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology, ECS Electrochemistry Letters, ECS Solid State Letters, Electrochemical and Solid-State Letters, ECS Transactions, ECS Meeting Abstracts, and Interface.

We have been increasing the number of articles we publish as open access at no cost to the author for almost two years now, but we wanted to take the opportunity of Open Access Week to show the world our vision: all of our content freely available to anyone who wants to read it.

The research in these journals directly addresses the sustainability of our planet. Our scientists are looking to solve some of the most pressing problems the world is facing today:

  • energy storage and conversion, from small-scale to large scale: batteries, fuel cells, biofuels, supercapacitors, grid-scaling;
  • environmental remediation of materials used in research;
  • corrosion of infrastructures;
  • clean water and sanitation;
  • the growth of nanotechnology;
  • processes to develop safer and more effective drugs;
  • improving and developing new medical devices; and
  • sensors for environmental cleanup, emissions monitoring, detection of illegal and dangerous materials, home and workplace safety, and medical diagnosis and care.

ECS believes that open access—especially in electrochemistry and solid state sciences—is an important goal for scientific and technological development and, quite simply, creating a better world.

Ensuring that everyone working on these issues—wherever they are in the world, and for whomever they work—has access to the latest research is in our best interests as a nonprofit professional society supporting researchers everywhere, and in the best interests of all the sciences.

ECS has not yet reached a place where it can sustainably make all of its publications open access, but it is our goal and we want to celebrate our vision of the future during Open Access Week.

Take advantage of the free content in the ECS Digital Library October 19 through 25, 2015.

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Trees to Power: Building Better Storage Devices

trees_to_power2Researchers are not only looking for alternative ways to generate energy, they’re also looking for alternative ways to store it. From ECS member Vilas Pol’s packing peanut batteries to innovative flow batteries; scientists are looking for a way to securely store and deliver clean energy to the grid.

Now, engineers from McMaster University are turning trees into energy storage devices that could potentially power everything from small electronic devices to electric vehicles. With any luck, this technology could be taken to large-scale grid applications.

This from McMaster University:

The scientists are using cellulose, an organic compound found in plants, bacteria, algae and trees, to build more efficient and longer-lasting energy storage devices or capacitors. This development paves the way toward the production of lightweight, flexible, and high-power electronics, such as wearable devices, portable power supplies and hybrid and electric vehicles.

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Preventing Foodborne Illness with Novel Biosensors

WEB-salmonella-cucumber-c-1020x1028A nationwide outbreak of Salmonella-tainted cucumbers has afflicted states with increased illnesses and hospitalizations. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined the source and cause of the outbreak, the damage has been done, and the case count is expected to rise in spite of the recent recall. Many are now asking the question: how can we better control food safety?

Shin Horikawa and his team at Auburn University believe their novel biosensor technology could resolve many of the current issues surrounding the spread of foodborne illnesses. As the principal scientist for a concept hand-picked for the FDA’s Food Safety Challenge, Horikawa is looking to make pathogen detection faster, more specific, and cheaper.

Faster, Cheaper, Smarter

“The current technology to detect Salmonella takes a really long time, from a few days to weeks. Our first priority is to shorten this detection time. That’s why we came up with a biosensor-based detection method,” says Horikawa, Postdoctoral researcher at Auburn University and member of ECS.

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Developing Carbon Nanotube Transistors

carbon_nanotubesx519Since the development of the transistor in 1947, the semiconductor industry has been working to rapidly and continuously improve performance and processing speeds of computer chips. Following Gordon Moore’s iconic law—stating that transistor density would double every two years—the semiconducting silicon chip has propelled technology through a wave of electronic transformation.

Next Electronics Revolution

But all good things must come to an end. The process of packing silicon transistors onto computer chips is reaching its physical limits. However, IBM researchers state that they’ve made a “major engineering breakthrough” that provides a viable alternative to silicon transistors.

The team from IBM proposes using carbon nanotube transistors as an alternative, which have promising electrical and thermal properties. In theory, carbon nanotube transistors could be much faster and more energy efficient than currently used transistors. Nanotube transistors have never been utilized in the past due to major manufacturing challenges that prevented their wide-spread commercialization. However, the IBM researchers are combating this issue by combining the nanotubes with metal contacts to deliver the electrical current.

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