Using Silk in Next-Generation Batteries

The integration of silk into the lithium-ion battery allowed the battery to work for over 10,000 cycles with only a nine percent loss in stability.

The integration of silk into the lithium-ion battery allowed the battery to work for over 10,000 cycles with only a nine percent loss in stability.
Image: ACS Nano

The words “lithium-ion” and “battery” have become almost synonymous recently. While the li-ion battery is used in a multitude of applications, it still does not have a long life without a recharge.

Now, researchers have developed an environmentally friendly way to boost the performance of the li-ion battery by focusing on a material derived from silk.

In the li-ion battery, carbon is the key component for storage. In most situations, graphite takes that role – but it has limited energy capacity. In order to improve the performance of the li-ion battery, researchers looked to replace graphite with a material developed using a sustainable source.

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Be an Exhibitor!

ECS event sponsors and exhibitors put their organizations right in front of the leading members of the scientific community. By partnering with ECS as an exhibitor or sponsor, these institutions are supporting scientific innovation, education and advancement! Check out what our exhibitors say about ECS meetings!

Join ECS in Glasgow this July as an exhibitor at the Conference on Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Storage with SOFC-XIV. Due to the growing popularity of the conference, ECS has updated the exhibit hall floor plan to expand and better situate the technical exhibits. We also have multiple sponsorship options to provide high-visibility with our incredible group of attendees. Check out our online brochure!

Polymers to Stop Deadly Blood Loss

Blood clots treated with PolySTAT (second from right) had denser fibrin networks, which helps reinforce and strengthen the clots.Image: University of Washington

Blood clots treated with PolySTAT (second from right) had denser fibrin networks, which helps reinforce and strengthen the clots.
Image: University of Washington

University of Washington researchers have developed a new injectable polymer that could keep soldiers and trauma patients from bleeding to death, called the PolySTAT.

The new polymer works to strengthen blood clots once administered into the patient’s bloodstream in a simple shot. The polymer then finds unseen internal injuries and starts working to stop the bleeding.

Researchers believe this could become the first line of defense for anything from battlefield injuries to car accidents. With testing already underway, the polymer has the potential to reach humans in as few as five years.

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New Development in Biomass and Solar Energy

The results from this research show promise in the area of solar and biomass energy conversion.Image: UW-Madison Chemistry Department

The results from this research show promise in the area of solar and biomass energy conversion.
Image: UW-Madison Chemistry Department

Two researchers are thinking outside of traditional research standards to develop a new approach to solar energy and biomass conversion.

Kyoung-Shin Choi, a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his postdoctoral researcher Hyun Gil Cha are looking for a whole new way to harness natural energy, and their technique is showing promise for future endeavors.

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Research for More Effective Fuel Cell

Synthesizing the material as a thin film instead of as a bulk powder opens up new possibilities for fuel cell technology.Image: A. Gutiérrez-Llorente/Cornell University

Synthesizing the material as a thin film instead of as a bulk powder opens up new possibilities for fuel cell technology.
Image: A. Gutiérrez-Llorente/Cornell University

Researchers from Cornell University have developed a way to synthesize a new thin-film catalyst to improve efficiency and effectiveness in fuel cells.

For the first time ever, researchers were able to explain the epitaxial thin-film growth of a fundamental electrode component of the fuel cell, which could result in a more effective cathode.

“Up to now, research on oxygen catalysts in thin film form for clean-energy applications has been focused on the perovskite-structured oxides and their structural derivatives,” said lead researcher Araceli Gutierrez-Llorente. “The much less studied cubic pyrochlore structure is an appealing alternative to perovskites for such applications as fuel cell cathodes.”

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Urine-Tricity to Improve Global Sanitation

Image: YouTube/

This affordable form of pee-power has the potential to light camps in disaster zones.
Image: YouTube/University of West England

Researchers, social scientists, and advocates are constantly examining the issue of the global lack of adequate sanitation in hopes to find an economic and sustainable solution. From Britain’s poo-powered bio-bus to the Gates Foundation’s effort to turn waste into drinking water – you can see the innovative answers popping up almost everywhere.

ECS has also joined the fight with our first Science for Solving Society’s Problems Challenge by awarding $210,000 of seed funding to innovative research projects addressing critical technology gaps in water and sanitation.

Now, researchers out of the University of West England are turning the focus from poop to pee with their new development in what they have termed urine-tricity.

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ECS Arizona Section Meets

arizona-chapter

The Arizona Section welcomed members of the Valley of the Sun (Central Arizona) student chapter. ECS has a number of student chapters, which provide a venue to learn more about electrochemical and solid-state sciences.

The winter/spring meeting of the Arizona Section of ECS was held on January 26, 2015 at the University of Arizona. A total of twenty faculty and students from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University attended the meeting.

After a brief networking reception, Professor Srini Raghavan, Vice-Chair of the Arizona Section, introduced the guest speaker of the evening, Dr. Robert Savinell, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. Following a brief description of the activities of ECS, Dr. Savinell gave a very informative talk: Iron-Based Flow Batteries for Grid-Scale Energy Storage.

Find out more about the Arizona Section.

ATHENA burned through the truck engine in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away.Image: Lockheed Martin

ATHENA burned through the truck engine in a matter of seconds from more than a mile away.
Image: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin has been making headlines recently in light of their development of novel compact fusion reactors. Now, the company is back in the spotlight due to their new high-powered laser.

They’re calling the laser ATHENA (Advanced Test High Energy Asset). In a recent test, the direct energy weapson was able to burn through a truck’s engine from a mile away in less than one minute.

“Fiber-optic lasers are revolutionizing directed energy systems,” said Keoki Jackson, Lockheed Martin chief technology officer. “We are investing in every component of the system – from the optics and beam control to the laser itself – to drive size, weight and power efficiencies. This test represents the next step to providing lightweight and rugged laser weapon systems for military aircraft, helicopters, ships and trucks.”

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New Breakthrough Could Power Life on Mars

A new breakthrough in energy harvesting could potentially power life on other habitable planets.

The new development out of Northumbria University incorporates an innovative technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide.

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Plant Power Meets Solar Power

By combining green wall technology and solar panels, researchers have been able to generate renewable energy during both night and day.Image: University of Cambridge

By combining green wall technology and solar panels, researchers have been able to generate renewable energy during both night and day.
Image: University of Cambridge

Researchers from Cambridge University have developed what is being considered “the greenest bus shelter” by combining solar power and plant power.

The scope of this project is much more vast than simply powering a bus shelter. Researchers are looking at this development as a possible answer to affordable power generation solutions for developing countries.

“To address the world’s energy needs, we need a portfolio of many different technologies, and it’s even better if these technologies work in synergy,” said Dr. Paolo Bombelli of Cambridge University’s Department of Biochemistry.

The bus shelter has the potential to power itself during both night and day times by harvesting the natural electron by-product of photosynthesis and metabolic activity, thus creating electrical current.

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