CopperResearchers from MIT have developed a new way to extract copper by separating the commercially valuable metal from sulfide minerals in one step without harmful byproducts. The goal of this new process is to simplify metal production, thereby eliminating harmful byproducts and driving down costs.

To achieve this result, the team used a process called molten electrolysis. Electrolysis is a common technique used to break apart compounds, often seen in water splitting to separate hydrogen from oxygen. The same process is also used in aluminum production and as a final step in copper production to remove any impurities. However, electrolysis in copper production is a multistep process that emits sulfur dioxide.

This from MIT:

Contrary to aluminum, however, there are no direct electrolytic decomposition processes for copper-containing sulfide minerals to produce liquid copper.

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In May 2017, we sat down with Kathy Ayers, vice president of research and development for Proton OnSite, at the 231st ECS Meeting in New Orleans. The conversation was led by Amanda Staller, web content specialist at ECS.

Ayer’s work focuses on a multitude of energy technologies, including fuel cells, batteries, and solar cells. Currently, her work targets the production of hydrogen by PEM electrolysis. She has been a member of ECS since 1999, lending her expertise to various Society programs and meeting symposia along the way.

Listen to the podcast and download this episode and others for free through the iTunes Store, SoundCloud, or our RSS Feed. You can also find us on Stitcher and Acast.

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Call for Papers: ECS Focus Issues

focus_issues_coversThomas Fuller, JES Technical Editor, and guest editors
Bryan Pivovar, Kathy Ayers, Marcelo Carmo, Jim O’Brien, and
Xiaoyu Zhang, invite you to submit to the:

JES Focus Issue:

Electrolysis for Increased Renewable Energy Penetration

Submission Deadline | April 7, 2016

This special issue of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society focuses on electrolysis. Interest in this area has increased significantly with focus on several different technological approaches, each with their own unique challenges. Examples include, cost challenges for PEM water electrolysis, and thermal and durability challenges for high-temperature, solid-oxide electrolysis.

Topics of interest to this special issue of JES include, but are not limited to:

  • Novel approaches for electrocatalysts including nanostructures with enhanced activities, durability, and cost reduction
  • Fundamental studies of the chemical processes on solid surfaces and triple-phase-boundaries
  • Polymers, ion conducting ceramics, membranes, and electrodes for electrolysis applications
  • New approaches on the design and characterization of membrane/separator components
  • New architectures for porous transport medias and bipolar plates

Read more topics of interest.

Submission Deadline | April 7, 2016

We invite original contributions from both fundamental and applied work that falls in the technical areas of interest of JES readership.

Please submit manuscripts at http://ecsjournals.msubmit.net.

Papers accepted into this focus issue are published online within 10 days of acceptance. The issue is created online an article at a time with the final article published in September 2016.

hallAn article by Theodore R. Beck in the Summer 2014 issue of Interface.

A simultaneous invention of an important industrial electrochemical process by two men on two different continents appears improbable. Yet that is what happened. One was in the United States and the other in France. Each inventor was born in the same year, 1863, and at age 22 each independently developed the same technology to produce aluminum by electrolysis. They were rather different personalities.

Charles Martin Hall was born into an educated family and attended Oberlin College. He was a studious scientist who deliberately, step by step, arrived at his process. The father of Paul Louis Toussaint Héroult was a tanner and Paul Héroult was expected to continue in that business. Instead, he attended a school of mines where he was dismissed after the first year because he spent his time thinking about how to produce aluminum rather than his studies. He was more of an intuitive thinker, and on inspiration, first electrolyzed alumina in molten cryolite in his father’s tannery.

heroultThe technology of these two inventors is now known as the Hall-Héroult Process. Hall and Héroult were among the earliest members of ECS, then named “The American Electrochemical Society.”

Charles Martin Hall was born on December 6, 1863 in Thompson, Ohio. His parents were Herman Bassett Hall and Sophronia H. Brooks. His father graduated from Oberlin College in 1847 and studied for three years at the Oberlin Theological Seminary. After ten years doing missionary work the family returned to Ohio in 1860 and to Oberlin in 1873.

Read the rest.