Is Solar Cheaper than Grid Electricity?

Q3_2014_Price_per_kilowatt_hour_by_RegionIf you haven’t embraced solar energy yet, it may be about time to do so. After all, it is cheaper than grid energy in 42 of the 50 largest cities in the United States.

According to the study “Going Solar in America: Ranking Solar’s Value in America’s Largest Cities,” a fully financed solar system costs less than residential grid energy purchased in over 80 percent of the largest U.S. cities. Additionally, 9.1 million single-family homeowners live in a place where their utility bill outpaces what solar would cost.

The falling cost of solar panels and solar fuel cells is largely driven by, in part, research into new materials and developments in the sciences. Check out a few interesting reads on solar energy from the ECS Digital Library:

(more…)

ECS Goes “Alternative”

Altmetric "donut"

The colors surrounding the Altmetric “donut” reflect the mix of sources contributing to an article’s Altmetric score.

For many years, the Journal Impact Factor (JIF), as indexed in Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports (JCR), in the world of academic publishing has been accepted as a near-universal means of measuring the importance of scholarly publications. Despite the widespread use of this traditional bibliometric, the JIF lacks the ability to provide authors and readers information regarding the impact of individual articles.

Starting in December 2014, ECS joined the ranks of many other scholarly publishers supplementing aggregate journal impact data (provided by the JIF) with a type of article level metrics (ALMs) called alternative metrics, or “altmetrics,” as they have come to be known. To provide article-level impact data for its journals, ECS has chosen to use the article level metrics service provided by the company Altmetric.

Article level metrics are a better way for authors to track the discussion and attention surrounding their works. Unlike the JIF, the Altmetric system reports data for articles, from a variety of potential sources. Using these data, Altmetric generates a score for individual articles in near-real-time. These scores are produced using a number of outlets including

The data acquired from these sources are weighted based on the volume of attention, the sources of attention, and the influence or relative importance of the source.

(more…)

Beyond Open Access

"The unique and longer-term part of our OA plan is to "Free the Science™": to provide all ECS content at no cost to anyone—no fees for authors, readers, and libraries."

“The unique and longer-term part of our OA plan is to “Free the Science™“: to provide all ECS content at no cost to anyone—no fees for authors, readers, and libraries.”

Published in the latest issue of Interface.

The models of scientific communication and publication—which have served us all so well for so long—are no longer fully meeting the spirit of the ECS mission, may not be financially viable, and are hurting the dissemination of the results of scientific research.

The future of Open Access (OA) can change not only scholarly publishing, but can change the nature of scientific communication itself. OA has the power to more “evenly distribute” the advantages currently given to those who can easily access the outputs of scientific research.

ECS has long been concerned with facilitating that access, and our mission has been to disseminate the content from within our technical domain, as broadly as possible, and with as few barriers as possible. To accomplish this, we have maintained a robust, high-quality, high-impact publishing program for over 100 years.

Several years ago, ECS started taking a serious look at the challenges facing us in fulfilling our mission, specifically with respect to our publishing program. The challenges—faced by others in publishing, to a greater or lesser degree—are many and have become increasingly sever.

When a commercial scientific publisher is taking a 35% net profit out of the system, compared with under 2% by ECS, something is not only wrong, but it is clear that some publishers will do anything and everything they can to keep maintaining that level of profit. For many, journal publishing has indeed become a business.

Read the rest.

open_access“Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.” This is pulled from a public policy statement originally written in 2004 by the American Chemical Society.

Eighteen scientific societies signed on to a similar American Association for the Advancement of Science statement affirming the consensus scientific view on climate change in 2009. According to the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, at least 200 worldwide scientific organizations now formally hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was set up in 1988 to assess global warming and its impacts. Recently, the panel released a major report, capping its latest assessment, a mega-review of 30,000 climate change studies that establishes with 95-percent certainty that nearly all warming seen since the 1950s is due to human activity. More than 700 of the world’s top climate scientists and 1,729 expert reviewers from more than 70 countries participated in the report process.

(more…)

corrosion_blog_interfaceAn article by Kenji Amaya, Naoki Yoneya, and Yuki Onishi published in the latest issue of Interface.

Protecting structures from corrosion is one of the most important challenges in engineering. Cathodic protection using sacrificial anodes or impressing current from electrodes is applied to many marine structures. Prediction of the corrosion rates of structures and the design of cathodic protection systems have been traditionally based on past experience with a limited number of empirical formulae.

Recently, application of numerical methods such as the boundary element method (BEM) or finite element method (FEM) to corrosion problems has been studied intensively, and these methods have become powerful tools in the study of corrosion problems.

With the progress in numerical simulations, “Inverse Problems” have received a great deal of attention. The “Inverse Problem” is a research methodology pertaining to identifying unknown information from external or indirect observation utilizing a model of the system.

Read the rest.

Member Spotlight – Ryohei Mori

The aluminum-air battery has the potential to serve as a short-term power source for electric vehicles.Image: Journal of The Electrochemical Society

The aluminum-air battery has the potential to serve as a short-term power source for electric vehicles.
Image: Journal of The Electrochemical Society

A new long-life aluminum-air battery is set to resolve challenges in rechargeable energy storage technology, thanks to ECS member Ryohei Mori.

Mori’s development has yielded a new type of aluminum-air battery, which is rechargeable by refilling with either salt or fresh water.

The research is detailed in an open access article in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society, where Mori explains how he modified the structure of the previous aluminum-air battery to ensure a longer battery life.

Theoretically, metal-air technology can have very high energy densities, which makes it a promising candidate for next-generation batteries that could enable such things as long-range battery-electric vehicles.

However, the long-standing barrier of anode corrosion and byproduct accumulation have halted these batteries from achieving their full potential. Dr. Mori’s recently published paper, “Addition of Ceramic Barriers to Aluminum-Air batteries to Suppress By-product Formation on Electrodes,” details how to combat this issue.

(more…)

computer_simulation2An article by N.J. Laycock, D.P. Krouse, S.C. Hendy, and D.E. Williams published in the latest issue of Interface.

Stainless steels and other corrosion resistant alloys are generally protected from the environment by ultra-thin layers of surface oxides, also called passive films. Unfortunately, these films are not perfect and their Achilles’ heel is a propensity to catastrophic local breakdown, which leads to rapid corrosion of the metallic substructure. Aside from the safety and environmental hazards associated with these events, the economic impact is enormous.

In the oil and gas and petrochemical industries, it is of course usually possible to select from experience a corrosion-resistant alloy that will perform acceptably in a given service environment. This knowledge is to a large extent captured in industry or company-specific standards, such as Norsok M1.

However, these selections are typically very conservative because the limits tend to be driven by particular incidents or test results, rather than by fundamental understanding. Decision-making can be very challenging, especially in today’s mega-facilities, where the cost of production downtime is often staggeringly large. Thus significant practical benefits could be gained from reliable quantitative models for pitting corrosion of stainless steels. There have been several attempts to develop purely stochastic models of pitting corrosion.

Read the rest.

Dutch Universities Fighting for Open Access

Radboud University

Dutch institutions ‘unbending’ on fee-free demand as talks with Elsevier resume

John Lewis, ECS’ Associate Director of Meetings, spotted an article in Times Higher Education out of the UK last week on open access in the Netherlands — Elsevier’s home court. And yes, we are all a little obsessed with open access here in the office.

In January last year, Sander Dekker, the Dutch minister for education, culture and science, decreed that 60 per cent of Dutch research articles must be open access by 2019 and 100 per cent by 2024. Dutch university presidents responded by agreeing to make their renewal of subscription deals dependent on publishers taking steps to realise this goal.

Well, the current deal expired this month. No one was talking to each other for awhile, now both sides are back at the bargaining table. However, Gerard Meijer, president of Radboud University and one of the lead negotiators for the Dutch universities, insisted that Dutch universities were determined not to bend.

“We are willing to pay publishers for the work they do, but Elsevier’s profit margin is approaching 40 per cent, and universities have to do the [editing] work and pay for it. We aren’t going to accept it any longer. I think from the fact that Elsevier is not willing to move much, they simply still don’t believe it. Well, they got us wrong,” he said.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this.

Read the article.

Tech Highlights

Check out what’s trending in electrochemical and solid state technology! Read some of the most exciting and innovative papers that have been recently published in ECS’s journals.

The articles highlighted below are Open Access! Follow the links to get the full-text version.

“Modeling Volume Change due to Intercalation into Porous Electrodes”
Published in the Journal of The Electrochemical Society
Lithium-ion batteries are electrochemical devices whose performance is influenced by transport processes, electrochemical phenomena, mechanical stresses, and structural deformations. Many mathematical models already describe the electrochemical performance of these devices. Some models go further and account for changes in porosity of the composite electrode. Read the rest.

(more…)

Help ECS Support Young Scientists

2014highlightsImagine a world where anyone—from the student in Atlanta to the researcher in Port au Prince—can freely read the scientific papers they need to make a discovery, where scientific breakthroughs in energy conversion, sensors or nanotechnology are unimpeded by fees to access or publish research.

At ECS, that is our vision of the future. We’re working to provide open access to all ECS publications, while maintaining our high standards of peer-review and fast delivery of content.

Please help us make this vision a reality by
making a tax-deductible donation to ECS today.

Your donation fosters the growth of electrochemistry and solid state science and technology by supporting ECS publications and the participation of scientists from around the world at our biannual meetings.

Through travel grants and reduced fees, ECS enables the participation of young scientists and students who otherwise might not be able to attend an ECS meeting. This is particularly important as the work of these scientists, and all ECS members, increasingly holds the keys to solving global challenges in energy, waste and sustainability.

Please help us continue the important work of ECS by donating today.

Thank you again for your incredible work and continued support.

  • Page 8 of 10