ECS Lecture with Steven Chu

The ECS Lecture during the 232nd ECS Meeting in National Harbor, MD, was delivered by Steven Chu. Chu is currently the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular & Cellular Physiology at Stanford. Previously, he served as U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Obama and was the co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for his contribution to laser cooling and atom trapping.

Chu’s ECS Lecture, “The Role of Electrochemistry in our Transition to Sustainable Energy,” focused on the risks society is facing due to changing climate, the evolving energy landscape, and the role of electrochemistry in providing critical technological advances.

During his lecture, Chu outlined the risks that modern society faces, which demand technological innovation to provide solutions. Namely, Chu stated that the rising climate poses significant risks to the global community. According to Chu, the Earth has warmed by an alarming one degree Celsius since 1975.

“One degree Celsius does not sound like a lot, but just a couple of degrees warmer would make a dramatic difference,” Chu said. “If the Earth does warm by two degrees Celsius, Boston will be underwater.”

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Hitting the 100% Renewable Mark

Las Vegas renewable energyFor the last decade, the city of Las Vegas has been working toward generating 100 percent of its energy from renewable source. Now, city officials state that goal has been met.

About one year ago, the city partnered with the company NV Energy, a public utility that distributes energy across the state of Nevada, to help Las Vegas reach its clean energy goal. NV Energy official recently announced that everything from City Hall to community centers are now running on clean energy after the finalization of Boulder Solar 1.

The Boulder Solar plant was built by California sustainable energy company SunPower. The 100-megawatt solar plant is located in the Eldorado Valley of Boulder City, NV.

Las Vegas’ major, Carolyn Goodman, hopes that this move will but the city on the path to be a “world leader in sustainability.”

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 by delivering 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 of citizens,” says Petrovic.

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