Image: NASA

Image: NASA

New satellite images of the algae blooms taking over waterways in Florida have recently been released, showing a 500 percent increase in the amount of water the algae has affected in just two short months.

According to the Florida Oceanographic Society, the blooms in and near Lake Okeechobee in Southern Florida have grown from 22 square miles in early May to a current estimate of 239 square miles.

The growing algae blooms, which have resulted in a state emergency for four Floridian counties, are primarily caused by fertilizer runoff from the surrounding farming communities, adding a buildup of Nitrogen and Phosphorous. With this, algae grows and reduces the oxygen levels in the water, which kills aquatic life and can be poisonous to humans.

Earlier this year, we talked to past ECS President Daniel Scherson about the often unrecognized issues related to algae blooms.

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Open Access LogoA recent survey shows the scholarly publication model is changing, and researchers are embracing that change.

A survey of over 6,500 academics commissioned by Jisc and Research Libraries UK found that two-thirds of the scientific community support abolishing the traditional subscription-based publishing model in favor of open access.

In addition to the well-over 50 percent of researchers in favor of a more open access model, 40 percent of respondents stated that a journal’s openness is a very important factor in choosing where to publish. Compare that to a study done just three years ago where less than 20 percent put major emphasis on access, and the shift in the world of publishing becomes even more prevalent.

“The ability to disseminate research material online to anyone with internet access,” Paul Even, founder for the Open Library of the Humanities, told Time Higher Education, “without the reader bearing the cost, is becoming more and more important to researchers from across a broad set of disciplines.”

ECS is also embracing the changing publishing industry through our Free the Science initiative. Free the science seeks to remove all fees, providing complete open access to the ECS Digital Library for authors, readers, and libraries.

Learn more about Free the Science.

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Please join us on Tuesday May 31 at 0700h for an invigorating morning run in support of ECS’s open access efforts.

The race winners (top male and top female) runner will each receive an Open Access Credit! This credit may be used to publish a paper as OA in either JES or JSS.

For more information on ECS publications, please visit the ECS Digital Library and the ECS online store and be sure to stop by the ECS Publications booth, located on the Sapphire Level of the San Diego Hilton Bayfront.

Looking forward to seeing you in San Diego!

President Obama has pushed through the first installment of a pledged $3 billion from the cabinet to help poor countries fight climate change.

The first chunk of change went to the Green Climate Fund, an international body created to assist developing countries adapt to and mitigate climate change.

The effects of climate change often hit the world’s poor the hardest. Millions of the poorest families around the world are farmers, suffering from the devastating effects of harmful emissions affecting local climates. This could sink those families even deeper into poverty, yet they are typically the ones least at fault for the rising levels of emissions such as carbon dioxide.

The $500 million is part of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at cutting U.S. carbon emissions in order to fight climate change. The first transaction shows that the cabinet is committed to delivering on its pledge made at the United Nations’ climate change conference in Paris in late 2014.

“The United States provided a $500 million grant to the Green Climate Fund,” a State Department official said. “This grant is the first step toward meeting the president’s commitment of $3 billion to the GCF, and shows that the United States stands squarely behind our international climate commitments.”

Not only does this payment help enact measures to fight climate change, President Obama also hopes it will act as a signal to the national and international community after the supreme court block a major piece of the cabinet’s climate plan last month.

ECS Elections

(Really, if you have one, add it to the comment below, immediately after you cast your vote)

ECS elections are now open! Members can vote now.

Thinking isn’t agreeing or disagreeing. That’s voting.

– Robert Frost

Did you know

The very first President of ECS was Joseph W. Richards, a metallurgical engineer of international reputation? Prof. Richards was a charter member and principal organizer of The Electrochemical Society. He was the only ECS president to serve two consecutive terms, in 1902 and 1903.

Fast forward to over one hundred years later where you, as a valued voting member of The Electrochemical Society, have to power to select the next president, vice-president and secretary. The exceptional candidate pool are proven professionals within the field who are also dedicated Society volunteers.

Take a moment to vote for those who will continue to lead the organization as a steward of electrochemical & solid state science and technology.

Electronic Voting Instructions

Read the candidate biographies offer background information and candidate statements

Proceed directly to the electronic proxy to access the balloting system.

Enter your ECS ID and password. Your password for the electronic proxy is your last name entered in lower case.

After you log on, your electronic proxy ballot will appear. Enter your vote for each office. Space is provided if you choose to write in a candidate. You can only vote once.

NOTE: If you don’t know your ECS ID go to electrochem.org and log in. It’s at the top of the screen. Use your ECS username and password. Click on MY ACCOUNT. You’ll see ECS ID right under the title MY PROFILE.

If you have trouble logging into the system, contact Marcelle Austin at 609.737.1902, ext. 124 or marcelle.austin@electrochem.org.

The voting deadline is midnight ET March 15, 2016.

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New ECS Website Features

ECS logoThe new ECS website was launched last week. We hope it’s easy to find what you are looking for!

Try it on your smartphone or tablet. Before the change, our stats told us 80% of you were looking at the site on your desktop computer. We think that will change now that it’s mobile-friendly.

You might notice we refreshed the ECS logo as well. We felt like the blue and green colors spoke to the enormous stake science represented by the Society has in the sustainability of our planet and its people.

We’ll be sharing lots of new features over the next few weeks.

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Converting Wastewater to Electricity

The new anode can transfer electrolytes from bacteria in wastewater to a microbial fuel cell.Image: Science Advances

The new anode can transfer electrolytes from bacteria in wastewater to a microbial fuel cell.
Image: Science Advances

With 783 million people world-wide lacking access to clean drinking water and more than 35 percent of the world’s population without access to improved sanitation facilities, researchers are pursuing new ways to clean wastewater that is both effective and energy efficient.

An interdisciplinary team from multiple institutions in China has developed a new freestanding anode that can take harmful electrolytes form bacteria in wastewater and transfer them to a microbial fuel cell. This new process opens the door to effectively cleaning wastewater while converting waste to electricity.

The treatment of wastewater is an essential, yet energy intensive, process. While scientists have been exploring new ways to treat wastewater, none of the option has been very energy efficient.

Many current wastewater treatment plants function through fermentation and the burning of methane. The research team from China opts for an alternative method, where they create sewage-based fuel cells that pull the bacterial electrolytes and create electricity.

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Inspired by nature, Shelley Minteer and her research group at the University of Utah are looking for a way to merge electrochemistry and biology. With a little inspiration, Minteer aims to bring to life innovative devices that can be applied to anything from fuel cells to electrosynthesis.

“We’re looking at biological inspiration,” says Minteer. “As electrochemists, we’re looking at things in terms of the molecular biology of living cells and seeing how we can make a better electrochemical cell from that.”

Inspiration from Biology

The sciences of biology and electrochemistry tend to have many fundamental concepts in common. On the biological side, one can look at how humans eat and metabolize food in a comparative way to the functions of a fuel cell. Additionally, plants and electrosynthesis work similarly in the way they take in CO2 and produce fuel.

“As a group, we’re looking to see if we could use biology as our inspiration to do electrochemistry, and that has taken us into a lot of different applications,” says Minteer.

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How Your Car Could Be Powered by the Sun

By concentrating sunlight into reactors, H20 and CO2 can be split to form liquid fuels.Image: The Conversation/David Hahn

By concentrating sunlight into reactors, H2O and CO2 can be split to form liquid fuels.
Image: The Conversation/David Hahn

The sun produces an astronomical amount of energy each day, but scientists and engineers are still trying to better understand how to convert that energy into an efficient, usable form. Recently, work in photovoltaics deals with utilizing different materials, new arrangements of cell components, and interdisciplinary work to improve efficiently levels. However, a new and exciting area of photovoltaics is now rising in the ranks: turning sunlight into liquid fuels.

With this new development on the rise, the possibility of one day filling our cars with solar-generated fuel is on the horizon.

Researchers are giving more attention to the production of solar fuels because energy conversion and storage and simultaneously covered under one technique. It will give solar energy a wider scope due to more utilization opportunities, whereas conventional photovoltaic energy is only being used for one-third of the day when sunlight is at its peak.

Currently, the greatest roadblock lies in commercialization of the man-made solar fuels due to the substantial amount of energy it takes to break down stable CO2 and H2O molecules.

However, researchers are also exploring aspects of artificial photosynthesis through electrochemistry to help produce efficient, affordable man-made solar fuels.

Further material from the ECS Digital Library:

Read more about processes and current projects on The Conversation.

PS: Watch Ralph Brodd, a pillar of electrochemical science and technology with over 40 years in the electrochemical energy conversion business, talk about the future of the energy infrastructure and how it has transformed over the years.

ECS Transactions, Chicago, 227th Meeting

With the largest digital collection of electrochemistry and solid state related proceedings, ECST has published 800+ issues and over 17,000 articles since its launch in 2005.

With the largest digital collection of electrochemistry and solid state related proceedings, ECST has published 800+ issues and over 17,000 articles since its launch in 2005.

New issues of ECS Transactions have now been published from the upcoming 227th ECS Meeting in Chicago, to be held May 24-28, 2015. 

Seven “enhanced” issues of ECST are now available. They will also be for sale at the ECS bookstore at the meeting.

As always, issues of ECST are continuously updated and all full-text papers will be published here as soon as they are available. Get currently published issues of ECST. To be notified of newly published articles or volumes, please subscribe to the ECST RSS feed.

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