From Solar Energy to Liquid Fuel

Bill Gates—tech mogul, business magnate, and philanthropist for all things good—recently spoke to CNN about the newest technology he believes could transform the world’s energy infrastructure: solar fuels.

Solar fuels have the ability to address energy storage intermittency issues, which is currently one of the biggest challenges in sustainable energy technology according to Gates.


Nate Lewis, ECS member since 1982, is one of the leading scientists at the forefront of solar fuel research. Taking inspiration from nature, Lewis and his team aspire to mimic the naturally occurring process of photosynthesis but with higher efficiency levels. Through taking the energy of the sun and storing it in chemical fuels, Lewis and other researchers in the field are propelling the vision of a clean, efficient, and affordable future of energy.

New ECS Transactions

ecstA new issue of ECS Transactions (ECST) has just been published. Browse Volume 70, Issue 1 of ECST ABAF 15 here. The 16th International Conference on Advanced Batteries, Accumulators and Fuel Cells (ABAF 2015) was held in Brno, Czech Republic, on August 30-September 3, 2015

For additional information on ECS Transactions and for all published issues, please visit the ECST homepage.

IIT Student Chapter Holds First Event

Dr. Chamberlain giving a lecture the students and faculty at the IIT student chapter's first event.

Dr. Chamberlain giving a lecture to the students and faculty at the IIT student chapter’s first event.

The Illinois Institute of Technology is one of ECS’s newest student chapters, and they held their first event on November 23, 2015. They received an excellent attendance rate of nearly one hundred students in addition to IIT faculty members and faculty from other near by institutions.  This event included the director of the Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science (ACCESS), Dr. Jeffrey Chamberlain, who is also the deputy director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR). Dr. Chamberlain hosted a lecture that included information and a detailed analysis on the innovation of battery technologies.

Following the lecture, a Q&A session was held, which gave the students and faculty in attendance the opportunity to address questions produced from Dr. Chamberlain’s lecture. These questions included the topics of environmental issues, the life cycle of lithium ion batteries, development of lithium-air batteries and even government policy and funding. The formal lecture and Q&A session was followed with refreshments and continued discussion. The IIT student chapter is extremely grateful to Dr. Chamberlain for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to come and interact with the chapter at their first event.

Congratulations, IIT Student Chapter on a very successful kick-off event!

ECS Summer Fellowships

With already half of the academic year complete, it is time to think about summer opportunities to further your career!

Hadi Khani, an ECS Summer Fellowship 2015 winner and his advisor.

Hadi Khani (left), an ECS Summer Fellowship 2015 recipient and his advisor, Dr. David Wipf.

The Electrochemical Society has been offering summer fellowships since early 1928. These awards were established to assist students during the summer months, June through September, in the pursuit of work in a field of interest to ECS. In order to qualify for these fellowships, one must be enrolled in a college or university in addition to being a member of ECS.  Here is the complete list of candidate qualifications and award rules.

Up to 4 recipients will be selected for 2016 and will receive up to $5,000!

If you meet the requirements, apply for an ECS Summer Fellowship today! The deadline is January 15, 2016.

Success story
In 2013, Carlo Santoro received the F.M. Beckett Summer Fellowship from ECS. Through that fellowship, he connected with Dr. Plamen Atanassov at the University of New Mexico to study enzymes and their integration into microbial systems.

“I spent a summer at the University of New Mexico learning and integrating enzymes into a microbial system to make a hybrid system. It was interesting; it was a way to learn new things, a way to interact with people in different fields, to learn more. It was a very, very great experience.”—Carlo Santoro, 2013 summer fellowship recipient

Now, Dr. Santoro is working alongside Dr. Atanassov and some of the world’s best microbiologists to develop bio-catalytic materials that will simultaneously decontaminate wastewater and generate energy in a microbial biofuel cell.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out the Colin Garfield Fink Summer Fellowship to see if you qualify!


Robert Savinell, editor of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society

Since 1902, ECS’s flagship journal—the Journal of The Electrochemical Society (JES) originally published as Transactions of The Electrochemical Society—has published some of the best and most innovative research in the field of electrochemical science and technology.

With a historical tradition of scientific excellence and commitment to the pursuit and open exchange of scientific knowledge, JES has accumulated papers through the years that have long-lasting merit. In an effort to preserve the voices of distinguished scientists and engineers who have helped shape our world, the Society implemented the ECS Digital Library Leadership Collection.

Robert Savinell, professor at Case Western Reserve University, is one of the newest faces to conserve this highly significant research. Through a generous gift to the ECS Digital Library, The Robert F. Savinell Collection has been established and the Society has taken yet another step toward its commitment to open access publishing.

Preserving the science of the past

“Most of the papers that get published in the ECS journals have long-lasting value,” says Savinell, editor of JES. “They’re more than just recent news blurbs that introduce a new idea that in a few years will fade away.”

Through a strong editorial and peer-review process, the papers published in JES are not only topically relevant when they are published, but also carry a fundamental insight that applies more broadly than their specific application.

“I think there’s a lot of value in that kind of information that’s being archived forever,” Savinell says.

Beyond the preservation of these timeless voices, Savinell’s gift to the leadership collection supports ECS’s commitment to open access publishing—something Savinell sees as the ultimate future of scholarly publications.


World’s Most Expensive Material

The world’s most expensive material is being created in a lab and it’s going for $33,000 per 200 micrograms. To put that in perspective, that’s an astonishing $4.2 billion an ounce.

The novel material consists of molecular units called endohedral fullerenes, which are essentially a cage of carbon atoms containing nitrogen atoms.

Developers and scientists behind the material are focused on implementing the endohedral fullerenes into the development of a small, portable atomic clock. The atomic clock is the most accurate time-keeping system in the world and could assist in the accuracy of everything from a GPS to an automatic car.

“Imagine a minaturised atomic clock that you could carry around in your smartphone,” says Kriakos Porfyrakis, scientist working on the development of the material. “This is the next revolution for mobile.”

Aside from impacting cellphone technology, Porfyrakis expects the material to change transportation in a big way.

ICYMI: Learn about the early history of the Buckyball.

“There will be lots of applications for this technology,” says Lucius Cary, director of Oxford Technology SEIS fund. “The most obvious is in controlling autonomous vehicles. If two cars are coming towards each other on a country lane, knowing where they are to within 2m is not enough but to 1mm it is enough.”

ECS Connections to Chinese Academy of Sciences

huangGuest post by Qinghuang Lin.

As some of you have known, CSTIC Executive Committee Member, Prof. Ru Huang of Peking University, has been elected to the 2015 class of Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Prof. Huang has been a member of the CSTIC Exective Committee and Chair of CSTIC Symposium I: Design and Device Engineering since 2009. She has been instrumental in shaping the agenda and leading CSTIC Symposium I over the years.

huang2Election to the Chinese Academy of Sciences represents the highest level of national honor for Chinese scientists.

Take a look at some of Huang’s published research.


Last Call for Abstracts!

SanDiego_2016_homePerhaps you have heard that the abstract submission for the 229th ECS Meeting in San Diego, CA is this Friday, December 11?

Well, what are you waiting for!

Submit your abstract today!

Please make sure to get your abstract in as soon as possible so you can present your latest work to thousands of your colleagues from across the globe.

In order to make things easier for you, we will keep the submission system open through the day of Monday, December 14 EST.

See you in San Diego!

The Low-Hanging Fruits of Energy

When examining climate change and energy conservation, minds often tend toward large-scale grid technologies. While solar technologies and energy storage systems are big end goals, researcher from Iowa State University state that there are intermittent steps that should be considered.

“Many people consider energy efficiency to be the low-hanging fruit,” says Yu Wang, who studies global energy policy and energy efficiency at Iowa State University. “If you’re facing the target of trying to mitigate climate change, energy efficiency should be the first choice because it’s cheap and easy in comparison with other options.”

Importance of Energy Conservation

For Wang and others, replacing old incandescent bulbs with LED lighting is an important step in energy conservation. While it may seem like a move this small would have no impact on the overall energy consumption of the country, Wang and other researchers estimate the swap could yield an electrical savings of 10.2 percent by 2035.

Another step toward a more energy efficiency society deals with policy at all levels.

“In general [the future of renewable energy] is really up to the politicians to change the energy infrastructure,” says John A. Turner, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “We have pretty much all the technologies we need. We certainly need to be able to upscale them and get things cheaper, but the issue is how do you replace an essentially established infrastructure with a new one? You need political support.”


Top row (l to r): Mark Sivak, Samantha Brain, Zachary Widel Middle row: Middle Row: Jeromy Rech, Dr. Jason Keleher, Richard Wiencek Third row: Julianne Truffa, Lisa Janes, Jacob MurrayBottom row: Amy Mlynarski

Top row (l to r): Mark Sivak, Samantha Brain, Zachary Widel Middle row: Jeromy Rech, Dr. Jason Keleher, Richard Wiencek Third row: Julianne Truffa, Lisa Janes, Jacob Murray Bottom row: Amy Mlynarski

From outreach to knowledge acquisition, the newly established Lewis University student chapter is paving a path to instill a new-found enthusiasm in electrochemical science and technology.

“We will be able to help foster a sense of excitement for electrochemistry and begin to inspire others, in the same way that we were inspired,” says Jeromy Rech, chair of the Lewis University student chapter.

The inspiration behind starting the student chapter began in the late spring of this year, when a group of students from Lewis University’s Keleher Research Group presented at the 227th ECS Meeting in Chicago, IL. Upon meeting other ECS student members that initiated student chapters of their own, Rech and his group knew that forming a chapter at Lewis University was in the cards.

“We saw this as a great opportunity to begin to network and cultivate an academic relationship with other students who share similar passions,” Rech says.

Once the chapter was approved at the 228th ECS Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, the group immediately put the ball in motion. From volunteering as judges in an annual science fair to hosting the capstone presentations for chemistry majors, the chapter is on track with its goals of outreach and knowledge acquisition.


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