The University of Utah student chapter at their first meeting, held less than one month ago.
Image: Tao Wang

While the newly established University of Utah student chapter may just be getting off the ground, the group has big plans for the coming months. From outreach to collaboration to discovering new information, leadership of the new student chapter hopes that it will create both a sense of community and a forum for the exchange of knowledge.

“The student chapter is actually really good for the student population here because there’s not a lot of community involvement type activities for graduate students.” says Sara Koepke, chair of the University of Utah student chapter. “Moving in this direction is a really positive thing.”

For Koepke, outreach and scientific communication will play a large role in the direction of the student chapter. One of the first activities of the student chapter will be a professional development workshop, focusing on presentation skills for the communication of scientific research. The group also plans to begin outreach to schools, going to areas with the greatest need and presenting live demonstrations and practical lessons.

“The more people that know how important science is, the more likely that you’re going to have people willing to vote for such things as funding of the National Science Foundation or any other political movement that is necessary for the sciences,” says Koepke, currently a graduate student at the Minteer Research Group.

Additionally, Koepke believes that this type of outreach has the potential to inspire young students to pursue the sciences.


Member Spotlight – Shelley Minteer

ECS's Shelley Minteer has developed a fuel cell that can convert jet fuel to electricity at room temperature without igniting the fuel.Credit: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering

ECS’s Shelley Minteer has developed a fuel cell that can convert jet fuel to electricity at room temperature without igniting the fuel.
Credit: Dan Hixson/University of Utah College of Engineering

The Electrochemical Society’s Shelley Minteer and her team of engineers at The University of Utah have developed the first room-temperature fuel cell that uses enzymes to help jet fuel produce electricity without need to ignite the fuel.

The new fuel cells will be able to be used to power portable electronics, off-grid power, and sensors.

The study was published in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Catalysis with Minteer as the senior author.

“The major advance in this research is the ability to use Jet Propellant-8 directly in a fuel cell without having to remove sulfur impurities or operate at very high temperature,” says Minteer. “This work shows that JP-8 and probably others can be used as fuels for low-temperature fuel cells with the right catalysts.”

The standard technique for converting jet fuel to electricity is both difficult, due to the sulfur content, and inefficient, with only 30 percent of the fuel converted to electricity under the best conditions.

This from The University of Utah:

To overcome these constraints, the Utah researchers used JP-8 in an enzymatic fuel cell, which uses JP-8 for fuel and enzymes as catalysts. Enzymes are proteins that can act as catalysts by speeding up chemical reactions. These fuel cells can operate at room temperature and can tolerate sulfur.

Read the full article here.

Minteer is a valued member of ECS and is on the editorial board of the Journal of The Electrochemical Society and ECS Electrochemistry Letters – along with being a past chair of the Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry Division. You can also read her published research in our Digital Library.

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