It has been more than a month since the preliminary release of the MRS Bulletin issue, Harnessing Materials for Energy. From anecdotal evidence, the issue has been well received, with positive comments, requests for bulk quantities, and healthy single copy sales. It has been and will continue to be distributed far and wide to scientists, policymakers, energy leaders, educators, and students in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa, and elsewhere.
But our goal is not to have it “liked.” Our goal is to have it used.
It is time to look beyond the cover, and to build a dialogue in the community. By placing together the full spectrum of energy technologies from source through transformation to use and efficiency (shown in the Preface, illustration of the energy landscape, and Introduction), it is possible to see challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We can beyond worrying about the future to joining the many researchers, entrepreneurs, and corporations looking for and building robust solutions. What important challenges have emerged? What scientific approaches might speed progress? What can we learn from experiments around the world, such as sugarcane ethanol in Brazil, hydrogen in Iceland, nuclear power in France, coal liquefaction in South Africa, wind energy in Germany, electric cars in Israel, and solar in California? Will immediate implementation trump stronger developments of tomorrow? What is needed for widespread use of cellulosic ethanol, white LEDs for general lighting, nuclear breeder reactors, carbon sequestration, methane hydrates, organic solar cells, or plug-in hybrids? I ask the readers of this blog to give thoughtful input to the unanswered questions and unquestioned answers related to materials and energy. Start with a look at the introductory content in the MRS Bulletin issue, Harnessing Materials for Energy. Where should materials research go next?
Please add your comments here. In future posts, we will examine other articles in the issue. We also welcome suggestions for future blog coverage, which can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Elizabeth L. Fleischer
Editor, MRS Bulletin
Materials Research Society