When MRS Bulletin published its expanded special issue in April 2008, “Harnessing Materials for Energy,” it was not a project done lightly. The impetus for this effort was the desire to describe the veritable options that materials provide in energy technologies. These options can then be evaluated in the context of other imperatives such as economic viability and environmental concerns, which all interact to determine societal choices for energy. We were surprised and, of course, pleased by the timeliness, impact, and reception this volume received not only within the materials community but also in the larger world of energy professionals.
But these issues are not posed in a stagnant era. Even the framework for addressing energy challenges is evolving as countries set or collaborate on policies to address resource, security, and environmental needs. Since the publication of the special issue on energy, there have been a few reports of increased photovoltaic solar cell efficiency. The National Ignition Facility in the United States—one of the paths for realizing nuclear fusion—is becoming operational. Off-shore wind power is becoming a reality across Europe. And the government of Germany, despite its recent removal of subsidies, is still pursuing a bold initiative for large-scale grid connections of solar photovoltaics.
MRS Bulletin wants to capture stories of all such innovations as they occur, without a long wait for the detailed reports to appear. This is our driver for starting Energy Quarterly (EQ) . Four times a year, bound along with MRS Bulletin, EQ will host articles that are short, current, and eminently readable. Materials for energy will be the focus, but news from other nearby fields that are relevant will be included. The pages of EQ will include analysis across key energy sectors, lessons from major regional initiatives, interviews with energy leaders who are seen as architects of change, and transformational technology and research news.
This first volume provides a sampling of what we are pursuing. However, the space here is limited, and developments are many and varied. We need your input to help us follow the avenues with the greatest promise and to ensure this “journal within a journal” meets its objectives. In subsequent days, the items in Energy Quarterly will be posted in the blog, and we encourage the community to comment on these articles and other blog items, expand on key points, and direct readers to additional resources.
Chair, Energy Quarterly Organizing Committee
Elizabeth L Fleischer
Editor, MRS Bulletin