Power was certainly in the world’s news during the past year, 2003. The great electrical blackout of August 15, 2003 occurred in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest, and in neighboring Canada. In the UK, parts of London and the entire underground train system suffered an electrical power shutdown. During a hot summer, the Finnish capital of Helsinki had a blackout, as did other European cities.
Our modern society has become so dependent on electrical power, that a power failure immediately focuses everyone’s attention. The public’s attitude concerning electrical power can be likened to the awareness of one’s own health: When you have it, you don’t think about it, but when you don’t have it, that’s all you can think about.
Reasons for the blackouts of 2003 will be discovered. It is a safe bet that long-term prevention of future blackouts will come not from the politicians and lawmakers, but from solid research and development on the production and control of electrical power, as reported and archived in technical journals such as our Journal of Engineering for Gas Turbines and Power.
The state of the Journal is sound and it should continue to thrive. Current technical challenges in the electrical power industry (e.g., preventing blackouts) should lead to more research—and more journal papers. While aviation technology research has accounted for many of the Journal’s gas turbine papers published up until now, that may change as the key role of gas turbines in the electrical power market continues to grow. One can expect to see more non-aviation gas turbine research papers in the future, as gas turbines and combined cycle systems become a more important (and possibly dominant) part of the electrical power grids.
As Associate Editor Dennis N. Assanis wrote last year in the Journal’s April 2003 issue, the internal combustion engine (ICE) is still the dominant fuel energy converter in our own society. The entire April issue was devoted to a selection of the highest quality ICE papers, selected through ASME’s three-reviewer process from papers presented at ASME meetings and from those submitted directly to the Journal.
In the recent past, the Journal’s paper backlog has been significant, with nearly two years elapsing between papers’ presentation at an ASME conference and their publication in the Journal. Working with Judith Sierant, ASME Production Coordinator, and the ASME Publications Committee, we obtained 300 cumulative additional journal pages for the past four issues. The January 2003 issue had a record 400 pages, making it the largest issue ever published of any of ASME’s eighteen journals. This has helped to reduce our current backlog, allowing publication of journal papers one year after conference presentation. We are working to further reduce this time-to-publication.
ASME Technical Publishing has developed an electronic web-based tool to process papers submitted on the internet to the Journal by authors. As announced in the October 2003 issue, I scheduled the Journal to start using the new web tool on November 1, 2003. The new submission process can be accessed at 〈http://journaltool.asme.org〉 and is self-guiding. I encourage authors to make use of the new web tool, but will continue to accept papers for review by the traditional method, until more authors (and reviewers) have become accustomed to the web tool and the many advantages it offers. However, starting July 1, 2004, the Journal will only accept paper submission on the ASME web tool.
As a service to the Journal’s readership we have included in this January 2004 issue, a book review of the latest edition of the text, Engineering Fundamentals of the Internal Combustion Engine. It is my intent to have such book reviews on topics related to energy and power conversion, in future issues. The number and occurrence will depend on what is submitted to the Journal by publishers for review and my ability to find a good reviewer in each case.