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Conscious de-coupling

Zhang et al. show that, through active policy measures including deployment of more efficient plants, China may have grown thermal electricity production while decreasing freshwater withdrawal.

Latest Research

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    Energy security is an important policy objective across Europe. Public concern about energy security varies across countries due to differences in national energy context and more general national indicators of economic and human well-being, over-and-above individual population characteristics.

    • Christina Demski
    • , Wouter Poortinga
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    Decoupling resource use from energy production is critical for sustainable development. Here, researchers show a decoupling between water use and electricity generation growth in China, accompanied by changing spatial distribution of associated water stress.

    • Chao Zhang
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    •  & Jiao Wang
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    To minimize recombination losses and therefore increase the conversion efficiency of crystalline silicon solar cells, researchers have relied on passivating contacts. Here, the authors demonstrate a hole-selective passivating contact that exploits the firing step currently employed in industrial manufacturing.

    • Andrea Ingenito
    • , Gizem Nogay
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    Ternary-blend organic photovoltaics enable solar cell performances exceeding binary blends due to the multiple light-harvesting materials, yet challenges remain in controlling their morphology. Now, Zhou et al. exploit hierarchical morphology to build all-small-molecule ternary-blend devices with high performance.

    • Zichun Zhou
    • , Shengjie Xu
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    The cost of green electricity is unfairly distributed, with consumers paying more while industry actors are subsidized. Here, the authors find that reducing the inequity in cost burden by abolishing exemptions increases consumer acceptance of these costs.

    • Mark A. Andor
    • , Manuel Frondel
    •  & Stephan Sommer
  • Article |

    Semi-artificial photosynthetic systems combine natural and synthetic features to overcome limitations of each approach to produce solar fuels. Sokol et al. integrate a dye-sensitized TiO2 photoanode with the natural machineries, photosystem II and hydrogenase, to split water without additional applied bias.

    • Katarzyna P. Sokol
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News & Comment

  • Comment |

    The need to include gender in energy policy, practice and research is largely accepted. However, when research that merely disaggregates by sex is used to inform energy efficiency initiatives, it often reproduces stereotypical understandings of sex differences, which can harm rather than promote gender equality.

    • Sarah Bradshaw
  • Comment |

    Smart in-home devices, if integrated with the capability to transact energy with one another and with the electric grid, can offer a disruptive solution to managing energy supply and demand. Such transactive energy networks could turn homes from passive energy consumers into intelligent, active energy storage and service providers for the future grid.

    • Na (Nora) Wang
  • News & Views |

    The German Energiewende is an ambitious project, but the expansion of renewables needed to achieve its goals is expensive. Now, research shows that consumers would accept higher levies to finance renewables if exemption policies were abolished, forcing industries to pay their fair share.

    • Claudia Schwirplies
  • News & Views |

    Electricity production has traditionally required extensive water use, so growing economies such as China are expected to increase their freshwater withdrawal and consumption to meet growing electricity demand. Research shows, however, that through restructuring the electricity sector and increasing efficiency, China may have broken this coupling.

    • Evan G. R. Davies

Focus

Photovoltaic scale-up and deployment

Antal Thoma, CSEM

Photovoltaic scale-up and deployment

This Focus examines some of the challenges in scaling-up photovoltaic technologies from the laboratory to the real world and explores upcoming deployment routes.