Browse Articles

  • Analysis |

    Energy systems are transitioning from fossil fuel sources to renewable sources with lower net energy generation. Using the concept of energy return on investment, this study finds that net energy per capita is likely to greatly decrease without more efficiency savings or energy infrastructure.

    • Lewis C. King
    •  & Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh
  • Article |

    Home energy generation and storage are expected to alter residential energy usage. Careful tariff design is thus needed to ensure fair distribution of grid operation costs. Using smart-meter data and socio-economic profiles, this study explores the potential impact of different tariffs on household expenditure.

    • Valeriya Azarova
    • , Dominik Engel
    • , Cornelia Ferner
    • , Andrea Kollmann
    •  & Johannes Reichl
  • News & Views |

    New and emerging energy consumption patterns driven by the rise of prosumers may lead to under-recovery of network costs under current network charges, so new tariffs are being sought. A study using detailed household consumption data now illustrates the potentially disproportionate impact of different tariffs on household budgets.

    • Alessandro Rubino
  • Article |

    A great deal of effort in tackling the Li dendrite issues in Li-metal batteries is ongoing, but stresses caused by Li plating are often overlooked. Here, the authors study the stress-driven dendrite growth mechanism and propose using soft substrates for Li deposition to mitigate Li dendritic growth.

    • Xu Wang
    • , Wei Zeng
    • , Liang Hong
    • , Wenwen Xu
    • , Haokai Yang
    • , Fan Wang
    • , Huigao Duan
    • , Ming Tang
    •  & Hanqing Jiang
  • Editorial |

    A set of new and updated policies have recently been launched at the Nature Research journals to try to increase the reproducibility and transparency of the research we publish.

  • News & Views |

    In current solar cells, any photon energy exceeding the semiconductor bandgap is lost before being collected, limiting the cell performance. Hot carrier solar cells could avoid these losses. Now, a detailed experimental study and analysis shows that this strategy could lead to an improvement of the photoconversion efficiency in practice.

    • Arthur J. Nozik
  • Article |

    Hot carrier solar cells promise efficiencies above the thermodynamic limit but the hot carrier effects remain elusive so far. Here, Nguyen and Lombez et al. quantify the hot carrier contribution to the voltage and current of a micrometre-scale solar cell operating at room temperature, with an efficiency up to ~11%.

    • Dac-Trung Nguyen
    • , Laurent Lombez
    • , François Gibelli
    • , Soline Boyer-Richard
    • , Alain Le Corre
    • , Olivier Durand
    •  & Jean-François Guillemoles
  • News & Views |

    Realization of rechargeable batteries with alkali metal anodes is challenged by their high reactivity and dendritic growth. Now, an alloy-based, artificial solid electrolyte interphase is shown to allow smooth metal deposition, enhance interfacial charge transfer, protect against parasitic reactions and offer extra energy storage.

    • Rosy
    •  & Malachi Noked
  • Article |

    Solid-electrolyte interphases (SEI) play important roles in battery operations. Here, the authors report hybrid anodes by forming a Sn overlayer on alkali metal electrodes, leading to a robust SEI and consequently improved electrochemical performance.

    • Zhengyuan Tu
    • , Snehashis Choudhury
    • , Michael J. Zachman
    • , Shuya Wei
    • , Kaihang Zhang
    • , Lena F. Kourkoutis
    •  & Lynden A. Archer
  • News & Views |

    Documenting the emissions and net energy of a crude supply could be essential to meeting national emission and energy security targets. Using data from hundreds of fields worldwide, a well-to-refinery study presents a high-granularity profile of China’s crude oil supply in terms of emissions and energy return on input.

    • Mikael Höök
  • Article |

    As the world’s largest energy consumer, China’s crude-oil supply needs to be studied in high granularity. Here, the authors compile the carbon intensity and net energy profile of China’s crude-oil supply drawing on data from 20 countries and 146 fields.

    • Mohammad S. Masnadi
    • , Hassan M. El-Houjeiri
    • , Dominik Schunack
    • , Yunpo Li
    • , Samori O. Roberts
    • , Steven Przesmitzki
    • , Adam R. Brandt
    •  & Michael Wang
  • News & Views |

    Protonic ceramic fuel cells (PCFCs) are a potential alternative to solid oxide fuel cells at temperatures below 600 °C, but they suffer from low power output and poor chemical stability. Now, PCFCs with a power density of over 500 mW per cm2 at 500 °C and long-term stability are demonstrated using optimized perovskite-based electrolyte and electrodes.

    • Joon Hyung Shim
  • News & Views |

    The sustainability of biomass production for energy depends on site-specific biophysical and socio-economic conditions. New research using high-resolution ecosystem process modelling shows the trade-offs between economic and environmental performance of biomass production for an ethanol biorefinery.

    • Floor van der Hilst
  • Article |

    Dedicated energy crops are an important feedstock for bioenergy systems, but uncertainties remain over how best to integrate them into agricultural landscapes. Here, the authors use high-resolution ecosystem modelling to explore how selection of the soils cultivated and fertilizer application rates affects feedstock costs and emissions footprints.

    • John L. Field
    • , Samuel G. Evans
    • , Ernie Marx
    • , Mark Easter
    • , Paul R. Adler
    • , Thai Dinh
    • , Bryan Willson
    •  & Keith Paustian
  • Article |

    Protonic ceramic fuel cells use oxide electrolytes with high protonic conductivity but suffer from low power densities due to sluggish oxygen reduction kinetics and high contact resistances. Here the authors integrate a PrBa0.5Sr0.5Co1.5Fe0.5O5+δ cathode and a BaZr0.4Ce0.4Y0.1Yb0.1O3 electrolyte, achieving exceptional power density and stability.

    • Sihyuk Choi
    • , Chris J. Kucharczyk
    • , Yangang Liang
    • , Xiaohang Zhang
    • , Ichiro Takeuchi
    • , Ho-Il Ji
    •  & Sossina M. Haile
  • News & Views |

    Smart integrated transport and energy systems need to interact with end users to enable the exploitation of demand flexibility. New research shows that relying on assumptions about user behaviour, rather than on data-based empirical models, inflates the benefits of smart-charging programmes.

    • Nicolò Daina
  • Editorial |

    US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry may have lost his bid to prop up coal and nuclear power, but he has started a valuable conversation about the grid and its resilience.