Latest Research

  • Article |

    Organic solar cells can be thin, bendable and strechable. Now, Jinno et al. develop flexible organic photovoltaic devices that can also be washed in water and detergent, opening future integration routes into everyday objects such as fabric.

    • Hiroaki Jinno
    • , Kenjiro Fukuda
    • , Xiaomin Xu
    • , Sungjun Park
    • , Yasuhito Suzuki
    • , Mari Koizumi
    • , Tomoyuki Yokota
    • , Itaru Osaka
    • , Kazuo Takimiya
    •  & Takao Someya
  • Article |

    Hydropower represents the largest source of renewable energy currently available, yet its potential provision remains poorly characterized. Gernaat et al. present a high-resolution global assessment of technical and economic hydropower potential based on an analysis of over 3.8 million individual locations.

    • David E. H. J. Gernaat
    • , Patrick W. Bogaart
    • , Detlef P. van Vuuren
    • , Hester Biemans
    •  & Robin Niessink
  • Article |

    Radiative sky cooling passively rejects heat from a surface out into space via an atmospheric transparency window, enabling sub-ambient cooling. Goldstein et al. exploit this to show daytime cooling of water by up to 5 C below ambient temperature, equivalent to a heat rejection flux of 70 Wm−2.

    • Eli A. Goldstein
    • , Aaswath P. Raman
    •  & Shanhui Fan
  • Perspective |

    Despite being currently under-represented in IPCC reports, PV generation represents a growing share of power generation. This Perspective argues that underestimating PV potential led to suboptimal integration measures and that specific deployment strategies for emerging economies should be developed.

    • Felix Creutzig
    • , Peter Agoston
    • , Jan Christoph Goldschmidt
    • , Gunnar Luderer
    • , Gregory Nemet
    •  & Robert C. Pietzcker
  • Article |

    To improve the efficiency of photovoltaic devices while keeping the same spatial footprint, solar cells can be stacked on top of each other. Here, Essig et al. fabricate very efficient dual-junction and triple-junction solar cells by placing one or two III–V solar cells on top of a silicon solar cell.

    • Stephanie Essig
    • , Christophe Allebé
    • , Timothy Remo
    • , John F. Geisz
    • , Myles A. Steiner
    • , Kelsey Horowitz
    • , Loris Barraud
    • , J. Scott Ward
    • , Manuel Schnabel
    • , Antoine Descoeudres
    • , David L. Young
    • , Michael Woodhouse
    • , Matthieu Despeisse
    • , Christophe Ballif
    •  & Adele Tamboli
  • Analysis |

    Clean energy sources bring environmental and health benefits by reducing traditional electricity sources. Millstein et al. analyse data from 2007–2015 on the expansion of solar and wind power in the US to explore impacts in terms of air pollution, avoided emissions and associated premature mortality.

    • Dev Millstein
    • , Ryan Wiser
    • , Mark Bolinger
    •  & Galen Barbose
  • Article |

    Various strategies are developed to combine high efficiency and stability in perovskite solar cells. Here, Wang et al. mix 2D and 3D mixed-cation and mixed-halide perovskite phases in solar cells with stabilized efficiencies up to 19.5% and improved stability under full illumination and ambient air.

    • Zhiping Wang
    • , Qianqian Lin
    • , Francis P. Chmiel
    • , Nobuya Sakai
    • , Laura M. Herz
    •  & Henry J. Snaith
  • Article |

    Electricity storage will benefit from both R&D and deployment policy. This study shows that a dedicated programme of R&D spending in emerging technologies should be developed in parallel to improve safety and reduce overall costs, and in order to maximize the general benefit for the system.

    • Noah Kittner
    • , Felix Lill
    •  & Daniel M. Kammen
  • Article |

    Metal dichalcogenides are promising electrocatalysts for hydrogen evolution, but more active and stable materials are desired. Here the authors demonstrate that H-TaS2 and H-NbS2 possess high basal-plane activity that increases with cycling through changes in the morphology of the catalysts.

    • Yuanyue Liu
    • , Jingjie Wu
    • , Ken P. Hackenberg
    • , Jing Zhang
    • , Y. Morris Wang
    • , Yingchao Yang
    • , Kunttal Keyshar
    • , Jing Gu
    • , Tadashi Ogitsu
    • , Robert Vajtai
    • , Jun Lou
    • , Pulickel M. Ajayan
    • , Brandon C. Wood
    •  & Boris I. Yakobson
  • Article |

    The Li–O2 cell performance is largely limited by the insulating and insoluble nature of Li2O2. Here the authors report that dual mediators decouple the electrochemical reactions at the cathode from the formation and decomposition of Li2O2 from solutions, helping stabilize the carbon cathode.

    • Xiangwen Gao
    • , Yuhui Chen
    • , Lee R. Johnson
    • , Zarko P. Jovanov
    •  & Peter G. Bruce
  • Article |

    Li dendrite formation is a major obstacle in the development of Li metal batteries. Nazar and colleagues present a protection method for the Li metal by an in situ synthesis of Li-based surface alloy composites, and demonstrate promising battery applications.

    • Xiao Liang
    • , Quan Pang
    • , Ivan R. Kochetkov
    • , Marina Safont Sempere
    • , He Huang
    • , Xiaoqi Sun
    •  & Linda F. Nazar
  • Article |

    As renewable energy technology deployment continues apace, it is increasingly important to consider the optimal spatial allocation of power plants. Towards this end, Drechsler et al. employ a variety of methods to understand the most efficient and equitable distribution of solar and wind plants across Germany.

    • Martin Drechsler
    • , Jonas Egerer
    • , Martin Lange
    • , Frank Masurowski
    • , Jürgen Meyerhoff
    •  & Malte Oehlmann
  • Review Article |

    Thermal effects on batteries, both due to external variations and internal fluctuations, significantly impact their performance. Ajayan and colleagues survey recent advances in understanding the thermal effects on individual battery components.

    • Marco-Tulio F. Rodrigues
    • , Ganguli Babu
    • , Hemtej Gullapalli
    • , Kaushik Kalaga
    • , Farheen N. Sayed
    • , Keiko Kato
    • , Jarin Joyner
    •  & Pulickel M. Ajayan
  • Article |

    Climate change affects the availability of water for cooling thermoelectric power plants, causing curtailments in generation. This study models how future changes in water availability due to climate and water usage impacts power generation across the EU, and assesses different adaptation strategies.

    • Paul Behrens
    • , Michelle T. H. van Vliet
    • , Tijmen Nanninga
    • , Brid Walsh
    •  & João F. D. Rodrigues
  • Article |

    Planning of distributed energy resources requires careful consideration of many socio-technical factors to ensure that it is optimally built. Jain et al. present a model that incorporates numerous such factors and use it to find cost-effective resources for a sample of 10,000 consumers in California.

    • Rishee K. Jain
    • , Junjie Qin
    •  & Ram Rajagopal
  • Article |

    Concentrator photovoltaics achieve high efficiency but have so far been impractical for use on rooftops. Here, Price et al. develop a flat-panel concentrating photovoltaic system based on a triple-junction solar cell that operates at fixed tilt over a full day with >30% peak efficiency.

    • Jared S. Price
    • , Alex J. Grede
    • , Baomin Wang
    • , Michael V. Lipski
    • , Brent Fisher
    • , Kyu-Tae Lee
    • , Junwen He
    • , Gregory S. Brulo
    • , Xiaokun Ma
    • , Scott Burroughs
    • , Christopher D. Rahn
    • , Ralph G. Nuzzo
    • , John A. Rogers
    •  & Noel C. Giebink
  • Article |

    Pseudocapacitors based on redox-active materials have relatively high energy density but suffer from low power capability. Here the authors report that two-dimensional transition metal carbides exhibit high gravimetric, volumetric and areal capacitance values at high charge/discharge rates.

    • Maria R. Lukatskaya
    • , Sankalp Kota
    • , Zifeng Lin
    • , Meng-Qiang Zhao
    • , Netanel Shpigel
    • , Mikhael D. Levi
    • , Joseph Halim
    • , Pierre-Louis Taberna
    • , Michel W. Barsoum
    • , Patrice Simon
    •  & Yury Gogotsi
  • Analysis |

    Electrical energy storage is expected to be important for decarbonizing personal transport and enabling highly renewable electricity systems. This study analyses data on 11 storage technologies, constructing experience curves to project future prices, and explores feasible timelines for their economic competitiveness.

    • O. Schmidt
    • , A. Hawkes
    • , A. Gambhir
    •  & I. Staffell
  • Article |

    Metal alloys possessing core–shell structures have potential as low-Pt catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction in fuel cells, but can suffer from poor stability. Using high-resolution microscopy, Li et al. find that a Pt–Pd–Au catalyst undergoes surface atomic rearrangement and becomes more active on electrochemical cycling.

    • Jian Li
    • , Hui-Ming Yin
    • , Xi-Bo Li
    • , Eiji Okunishi
    • , Yong-Li Shen
    • , Jia He
    • , Zhen-Kun Tang
    • , Wen-Xin Wang
    • , Emrah Yücelen
    • , Chao Li
    • , Yue Gong
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Shu Miao
    • , Li-Min Liu
    • , Jun Luo
    •  & Yi Ding
  • Article |

    Climate change will affect future water availability and temperature and hence thermoelectric power generation, which uses water for cooling. This study explores future usable capacity for existing thermoelectric power under different scenarios, including US state-level environmental regulations.

    • Lu Liu
    • , Mohamad Hejazi
    • , Hongyi Li
    • , Barton Forman
    •  & Xiao Zhang
  • Article |

    Unlike ubiquitous axial-flow turbines, cross-flow turbines have rotation axes perpendicular to the flow they sit in. This study presents a control scheme that optimizes blade angular velocity as a function of blade position with no extra degrees of freedom, yielding a 59% increase in power output.

    • Benjamin Strom
    • , Steven L. Brunton
    •  & Brian Polagye
  • Article |

    Smart windows are used to regulate the amount of visible and near-infrared light entering buildings or cars. Here, Davy et al. develop near-UV harvesting organic solar cells, scalable up to 10 cm2, for powering electrochromic windows without competing for photons in the visible or near-infrared.

    • Nicholas C. Davy
    • , Melda Sezen-Edmonds
    • , Jia Gao
    • , Xin Lin
    • , Amy Liu
    • , Nan Yao
    • , Antoine Kahn
    •  & Yueh-Lin Loo
  • Article |

    Public opinion may inform legislation of renewable energy policies. This study shows that public opinion and strength of renewable energy policy are correlated across US states, but a majority of the public actually supports these policies if public health benefits and job creation are emphasized.

    • Leah C. Stokes
    •  & Christopher Warshaw
  • Article |

    Losses in solar cells can be caused by material defects in the bulk or at interfaces. Here, Zheng et al. use quaternary ammonium halides to passivate various perovskite absorbers and prepare solar cells with certified efficiency above 20%, suggesting that both anionic and cation defects are affected.

    • Xiaopeng Zheng
    • , Bo Chen
    • , Jun Dai
    • , Yanjun Fang
    • , Yang Bai
    • , Yuze Lin
    • , Haotong Wei
    • , Xiao Cheng Zeng
    •  & Jinsong Huang