Volume 1 Issue 10, October 2016

Volume 1 Issue 10

Energized elections

The US energy agenda is critical in determining responses to issues such as climate change, unconventional oil and gas development, and research and development of alternative clean energy technologies, both at home and abroad. In this issue, we explore how the forthcoming presidential elections may influence this agenda through new policies and programmes, and how the outcome may change the energy landscape in the US and beyond.

See Nature Energy 1, 16168 (2016).

Flag: D. Hurst/Alamy Stock Photo. Icons: A. Baker. Cover design: Tulsi Voralia, Alex Wing.


  • Editorial |

    The US presidential elections represent an important cornerstone for both US and global energy policies. The continuation of current policies aimed at the low carbon energy transition should not be taken for granted.


  • Comment |

    In terms of energy policy, the Trump presidential campaign is largely aligned with mainstream Republican positions, evoking independence and deregulation. However, Trump's rhetoric and personality might inject uncertainties into long-term energy policies, increasing the risk inherent in energy related businesses.

    • Michael Giberson
  • Comment |

    The US plays a key role in shoring up European energy security and this is unlikely to change dramatically after the November 2016 elections. However, the outcome could compound longer term risks to an internationally engaged US energy policy, affecting European energy security and diplomacy.

    • David Koranyi
  • Comment |

    Hillary Clinton's campaign has stressed her continuity with Obama's energy policy on key aspects such as decarbonization of the US economy, technological innovation and global cooperation. However, policy reforms to deliver long-term climate goals might be out of reach in a highly divided Congress.

    • Joseph E. Aldy

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Lower-cost alternatives to platinum electrocatalysts are being explored for the sustainable production of hydrogen, but often trial-and-error approaches are used for their development. Now, principles are elucidated that suggest pathways to rationally design efficient metal-free electrocatalysts based on doped graphene.

    • Zhenhai Xia
  • News & Views |

    The elastocaloric effect can be exploited in solid-state cooling technologies as an alternative to conventional vapour compression. Now, an elastocaloric device based on the concept of active regeneration achieves a temperature lift of 15.3 K and efficiencies competitive with other caloric-based approaches.

    • Hinnerk Ossmer
    •  & Manfred Kohl
  • News & Views |

    The energy output of aqueous batteries is largely limited by the narrow voltage window of their electrolytes. Now, a hydrate melt consisting of lithium salts is shown to expand such voltage windows, leading to a high-energy aqueous battery.

    • Kang Xu
    •  & Chunsheng Wang
  • News & Views |

    Political divisions are important in understanding public perceptions of unconventional oil and natural gas development, but so is proximity to drilling activities. New research highlights that, as geographical distance from development areas increases, political ideology becomes more influential in explaining diverging perceptions.

    • Chelsea Schelly

Perspective & Review

  • Perspective |

    The US National Labs will continue to play a crucial role in developing energy science and technology, yet their operation is not without its problems. Anadon et al. discuss the challenges faced by the Labs and propose changes that can help them to better meet their goals.

    • Laura Diaz Anadon
    • , Gabriel Chan
    • , Amitai Y. Bin-Nun
    •  & Venkatesh Narayanamurti


  • Article |

    High-performing positive electrode materials are crucial for the development of aqueous Zn-ion batteries. Here the authors report a battery based on reversible intercalation of Zn ions in a layered Zn0.25V2O5nH2O-based positive electrode, which exhibits high-capacity and long-term cycling stability.

    • Dipan Kundu
    • , Brian D. Adams
    • , Victor Duffort
    • , Shahrzad Hosseini Vajargah
    •  & Linda F. Nazar
  • Article |

    Aqueous Li-ion batteries have considerably lower energy density than their non-aqueous counterparts. Here the authors report a room-temperature hydrate metal salt electrolyte that, when coupled with a spinel Li4Ti5O12 electrode, displays an energy density of 130 Wh kg−1.

    • Yuki Yamada
    • , Kenji Usui
    • , Keitaro Sodeyama
    • , Seongjae Ko
    • , Yoshitaka Tateyama
    •  & Atsuo Yamada
  • Article |

    Metal-free doped-graphene materials are emerging as electrocatalysts for energy conversions, but their activity remains low. Here, Jiao et al. explore the origins of catalytic activity for hydrogen evolution, suggesting pathways to metal-free catalysts with activity to rival metal-containing benchmarks.

    • Yan Jiao
    • , Yao Zheng
    • , Kenneth Davey
    •  & Shi-Zhang Qiao
  • Article |

    Although heating and cooling consume a large fraction of global energy, current technologies are not energy efficient. Tušek et al. report an elastocaloric heat pump with active regeneration that can outperform other caloric-based cooling and heat-pumping devices.

    • Jaka Tušek
    • , Kurt Engelbrecht
    • , Dan Eriksen
    • , Stefano Dall’Olio
    • , Janez Tušek
    •  & Nini Pryds
  • Article |

    Energy harvesting from the environment by portable and flexible power sources can power a variety of devices sustainably. Chen et al. report a hybrid power textile with solar cells and triboelectric nanogenerators that can simultaneously harvest solar and mechanical energy.

    • Jun Chen
    • , Yi Huang
    • , Nannan Zhang
    • , Haiyang Zou
    • , Ruiyuan Liu
    • , Changyuan Tao
    • , Xing Fan
    •  & Zhong Lin Wang
  • Article |

    Strategies to improve energy access in developing countries are urgently needed. Szabó et al. propose an approach to achieve wider access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa that depends on existing under-utilized energy infrastructure such as dams, non-hybridized gensets and biomass cofiring.

    • Sándor Szabó
    • , Magda Moner-Girona
    • , Ioannis Kougias
    • , Rob Bailis
    •  & Katalin Bódis
  • Article |

    Controlling the crystallization process of perovskite films is crucial to obtaining high efficiency in perovskite solar cells. Bi et al. propose the use of poly(methyl methacrylate) as a template for the controlled nucleation and growth of perovskite crystals achieving efficiency of 21.6%.

    • Dongqin Bi
    • , Chenyi Yi
    • , Jingshan Luo
    • , Jean-David Décoppet
    • , Fei Zhang
    • , Shaik Mohammed Zakeeruddin
    • , Xiong Li
    • , Anders Hagfeldt
    •  & Michael Grätzel
  • Analysis |

    Further global deployment of wind energy, both onshore and offshore, will depend on its future costs. Wiser et al. report the results of a survey of 163 leading experts on the possibilities of cost reduction and technological advancements by 2050.

    • Ryan Wiser
    • , Karen Jenni
    • , Joachim Seel
    • , Erin Baker
    • , Maureen Hand
    • , Eric Lantz
    •  & Aaron Smith