Focus |

Energy Materials

  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While quantum dots show high efficiency solar-to-fuel conversion for renewable energy, the frequently toxic elements employed present severe safety concerns. Here, authors demonstrate indium phosphide quantum dots as low-toxicity alternatives alongside efficient hydrogen evolution photocatalysis.

    • Shan Yu
    • , Xiang-Bing Fan
    • , Xian Wang
    • , Jingguo Li
    • , Qian Zhang
    • , Andong Xia
    • , Shiqian Wei
    • , Li-Zhu Wu
    • , Ying Zhou
    •  &  Greta R. Patzke
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Solar-to-chemical CO2 reduction provides a means to use light’s energy for CO2 removal and upgrading to useful products, although this photochemical conversion is challenging. Here, authors construct a Europium-containing metal-organic framework that selectively converts CO2 to formate with light.

    • Zhi-Hao Yan
    • , Ming-Hao Du
    • , Junxue Liu
    • , Shengye Jin
    • , Cheng Wang
    • , Gui-Lin Zhuang
    • , Xiang-Jian Kong
    • , La-Sheng Long
    •  &  Lan-Sun Zheng
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While many heterogeneous chemical transformations require high temperatures, such conditions are costly and corrosive to the catalysts. Here, authors enhance CO2 hydrogenation over metal nanoparticles by light irradiation via an unusual mechanism and reduce the reaction’s energetic demands.

    • Chanyeon Kim
    • , Seokwon Hyeon
    • , Jonghyeok Lee
    • , Whi Dong Kim
    • , Doh C. Lee
    • , Jihan Kim
    •  &  Hyunjoo Lee
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While the degradation of materials during usage is crucial in understanding their performance, it is challenging to understand the corrosion processes. Here, authors find copper nanoparticles to undergo an unusual potential-driven nanoclustering degradation pathway during carbon dioxide reduction.

    • Jianfeng Huang
    • , Nicolas Hörmann
    • , Emad Oveisi
    • , Anna Loiudice
    • , Gian Luca De Gregorio
    • , Oliviero Andreussi
    • , Nicola Marzari
    •  &  Raffaella Buonsanti
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While splitting water could provide a renewable way to produce fuel, highly active catalysts are needed to overcome water oxidation’s sluggish kinetics. Here, authors gain atomic-level insight on metal ion synergetic interactions that boost water oxidation performances in co-doped nickel hydroxide.

    • Jian Jiang
    • , Fanfei Sun
    • , Si Zhou
    • , Wei Hu
    • , Hao Zhang
    • , Jinchao Dong
    • , Zheng Jiang
    • , Jijun Zhao
    • , Jianfeng Li
    • , Wensheng Yan
    •  &  Mei Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    2D elemental materials, with their atomic-scale dimensions, present exciting opportunities for energy conversion applications. Here, the authors use few-layer black phosphorene to perform pyro-catalysis, in which thermal cycling the material induces hydrogen gas production and dye degradation.

    • Huilin You
    • , Yanmin Jia
    • , Zheng Wu
    • , Feifei Wang
    • , Haitao Huang
    •  &  Yu Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While renewable energy production is a terrestrial concern, far less attention is devoted to solar-to-fuel conversion for long-term space missions. Here, the authors explore photoelectrochemical hydrogen generation in microgravity and overcome microgravity’s limitations by electrode nanostructuring.

    • Katharina Brinkert
    • , Matthias H. Richter
    • , Ömer Akay
    • , Janine Liedtke
    • , Michael Giersig
    • , Katherine T. Fountaine
    •  &  Hans-Joachim Lewerenz
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Earth-abundant water splitting materials are highly desirable for renewable fuel production, but such catalysts are rarely tested for long-term use. Here, the authors prepare active water-splitting electrocatalysts via corrosion engineering that are stable for thousands of hours.

    • Yipu Liu
    • , Xiao Liang
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Yu Zhang
    • , Guo-Dong Li
    • , Xiaoxin Zou
    •  &  Jie-Sheng Chen
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water electrolysis provides a carbon-neutral means to generate hydrogen fuel from water, but the process typically requires expensive, rare metal catalysts. Here, the authors prepare hydrogen- and oxygen-evolving electrocatalysts from earth-abundant elements that outperform noble-metal counterparts.

    • Fang Yu
    • , Haiqing Zhou
    • , Yufeng Huang
    • , Jingying Sun
    • , Fan Qin
    • , Jiming Bao
    • , William A. Goddard III
    • , Shuo Chen
    •  &  Zhifeng Ren
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water splitting by nanostructured, abundant catalysts provides a renewable means to make carbon neutral fuels, but the ideal material morphology and composition remain uncertain. Here, the authors prepare superaerophobic, multi-metallic sulfide nanotube arrays as bifunctional water splitting catalysts.

    • Haoyi Li
    • , Shuangming Chen
    • , Ying Zhang
    • , Qinghua Zhang
    • , Xiaofan Jia
    • , Qi Zhang
    • , Lin Gu
    • , Xiaoming Sun
    • , Li Song
    •  &  Xun Wang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Splitting water into its component elements, oxygen and hydrogen gas, provides a carbon-neutral fuel source, although the availability of cheap, earth-abundant catalysts is lacking. Here, the authors demonstrate antiperovskite-derived materials as high-performance water oxidation electrocatalysts.

    • Yanping Zhu
    • , Gao Chen
    • , Yijun Zhong
    • , Yubo Chen
    • , Nana Ma
    • , Wei Zhou
    •  &  Zongping Shao
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Electrodeposition provides a facile fabrication means for electrochemical devices but weak substrate-deposit interactions cause poor performance. Here, authors utilize anion insertion within graphitic layers to improve the material interfaces and construct highly active O2-evolving electrocatalysts.

    • Zhenhua Yan
    • , Hongming Sun
    • , Xiang Chen
    • , Huanhuan Liu
    • , Yaran Zhao
    • , Haixia Li
    • , Wei Xie
    • , Fangyi Cheng
    •  &  Jun Chen
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While water reduction may provide a carbon-neutral means to produce hydrogen gas, there is a scarcity of efficient, earth-abundant electrocatalysts. Here, the authors add palladium into MoS2 materials to activate and stabilize the conductive basal plane to improve the electrocatalytic activity.

    • Zhaoyan Luo
    • , Yixin Ouyang
    • , Hao Zhang
    • , Meiling Xiao
    • , Junjie Ge
    • , Zheng Jiang
    • , Jinlan Wang
    • , Daiming Tang
    • , Xinzhong Cao
    • , Changpeng Liu
    •  &  Wei Xing
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water electrolysis provides a means to convert water into carbon-neutral fuels, but current devices are typically heavy, inflexible, or require costly substrates. Here, the authors transform paper and cotton fabrics into efficient, durable, and flexible supports for water-splitting electrocatalysts.

    • Atharva Sahasrabudhe
    • , Harsha Dixit
    • , Rahul Majee
    •  &  Sayan Bhattacharyya
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The Haber-Bosch process, producing NH3 from N2, is a crucial yet energetically demanding reaction, inspiring interest in the exploration of ambient-condition alternatives. Here, authors develop a palladium electrocatalyst that shows a high selectivity and activity for N2 reduction to NH3.

    • Jun Wang
    • , Liang Yu
    • , Lin Hu
    • , Gang Chen
    • , Hongliang Xin
    •  &  Xiaofeng Feng
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While iron-containing materials are excellent water electrolysis electrocatalysts, their poor conductivity requires them to be incorporated into conductive matrices. Here, the authors prepare highly conductive iron fluoride-oxide mixed phase substrates with strong water electrolysis performances.

    • Xiujun Fan
    • , Yuanyue Liu
    • , Shuai Chen
    • , Jianjian Shi
    • , Juanjuan Wang
    • , Ailing Fan
    • , Wenyan Zan
    • , Sidian Li
    • , William A. Goddard III
    •  &  Xian-Ming Zhang
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    A major challenge facing solar-to-fuel technologies is the integration of light-absorbing and catalytic components into efficient water-splitting devices. Here, the authors construct a photochemical diode array to harvest visible light and split pure water at high solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies.

    • Faqrul A. Chowdhury
    • , Michel L. Trudeau
    • , Hong Guo
    •  &  Zetian Mi
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Single atom catalysts provide the most efficient metal atoms usage and afford active site homogeneity, but surface attachment has proven challenging. Here, the authors use triple-bond-rich graphdiyne to anchor nickel/iron atoms and show high hydrogen evolution electrocatalysis activities.

    • Yurui Xue
    • , Bolong Huang
    • , Yuanping Yi
    • , Yuan Guo
    • , Zicheng Zuo
    • , Yongjun Li
    • , Zhiyu Jia
    • , Huibiao Liu
    •  &  Yuliang Li
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The development of efficient catalysts for electrochemical carbon dioxide conversion is hindered by a lack of rationalization. Here, authors use microfabricated electrodes to study the birth of active sites around interfaces in multicomponent copper-based catalysts during carbon dioxide reduction.

    • Gastón O. Larrazábal
    • , Tatsuya Shinagawa
    • , Antonio J. Martín
    •  &  Javier Pérez-Ramírez
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    While photoelectrochemical devices combine light-absorption with fuel and electricity generation, their implementation is hampered by high costs and low output. Here, the authors synthesized acetylene-rich carbon fibers by copper-mediated polymerization for high-activity, metal-free photocathodes.

    • Tao Zhang
    • , Yang Hou
    • , Volodymyr Dzhagan
    • , Zhongquan Liao
    • , Guoliang Chai
    • , Markus Löffler
    • , Davide Olianas
    • , Alberto Milani
    • , Shunqi Xu
    • , Matteo Tommasini
    • , Dietrich R. T. Zahn
    • , Zhikun Zheng
    • , Ehrenfried Zschech
    • , Rainer Jordan
    •  &  Xinliang Feng
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Understanding how catalysts corrode during use is crucial in developing new, durable devices. Here, the authors studied the real-time corrosion of core-shell palladium-platinum nanocubes by electron microscopy and found two competitive etching mechanisms to dominate catalyst degradation behavior.

    • Hao Shan
    • , Wenpei Gao
    • , Yalin Xiong
    • , Fenglei Shi
    • , Yucong Yan
    • , Yanling Ma
    • , Wen Shang
    • , Peng Tao
    • , Chengyi Song
    • , Tao Deng
    • , Hui Zhang
    • , Deren Yang
    • , Xiaoqing Pan
    •  &  Jianbo Wu
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Water electrolysis can generate carbon-neutral hydrogen gas from water, yet the required catalysts are often expensive, scarce, and poor at gas release. Here, the authors prepared nitrogen-doped carbon tungstide nanoarrays with high water-splitting activities and bubble-releasing surfaces.

    • Nana Han
    • , Ke R. Yang
    • , Zhiyi Lu
    • , Yingjie Li
    • , Wenwen Xu
    • , Tengfei Gao
    • , Zhao Cai
    • , Ying Zhang
    • , Victor S. Batista
    • , Wen Liu
    •  &  Xiaoming Sun
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Trapping carbon dioxide within usable chemicals is a promising means to mitigate climate change, yet electrochemical C–C couplings are challenging to perform. Here, the authors prepared iron oxyhydroxides on nitrogen-doped carbon that efficiently convert carbon dioxide to acetic acid.

    • Chiara Genovese
    • , Manfred E. Schuster
    • , Emma K. Gibson
    • , Diego Gianolio
    • , Victor Posligua
    • , Ricardo Grau-Crespo
    • , Giannantonio Cibin
    • , Peter P. Wells
    • , Debi Garai
    • , Vladyslav Solokha
    • , Sandra Krick Calderon
    • , Juan J. Velasco-Velez
    • , Claudio Ampelli
    • , Siglinda Perathoner
    • , Georg Held
    • , Gabriele Centi
    •  &  Rosa Arrigo
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Light-driven carbon dioxide conversion into fuels provides a nature-inspired strategy to combat climate change, but how materials do so remains a challenge. Here, the authors prepare metal–semiconductor composites and find platinum-nanoparticle size controls fuel selectivity and activity.

    • Chunyang Dong
    • , Cheng Lian
    • , Songchang Hu
    • , Zesheng Deng
    • , Jianqiu Gong
    • , Mingde Li
    • , Honglai Liu
    • , Mingyang Xing
    •  &  Jinlong Zhang