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Volume 5 Issue 3, March 2022

Greening batteries

The rapid proliferation of batteries in a wide range of applications has put problems with their sustainability under greater public scrutiny. In this issue we highlight research on emerging cell chemistry and cathode materials that addresses the worrying reliance on lithium and cobalt, as well as a Review Article on sensing techniques to monitor the health of batteries for extended lifespan.

See Editorial

Image: Mode Images / Alamy Stock Photo. Cover Design: Valentina Monaco.


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Comment & Opinion

  • Having transformed our way of life, rechargeable batteries are poised for exponential growth over the coming decade, notably due to the wider adoption of electric vehicles. An international expert panel proposes a combination of vision, innovation and practice for feasible pathways toward sustainable batteries.

    • Christian Bauer
    • Simon Burkhardt
    • Shengming Xu
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News & Views

  • Zinc batteries are more sustainable than the currently dominating lithium technologies, but their major technical problems have yet to be fully resolved. Now a new electrolyte formulation addresses most issues and delivers rechargeable zinc batteries with both performance breakthrough and cost advantage.

    • Florencio Santos
    • Antonio J. Fernández Romero
    News & Views
  • Both lithium- and sodium-ion batteries could play an important role in combating climate change, but they often suffer structural instabilities in the cathodes, which degrade performance. Now a study on two cathode materials that function in either battery type sheds light on how their structure should be designed to suppress these instabilities.

    • Eric McCalla
    • Shipeng Jia
    News & Views
  • The potential lithium crisis and supply shortages of other metals essential for lithium-ion batteries have driven innovation in alternative technologies. Now a study describes high-performance potassium-ion batteries that can cycle for more than 500 days with negligible performance loss.

    • Matthew Li
    • Jun Lu
    News & Views
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  • Agriculture’s ability to feed the world is limited by land and freshwater. This Perspective argues that scaling up seaweed aquaculture is needed to accommodate the 9+ billion people expected by 2050 and to meet the Sustainable Development Goals.

    • Carlos M. Duarte
    • Annette Bruhn
    • Dorte Krause-Jensen
  • Today’s energy systems rely on rechargeable batteries but the growing demand raises environmental concerns. As more data become available, sensing can play a key role in advancing utilization strategies for new and used lithium-ion devices. This Review discusses how optical sensors can help to improve the sustainability of batteries.

    • Jiaqiang Huang
    • Steven T. Boles
    • Jean-Marie Tarascon
    Review Article
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