Browse Articles

  • News and Views |

    Understanding how subsidies affect fossil-fuel investment returns and production is crucial to commencing new reforms. New analysis on the impact of subsidies on US crude-oil producers finds that, at recent oil prices of around US$50 per barrel, tax preferences and other subsidies push nearly half of new oil investments into profitability.

    • Ronald Steenblik
  • Article |

    Proton-conducting metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) could be used as the electrolytes in proton exchange membrane fuel cells but chemically stable materials that perform well at low humidity are still sought. Here the authors prepare a stable, structurally flexible MOF that maintains high proton conductivity under a wide range of humidity.

    • Fan Yang
    • , Gang Xu
    • , Yibo Dou
    • , Bin Wang
    • , Heng Zhang
    • , Hui Wu
    • , Wei Zhou
    • , Jian-Rong Li
    •  & Banglin Chen
  • Editorial |

    We all stand to gain by doing more to combat gender inequality.

  • Article |

    Sodium-ion batteries are a cost-effective alternative to lithium-ion for large-scale energy storage. Here Bao et al. develop a cathode based on biomass-derived ionic crystals that enables a four-sodium ion storage mechanism leading to exceptionally high specific capacity and energy density.

    • Minah Lee
    • , Jihyun Hong
    • , Jeffrey Lopez
    • , Yongming Sun
    • , Dawei Feng
    • , Kipil Lim
    • , William C. Chueh
    • , Michael F. Toney
    • , Yi Cui
    •  & Zhenan Bao
  • Article |

    Hydrogenation of CO2 over heterogeneous catalysts can produce useful energy vectors such as methanol and formic acid. Here the authors show that the activity of unsupported cobalt catalysts can be markedly enhanced through incorporation of nitrogen atoms into the structure.

    • Liangbing Wang
    • , Wenbo Zhang
    • , Xusheng Zheng
    • , Yizhen Chen
    • , Wenlong Wu
    • , Jianxiang Qiu
    • , Xiangchen Zhao
    • , Xiao Zhao
    • , Yizhou Dai
    •  & Jie Zeng
  • Article |

    Understanding land-use requirements for the life cycle of electricity generation allows for consistent comparisons of different technologies. Jordaan et al. present a method that leverages highly resolved, empirical data sets to give robust estimates of land use for natural-gas-fired electricity.

    • Sarah M. Jordaan
    • , Garvin A. Heath
    • , Jordan Macknick
    • , Brian W. Bush
    • , Ehsan Mohammadi
    • , Dan Ben-Horin
    • , Victoria Urrea
    •  & Danielle Marceau
  • Perspective |

    Urban households in the global south face unique energy access challenges. This Perspective outlines a research agenda based on understanding the needs of urban energy users to promote inclusive urban energy transitions.

    • Vanesa Castán Broto
    • , Lucy Stevens
    • , Emmanuel Ackom
    • , Julia Tomei
    • , Priti Parikh
    • , Iwona Bisaga
    • , Long Seng To
    • , Joshua Kirshner
    •  & Yacob Mulugetta
  • Analysis |

    Governments give a variety of subsidies to fossil fuel companies, but G20 nations have committed to phasing these out. Erickson et al. analyse subsidies provided to new crude oil fields in the US and find that, at current oil prices, nearly half of them depend on these subsidies to proceed.

    • Peter Erickson
    • , Adrian Down
    • , Michael Lazarus
    •  & Doug Koplow
  • News and Views |

    The shale gas revolution has led to a boom in construction of shale oil and gas wells in recent years. New research offers a more accurate accounting of its growing land-use footprint.

    • Joseph Fargione
  • News and Views |

    Household income is a typical measure of inequality, but it is limited by under-reporting, especially for rural Chinese households. A new study shows that energy consumption measures service flows of household durable electronics, which can provide more precise measurement of rural wealth inequalities and distributions.

    • Dabo Guan
  • Article |

    Membranes that can separate hydrogen from mixed gas streams are important for the production of high-purity hydrogen for use in energy applications such as fuel cells. Here the authors demonstrate that titanium nitrides are promising for ambient temperature hydrogen separation via conduction of hydride ions.

    • Chiharu Kura
    • , Yuji Kunisada
    • , Etsushi Tsuji
    • , Chunyu Zhu
    • , Hiroki Habazaki
    • , Shinji Nagata
    • , Michael P. Müller
    • , Roger A. De Souza
    •  & Yoshitaka Aoki
  • News and Views |

    Confining sulfur in high-surface-area carbon is a widely adapted approach in Li–S batteries, but it often results in low sulfur utilization and low energy density. Now, controlled nucleation of discrete Li2S particles on a network of low-surface-area carbon fibres provides a possible solution to the endemic problems of Li–S batteries.

    • Yang-Kook Sun
    •  & Chong Seung Yoon
  • Comment |

    President Trump has proposed severe cuts to US government spending on energy research, development and demonstration, but Congress has the ‘power of the purse’ and can rescue US energy innovation. If serious cuts are enacted, the pace of innovation will slow, harming the economy, energy security and global environmental quality.

    • Laura Diaz Anadon
    • , Kelly Sims Gallagher
    •  & John P. Holdren
  • Article |

    Sulfur encapsulation with nanoporous carbon is a widely adopted approach for Li–S batteries, but this often results in low sulfur utilization and low volumetric energy density. Here the authors report a non-encapsulation approach for the growth of S-containing species with low-surface-area carbon and high energy.

    • Huilin Pan
    • , Junzheng Chen
    • , Ruiguo Cao
    • , Vijay Murugesan
    • , Nav Nidhi Rajput
    • , Kee Sung Han
    • , Kristin Persson
    • , Luis Estevez
    • , Mark H. Engelhard
    • , Ji-Guang Zhang
    • , Karl T. Mueller
    • , Yi Cui
    • , Yuyan Shao
    •  & Jun Liu
  • Article |

    Inequality in China ranks as one of the highest in the world. Using household energy consumption data, this study shows that deriving energy from biomass, use of energy for space heating and cooking, and intraregional differences are major contributors to consumption inequality in rural China.

    • Shimei Wu
    • , Xinye Zheng
    •  & Chu Wei
  • 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
  • News and Views |

    Light-weight and stretchable, organic photovoltaics offer unique integration prospects. Now, organic solar cells and modules can also be washed while maintaining good photoconversion efficiencies.

    • Ning Li
    •  & Christoph J. Brabec