Browse Articles

  • News & Views |

    The sustainability of biomass production for energy depends on site-specific biophysical and socio-economic conditions. New research using high-resolution ecosystem process modelling shows the trade-offs between economic and environmental performance of biomass production for an ethanol biorefinery.

    • Floor van der Hilst
  • Article |

    Dedicated energy crops are an important feedstock for bioenergy systems, but uncertainties remain over how best to integrate them into agricultural landscapes. Here, the authors use high-resolution ecosystem modelling to explore how selection of the soils cultivated and fertilizer application rates affects feedstock costs and emissions footprints.

    • John L. Field
    • , Samuel G. Evans
    • , Ernie Marx
    • , Mark Easter
    • , Paul R. Adler
    • , Thai Dinh
    • , Bryan Willson
    •  & Keith Paustian
  • Article |

    Protonic ceramic fuel cells use oxide electrolytes with high protonic conductivity but suffer from low power densities due to sluggish oxygen reduction kinetics and high contact resistances. Here the authors integrate a PrBa0.5Sr0.5Co1.5Fe0.5O5+δ cathode and a BaZr0.4Ce0.4Y0.1Yb0.1O3 electrolyte, achieving exceptional power density and stability.

    • Sihyuk Choi
    • , Chris J. Kucharczyk
    • , Yangang Liang
    • , Xiaohang Zhang
    • , Ichiro Takeuchi
    • , Ho-Il Ji
    •  & Sossina M. Haile
  • News & Views |

    Smart integrated transport and energy systems need to interact with end users to enable the exploitation of demand flexibility. New research shows that relying on assumptions about user behaviour, rather than on data-based empirical models, inflates the benefits of smart-charging programmes.

    • Nicolò Daina
  • Editorial |

    US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry may have lost his bid to prop up coal and nuclear power, but he has started a valuable conversation about the grid and its resilience.

  • News & Views |

    Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to fuels is an attractive pathway to store electrical energy in chemical form. Isolated, low-valent Ni species in nitrogen-doped graphene are now demonstrated to selectively convert CO2 to CO electrochemically with high intrinsic activity and stability.

    • Guido Mul
  • Article |

    Electrocatalysts with improved activity and stability for the conversion of CO2 to CO are being sought. Using operando spectroscopies, the authors identify atomically dispersed Ni(i) as the active site in a nitrogenated-graphene-supported catalyst with high intrinsic activity and stability over 100 hours.

    • Hong Bin Yang
    • , Sung-Fu Hung
    • , Song Liu
    • , Kaidi Yuan
    • , Shu Miao
    • , Liping Zhang
    • , Xiang Huang
    • , Hsin-Yi Wang
    • , Weizheng Cai
    • , Rong Chen
    • , Jiajian Gao
    • , Xiaofeng Yang
    • , Wei Chen
    • , Yanqiang Huang
    • , Hao Ming Chen
    • , Chang Ming Li
    • , Tao Zhang
    •  & Bin Liu
  • Article |

    The Carnot efficiency and the power output of thermoelectric power generation increase with temperature but current thermoelectrics are characterized up to 1,500 K. Here, Li et al. develop reduced graphene oxide films that can convert heat up to 3,000 K with high power factors, opening the door for novel applications.

    • Tian Li
    • , Andrea D. Pickel
    • , Yonggang Yao
    • , Yanan Chen
    • , Yuqiang Zeng
    • , Steven D. Lacey
    • , Yiju Li
    • , Yilin Wang
    • , Jiaqi Dai
    • , Yanbin Wang
    • , Bao Yang
    • , Michael S. Fuhrer
    • , Amy Marconnet
    • , Chris Dames
    • , Dennis H. Drew
    •  & Liangbing Hu
  • News & Views |

    One third of industrial processes occur at high temperatures above 1300 K, but current methods of waste heat recovery at these temperatures are limited. Now, reduced graphene oxide is shown to be a highly efficient and reliable thermoelectric material up to 3000 K.

    • Gabi Schierning
  • Perspective |

    The rise of prosumers has led to creation of virtual power plants and peer-to-peer trading to help manage a diverse and distributed array of energy sources. This Perspective proposes the federated power plant, which combines these concepts to meet some of their individual challenges and offer new value.

    • Thomas Morstyn
    • , Niall Farrell
    • , Sarah J. Darby
    •  & Malcolm D. McCulloch
  • Article |

    Electrification of transport offers many benefits for the energy transition but introduces a number of complexities around the electric system. This study undertakes modelling of residential power demand and electric vehicle use to understand the impact of uncoordinated vehicle charging on the electricity load.

    • Matteo Muratori
  • Article |

    Molten-salt batteries such as Na–NiCl2 are promising candidates for grid storage, but suffer from fragility of ion-selective ceramic membranes. Here the authors report the operation of a Li–Pb||PbCl2 battery fitted with a robust TiN mesh membrane that functions by protective faradaic reaction.

    • Huayi Yin
    • , Brice Chung
    • , Fei Chen
    • , Takanari Ouchi
    • , Ji Zhao
    • , Nobuyuki Tanaka
    •  & Donald R. Sadoway
  • Article |

    Three-dimensional printing is changing the way we manufacture objects. Here, Kim et al. develop inks of inorganic thermoelectric materials to 3D print the legs of conformable thermoelectric generators, allowing waste heat recovery from hot water pipes.

    • Fredrick Kim
    • , Beomjin Kwon
    • , Youngho Eom
    • , Ji Eun Lee
    • , Sangmin Park
    • , Seungki Jo
    • , Sung Hoon Park
    • , Bong-Seo Kim
    • , Hye Jin Im
    • , Min Ho Lee
    • , Tae Sik Min
    • , Kyung Tae Kim
    • , Han Gi Chae
    • , William P. King
    •  & Jae Sung Son
  • Article |

    Catalysts are required to increase the rate of H2 evolution over silicon photocathodes, but their presence can lead to parasitic light absorption. Here, the authors explore the contributions of catalysts and light absorption to the overall performance of Si microwires, depositing Ni–Mo catalysts spatioselectively to optimize efficiency.

    • Wouter Vijselaar
    • , Pieter Westerik
    • , Janneke Veerbeek
    • , Roald M. Tiggelaar
    • , Erwin Berenschot
    • , Niels R. Tas
    • , Han Gardeniers
    •  & Jurriaan Huskens
  • News & Views |

    Biological photovoltaic devices (BPVs) use photosynthetic microorganisms to produce electricity, but low photocurrent generation impedes their application. Now, a micro-scale flow-based BPV system is reported with power density outputs similar to that of large-scale biofuels.

    • Matteo Grattieri
    •  & Shelley D. Minteer
  • Editorial |

    Investment in clean-energy technology is increasingly seen as a clear opportunity. Definitive plans would spur more concrete action.