Browse Articles

  • Article |

    Solid-state caloric cooling is a promising alternative to vapour-compression refrigeration yet practical devices are not sufficiently efficient for applications. Meng et al. combine cascade device design with charge recovery and improve the cooling efficiency and temperature lift of an electrocaloric device.

    • Yuan Meng
    • , Ziyang Zhang
    • , Hanxiang Wu
    • , Ruiyi Wu
    • , Jianghan Wu
    • , Haolun Wang
    •  & Qibing Pei
  • Article |

    Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are increasingly being explored for electrocatalytic oxygen evolution, which is half of the water splitting reaction. Here the authors show that, under reaction conditions, mixed metal oxyhydroxides form at the nodes of bimetallic MOFs, which are highly catalytically active.

    • Shenlong Zhao
    • , Chunhui Tan
    • , Chun-Ting He
    • , Pengfei An
    • , Feng Xie
    • , Shuai Jiang
    • , Yanfei Zhu
    • , Kuang-Hsu Wu
    • , Binwei Zhang
    • , Haijing Li
    • , Jing Zhang
    • , Yuan Chen
    • , Shaoqin Liu
    • , Juncai Dong
    •  & Zhiyong Tang
  • News & Views |

    The design of research solar cells is typically optimized for laboratory conditions but in the real world they are exposed to changing temperatures influencing their performance. Now, research from outdoor tests reveals how temperature alters the current of perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells and how this changes the optimal bandgaps.

    • Jan Christoph Goldschmidt
  • Article |

    The appropriate descriptors for a catalyst’s hydrogen evolution activity in alkaline electrolyte are debated. Combining simulations and single-crystal studies of metal-decorated Pt surfaces, McCrum and Koper show that activity exhibits a volcano-type relationship with the hydroxide binding strength of the catalyst, providing a target for catalyst design.

    • Ian T. McCrum
    •  & Marc T. M. Koper
  • Article |

    Estimating the costs of green home improvements is not possible without accurate estimates of their impact on house prices. Now, Shen et al. use the sales data of more than 400,000 properties in the United States to determine how heat pump installations increase house prices.

    • Xingchi Shen
    • , Pengfei Liu
    • , Yueming (Lucy) Qiu
    • , Anand Patwardhan
    •  & Parth Vaishnav
  • Editorial |

    The renewal of Mission Innovation is important — but more targeted interventions are needed to deliver on necessary energy-innovation goals.

  • News & Views |

    Current collectors are essential components in lithium-ion batteries, but are typically made of metal foils that do not contribute to the battery capacity. Now, a fire-extinguishing lightweight polymer-based current collector is developed that enhances both the energy density and safety of the battery.

    • Leif Nyholm
  • Article |

    Low-bandgap tin–lead perovskites are key to all-perovskite tandem solar cells but simultaneous improvement in efficiency and stability has proven challenging. Now, Li et al. fabricate tin–lead perovskite cells with reduced methylammonium content that are 20.4% efficient and stable under illumination for 450 h.

    • Chongwen Li
    • , Zhaoning Song
    • , Cong Chen
    • , Chuanxiao Xiao
    • , Biwas Subedi
    • , Steven P. Harvey
    • , Niraj Shrestha
    • , Kamala Khanal Subedi
    • , Lei Chen
    • , Dachang Liu
    • , You Li
    • , Yong-Wah Kim
    • , Chun-sheng Jiang
    • , Michael J. Heben
    • , Dewei Zhao
    • , Randy J. Ellingson
    • , Nikolas J. Podraza
    • , Mowafak Al-Jassim
    •  & Yanfa Yan
  • Article |

    Batteries need to be energy-dense as well as safe. Yi Cui and team develop an ultralight polyimide-based current collector with embedded fire retardants that enables lithium-ion batteries with much-enhanced safety and energy density.

    • Yusheng Ye
    • , Lien-Yang Chou
    • , Yayuan Liu
    • , Hansen Wang
    • , Hiang Kwee Lee
    • , Wenxiao Huang
    • , Jiayu Wan
    • , Kai Liu
    • , Guangmin Zhou
    • , Yufei Yang
    • , Ankun Yang
    • , Xin Xiao
    • , Xin Gao
    • , David Thomas Boyle
    • , Hao Chen
    • , Wenbo Zhang
    • , Sang Cheol Kim
    •  & Yi Cui
  • Perspective |

    Mental accounting refers to the mental budgets people use to organize and track resource use. In this Perspective, the authors demonstrate how principles of mental accounting can be applied to energy behaviour and decision-making, and outline future research directions.

    • Ulf J. J. Hahnel
    • , Gilles Chatelain
    • , Beatrice Conte
    • , Valentino Piana
    •  & Tobias Brosch
  • Article |

    Ensuring both stability and efficiency in mixed lead–tin perovskite solar cells is crucial to the development of all-perovskite tandems. Xiao et al. use an antioxidant zwitterionic molecule to suppress tin oxidation thus enabling large-area tandem cells with 24.2% efficiency and operational stability over 500 hours.

    • Ke Xiao
    • , Renxing Lin
    • , Qiaolei Han
    • , Yi Hou
    • , Zhenyuan Qin
    • , Hieu T. Nguyen
    • , Jin Wen
    • , Mingyang Wei
    • , Vishal Yeddu
    • , Makhsud I. Saidaminov
    • , Yuan Gao
    • , Xin Luo
    • , Yurui Wang
    • , Han Gao
    • , Chunfeng Zhang
    • , Jun Xu
    • , Jia Zhu
    • , Edward H. Sargent
    •  & Hairen Tan
  • Analysis |

    Nuclear and renewable energy are considered two of the most important technologies towards decarbonization though it is not clear how their adoption relates to national emission reductions. Sovacool et al. look at data from 123 countries to examine emission reductions associated with nuclear- or renewable energy-focused strategies.

    • Benjamin K. Sovacool
    • , Patrick Schmid
    • , Andy Stirling
    • , Goetz Walter
    •  & Gordon MacKerron
  • News & Views |

    Government programmes such as the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) are designed to help cleantech companies overcome startup challenges and bring innovations to market. New analysis shows that support from ARPA-E has led to higher patenting rates but success in winning follow-up funding remains unclear.

    • David M. Hart
  • Article |

    Nickel-rich layered oxide cathodes are at the forefront of the development of automobile batteries. The authors report an atomic and microstructural engineering design for a Li[Ni0.90Co0.09Ta0.01]O2 cathode that exhibits outstanding long-term cyclability and high energy at full depth of discharge in full cells.

    • Un-Hyuck Kim
    • , Geon-Tae Park
    • , Byoung-Ki Son
    • , Gyeong Won Nam
    • , Jun Liu
    • , Liang-Yin Kuo
    • , Payam Kaghazchi
    • , Chong S. Yoon
    •  & Yang-Kook Sun
  • Article |

    While electricity production has a significant impact on air quality, the opposite effect has been suspected but not empirically demonstrated. Now, using pollution and electricity consumption data, He et al. show the impact of air pollution on domestic electricity consumption.

    • Pan He
    • , Jing Liang
    • , Yueming (Lucy) Qiu
    • , Qingran Li
    •  & Bo Xing
  • Article |

    Understanding the severe voltage hysteresis in the first cycle of Li-rich cathodes is essential to realize their full potential in batteries. P. G. Bruce and colleagues report the formation of molecular O2 on charging rather than other oxidized O species is the cause for the voltage hysteresis.

    • Robert A. House
    • , Gregory J. Rees
    • , Miguel A. Pérez-Osorio
    • , John-Joseph Marie
    • , Edouard Boivin
    • , Alex W. Robertson
    • , Abhishek Nag
    • , Mirian Garcia-Fernandez
    • , Ke-Jin Zhou
    •  & Peter G. Bruce
  • Article |

    The impact of energy consumption on air pollution in various forms has been studied extensively though less is known about how ambient air pollution affects energy use. Here, Eom et al. show how ambient air pollution increases domestic energy use in South Korea.

    • Jiyong Eom
    • , Minwoo Hyun
    • , Jaewoong Lee
    •  & Hyoseop Lee
  • Policy Brief |

    Startups funded by the US Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy filed patents at twice the rate of similar cleantech firms. The high-risk high-reward funding model has succeeded in advancing energy technology, but more is needed to help these innovative firms cross the valley of death and bring new cleantech products to market.

    • Anna Goldstein
    • , Claudia Doblinger
    • , Erin Baker
    •  & Laura Díaz Anadón
  • Article |

    Outdoor field testing is crucial to understand how solar cells behave under operational conditions. Here, Aydin et al. show that a lower perovskite bandgap than that calculated at laboratory standard test conditions enhances the performance of perovskite/silicon tandem cells in the field.

    • Erkan Aydin
    • , Thomas G. Allen
    • , Michele De Bastiani
    • , Lujia Xu
    • , Jorge Ávila
    • , Michael Salvador
    • , Emmanuel Van Kerschaver
    •  & Stefaan De Wolf
  • Analysis |

    The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy aims to fund high-risk high-reward clean energy technology in the United States, but evaluating its impact is difficult. Goldstein et al. compare startups that won Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy funding to other cleantech startups, and find that Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy awardees tend to gain more patents but that more is needed to help them overcome the valley of death.

    • Anna Goldstein
    • , Claudia Doblinger
    • , Erin Baker
    •  & Laura Díaz Anadón
  • News & Views |

    The landscape of the global clean energy industry is transforming, with many technology-following firms in developing countries rapidly catching up to — and potentially poised to overtake — leaders in the developed world. New analysis reveals a clearer picture of this changing geography of clean energy value chains over time.

    • Stine Haakonsson
  • Comment |

    The Paris Agreement’s Mission Innovation initiative to accelerate government spending on clean energy research is currently succeeding in its quest to support carbon mitigation. It should be renewed for an additional five years, with increased ambition, and changed to better integrate the private sector.

    • Zdenka Myslikova
    •  & Kelly Sims Gallagher
  • Article |

    Bio-oil derived from biomass has great potential as a more sustainable fuel but its formation typically relies on energy-intensive processes. Liu et al. show how a tri-phase hydrogen-transfer catalytic system can drive hydrodeoxygenation in water under mild conditions to achieve up to 90% hydrocarbon yield.

    • Wei Liu
    • , Wenqin You
    • , Wei Sun
    • , Weisheng Yang
    • , Akshay Korde
    • , Yutao Gong
    •  & Yulin Deng
  • News & Views |

    Non-fullerene acceptors have enabled record power conversion efficiencies in organic solar cells, but it is unclear how they achieve efficient electron–hole separation. New research shows that extremely long exciton lifetimes are essential to ensure that charges are generated efficiently.

    • Tracey M. Clarke
  • Article |

    Donor–acceptor systems with low energy-level offset enable high power efficiency in organic solar cells yet it is unclear what drives charge generation. Classen et al. show that long exciton lifetimes enable efficient exciton splitting and thus generation of free charges while also suppressing voltage losses.

    • Andrej Classen
    • , Christos L. Chochos
    • , Larry Lüer
    • , Vasilis G. Gregoriou
    • , Jonas Wortmann
    • , Andres Osvet
    • , Karen Forberich
    • , Iain McCulloch
    • , Thomas Heumüller
    •  & Christoph J. Brabec
  • Analysis |

    Clean energy technology manufacturing relies on global value chains, yet the patterns of these chains are poorly understood, obscuring the underlying drivers. Surana et al. analyse data on wind power global value chains to assess how technology complexity shapes the location of suppliers and evolves over time.

    • Kavita Surana
    • , Claudia Doblinger
    • , Laura Diaz Anadon
    •  & Nathan Hultman
  • Analysis |

    To meet climate goals, electric utilities should be decarbonizing their power production, but historical analyses of this process are scarce. Using machine learning and data from more than 3,000 utilities globally, Galina Alova shows that even utilities that prioritize renewable energy continue to grow their fossil fuelled generation capacity.

    • Galina Alova
  • Article |

    Local content requirements are designed to promote development of local industry; however, their economic and technological benefits are not well understood. Using data from Indian solar photovoltaic auctions, Probst et al. show the economic costs and technical benefits of local content requirements in energy auctions.

    • Benedict Probst
    • , Vasilios Anatolitis
    • , Andreas Kontoleon
    •  & Laura Díaz Anadón
  • News & Views |

    Photocatalytic systems for CO2 conversion to fuels tend to suffer from low selectivity, and sacrificial reagents or external bias are often required to make the reaction work. Now, a wireless and stand-alone photocatalyst device is demonstrated that converts CO2 and water into formate and O2 using solar energy without external bias.

    • Tuo Wang
    •  & Jinlong Gong
  • Article |

    Selective photocatalytic conversion of CO2 into fuels without using sacrificial reagents and external bias has proved difficult. Addressing these challenges, Wang and colleagues fabricate wireless photocatalyst sheets comprising a molecular cobalt catalyst and metal oxide semiconductors that convert CO2 and H2O into formate and O2.

    • Qian Wang
    • , Julien Warnan
    • , Santiago Rodríguez-Jiménez
    • , Jane J. Leung
    • , Shafeer Kalathil
    • , Virgil Andrei
    • , Kazunari Domen
    •  & Erwin Reisner
  • Article |

    Tracking a battery’s chemical and thermal states during operation offers important information on its reliability and lifetime. Here the authors develop optical fibre sensors and decouple temperature and pressure variations in the measurements inside of batteries, allowing chemical and thermal events to be monitored with high accuracy.

    • Jiaqiang Huang
    • , Laura Albero Blanquer
    • , Julien Bonefacino
    • , E. R. Logan
    • , Daniel Alves Dalla Corte
    • , Charles Delacourt
    • , Betar M. Gallant
    • , Steven T. Boles
    • , J. R. Dahn
    • , Hwa-Yaw Tam
    •  & Jean-Marie Tarascon
  • Editorial |

    Black and African American people face systematic disadvantages in energy costs and limited access to renewable energy benefits. Addressing these disparities is an important part of achieving racial justice.

  • Perspective |

    Zinc metal batteries (ZMBs) provide a promising alternative to lithium metal batteries but share the formidable challenges in reversibility. The authors discuss the key performance metrics of ZMBs and propose a protocol to assess the true reversibility of zinc metal anodes.

    • Lin Ma
    • , Marshall A. Schroeder
    • , Oleg Borodin
    • , Travis P. Pollard
    • , Michael S. Ding
    • , Chunsheng Wang
    •  & Kang Xu
  • Review Article |

    Negawatt trading or trade in wattage of energy saved from consumption has been a much debated idea that has evaded wide-scale practical application. Tushar et al. look at the challenges to wide-scale negawatt trading and explain how recent technological developments can help address those challenges.

    • Wayes Tushar
    • , Tapan K. Saha
    • , Chau Yuen
    • , David Smith
    • , Peta Ashworth
    • , H. Vincent Poor
    •  & Subarna Basnet
  • Comment |

    Roughly 90% of the world’s energy use today involves generation or manipulation of heat over a wide range of temperatures. Here, we note five key applications of research in thermal energy that could help make significant progress towards mitigating climate change at the necessary scale and urgency.

    • Asegun Henry
    • , Ravi Prasher
    •  & Arun Majumdar
  • Article |

    Anode-free batteries have emerged as a promising storage means to offer high energy density but still suffer from long-term reversibility. The authors analyse the cell failure mechanisms and present an optimized electrolyte to extend the lifetime of anode-free pouch cells.

    • A. J. Louli
    • , A. Eldesoky
    • , Rochelle Weber
    • , M. Genovese
    • , Matt Coon
    • , Jack deGooyer
    • , Zhe Deng
    • , R. T. White
    • , Jaehan Lee
    • , Thomas Rodgers
    • , R. Petibon
    • , S. Hy
    • , Shawn J. H. Cheng
    •  & J. R. Dahn
  • Article |

    Widespread deployment of electrochemical CO2 reduction requires low-cost catalysts that perform well at high current densities. Zhang et al. show that methoxy-functionalized nickel phthalocyanine molecules on carbon nanotubes can operate as high-performing molecularly dispersed electrocatalysts at current densities of up to −300 mA cm–2.

    • Xiao Zhang
    • , Yang Wang
    • , Meng Gu
    • , Maoyu Wang
    • , Zisheng Zhang
    • , Weiying Pan
    • , Zhan Jiang
    • , Hongzhi Zheng
    • , Marcos Lucero
    • , Hailiang Wang
    • , George E. Sterbinsky
    • , Qing Ma
    • , Yang-Gang Wang
    • , Zhenxing Feng
    • , Jun Li
    • , Hongjie Dai
    •  & Yongye Liang
  • News & Views |

    The use of energy expenditure thresholds for quantifying energy poverty is a widely used approach, particularly within the Global North. New research from Hong Kong confirms that this method risks overlooking important housing and climate-related factors.

    • Harriet Thomson
  • Analysis |

    Climate change may affect energy systems by altering energy consumption patterns and production potential, with varying levels of impact across regions. This review synthesizes key findings of climate impact studies in regional and global scenarios and sets the stage for future multi-model assessments to support energy planning.

    • Seleshi G. Yalew
    • , Michelle T. H. van Vliet
    • , David E. H. J. Gernaat
    • , Fulco Ludwig
    • , Ariel Miara
    • , Chan Park
    • , Edward Byers
    • , Enrica De Cian
    • , Franziska Piontek
    • , Gokul Iyer
    • , Ioanna Mouratiadou
    • , James Glynn
    • , Mohamad Hejazi
    • , Olivier Dessens
    • , Pedro Rochedo
    • , Robert Pietzcker
    • , Roberto Schaeffer
    • , Shinichiro Fujimori
    • , Shouro Dasgupta
    • , Silvana Mima
    • , Silvia R. Santos da Silva
    • , Vaibhav Chaturvedi
    • , Robert Vautard
    •  & Detlef P. van Vuuren
  • News & Views |

    Offshore wind projects are being deployed at an increasing rate, and as the scale of these projects has grown, costs have tumbled. A new study indicates that some new European projects may no longer require support from state subsidy mechanisms to be competitive.

    • Ian D. Broadbent
    •  & John Aldersey-Williams
  • News & Views |

    Efforts to electrochemically produce ammonia have mainly focused on dinitrogen as a feedstock. Now, an electrocatalyst composed of Cu embedded in an organic molecular solid is designed, which efficiently and selectively converts nitrate ions to ammonia, paving a way to nutrient recovery and recycling.

    • Lauren F. Greenlee