Browse Articles

  • Article |

    Manufacturing high-performing solid electrolytes at low processing temperature requires improved techniques. Here Jennifer Rupp and colleagues report a ceramic processing strategy, using Li3N multilayers as a lithium reservoir for the formation of lithium–garnet films, significantly reducing the operating temperature while maintaining the ionic conductivity.

    • Reto Pfenninger
    • , Michal Struzik
    • , Iñigo Garbayo
    • , Evelyn Stilp
    •  & Jennifer L. M. Rupp
  • Editorial |

    Thinking of submitting to Nature Energy, but have a few questions about your manuscript? Maybe a presubmission inquiry can answer them.

  • News & Views |

    A significant portion of the energy required to electrochemically reduce CO2 to fuels and chemicals is typically consumed by the accompanying oxygen evolution reaction. Now, researchers show that alternative oxidative reactions using biodiesel-waste could improve the economics and emission profiles of this process.

    • André Bardow
    •  & Matthias Wessling
  • Article |

    Intensive efforts are underway towards developing battery-based grid-scale storage technologies. Here, the authors report an aqueous K-ion battery that offers many attractive advantages over various battery alternatives.

    • Liwei Jiang
    • , Yaxiang Lu
    • , Chenglong Zhao
    • , Lilu Liu
    • , Jienan Zhang
    • , Qiangqiang Zhang
    • , Xing Shen
    • , Junmei Zhao
    • , Xiqian Yu
    • , Hong Li
    • , Xuejie Huang
    • , Liquan Chen
    •  & Yong-Sheng Hu
  • Article |

    Much has been said about the high-energy, long-lasting potential of Li metal batteries, and yet little has been demonstrated at the cell scale. Here, Jun Liu and colleagues demonstrate a Li metal pouch cell with a 300 Wh kg−1 energy density and a 200-cycle lifetime.

    • Chaojiang Niu
    • , Hongkyung Lee
    • , Shuru Chen
    • , Qiuyan Li
    • , Jason Du
    • , Wu Xu
    • , Ji-Guang Zhang
    • , M. Stanley Whittingham
    • , Jie Xiao
    •  & Jun Liu
  • Analysis |

    The Beijing Municipality has implemented a programme that subsidizes electric heat pumps and electricity, and bans coal. This study estimates the programme’s impact on household energy use and expenditure, well-being and indoor environment quality.

    • Christopher Barrington-Leigh
    • , Jill Baumgartner
    • , Ellison Carter
    • , Brian E. Robinson
    • , Shu Tao
    •  & Yuanxun Zhang
  • News & Views |

    Selenium alloying has enabled record efficiency for CdTe solar cells by changing the optoelectronic properties of the CdTe absorber layer, though its role has not yet been fully understood. Now, non-radiative charge-carrier recombination in the bulk of the CdSeTe layer is revealed to be lower in grains with higher Se concentration.

    • Dmitry Krasikov
  • Article |

    Selenium in cadmium telluride solar cells is known to allow bandgap engineering, thus enabling highly efficient devices. Here, Fiducia et al. show that selenium also plays a role in passivating defects in the absorber layer.

    • Thomas A. M. Fiducia
    • , Budhika G. Mendis
    • , Kexue Li
    • , Chris R. M. Grovenor
    • , Amit H. Munshi
    • , Kurt Barth
    • , Walajabad S. Sampath
    • , Lewis D. Wright
    • , Ali Abbas
    • , Jake W. Bowers
    •  & John M. Walls
  • News & Views |

    Stationary storage in buildings can help make better use of intermittent renewable power, but safer and cheaper alternatives to lithium-ion batteries are needed to accelerate deployment. Now, demonstration of an aqueous potassium-ion full cell offers a way forward.

    • Lauren E. Marbella
  • Article |

    Intensive research efforts are underway to enable applications of layered lithium transition metal oxides in batteries. Here the authors report an oxidative chemical vapour deposition technique to conformally coat both the primary and the secondary particles of these oxides to unleash potential applications.

    • Gui-Liang Xu
    • , Qiang Liu
    • , Kenneth K. S. Lau
    • , Yuzi Liu
    • , Xiang Liu
    • , Han Gao
    • , Xinwei Zhou
    • , Minghao Zhuang
    • , Yang Ren
    • , Jiadong Li
    • , Minhua Shao
    • , Minggao Ouyang
    • , Feng Pan
    • , Zonghai Chen
    • , Khalil Amine
    •  & Guohua Chen
  • Article |

    Defects and defect migration are detrimental for perovskite solar cell efficiency and long-term stability. Li et al. show that fluoride is able to suppress the formation of halide anion and organic cation vacancy defects by restraining the relative ions via ionic and hydrogen bonds.

    • Nengxu Li
    • , Shuxia Tao
    • , Yihua Chen
    • , Xiuxiu Niu
    • , Chidozie K. Onwudinanti
    • , Chen Hu
    • , Zhiwen Qiu
    • , Ziqi Xu
    • , Guanhaojie Zheng
    • , Ligang Wang
    • , Yu Zhang
    • , Liang Li
    • , Huifen Liu
    • , Yingzhuo Lun
    • , Jiawang Hong
    • , Xueyun Wang
    • , Yuquan Liu
    • , Haipeng Xie
    • , Yongli Gao
    • , Yang Bai
    • , Shihe Yang
    • , Geert Brocks
    • , Qi Chen
    •  & Huanping Zhou
  • News & Views |

    Policies that encourage a shift away from solid fuels can improve public health, welfare and the environment. However, impacts and their distribution are rarely evaluated. Now research shows that benefits to home comfort, indoor air quality and well-being from China’s coal-to-electricity programme vary across rich and poor districts.

    • Shonali Pachauri
  • Article |

    For photo-electrochemical hydrogen production to become viable on a large scale, not only efficiency but also power density must be optimized. Here, the authors explore the impact of thermal integration on photo-electrochemical devices driven by concentrated solar irradiation and design one that operates with high efficiency and power density output.

    • Saurabh Tembhurne
    • , Fredy Nandjou
    •  & Sophia Haussener
  • Perspective |

    Domestic heating systems vary widely in their configurations across different countries. Here, Gross and Hanna use case studies of Sweden and the United Kingdom to explore the central roles of policies and path dependence in shaping the technologies and infrastructures providing domestic space heating.

    • Robert Gross
    •  & Richard Hanna
  • News & Views |

    While recent gains in the efficiency of photoelectrochemical devices for hydrogen production are encouraging, high efficiency is rarely combined with high power output, which is important for large-scale viability. Towards this goal, researchers now demonstrate a promising thermally integrated device driven by concentrated solar irradiation.

    • Tomas Edvinsson
  • Editorial |

    The rapid growth of lithium-ion batteries in many markets makes it increasingly urgent to address recycling of strategic materials from spent batteries.

  • Article |

    Carbon capture and storage can help reduce fossil-fuel power-plant emissions. Here the authors show that the energy return on input of thermal plants with carbon capture is in general lower than the energy return of most types of renewable energy even when combined with energy storage.

    • Sgouris Sgouridis
    • , Michael Carbajales-Dale
    • , Denes Csala
    • , Matteo Chiesa
    •  & Ugo Bardi
  • Article |

    A key challenge for hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells is the development of membranes with both high ionic conductivity and mechanical strength. Here the authors report a high-performance family of poly(aryl piperidinium) membranes enabling promising durability and power density.

    • Junhua Wang
    • , Yun Zhao
    • , Brian P. Setzler
    • , Santiago Rojas-Carbonell
    • , Chaya Ben Yehuda
    • , Alina Amel
    • , Miles Page
    • , Lan Wang
    • , Keda Hu
    • , Lin Shi
    • , Shimshon Gottesfeld
    • , Bingjun Xu
    •  & Yushan Yan
  • Article |

    The ever-increasing applications for Li-ion batteries in markets call for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient recycling technologies. Here the authors report using a deep eutectic solvent to extract valuable components of Li-ion batteries.

    • Mai K. Tran
    • , Marco-Tulio F. Rodrigues
    • , Keiko Kato
    • , Ganguli Babu
    •  & Pulickel M. Ajayan
  • Article |

    Despite tremendous progress in the development of LiS batteries, their performance at the full-cell level is not as competitive as state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries. Here the authors report a full-cell architecture making use of a hybrid intercalation-conversion cathode, enabling both high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities.

    • Weijiang Xue
    • , Zhe Shi
    • , Liumin Suo
    • , Chao Wang
    • , Ziqiang Wang
    • , Haozhe Wang
    • , Kang Pyo So
    • , Andrea Maurano
    • , Daiwei Yu
    • , Yuming Chen
    • , Long Qie
    • , Zhi Zhu
    • , Guiyin Xu
    • , Jing Kong
    •  & Ju Li
  • Article |

    Oxygen evolution is one half of the overall water splitting reaction to produce hydrogen. Although this reaction is well studied, there remains debate over the particulars of the catalytic mechanism. Here, the authors investigate Co–Zn oxyhydroxide electrocatalysts, and suggest that the mechanism depends on the amount of Zn2+ they contain.

    • Zhen-Feng Huang
    • , Jiajia Song
    • , Yonghua Du
    • , Shibo Xi
    • , Shuo Dou
    • , Jean Marie Vianney Nsanzimana
    • , Cheng Wang
    • , Zhichuan J. Xu
    •  & Xin Wang
  • Article |

    Accurately predicting battery lifetime is difficult, and a prediction often cannot be made unless a battery has already degraded significantly. Here the authors report a machine-learning method to predict battery life before the onset of capacity degradation with high accuracy.

    • Kristen A. Severson
    • , Peter M. Attia
    • , Norman Jin
    • , Nicholas Perkins
    • , Benben Jiang
    • , Zi Yang
    • , Michael H. Chen
    • , Muratahan Aykol
    • , Patrick K. Herring
    • , Dimitrios Fraggedakis
    • , Martin Z. Bazant
    • , Stephen J. Harris
    • , William C. Chueh
    •  & Richard D. Braatz
  • Comment |

    New scientific findings cataloguing the need for a rapid renewable energy transition are most often met with calls for innovation. Our failure to address climate change and thereby avoid the socioeconomic crises it foretells will not be attributed to a lack of innovation, however, but rather to a lack of exnovation.

    • Debra J. Davidson
  • News & Views |

    Many governments use finance mechanisms to deliver energy efficiency retrofits, but there is little understanding as to what makes them effective in stimulating private investment. New research now proposes a typology of finance mechanisms that policymakers can use as a toolkit to guide policy design.

    • Peter Mallaburn
  • News & Views |

    In the face of climate change, the transition to a low-carbon energy system has become increasingly urgent. However, the implementation of renewable energy projects is often contested. Now research shows that residents of wind energy communities prefer their local wind project over other means of electricity generation.

    • Marco Sonnberger
  • News & Views |

    Advances in horizontal drilling have significantly increased US oil and gas production, but it is not clear whether the industry is viable if oil prices continue to be low. Researchers now estimate the break-even price for oil and gas from tight formations and analyse the factors that affect investment in drilling rigs.

    • Dawud Ansari
  • Article |

    Planning of electric power systems often does not consider the potential for, and possible effects of, conflict and socio-political strife. Here, using a case study of South Sudan, researchers develop and implement a framework for power system planning in fragile and conflict-affected states.

    • E. Spyrou
    • , B. F. Hobbs
    • , M. D. Bazilian
    •  & D. Chattopadhyay
  • Editorial |

    Recent progress demonstrates the potential of hydrogen as a vector for decarbonization in different sectors of the energy system, but continued support is required to avoid losing momentum in delivering solutions to climate and energy goals.

  • News & Views |

    Scalable interconversion between chemical and electrical energy requires compact, selective and highly efficient reversible electrochemical cells. Now, protonic electrochemical cells with tailored catalysts and ceramic architecture are shown to operate reversibly with high performance and to be integrable with catalytic CO2 conversion.

    • José M. Serra
  • Article |

    Reversible electrochemical cells can operate in both fuel cell and electrolysis modes to interconvert between chemical and electrical energy. Here, Duan et al. design a reversible protonic ceramic electrochemical cell that operates stably at 500–600 °C, with high Faradaic and round-trip efficiencies, by minimizing electronic leakage.

    • Chuancheng Duan
    • , Robert Kee
    • , Huayang Zhu
    • , Neal Sullivan
    • , Liangzhu Zhu
    • , Liuzhen Bian
    • , Dylan Jennings
    •  & Ryan O’Hayre
  • Article |

    Driven by solar light, photoelectrocatalytic cells can convert CO2 into energy carriers, but strategies to improve their performance are still required. Here the authors combine molecular and semiconductor p–n junctions that have complementary absorption in the visible light range to convert CO2 to formate efficiently.

    • Bing Shan
    • , Srinivas Vanka
    • , Ting-Ting Li
    • , Ludovic Troian-Gautier
    • , M. Kyle Brennaman
    • , Zetian Mi
    •  & Thomas J. Meyer
  • Article |

    High-performance polymer electrolytes are highly sought after in the development of solid-state batteries. Lynden Archer and co-workers report an in situ polymerization of liquid electrolytes in a lithium battery for creating promising polymer electrolytes with high ionic conductivity and low interfacial resistance.

    • Qing Zhao
    • , Xiaotun Liu
    • , Sanjuna Stalin
    • , Kasim Khan
    •  & Lynden A. Archer