Browse Articles

  • Article |

    In order to assess the impact of climate change on energy systems, models need to incorporate the increased risk of extreme weather events. Here, Bennett et al. provide a framework to integrate increasing extreme event risk in grid expansion planning models and apply the method to hurricane risks in Puerto Rico.

    • Jeffrey A. Bennett
    • , Claire N. Trevisan
    • , Joseph F. DeCarolis
    • , Cecilio Ortiz-García
    • , Marla Pérez-Lugo
    • , Bevin T. Etienne
    •  & Andres F. Clarens
  • Article |

    Bifacial solar cells can outperform monofacial cells by exploiting sunlight reflected off the ground surface. De Bastiani et al. show that bifacial perovskite/silicon tandem with an optimized bandgap can deliver a power density of 26 mW cm–2 and compare its performance to monofacial cells under outdoor conditions.

    • Michele De Bastiani
    • , Alessandro J. Mirabelli
    • , Yi Hou
    • , Fabrizio Gota
    • , Erkan Aydin
    • , Thomas G. Allen
    • , Joel Troughton
    • , Anand S. Subbiah
    • , Furkan H. Isikgor
    • , Jiang Liu
    • , Lujia Xu
    • , Bin Chen
    • , Emmanuel Van Kerschaver
    • , Derya Baran
    • , Beatrice Fraboni
    • , Michael F. Salvador
    • , Ulrich W. Paetzold
    • , Edward H. Sargent
    •  & Stefaan De Wolf
  • News & Views |

    While metal halide perovskite solar cells are extensively investigated in the lab their performance and degradation in real-world outdoor conditions are still poorly understood. Now, researchers propose a method to analyse field data to identify how and why the outdoor device performance changes over time.

    • Laura T. Schelhas
    •  & Joseph J. Berry
  • News & Views |

    Integrated urban energy–economy–climate scenarios can be built upon bottom-up models that simulate realistic system interactions. One such model for New York shows how electrification of the vehicle fleet and grid decarbonization can reduce carbon emissions and pollution.

    • Steven J. Smith
  • Article |

    The perception of risks imminent to younger technologies may hinder renewable energy firms’ access to financing. Here, Kempa et al. have used a global dataset of loans to show that the cost of debt of renewable energy firms decreased over time below those of non-renewable energy firms, which saw an increase in financing costs.

    • Karol Kempa
    • , Ulf Moslener
    •  & Oliver Schenker
  • Article |

    Feedback loops in consumer behaviour can accelerate desirable phenomena and be used to create effective policy. Kaufmann et al. identify a critical green feedback loop by using Massachusetts data to show bidirectional causality among solar photovoltaic cost, adoption and electric vehicle sales.

    • Robert. K. Kaufmann
    • , Derek Newberry
    • , Chen Xin
    •  & Sucharita Gopal
  • Article |

    The development of nuclear fusion reactors requires detailed nuclear analyses to ensure they run safely and effectively. These are currently typically done using partial models. Juarez et al. now present a complete 360° model of the ITER tokamak, which allows for more realistic and complete modelling of the system.

    • R. Juarez
    • , G. Pedroche
    • , M. J. Loughlin
    • , R. Pampin
    • , P. Martinez
    • , M. De Pietri
    • , J. Alguacil
    • , F. Ogando
    • , P. Sauvan
    • , A. J. Lopez-Revelles
    • , A. Kolšek
    • , E. Polunovskiy
    • , M. Fabbri
    •  & J. Sanz
  • Article |

    Two-dimensional structures introduced into perovskite solar cells improve performance yet their morphological and dimensional control remains challenging. Jang et al. devise a solid-phase approach to grow phase-pure two-dimensional perovskites over bulk perovskite, which affords greater device efficiency and stability.

    • Yeoun-Woo Jang
    • , Seungmin Lee
    • , Kyung Mun Yeom
    • , Kiwan Jeong
    • , Kwang Choi
    • , Mansoo Choi
    •  & Jun Hong Noh
  • Article |

    The investigation of perovskite solar modules under outdoor conditions could provide insights into device operation and degradation in the field. Velilla et al. report on the potential of the ideality factor to analyse outdoor device performance evolution over time, distinguish between degradation modes and estimate the lifetime.

    • Esteban Velilla
    • , Franklin Jaramillo
    •  & Iván Mora-Seró
  • Analysis |

    City-scale emission scenarios are critical for transport and energy sector policy making. Using a model that accounts for building stock and transportation fleets, Isik et al. visualize emission changes in the transport sector in New York City under various electric vehicle adoption and grid decarbonization scenarios.

    • Mine Isik
    • , Rebecca Dodder
    •  & P. Ozge Kaplan
  • News & Views |

    CO2 capture and its electrochemical conversion to valorized products are energy-intense processes. Now, researchers report that judicious control of the electrode interface and reactant transport unlock a lower energy pathway allowing direct conversion of CO2 from the captured state to CO.

    • Betar M. Gallant
  • Perspective |

    Performance breakthroughs in rechargeable batteries are regularly reported in academic publications. Here the authors closely examine literature data on aluminium batteries and offer a realistic perspective on the technology.

    • Ehsan Faegh
    • , Benjamin Ng
    • , Dillon Hayman
    •  & William E. Mustain
  • Article |

    Electrochemical conversion of CO2 into high-value products is attractive for lowering net carbon emissions. Lee et al. present the valorization of chemisorbed CO2 to CO in an aqueous monoethanolamine electrolyte via tailoring of the electrochemical double layer, with 72% Faradaic efficiency at 50 mA cm–2.

    • Geonhui Lee
    • , Yuguang C. Li
    • , Ji-Yong Kim
    • , Tao Peng
    • , Dae-Hyun Nam
    • , Armin Sedighian Rasouli
    • , Fengwang Li
    • , Mingchuan Luo
    • , Alexander H. Ip
    • , Young-Chang Joo
    •  & Edward H. Sargent
  • News & Views |

    Electrochemical reduction of CO2 is a route to synthesize carbon-based products using renewable energy, but achieving high selectivity to specific molecules remains demanding. Inspired by enzymes, a nanoparticle–ligand assembly is now reported that has a floating interlayer, which enhances CO2 to CO conversion efficiency.

    • Shouheng Sun
  • Comment |

    Energy research works with units and concepts forged in an age of fossil fuel, leading to problem formulations that reinforce current societal practices and patterns of consumption. Achieving low-carbon energy goals depends on shifting demand to match supply and reconceptualizing interactions between time and energy.

    • Elizabeth Shove
  • News & Views |

    Mg-ion diffusion in cathodes and dissociation in electrolyte complexes are sluggish processes that hinder the development of Mg batteries. Now, a new design of both the cathode and the electrolyte drastically improves the kinetics of these processes, leading to a high-power Mg battery.

    • Jiande Wang
    •  & Alexandru Vlad
  • Article |

    The complex, multi-component environments found in enzymes induce high catalytic specificity, but are difficult to achieve in synthetic catalysts. Now, researchers report a catalyst comprising a dynamic, ordered layer of ligands above a nanoparticle surface that creates a pocket to facilitate CO2 electroreduction.

    • Dohyung Kim
    • , Sunmoon Yu
    • , Fan Zheng
    • , Inwhan Roh
    • , Yifan Li
    • , Sheena Louisia
    • , Zhiyuan Qi
    • , Gabor A. Somorjai
    • , Heinz Frei
    • , Lin-Wang Wang
    •  & Peidong Yang
  • News & Views |

    Electrocaloric cooling devices traditionally comprise sub-millimetre-thick ceramic working bodies surrounded by relatively massive apparatus. Now, cooling devices that are each based on a thin polymer layer have been stacked to yield a composite lightweight device that pumps heat across a wide temperature span.

    • Xavier Moya
    •  & Neil D. Mathur
  • Policy Brief |

    Wind energy repowering decisions are multifaceted and depend on the physical, political and social landscape, as factors such as noise regulation, aesthetics and political bargaining can significantly influence project development. Policy should recognise that a technology perspective alone cannot inform implementation pathways and should be supplemented with an understanding of the political and social dimensions.

    • Lena Kitzing
    • , Morten Kofoed Jensen
    • , Thomas Telsnig
    •  & Eric Lantz
  • Editorial |

    Renewable energy technologies do not always employ sustainable resources. The scarcity of cobalt supply must be addressed in transportation electrification.

  • Comment |

    The power conversion efficiency of organic solar cells has rapidly increased, yet significantly less attention has been paid to materials stability and device longevity. For organic solar cells to make an impact in the marketplace, researchers, funding agencies and journals should do more to address this crucial gap.

    • Quinn Burlingame
    • , Melissa Ball
    •  & Yueh-Lin Loo
  • News & Views |

    Given the benefits of improved health and reduced cooking time, women are assumed to unequivocally prefer clean cooking fuels. Now research indicates that women using firewood and those using cleaner alternatives both believe their cooking fuel supports their well-being in several ways, suggesting more complex trade-offs in fuel choices.

    • Daniel Erian Armanios
  • Analysis |

    The concentration of rooftop solar photovoltaics among high-income households limits deployment and access to benefits. Here the authors find that some policy interventions and business models increased photovoltaic adoption equity in existing markets and shifted deployment to underserved communities.

    • Eric O’Shaughnessy
    • , Galen Barbose
    • , Ryan Wiser
    • , Sydney Forrester
    •  & Naïm Darghouth
  • Article |

    Two-dimensional Ruddlesden–Popper layered metal-halide perovskites show better performance over three-dimensional versions, but are typically based on quantum wells with random width distribution. Liang et al. show that introducing molten salt spacers gives phase-pure quantum wells and improved solar cell performance.

    • Chao Liang
    • , Hao Gu
    • , Yingdong Xia
    • , Zhuo Wang
    • , Xiaotao Liu
    • , Junmin Xia
    • , Shouwei Zuo
    • , Yue Hu
    • , Xingyu Gao
    • , Wei Hui
    • , Lingfeng Chao
    • , Tingting Niu
    • , Min Fang
    • , Hui Lu
    • , Han Dong
    • , Hui Yu
    • , Shi Chen
    • , Xueqin Ran
    • , Lin Song
    • , Bixin Li
    • , Jing Zhang
    • , Yong Peng
    • , Guosheng Shao
    • , Jianpu Wang
    • , Yonghua Chen
    • , Guichuan Xing
    •  & Wei Huang
  • Policy Brief |

    Households reduced their electricity use the most when they learnt both that they were using more energy than their neighbours and that energy conservation was socially approved. This suggests that efforts to use social information to nudge conservation should combine different types of social feedback to maximize impact.

    • Jacopo Bonan
    • , Cristina Cattaneo
    • , Giovanna d’Adda
    •  & Massimo Tavoni
  • News & Views |

    Social norm interventions are widely used to foster residential resource conservation. Now researchers have shown that the effectiveness of providing information about others’ energy use alongside messages of social approval for energy savings behaviour depends on the strength and consistency of these messages.

    • Jon M. Jachimowicz
  • News & Views |

    Microwave heating has become a useful tool in catalysis to obtain chemical products under unconventional reaction conditions. Now, researchers have demonstrated low-temperature water splitting to produce hydrogen using microwave catalysis and revealed the important role of reduced oxides in the process.

    • Daniel R. Slocombe
  • Article |

    Hydrogen is a promising vector in the decarbonization of energy systems, but more efficient and scalable synthesis is required to enable its widespread deployment. Towards that aim, Serra et al. present a microwave-based approach that allows contactless water electrolysis that can be integrated with hydrocarbon production.

    • J. M. Serra
    • , J. F. Borrás-Morell
    • , B. García-Baños
    • , M. Balaguer
    • , P. Plaza-González
    • , J. Santos-Blasco
    • , D. Catalán-Martínez
    • , L. Navarrete
    •  & J. M. Catalá-Civera
  • Article |

    Lead leakage from damaged perovskite photovoltaic modules poses health and environmental risks limiting the potential use of the technology. Now Chen et al. show that the encapsulation of perovskite modules with a cation-exchange resins reduces lead leakage to 14.3 ppb in waste water.

    • Shangshang Chen
    • , Yehao Deng
    • , Hangyu Gu
    • , Shuang Xu
    • , Shen Wang
    • , Zhenhua Yu
    • , Volker Blum
    •  & Jinsong Huang
  • Review Article |

    Ultrathin solar cells attract interest for their relatively low cost and potential novel applications. Here, Massiot et al. discuss their performance and the challenges in the fabrication of ultrathin absorbers, patterning of light trapping structures and ensuring efficient charge-carrier collection.

    • Inès Massiot
    • , Andrea Cattoni
    •  & Stéphane Collin
  • Article |

    Home energy reports convey information about others’ energy use (descriptive norms) and social approval for energy saving behaviour (injunctive norms). This study shows that the combined effect of descriptive and injunctive feedback depends on their consistency and relative strength.

    • Jacopo Bonan
    • , Cristina Cattaneo
    • , Giovanna d’Adda
    •  & Massimo Tavoni
  • 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