Browse Articles

  • News & Views |

    Antimony selenosulfides are promising photovoltaic materials but obtaining high-quality absorber layers is challenging. Researchers now show that layers deposited using a hydrothermal method have optimal bandgap, good morphology and favourable growth orientation, enabling solar cells with 10% efficiency.

    • Jonathan Major
  • Article |

    Antimony chalcogenides are emerging photovoltaic materials, yet difficulties in fabricating high-quality films limit device performance. We show that hydrothermal synthesis affords good morphology and reduced defects in antimony selenosulfide films, enabling solar cells with an efficiency of 10%.

    • Rongfeng Tang
    • , Xiaomin Wang
    • , Weitao Lian
    • , Jialiang Huang
    • , Qi Wei
    • , Menglin Huang
    • , Yiwei Yin
    • , Chenhui Jiang
    • , Shangfeng Yang
    • , Guichuan Xing
    • , Shiyou Chen
    • , Changfei Zhu
    • , Xiaojing Hao
    • , Martin A. Green
    •  & Tao Chen
  • Article |

    Interconnecting layers are critical to the efficiency of tandem solar cells and a high number of layers is typically needed to ensure good electrical properties. Yu et. al show that a fullerene/tin-oxide interconnecting layer enables 24.4% efficiency and improved stability in all-perovskite tandem solar cells.

    • Zhenhua Yu
    • , Zhibin Yang
    • , Zhenyi Ni
    • , Yuchuan Shao
    • , Bo Chen
    • , Yuze Lin
    • , Haotong Wei
    • , Zhengshan J. Yu
    • , Zachary Holman
    •  & Jinsong Huang
  • Article |

    The upscaling of layer treatments and processing that afford high efficiency and stability in small-area perovskite solar cells remains challenging. Liu et al. show how the efficiency and stability of perovskite modules can be improved using an integrated approach to interface and layer engineering.

    • Zonghao Liu
    • , Longbin Qiu
    • , Luis K. Ono
    • , Sisi He
    • , Zhanhao Hu
    • , Maowei Jiang
    • , Guoqing Tong
    • , Zhifang Wu
    • , Yan Jiang
    • , Dae-Yong Son
    • , Yangyang Dang
    • , Said Kazaoui
    •  & Yabing Qi
  • Article |

    The COVID 19 pandemic and consequent lockdown has had a substantial impact on mobility and therefore fuel demand and it is not clear when demand will recover. Ou et al. use a machine learning model that integrates health recovery scenarios to project the near-term future of gasoline demand.

    • Shiqi Ou
    • , Xin He
    • , Weiqi Ji
    • , Wei Chen
    • , Lang Sui
    • , Yu Gan
    • , Zifeng Lu
    • , Zhenhong Lin
    • , Sili Deng
    • , Steven Przesmitzki
    •  & Jessey Bouchard
  • Editorial |

    Coronavirus-imposed restrictions are putting great strain on academia and the research community but there may be a silver lining in all the commotion.

  • Comment |

    Online conferences are increasingly popular within scientific communities due to the travel restrictions faced by many countries. Although a relatively new phenomenon for many of us, lessons from recent meetings provide useful reflections on the format’s opportunities and challenges compared to conventional in-person meetings.

    • Michael Saliba
  • Review Article |

    Batteries based on multivalent metal anodes hold great promise for large-scale energy storage but their development is still at an early stage. This Review surveys the main complexity arising from anodes, electrolytes and cathodes, and offers views on the progression path of these technologies.

    • Yanliang Liang
    • , Hui Dong
    • , Doron Aurbach
    •  & Yan Yao
  • Perspective |

    The increasing deployment of photovoltaic modules poses the challenge of waste management. Heath et al. review the status of end-of of-life management of silicon solar modules and recommend research and development priorities to facilitate material recovery and recycling of solar modules.

    • Garvin A. Heath
    • , Timothy J. Silverman
    • , Michael Kempe
    • , Michael Deceglie
    • , Dwarakanath Ravikumar
    • , Timothy Remo
    • , Hao Cui
    • , Parikhit Sinha
    • , Cara Libby
    • , Stephanie Shaw
    • , Keiichi Komoto
    • , Karsten Wambach
    • , Evelyn Butler
    • , Teresa Barnes
    •  & Andreas Wade
  • Analysis |

    Carbon emission reduction measures have widely differing energy consumptions that have not been systematically compared. Babacan et al. estimate comparable energy use per unit emission reduction of various emission reduction measures, from efficiency improvements to renewable electricity generation to carbon removal.

    • Oytun Babacan
    • , Sven De Causmaecker
    • , Ajay Gambhir
    • , Mathilde Fajardy
    • , A. William Rutherford
    • , Andrea Fantuzzi
    •  & Jenny Nelson
  • Article |

    Autonomous driving is being implemented in electric vehicles, but its energy impact is unclear. Here the authors build physics models to analyse the energy demand of autonomous electric vehicles and suggest that the influences of automation on vehicle range and battery longevity are small.

    • Aniruddh Mohan
    • , Shashank Sripad
    • , Parth Vaishnav
    •  & Venkatasubramanian Viswanathan
  • News & Views |

    China has the world’s most ambitious plan to expand nuclear power production to boost its economic growth. Now research shows that a concerted effort to control news framing may be playing an essential role in cultivating public acceptance of nuclear risk, helping to ensure sustained development of the nuclear power industry.

    • Lei Huang
    •  & Yang Liu
  • Article |

    Use of electric vehicles in ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft is rising but their impact on environment and emissions remains difficult to assess. Using data from more than 100,000 rides, Alan Jenn shows the substantial emission reduction potential of electric vehicle use in ride-hailing in California.

    • Alan Jenn
  • Article |

    Understanding Li transport is important in the development of fast-rate batteries. Here the authors uncover an ultrafast charge transfer across a cathode–electrolyte interface with the aid of single-particle measurements and ascribe the solvation of electrolyte salts to be key for the interfacial kinetics.

    • Bohua Wen
    • , Zhi Deng
    • , Ping-Chun Tsai
    • , Zachary W. Lebens-Higgins
    • , Louis F. J. Piper
    • , Shyue Ping Ong
    •  & Yet-Ming Chiang
  • Perspective |

    Coulombic efficiency (CE) has been frequently used to assess the cyclability of newly developed materials for lithium metal batteries. The authors argue that caution must be exercised during the assessment of CE, and propose a CE testing protocol for the development of lithium metal batteries.

    • Jie Xiao
    • , Qiuyan Li
    • , Yujing Bi
    • , Mei Cai
    • , Bruce Dunn
    • , Tobias Glossmann
    • , Jun Liu
    • , Tetsuya Osaka
    • , Ryuta Sugiura
    • , Bingbin Wu
    • , Jihui Yang
    • , Ji-Guang Zhang
    •  & M. Stanley Whittingham
  • Article |

    In addition to high energy, batteries need to possess high power and to be able to operate in all climates. Here, the authors present an electrochemically active monolayer-coated current collector that is used to produce high-performance Li metal batteries under low-temperature and high-rate-charging conditions.

    • Yue Gao
    • , Tomas Rojas
    • , Ke Wang
    • , Shuai Liu
    • , Daiwei Wang
    • , Tianhang Chen
    • , Haiying Wang
    • , Anh T. Ngo
    •  & Donghai Wang
  • News & Views |

    The normal operation of Li metal batteries is limited to near room temperature and moderate current rates. Now, a self-assembled electrochemically active monolayer is shown to enable the stable operation of Li metal batteries below –15 oC and at a fast-charging time of 45 minutes.

    • Sheng S. Zhang
  • Article |

    The realization of the full potential of Li metal batteries requires high-performance electrolytes. Here Z. Bao and colleagues develop low-concentration electrolytes with a single-solvent and single-salt formulation, offering promise for high-energy and long-cycling batteries.

    • Zhiao Yu
    • , Hansen Wang
    • , Xian Kong
    • , William Huang
    • , Yuchi Tsao
    • , David G. Mackanic
    • , Kecheng Wang
    • , Xinchang Wang
    • , Wenxiao Huang
    • , Snehashis Choudhury
    • , Yu Zheng
    • , Chibueze V. Amanchukwu
    • , Samantha T. Hung
    • , Yuting Ma
    • , Eder G. Lomeli
    • , Jian Qin
    • , Yi Cui
    •  & Zhenan Bao
  • News & Views |

    The electrolyte is the weak link when it comes to intrinsic issues of Li metal batteries such as instability of the Li metal interface. Now, a liquid electrolyte consisting of one molecular-designed solvent and one common salt is formulated leading to exceptional high-performance batteries.

    • Claire Villevieille
  • Review Article |

    The costs and benefits of clean energy transitions will not be equally distributed. This Review of the literature on potential adverse impacts for specific communities highlights opportunities for future research to contribute to the design of policies and programmes that address these disparities.

    • Sanya Carley
    •  & David M. Konisky
  • Article |

    Building-integrated installation of semi-transparent solar cells is limited by a trade-off between transparency and efficiency. Now, Huaulmé et al. demonstrate dye-sensitized solar cells with photochromic sensitizers that adjust their light transmission and power conversion efficiency with light exposure.

    • Quentin Huaulmé
    • , Valid M. Mwalukuku
    • , Damien Joly
    • , Johan Liotier
    • , Yann Kervella
    • , Pascale Maldivi
    • , Stéphanie Narbey
    • , Frédéric Oswald
    • , Antonio J. Riquelme
    • , Juan Antonio Anta
    •  & Renaud Demadrille
  • News & Views |

    Dye-sensitized solar cells are promising as power-generating solar windows yet their fixed transparency prevents control of indoor lighting and temperature. Researchers now present a device that dynamically self-adjusts its optical transmittance with sunlight intensity, opening up a way to energy-efficient self-powered building façades.

    • Ana Flavia Nogueira
  • Policy Brief |

    While the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has been instrumental in increasing India’s liquefied petroleum gas adoption, sustained use depends on factors such as regularity of income and ease of access to free-of-cost biomass. To ensure sustained use after adoption, interventions in clean cooking energy must tie in with broader rural development.

    • Sunil Mani
    • , Abhishek Jain
    • , Saurabh Tripathi
    •  & Carlos F. Gould
  • Editorial |

    Policy should pay closer attention to the increasing body of research on the links between energy, climate and health.

  • Article |

    Activating methane at ambient temperature is challenging due to its stability, but could ultimately give access to a variety of other fuels and chemicals. Here, the authors present a photochemical looping strategy based on silver chemistry that converts methane to ethane under illumination at room temperature.

    • Xiang Yu
    • , Vladimir L. Zholobenko
    • , Simona Moldovan
    • , Di Hu
    • , Dan Wu
    • , Vitaly V. Ordomsky
    •  & Andrei Y. Khodakov
  • News & Views |

    Li4Ti5O12 is a commonly used negative electrode material, but the origin of its fast rate capability has puzzled scientists for decades. Now, a facile Li-ion transport route featuring metastable intermediates is revealed to rationalize the fast-charging kinetics.

    • Swapna Ganapathy
    •  & Marnix Wagemaker
  • News & Views |

    The power conversion efficiency of solar cells sensitized with colloidal quantum dots is believed to be limited by surface defects. Research now finds that photocarriers trapped at shallow defect states can actually be recovered and ultimately contribute to device efficiency.

    • Iván Mora-Seró
  • News & Views |

    Photocatalytic conversion of methane to ethane suffers from low yields due to poor selectivity and quantum efficiency. Now, ethane is produced by a photochemical looping strategy using a nanocomposite of titanium dioxide, phosphotungstic acid and silver cations, with selectivity of 90% and quantum efficiency of 3.5% at 362 nm.

    • Fumiaki Amano
  • Article |

    The electroreduction of CO2 to ethanol could enable the clean production of fuels using renewable power. This study shows how confinement effects from nitrogen-doped carbon layers on copper catalysts enable selective ethanol production from CO2 with a Faradaic efficiency of up to 52%.

    • Xue Wang
    • , Ziyun Wang
    • , F. Pelayo García de Arquer
    • , Cao-Thang Dinh
    • , Adnan Ozden
    • , Yuguang C. Li
    • , Dae-Hyun Nam
    • , Jun Li
    • , Yi-Sheng Liu
    • , Joshua Wicks
    • , Zitao Chen
    • , Miaofang Chi
    • , Bin Chen
    • , Ying Wang
    • , Jason Tam
    • , Jane Y. Howe
    • , Andrew Proppe
    • , Petar Todorović
    • , Fengwang Li
    • , Tao-Tao Zhuang
    • , Christine M. Gabardo
    • , Ahmad R. Kirmani
    • , Christopher McCallum
    • , Sung-Fu Hung
    • , Yanwei Lum
    • , Mingchuan Luo
    • , Yimeng Min
    • , Aoni Xu
    • , Colin P. O’Brien
    • , Bello Stephen
    • , Bin Sun
    • , Alexander H. Ip
    • , Lee J. Richter
    • , Shana O. Kelley
    • , David Sinton
    •  & Edward H. Sargent
  • Comment |

    Energy plays a central role in responding to emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, from ensuring adequate healthcare services to supporting households during lockdowns. Protecting the renewable energy industry and its contribution to providing sustainable energy access for all must be an urgent priority in the current crisis.

    • Vanesa Castán Broto
    •  & Joshua Kirshner
  • Comment |

    Digital and physical games are now widely used to support learning and engagement, including in the domains of climate change and energy. We believe games have a further, underappreciated role: helping us as researchers to reflect on our own research, generating deeper understanding and, hopefully, more impactful research projects.

    • Michael J. Fell
    •  & Alexandra Schneiders
  • News & Views |

    Light-driven production of hydrogen by coupling natural photosystems or photosensitizers with hydrogen-producing catalysts has been achieved in numerous in vitro systems. Now, a recombinant in vivo system is described that generates hydrogen using a hydrogenase enzyme directly coupled to a cyanobacterial photosystem.

    • Oliver Lenz
  • Article |

    Using photosynthetic microorganisms may be a route to sustainable hydrogen production from solar energy, but hydrogen generation is typically short lived. Here the authors address this challenge by engineering cyanobacteria to construct photosystem I–hydrogenase fusions that produce hydrogen in vivo.

    • Jens Appel
    • , Vanessa Hueren
    • , Marko Boehm
    •  & Kirstin Gutekunst
  • Comment |

    The COVID-19 pandemic and associated changes in social and economic conditions may affect the prevalence of energy insecurity. Essential relief must be provided to the growing number of households that are energy insecure and protect them from even more dire circumstances caused by utility disconnections and unpaid energy bills.

    • Michelle Graff
    •  & Sanya Carley
  • Policy Brief |

    Retiring, transitioning or installing more stringent emissions controls in coal-fired power plants has the potential to decrease asthma attacks and asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in nearby communities. These health co-benefits should be considered in policy and decision making about coal-fired power plant retirement or retrofit.

    • Joan A. Casey
    • , Jason G. Su
    • , Lucas R. F. Henneman
    • , Corwin Zigler
    • , Andreas M. Neophytou
    • , Ralph Catalano
    • , Rahul Gondalia
    • , Yu-Ting Chen
    • , Leanne Kaye
    • , Sarah S. Moyer
    • , Veronica Combs
    • , Grace Simrall
    • , Ted Smith
    • , James Sublett
    •  & Meredith A. Barrett
  • News & Views |

    Microsized battery anodes such as silicon offer cost advantages over nanosized counterparts but suffer from poor cycling stability. Now, an electrolyte design is reported to enable a LiF-rich solid–electrolyte interphase that stabilizes microsized silicon over a reasonably long cycle life.

    • Jiangyan Wang
    •  & Yi Cui