Browse Articles

  • News & Views |

    Low-cost, efficient hydrogen production via water electrolysis is expected to be an important part of a future hydrogen economy. Towards this end, new polymers with high stability are demonstrated and paired with low-cost, earth-abundant metal catalysts in alkaline membrane electrolyzers.

    • William E. Mustain
    •  & Paul A. Kohl
  • Article |

    It is not clear what factors drive sustained use of clean cooking fuels after adoption in places such as India and China. With India achieving a liquified petroleum gas penetration of 95%, Mani et al. use longitudinal data from a survey of more than 8,000 rural households to identify the reasons for the uptake and sustained use of the clean fuel.

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

    Chunsheng Wang and colleagues develop an electrolyte strategy to enable the use of commercially available microsized alloys, such as Si–Li, as high-performance battery anodes. They ascribe its success to the formation of robust LiF-rich layers as the solid–electrolyte interface.

    • Ji Chen
    • , Xiulin Fan
    • , Qin Li
    • , Hongbin Yang
    • , M. Reza Khoshi
    • , Yaobin Xu
    • , Sooyeon Hwang
    • , Long Chen
    • , Xiao Ji
    • , Chongyin Yang
    • , Huixin He
    • , Chongmin Wang
    • , Eric Garfunkel
    • , Dong Su
    • , Oleg Borodin
    •  & Chunsheng Wang
  • Article |

    Hot carrier solar cells offer greater conversion efficiency than single junction cells but they have yet to be demonstrated in real devices. Esmaielpour et al. show that hot carriers are harnessed from metastable valleys in III–V heterojunction devices at voltages greater than the absorber bandgap.

    • Hamidreza Esmaielpour
    • , Kyle R. Dorman
    • , David K. Ferry
    • , Tetsuya D. Mishima
    • , Michael B. Santos
    • , Vincent R. Whiteside
    •  & Ian R. Sellers
  • News & Views |

    Hot carrier solar cells require mechanisms to dramatically reduce the rate at which carriers thermalize in semiconductors. Now, side-valley trapping of hot carriers with long decay lifetimes is shown to increase the chance of extraction of carriers while they are still hot.

    • Gavin Conibeer
  • Article |

    Stacking multiple junctions with different bandgaps and operating under concentrated light allows solar cells to reach efficiencies beyond the limits of standard devices. Geisz et al. present a six-junction solar cell based on III–V materials with a 47.1% efficiency—the highest reported to date.

    • John F. Geisz
    • , Ryan M. France
    • , Kevin L. Schulte
    • , Myles A. Steiner
    • , Andrew G. Norman
    • , Harvey L. Guthrey
    • , Matthew R. Young
    • , Tao Song
    •  & Thomas Moriarty
  • Article |

    Transition from coal to gas, retrofitting and retirement of coal power plants are expected to reduce air pollution and therefore have positive health effects. Casey et al. present direct evidence of this phenomenon by reporting improved asthma outcomes in the wake of coal plant closure and retrofit in Louisville, Kentucky.

    • 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
  • Editorial |

    Recovery efforts in the wake of COVID-19 must invest in energy systems that will prove cleaner and more resilient in the face of future disasters.

  • Policy Brief |

    Mandatory building energy audits in New York City lead to a modest reduction of energy use of 2.5% and 4.9% for multifamily and office buildings, respectively. This suggests that other approaches besides mandatory audit policies, such as building energy grading and carbon intensity targets, may be needed to achieve sustainability goals.

    • Constantine E. Kontokosta
    • , Danielle Spiegel-Feld
    •  & Sokratis Papadopoulos
  • Article |

    Carbon dioxide can be reduced electrocatalytically to fuels using copper catalysts, but the key features that determine the selectivity of these materials to specific products remains uncertain. Here Arán–Ais et al. use in situ methods to explore the influence of morphology and oxidation state on the performance of copper catalysts.

    • Rosa M. Arán-Ais
    • , Fabian Scholten
    • , Sebastian Kunze
    • , Rubén Rizo
    •  & Beatriz Roldan Cuenya
  • Article |

    Although more cities are considering mandatory building energy audits, their effect on energy use in buildings is not clear. Using data from New York, Kontokosta et al. estimate the extent to which Local Law 87 mandating building energy audits has contributed to a decrease in energy use.

    • Constantine E. Kontokosta
    • , Danielle Spiegel-Feld
    •  & Sokratis Papadopoulos
  • Review Article |

    Despite its prevalence, energy poverty is not formally recognized in the US as a problem distinct from general poverty. This Review of two federally-funded programs focused on reducing high energy bills highlights the limitations of this approach for effectively responding to energy poverty.

    • Dominic J. Bednar
    •  & Tony G. Reames
  • Editorial |

    Energy is consumed in social environments and in the presence of social peers. But social interactions do not just happen alongside energy behaviour — the two are intrinsically linked.

  • Article |

    Understanding what underpins the activity and stability of oxygen evolution catalysts is an ongoing issue in the field of water splitting. Now, researchers show that balancing the rate of Fe dissolution and deposition over a metal hydr(oxy)oxide host yields dynamically stable Fe active sites, with the Fe–host interaction key to the performance.

    • Dong Young Chung
    • , Pietro P. Lopes
    • , Pedro Farinazzo Bergamo Dias Martins
    • , Haiying He
    • , Tomoya Kawaguchi
    • , Peter Zapol
    • , Hoydoo You
    • , Dusan Tripkovic
    • , Dusan Strmcnik
    • , Yisi Zhu
    • , Soenke Seifert
    • , Sungsik Lee
    • , Vojislav R. Stamenkovic
    •  & Nenad M. Markovic
  • Article |

    Future resilience planning for large-area long-duration electricity outages requires, in part, estimates of what electricity consumers are willing to pay for preparedness. Baik et al. arrive at those estimates using a representative survey and find some willingness to invest in community resilience.

    • Sunhee Baik
    • , Alexander L. Davis
    • , Jun Woo Park
    • , Selin Sirinterlikci
    •  & M. Granger Morgan
  • News & Views |

    In the face of more frequent long-duration power outages, utilities are looking to invest in more resilient infrastructure and solutions. A new study shows that residential customers are willing to pay for increased resilience and will spend extra to support their communities and low-income neighbours.

    • Kate Anderson
  • Article |

    Low energy density and limited cyclability are preventing the commercialization of aqueous Zn–MnO2 batteries. Here, the authors combine the merits of operating Zn anodes in alkaline conditions and MnO2 cathodes in acidic conditions, via an electrolyte-decoupling strategy, to realize high-performance batteries.

    • Cheng Zhong
    • , Bin Liu
    • , Jia Ding
    • , Xiaorui Liu
    • , Yuwei Zhong
    • , Yuan Li
    • , Changbin Sun
    • , Xiaopeng Han
    • , Yida Deng
    • , Naiqin Zhao
    •  & Wenbin Hu
  • Article |

    Detailed measures of energy use inequality globally and within countries are essential to ensure a just energy transition. Estimating embedded energy in goods and services used by different income groups, Oswald et al. measure the large inequality in energy use in 86 countries, and internationally.

    • Yannick Oswald
    • , Anne Owen
    •  & Julia K. Steinberger
  • Article |

    Ocean currents offer a potential source of power, but identification of the best sites requires a detailed understanding of their variability. Barnier et al. undertake global eddy-resolving ocean modelling to gain insight into the feedback from ocean power plants on currents and the changes they can induce.

    • Bernard Barnier
    • , Anastasiia Domina
    • , Sergey Gulev
    • , Jean-Marc Molines
    • , Thierry Maitre
    • , Thierry Penduff
    • , Julien Le Sommer
    • , Pierre Brasseur
    • , Laurent Brodeau
    •  & Pedro Colombo
  • News & Views |

    Understanding the activity and stability of oxygen-evolving anodes is crucial for developing better water splitting electrolysers. Researchers now show the importance of interactions between iron and hydr(oxy)oxide hosts in dynamically-stable electrocatalysts that balance dissolution and deposition of iron present in the electrolyte.

    • Oscar Diaz-Morales
  • News & Views |

    All-solid-state lithium batteries typically suffer from low coulombic efficiencies and lithium dendrite growth at high current densities. Now, a silver–carbon composite anode is demonstrated that mitigates some of these problems, even for a prototype cell with a high energy density of over 900 Wh L–1.

    • Kun Joong Kim
    • , Jesse J. Hinricher
    •  & Jennifer L. M. Rupp
  • News & Views |

    In the intensive search for higher performance Li-ion cathode materials the spotlight is firmly fixed on Li-rich compounds. Now, a strategy utilizing a fluorinated, disordered LiMn2O4 spinel structure shows how ultra-fast Li-ion diffusion and high energy density can be achieved with Mn and O redox.

    • Robert A. House
    •  & Peter G. Bruce
  • Analysis |

    Considering the interdependence of performance measures and the lack of a basic reference system for all-solid-state batteries, Jürgen Janek and co-workers analyse literature performance data for major types of all-solid-state batteries and benchmark them against minimalistic reference cells.

    • Simon Randau
    • , Dominik A. Weber
    • , Olaf Kötz
    • , Raimund Koerver
    • , Philipp Braun
    • , André Weber
    • , Ellen Ivers-Tiffée
    • , Torben Adermann
    • , Jörn Kulisch
    • , Wolfgang G. Zeier
    • , Felix H. Richter
    •  & Jürgen Janek
  • Article |

    Anion exchange membrane water electrolysers have potential cost advantages over proton exchange membrane electrolysers, but their performance has lagged behind. Here the authors investigate the cause of the poor performance of anion exchange membrane electrolysers and design ionomers that can overcome some of the challenges.

    • Dongguo Li
    • , Eun Joo Park
    • , Wenlei Zhu
    • , Qiurong Shi
    • , Yang Zhou
    • , Hangyu Tian
    • , Yuehe Lin
    • , Alexey Serov
    • , Barr Zulevi
    • , Ehren Donel Baca
    • , Cy Fujimoto
    • , Hoon T. Chung
    •  & Yu Seung Kim
  • Article |

    Solid-state Li metal batteries represent one of the most promising rechargeable battery technologies. Here the authors report an exceptional high-performance prototype solid-state pouch cell made of a sulfide electrolyte, a high-Ni layered oxide cathode and, in particular, a silver–carbon composite anode with no excess Li.

    • Yong-Gun Lee
    • , Satoshi Fujiki
    • , Changhoon Jung
    • , Naoki Suzuki
    • , Nobuyoshi Yashiro
    • , Ryo Omoda
    • , Dong-Su Ko
    • , Tomoyuki Shiratsuchi
    • , Toshinori Sugimoto
    • , Saebom Ryu
    • , Jun Hwan Ku
    • , Taku Watanabe
    • , Youngsin Park
    • , Yuichi Aihara
    • , Dongmin Im
    •  & In Taek Han
  • Article |

    There is an intensive search for high-performance cathode materials for rechargeable batteries. Here the authors report that oxyfluorides with partial spinel-like cation order, made from earth-abundant elements, display both exceptionally high energy and power.

    • Huiwen Ji
    • , Jinpeng Wu
    • , Zijian Cai
    • , Jue Liu
    • , Deok-Hwang Kwon
    • , Hyunchul Kim
    • , Alexander Urban
    • , Joseph K. Papp
    • , Emily Foley
    • , Yaosen Tian
    • , Mahalingam Balasubramanian
    • , Haegyeom Kim
    • , Raphaële J. Clément
    • , Bryan D. McCloskey
    • , Wanli Yang
    •  & Gerbrand Ceder
  • Article |

    Non-flammable high-performance electrolytes are in high demand for rechargeable batteries. Here the authors design cyclic phosphate-based electrolytes to enable stable operations of graphite anodes and high-voltage cathodes for lithium-ion batteries.

    • Qifeng Zheng
    • , Yuki Yamada
    • , Rui Shang
    • , Seongjae Ko
    • , Yun-Yang Lee
    • , Kijae Kim
    • , Eiichi Nakamura
    •  & Atsuo Yamada
  • Comment |

    The smart home technology industry promises energy savings and lifestyle improvements. However, there is little evidence that smart home technologies will reduce home energy use overall, and there are a range of emerging detrimental social impacts that require further attention from researchers, policymakers and practitioners.

    • Larissa Nicholls
    • , Yolande Strengers
    •  & Jathan Sadowski
  • Editorial |

    More frequent and graver extreme events continue to remind us of the perils of climate change, but systematic consideration of these extremes in energy systems studies and full accounting of their impacts remains a challenge.

  • Comment |

    Scenarios are the primary tool for examining how current decisions shape the future, but the future is affected as much by out-of-ordinary extremes as by generally expected trends. Energy modellers can study extremes both by incorporating them directly within models and by using complementary off-model analyses.

    • David L. McCollum
    • , Ajay Gambhir
    • , Joeri Rogelj
    •  & Charlie Wilson
  • Comment |

    Climate change entails an intensification of extreme weather events that can potentially trigger socioeconomic and energy system disruptions. As we approach 1 °C of global warming we should start learning from historical extremes and explicitly incorporate such events in integrated climate–economy and energy systems models.

    • Christian Otto
    • , Franziska Piontek
    • , Matthias Kalkuhl
    •  & Katja Frieler
  • Review Article |

    Production of hydrogen fuel by electrolysis of low-grade or saline water, as opposed to pure water, could have benefits in terms of resource availability and cost. This Review examines the challenges of this approach and how they can be addressed through catalyst and electrolyser design.

    • Wenming Tong
    • , Mark Forster
    • , Fabio Dionigi
    • , Sören Dresp
    • , Roghayeh Sadeghi Erami
    • , Peter Strasser
    • , Alexander J. Cowan
    •  & Pau Farràs