Browse Articles

  • Policy Brief |

    Although India’s Ujjwala programme has encouraged adoption of modern cooking gas, households have not shifted away from using highly polluting solid fuels. Additional incentives to encourage regular use of cooking gas are necessary to enable a more rapid and complete transition to clean cooking fuel among poor rural households.

    • Abhishek Kar
    • , Shonali Pachauri
    • , Rob Bailis
    •  & Hisham Zerriffi
  • Article |

    Mixed-cation perovskite quantum dot solar cells possess decent phase stability but considerably low efficiency. Here Hao et al. show that ligands are key to the formation of quantum dots with lower defect density and demonstrate devices that are more stable and efficient than their bulk counterparts.

    • Mengmeng Hao
    • , Yang Bai
    • , Stefan Zeiske
    • , Long Ren
    • , Junxian Liu
    • , Yongbo Yuan
    • , Nasim Zarrabi
    • , Ningyan Cheng
    • , Mehri Ghasemi
    • , Peng Chen
    • , Miaoqiang Lyu
    • , Dongxu He
    • , Jung-Ho Yun
    • , Yi Du
    • , Yun Wang
    • , Shanshan Ding
    • , Ardalan Armin
    • , Paul Meredith
    • , Gang Liu
    • , Hui-Ming Cheng
    •  & Lianzhou Wang
  • Article |

    While perovskite solar cells with an inverted architecture hold great promise for operation stability, their power conversion efficiency lags behind that of conventional cells. Here, Zheng et al. achieve a certified 22.34% efficiency, exploiting alkylamine ligands as grain and interface modifiers.

    • Xiaopeng Zheng
    • , Yi Hou
    • , Chunxiong Bao
    • , Jun Yin
    • , Fanglong Yuan
    • , Ziru Huang
    • , Kepeng Song
    • , Jiakai Liu
    • , Joel Troughton
    • , Nicola Gasparini
    • , Chun Zhou
    • , Yuanbao Lin
    • , Ding-Jiang Xue
    • , Bin Chen
    • , Andrew K. Johnston
    • , Nini Wei
    • , Mohamed Nejib Hedhili
    • , Mingyang Wei
    • , Abdullah Y. Alsalloum
    • , Partha Maity
    • , Bekir Turedi
    • , Chen Yang
    • , Derya Baran
    • , Thomas D. Anthopoulos
    • , Yu Han
    • , Zheng-Hong Lu
    • , Omar F. Mohammed
    • , Feng Gao
    • , Edward H. Sargent
    •  & Osman M. Bakr
  • News & Views |

    International energy economic analysis frequently involves conversion of all monetary figures to a single currency, typically the US dollar. This can cause significant variation in estimation of values that change over time such as learning rates for new energy technologies.

    • Sarah Josephine Smith
  • Policy Brief |

    Biomass such as agricultural and forestry residues, animal manure and municipal solid wastes can be a replenishable and widely available source of energy. Harnessing this resource can have significant energy and environmental benefits.

    • Deepak Rajagopal
    •  & Bo Liu
  • Article |

    Learning rates are a measure of reduction in costs of energy from technologies such as solar photovoltaics. These are often estimated internationally with all monetary figures converted to a single currency, often US dollars. Lilliestam et al. show that such conversions can significantly affect the learning rate estimates.

    • Johan Lilliestam
    • , Marc Melliger
    • , Lana Ollier
    • , Tobias S. Schmidt
    •  & Bjarne Steffen
  • Perspective |

    The development of high-nickel layered oxide cathodes represents an opportunity to realize the full potential of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Manthiram and colleagues review the materials design strategies and discuss the challenges and solutions for low-cobalt, high-energy-density cathodes.

    • Wangda Li
    • , Evan M. Erickson
    •  & Arumugam Manthiram
  • News & Views |

    Water management is an important aspect in the operation of alkaline exchange membrane fuel cells. Now, a lightly cross-linked norbornene polymer membrane is shown to be able to facilitate optimal water transport, leading to exceptionally high power and current density fuel cells.

    • Zhongwei Chen
  • Article |

    Syngas is a mixture of CO and H2 that can be converted into a variety of fuels. Syngas can be produced thermocatalytically from CH4 and CO2, but this requires high temperatures and coke formation can be a problem. Here the authors demonstrate lower temperature, light-driven production of syngas using a coke-resistant plasmonic photocatalyst.

    • Linan Zhou
    • , John Mark P. Martirez
    • , Jordan Finzel
    • , Chao Zhang
    • , Dayne F. Swearer
    • , Shu Tian
    • , Hossein Robatjazi
    • , Minhan Lou
    • , Liangliang Dong
    • , Luke Henderson
    • , Phillip Christopher
    • , Emily A. Carter
    • , Peter Nordlander
    •  & Naomi J. Halas
  • News & Views |

    Moving to more renewable energy generation will require more flexible electricity use. Now, research shows that flexibility products like time of use rates can hit some groups harder than others, with some vulnerable groups facing disproportionately negative financial and health impacts. However, the picture is by no means simple.

    • Michael J. Fell
  • Policy Brief |

    The elderly and those with disabilities face greater increases in electricity bills and worse health outcomes under some time-of-use electricity rates. This suggests that vulnerable groups should be considered separately in time-of-use rate design, and future rate designs should be tested to ensure that they do not increase hardship.

    • Lee V. White
    •  & Nicole D. Sintov
  • Q&A |

    In October 2019, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched its Global Strategy for Sustainable Energy. The strategy aims to support refugees, their host communities and other actors to meet their energy needs safely, affordably and sustainably. Nature Energy spoke to Andrew Harper, Director of Programmes at UNHCR, to find out more about how UNHCR see energy within the context of humanitarian response.

    • Nicky Dean
  • Comment |

    Energy interventions can improve the lives of crisis-affected populations and the efficiency and performance of humanitarian operations. However, there is little existing data around humanitarian energy interventions, and little coordination around how this data can or should be collected, used and shared.

    • Owen Grafham
    •  & Phil Sandwell
  • Editorial |

    The humanitarian aid sector is transforming the ways it uses and deploys energy as crises become more complex and the effects of climate change are increasingly felt.

  • News & Views |

    Developing high capacity yet stable cathodes is key to advancing Li-ion battery technologies. Now, a new metal oxide cathode that is rich in Li with a gradient in Li concentration is shown to be stable to O2 release leading to long cycle life and high capacity.

    • Michael F Toney
  • Comment |

    Energy is a priority for refugees yet traditional approaches for its delivery are costly and ineffective, while energy access often falls away once aid is withdrawn. By adopting a market systems approach, aid can do more to ensure access to energy in fragile places is more effective and sustainable.

    • Anoushka Boodhna
    • , Corrie Sissons
    •  & Jessica Fullwood-Thomas
  • Comment |

    Humanitarian organizations are increasingly incorporating sustainable energy practices into programming. Policies that are clear and coherent need to be put in place so that the private sector can be progressively engaged and energy services can be scaled-up.

    • Suzanna Huber
    •  & Eva Mach
  • Comment |

    Delivering renewable energy solutions in humanitarian settings that meet the needs of refugees is highly challenging. Inclusive design — engaging refugee communities, humanitarian agencies and the private sector — is a promising approach that offers substantial improvements in delivering energy access for refugees.

    • Sarah Rosenberg-Jansen
    • , Tracy Tunge
    •  & Timothy Kayumba
  • Article |

    Critical issues such as oxygen release during battery cycling plague the development of high-energy Li-rich oxide cathodes. Here the authors report a Li-gradient structure of the oxides, obtained by a selective LiO leaching process via a molten salt treatment, displaying virtually zero oxygen loss.

    • Zhi Zhu
    • , Daiwei Yu
    • , Yang Yang
    • , Cong Su
    • , Yimeng Huang
    • , Yanhao Dong
    • , Iradwikanari Waluyo
    • , Baoming Wang
    • , Adrian Hunt
    • , Xiahui Yao
    • , Jinhyuk Lee
    • , Weijiang Xue
    •  & Ju Li
  • News & Views |

    Metal–organic frameworks are promising adsorbents for CO2 capture from flue gas, but many perform poorly when exposed to flue gas containing water. Now, a computational screening approach identifies MOFs with preserved CO2/N2 selectivities in wet flue gas and experiments confirm their outstanding CO2 capture performance.

    • Seda Keskin
  • Policy Brief |

    While a government commission recently proposed to phase out coal in Germany by 2038, voters would prefer a phase-out by 2025. Policymakers may underestimate public willingness to support an expedited transition away from high-carbon sources of energy.

    • Adrian Rinscheid
    •  & Rolf Wüstenhagen
  • Article |

    Cooling in thermal power plants demands significant quantities of freshwater globally. Using a database of cooling technologies for 13,863 thermal power plants worldwide identified from satellite imagery, Lohrmann et al. show significant potential for reducing water use in power production as a consequence of transition towards renewables.

    • Alena Lohrmann
    • , Javier Farfan
    • , Upeksha Caldera
    • , Christoph Lohrmann
    •  & Christian Breyer
  • News & Views |

    Adoption of photovoltaic systems has been thought of in some countries as a choice influenced by political preferences. In the US, this polarization may be even stronger due to political polarization around climate change. Now, research shows that photovoltaic adopters can be found in both parties and they are politically active.

    • Marcello Graziano
  • News & Views |

    Energy transitions might require not only changes in fuel mix, but also consumption reduction. Using surveys of behaviour and basic human needs, new research estimates the minimum energy required for maintaining a decent living standard.

    • Gokul Iyer
  • Article |

    Transition to sustainable energy systems requires consumption that meets all human needs without excess. Rao et al. build bottom-up an assessment of energy required for decent living using gaps in decent living standards in India, Brazil and South Africa and scenarios of future energy use.

    • Narasimha D. Rao
    • , Jihoon Min
    •  & Alessio Mastrucci
  • Policy Brief |

    Many electricity markets authorize capacity payments to generators to secure sufficient supply, unintentionally favouring peaking technologies like oil and gas. New approaches are needed to ensure reliability without discouraging investment in low-carbon resources such as solar, wind and nuclear.

    • Jacob Mays
    • , David P. Morton
    •  & Richard P. O’Neill
  • Editorial |

    The revolutionary work of John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino has finally been awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Scientific discovery and engineering brilliance continue to shape battery technology.

  • Article |

    The utilization of oxygen redox is a promising way of designing high-energy cathode materials for batteries. Here, Tarascon and colleagues report a class of Li-rich layered sulfides and unravel the potential of sulfur redox.

    • Sujoy Saha
    • , Gaurav Assat
    • , Moulay Tahar Sougrati
    • , Dominique Foix
    • , Haifeng Li
    • , Jean Vergnet
    • , Soma Turi
    • , Yang Ha
    • , Wanli Yang
    • , Jordi Cabana
    • , Gwenaëlle Rousse
    • , Artem M. Abakumov
    •  & Jean-Marie Tarascon
  • Comment |

    Different energy sources have different spillovers on economic development and industrialization. Pathways of economic development based on renewable energy sources might require additional policies to support industrial development.

    • Matthias Kalkuhl
    • , Jan Christoph Steckel
    • , Lorenzo Montrone
    • , Michael Jakob
    • , Jörg Peters
    •  & Ottmar Edenhofer
  • News & Views |

    Obtaining simultaneously high power conversion efficiency and long-term stability in organic blend/quantum dot solar cells is considered a tough challenge. Now, realization of a hybrid architecture that exploits the addition of a small molecule brings researchers a step closer to overcoming it.

    • Daniele Benetti
    •  & Federico Rosei
  • Article |

    Colloidal quantum dots and organics have complementary properties apt for photovoltaics, yet their combination has led to poor charge collection. Here, Baek et al. introduce small molecules that act as a bridge between quantum dots and polymers, thus improving device efficiency and stability.

    • Se-Woong Baek
    • , Sunhong Jun
    • , Byeongsu Kim
    • , Andrew H. Proppe
    • , Olivier Ouellette
    • , Oleksandr Voznyy
    • , Changjo Kim
    • , Junho Kim
    • , Grant Walters
    • , Jung Hoon Song
    • , Sohee Jeong
    • , Hye Ryung Byun
    • , Mun Seok Jeong
    • , Sjoerd Hoogland
    • , F. Pelayo García de Arquer
    • , Shana O. Kelley
    • , Jung-Yong Lee
    •  & Edward H. Sargent
  • Article |

    Photocatalytic reduction of CO2 to methanol offers a promising route to storage of solar energy in the form of chemical fuels. Here, Wu et al. use in operando microscopy to identify the active facets for CO2 reduction on Cu2O and exploit this to obtain high conversion efficiency and selectivity to methanol.

    • Yimin A. Wu
    • , Ian McNulty
    • , Cong Liu
    • , Kah Chun Lau
    • , Qi Liu
    • , Arvydas P. Paulikas
    • , Cheng-Jun Sun
    • , Zhonghou Cai
    • , Jeffrey R. Guest
    • , Yang Ren
    • , Vojislav Stamenkovic
    • , Larry A. Curtiss
    • , Yuzi Liu
    •  & Tijana Rajh
  • News & Views |

    Capacity markets are meant to ensure adequate generation capacity to avoid electricity shortages without benefitting specific technologies. Now, research shows that by minimizing investment risks over operating risks, these markets favour fossil fuels over renewable energy unless other complementary instruments are introduced.

    • Christoph Weber
  • News & Views |

    The performance of lithium–sulfur batteries is intimately tied to electrode porosity. Now, an in-depth investigation shows that optimizing the porosity enhances the achievable energy density of lithium–sulfur batteries.

    • Arumugam Manthiram
    •  & Amruth Bhargav
  • Article |

    Capacity markets are designed to ensure availability of sufficient production capacity to meet peak demand. Mays et al. show that these markets favour technologies such as coal and gas by mitigating their capital investment risks while not compensating for operational risks associated with solar and wind energy.

    • Jacob Mays
    • , David P. Morton
    •  & Richard P. O’Neill