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  • Aqueous Li-ion batteries have considerably lower energy density than their non-aqueous counterparts. Here the authors report a room-temperature hydrate metal salt electrolyte that, when coupled with a spinel Li4Ti5O12 electrode, displays an energy density of 130 Wh kg−1.

    • Yuki Yamada
    • Kenji Usui
    • Atsuo Yamada
  • There is intensive research underway into the development of fuel cells. Here, the authors present a proton exchange membrane fuel cell based on quaternary ammonium-biphosphate ion pairs, offering promising performance under a wide range of conditions that are unattainable with conventional technologies.

    • Kwan-Soo Lee
    • Jacob S. Spendelow
    • Yu Seung Kim
  • The significant phase change between gaseous and crystalline oxygen deteriorates the performance of lithium–air batteries. Here the authors report a battery with a cathode consisting of Li2O and Co3O4 nanocomposites, which displays stable cyclability and high energy density, without involving any gas evolution.

    • Zhi Zhu
    • Akihiro Kushima
    • Ju Li
  • Redox-flow batteries with organic-based electrolytes hold many advantages over conventional-flow batteries. Here the authors report a high-performance flow battery based on alloxazine, an aqueous-stable and soluble redox-active organic molecule resembling the backbone structure of vitamin B2.

    • Kaixiang Lin
    • Rafael Gómez-Bombarelli
    • Roy G. Gordon
  • Electrode materials with pores generally have high tortuosity, which is detrimental to battery performance. Here the authors develop a magnetic alignment approach that produces battery electrodes with low-tortuosity porosity and high capacity.

    • J. S. Sander
    • R. M. Erb
    • Y.-M. Chiang
  • A common problem for thick electrodes in lithium-ion batteries is slow ionic transport. Here, the authors present a particle-alignment method that uses a low magnetic field and show that the lithium diffusion path is improved for an aligned thick graphite electrode, leading to a better rate capability.

    • Juliette Billaud
    • Florian Bouville
    • André R. Studart
  • The photovoltaic properties of hybrid organic–inorganic perovskites are sensitive to the local microstructure, but difficult to quantify at the nanoscale. Leblebici et al. use conductive atomic force microscopy to map the local short-circuit current and open-circuit voltage, finding heterogeneity within individual grains.

    • Sibel Y. Leblebici
    • Linn Leppert
    • Alexander Weber-Bargioni
  • One of the major problems in Li–S batteries is the undesired shuttling of lithium polysulfides between electrodes. Here the authors present a metal–organic framework-based separator to mitigate the shuttle effect, leading to stable long cycles.

    • Songyan Bai
    • Xizheng Liu
    • Haoshen Zhou
  • The efficiency of organic solar cells depends on the timescale of charge separation, with fast separation achieved through large driving forces. Liu et al. show that non-fullerene organic blends exhibit fast charge separation and efficiency of 9.5% even in the presence of only small driving forces.

    • Jing Liu
    • Shangshang Chen
    • He Yan
  • Batteries are promising to support energy systems based on intermittent renewable energy, yet their investment attractiveness remains low. Using a techno-economic model, Stephan et al. find that returns can be increased and risks reduced if batteries are used for multiple stationary applications.

    • A. Stephan
    • B. Battke
    • T. S. Schmidt