Browse Articles

  • Article |

    Real-world conditions under which solar cells operate can be different from standard testing conditions. Tress et al. investigate the effects of temperature and irradiation on the performance of a perovskite cell and a reference silicon cell, reproducing real weather conditions in the laboratory.

    • Wolfgang Tress
    • , Konrad Domanski
    • , Brian Carlsen
    • , Anand Agarwalla
    • , Essa A. Alharbi
    • , Michael Graetzel
    •  & Anders Hagfeldt
  • News & Views |

    For emerging photovoltaic technologies to become commercially and technically viable, it is important to understand how performance in the laboratory translates to the field. A new study analyses the yearly changes in the energy yield of perovskite solar cells under simulated realistic temperature and irradiance conditions.

    • Jeff Kettle
  • Article |

    Lead leakage from damaged perovskite solar cells poses a challenge to the deployment of such technology. Here, Jiang, Qiu and co-workers quantify lead leakage caused by a simulated hail impact under a number of weather conditions and show that self-healing encapsulations can effectively reduce it.

    • Yan Jiang
    • , Longbin Qiu
    • , Emilio J. Juarez-Perez
    • , Luis K. Ono
    • , Zhanhao Hu
    • , Zonghao Liu
    • , Zhifang Wu
    • , Lingqiang Meng
    • , Qijing Wang
    •  & Yabing Qi
  • Article |

    While thicker battery electrodes are in high demand to maximize energy density, mechanical instability is a major hurdle in their fabrication. Here the authors report that segregated carbon nanotube networks enable thick, high-capacity electrodes for a range of materials including Si and NMC.

    • Sang-Hoon Park
    • , Paul J. King
    • , Ruiyuan Tian
    • , Conor S. Boland
    • , João Coelho
    • , Chuanfang (John) Zhang
    • , Patrick McBean
    • , Niall McEvoy
    • , Matthias P. Kremer
    • , Dermot Daly
    • , Jonathan N. Coleman
    •  & Valeria Nicolosi
  • Article |

    LiCoO2 is a widely used cathode material in Li-ion batteries for applications such as portable electronics. Here, the authors report multiple-element doping to enable stable cycling of LiCoO2 at high voltages that are not yet accessible with commercial Li-ion batteries.

    • Jie-Nan Zhang
    • , Qinghao Li
    • , Chuying Ouyang
    • , Xiqian Yu
    • , Mingyuan Ge
    • , Xiaojing Huang
    • , Enyuan Hu
    • , Chao Ma
    • , Shaofeng Li
    • , Ruijuan Xiao
    • , Wanli Yang
    • , Yong Chu
    • , Yijin Liu
    • , Huigen Yu
    • , Xiao-Qing Yang
    • , Xuejie Huang
    • , Liquan Chen
    •  & Hong Li
  • News & Views |

    Lead in perovskite solar cells is a potential environmental and health hazard if it is released from accidentally damaged panels. Now, the encapsulation of perovskite solar cells with self-healing polymers is shown to significantly reduce the risk of lead leakage from hail impact under a variety of weather conditions.

    • Sarah Kajari-Schröder
  • Editorial |

    Coal is increasingly falling out of favour in the face of cheaper alternatives and concerns about health.

  • Article |

    Biomass can be used to scavenge photogenerated holes in photocatalytic hydrogen production, but the oxidized molecules that form are not always useful products. Here, the authors use Ru-ZnIn2S4 to photocatalyse the dehydrogenative C−C coupling of lignocellulose-derived methylfurans, forming both hydrogen and diesel fuel precursors.

    • Nengchao Luo
    • , Tiziano Montini
    • , Jian Zhang
    • , Paolo Fornasiero
    • , Emiliano Fonda
    • , Tingting Hou
    • , Wei Nie
    • , Jianmin Lu
    • , Junxue Liu
    • , Marc Heggen
    • , Long Lin
    • , Changtong Ma
    • , Min Wang
    • , Fengtao Fan
    • , Shengye Jin
    •  & Feng Wang
  • Article |

    Some of the best electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction in alkaline electrolysers are based on oxides of nickel and iron. Here, the authors demonstrate that the water oxidation performance of such catalysts can be enhanced by application of a magnetic field from a permanent magnet.

    • Felipe A. Garcés-Pineda
    • , Marta Blasco-Ahicart
    • , David Nieto-Castro
    • , Núria López
    •  & José Ramón Galán-Mascarós
  • News & Views |

    Photocatalytic H2 production using semiconductors is a promising approach to store solar energy as a chemical fuel, but the oxidizing power of the excited holes is often wasted. Now, holes are harnessed in a dehydrocoupling strategy that simultaneously produces H2 and diesel fuel precursors from biomass-derived molecules.

    • Guanqun Han
    •  & Yujie Sun
  • Article |

    Isolating metal atoms on supports is becoming an increasingly studied approach to design water splitting electrocatalysts. Here, the authors prepare a hydrogen evolution catalyst comprising atomically dispersed Pt atoms on curved carbon supports, which outperform similar catalysts where the support is flat.

    • Daobin Liu
    • , Xiyu Li
    • , Shuangming Chen
    • , Huan Yan
    • , Changda Wang
    • , Chuanqiang Wu
    • , Yasir A. Haleem
    • , Sai Duan
    • , Junling Lu
    • , Binghui Ge
    • , Pulickel M. Ajayan
    • , Yi Luo
    • , Jun Jiang
    •  & Li Song
  • Review Article |

    Along with high energy density, fast-charging ability would enable battery-powered electric vehicles. Here Yi Cui and colleagues review battery materials requirements for fast charging and discuss future design strategies.

    • Yayuan Liu
    • , Yangying Zhu
    •  & Yi Cui
  • News & Views |

    Biomass cooking will continue for the foreseeable future in most developing countries. However, inefficient cookstoves have a negative impact on well-being. While controversy surrounds whether improved biomass cookstoves effectively address this, a new study shows that they may offer economic and health benefits.

    • Zenebe Gebreegziabher
  • Comment |

    A wealth of candidates are being investigated to improve the catalysts found in acidic and alkaline electrolysers. However, attention should be focused on developing stable water oxidation catalysts with improved intrinsic activity — not only increased geometric activity — alongside best practice for data collection.

    • Jakob Kibsgaard
    •  & Ib Chorkendorff
  • Review Article |

    Public responses to new energy technologies can influence adoption and deployment. This Review brings together research on public perceptions of and responses to a wide range of energy technologies around the themes of technology, people, place and process.

    • Hilary S. Boudet
  • Article |

    Manufacturing high-performing solid electrolytes at low processing temperature requires improved techniques. Here Jennifer Rupp and colleagues report a ceramic processing strategy, using Li3N multilayers as a lithium reservoir for the formation of lithium–garnet films, significantly reducing the operating temperature while maintaining the ionic conductivity.

    • Reto Pfenninger
    • , Michal Struzik
    • , Iñigo Garbayo
    • , Evelyn Stilp
    •  & Jennifer L. M. Rupp
  • Editorial |

    Thinking of submitting to Nature Energy, but have a few questions about your manuscript? Maybe a presubmission inquiry can answer them.

  • News & Views |

    A significant portion of the energy required to electrochemically reduce CO2 to fuels and chemicals is typically consumed by the accompanying oxygen evolution reaction. Now, researchers show that alternative oxidative reactions using biodiesel-waste could improve the economics and emission profiles of this process.

    • André Bardow
    •  & Matthias Wessling
  • Article |

    Intensive efforts are underway towards developing battery-based grid-scale storage technologies. Here, the authors report an aqueous K-ion battery that offers many attractive advantages over various battery alternatives.

    • Liwei Jiang
    • , Yaxiang Lu
    • , Chenglong Zhao
    • , Lilu Liu
    • , Jienan Zhang
    • , Qiangqiang Zhang
    • , Xing Shen
    • , Junmei Zhao
    • , Xiqian Yu
    • , Hong Li
    • , Xuejie Huang
    • , Liquan Chen
    •  & Yong-Sheng Hu
  • Article |

    Much has been said about the high-energy, long-lasting potential of Li metal batteries, and yet little has been demonstrated at the cell scale. Here, Jun Liu and colleagues demonstrate a Li metal pouch cell with a 300 Wh kg−1 energy density and a 200-cycle lifetime.

    • Chaojiang Niu
    • , Hongkyung Lee
    • , Shuru Chen
    • , Qiuyan Li
    • , Jason Du
    • , Wu Xu
    • , Ji-Guang Zhang
    • , M. Stanley Whittingham
    • , Jie Xiao
    •  & Jun Liu
  • Analysis |

    The Beijing Municipality has implemented a programme that subsidizes electric heat pumps and electricity, and bans coal. This study estimates the programme’s impact on household energy use and expenditure, well-being and indoor environment quality.

    • Christopher Barrington-Leigh
    • , Jill Baumgartner
    • , Ellison Carter
    • , Brian E. Robinson
    • , Shu Tao
    •  & Yuanxun Zhang
  • News & Views |

    Selenium alloying has enabled record efficiency for CdTe solar cells by changing the optoelectronic properties of the CdTe absorber layer, though its role has not yet been fully understood. Now, non-radiative charge-carrier recombination in the bulk of the CdSeTe layer is revealed to be lower in grains with higher Se concentration.

    • Dmitry Krasikov
  • Article |

    Selenium in cadmium telluride solar cells is known to allow bandgap engineering, thus enabling highly efficient devices. Here, Fiducia et al. show that selenium also plays a role in passivating defects in the absorber layer.

    • Thomas A. M. Fiducia
    • , Budhika G. Mendis
    • , Kexue Li
    • , Chris R. M. Grovenor
    • , Amit H. Munshi
    • , Kurt Barth
    • , Walajabad S. Sampath
    • , Lewis D. Wright
    • , Ali Abbas
    • , Jake W. Bowers
    •  & John M. Walls
  • News & Views |

    Stationary storage in buildings can help make better use of intermittent renewable power, but safer and cheaper alternatives to lithium-ion batteries are needed to accelerate deployment. Now, demonstration of an aqueous potassium-ion full cell offers a way forward.

    • Lauren E. Marbella
  • Article |

    Intensive research efforts are underway to enable applications of layered lithium transition metal oxides in batteries. Here the authors report an oxidative chemical vapour deposition technique to conformally coat both the primary and the secondary particles of these oxides to unleash potential applications.

    • Gui-Liang Xu
    • , Qiang Liu
    • , Kenneth K. S. Lau
    • , Yuzi Liu
    • , Xiang Liu
    • , Han Gao
    • , Xinwei Zhou
    • , Minghao Zhuang
    • , Yang Ren
    • , Jiadong Li
    • , Minhua Shao
    • , Minggao Ouyang
    • , Feng Pan
    • , Zonghai Chen
    • , Khalil Amine
    •  & Guohua Chen
  • Article |

    Defects and defect migration are detrimental for perovskite solar cell efficiency and long-term stability. Li et al. show that fluoride is able to suppress the formation of halide anion and organic cation vacancy defects by restraining the relative ions via ionic and hydrogen bonds.

    • Nengxu Li
    • , Shuxia Tao
    • , Yihua Chen
    • , Xiuxiu Niu
    • , Chidozie K. Onwudinanti
    • , Chen Hu
    • , Zhiwen Qiu
    • , Ziqi Xu
    • , Guanhaojie Zheng
    • , Ligang Wang
    • , Yu Zhang
    • , Liang Li
    • , Huifen Liu
    • , Yingzhuo Lun
    • , Jiawang Hong
    • , Xueyun Wang
    • , Yuquan Liu
    • , Haipeng Xie
    • , Yongli Gao
    • , Yang Bai
    • , Shihe Yang
    • , Geert Brocks
    • , Qi Chen
    •  & Huanping Zhou
  • News & Views |

    Policies that encourage a shift away from solid fuels can improve public health, welfare and the environment. However, impacts and their distribution are rarely evaluated. Now research shows that benefits to home comfort, indoor air quality and well-being from China’s coal-to-electricity programme vary across rich and poor districts.

    • Shonali Pachauri
  • Article |

    For photo-electrochemical hydrogen production to become viable on a large scale, not only efficiency but also power density must be optimized. Here, the authors explore the impact of thermal integration on photo-electrochemical devices driven by concentrated solar irradiation and design one that operates with high efficiency and power density output.

    • Saurabh Tembhurne
    • , Fredy Nandjou
    •  & Sophia Haussener
  • Perspective |

    Domestic heating systems vary widely in their configurations across different countries. Here, Gross and Hanna use case studies of Sweden and the United Kingdom to explore the central roles of policies and path dependence in shaping the technologies and infrastructures providing domestic space heating.

    • Robert Gross
    •  & Richard Hanna
  • News & Views |

    While recent gains in the efficiency of photoelectrochemical devices for hydrogen production are encouraging, high efficiency is rarely combined with high power output, which is important for large-scale viability. Towards this goal, researchers now demonstrate a promising thermally integrated device driven by concentrated solar irradiation.

    • Tomas Edvinsson
  • Editorial |

    The rapid growth of lithium-ion batteries in many markets makes it increasingly urgent to address recycling of strategic materials from spent batteries.

  • Article |

    Carbon capture and storage can help reduce fossil-fuel power-plant emissions. Here the authors show that the energy return on input of thermal plants with carbon capture is in general lower than the energy return of most types of renewable energy even when combined with energy storage.

    • Sgouris Sgouridis
    • , Michael Carbajales-Dale
    • , Denes Csala
    • , Matteo Chiesa
    •  & Ugo Bardi
  • Article |

    A key challenge for hydroxide exchange membrane fuel cells is the development of membranes with both high ionic conductivity and mechanical strength. Here the authors report a high-performance family of poly(aryl piperidinium) membranes enabling promising durability and power density.

    • Junhua Wang
    • , Yun Zhao
    • , Brian P. Setzler
    • , Santiago Rojas-Carbonell
    • , Chaya Ben Yehuda
    • , Alina Amel
    • , Miles Page
    • , Lan Wang
    • , Keda Hu
    • , Lin Shi
    • , Shimshon Gottesfeld
    • , Bingjun Xu
    •  & Yushan Yan
  • Article |

    The ever-increasing applications for Li-ion batteries in markets call for environmentally friendly and energy-efficient recycling technologies. Here the authors report using a deep eutectic solvent to extract valuable components of Li-ion batteries.

    • Mai K. Tran
    • , Marco-Tulio F. Rodrigues
    • , Keiko Kato
    • , Ganguli Babu
    •  & Pulickel M. Ajayan
  • Article |

    Despite tremendous progress in the development of LiS batteries, their performance at the full-cell level is not as competitive as state-of-the-art Li-ion batteries. Here the authors report a full-cell architecture making use of a hybrid intercalation-conversion cathode, enabling both high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities.

    • Weijiang Xue
    • , Zhe Shi
    • , Liumin Suo
    • , Chao Wang
    • , Ziqiang Wang
    • , Haozhe Wang
    • , Kang Pyo So
    • , Andrea Maurano
    • , Daiwei Yu
    • , Yuming Chen
    • , Long Qie
    • , Zhi Zhu
    • , Guiyin Xu
    • , Jing Kong
    •  & Ju Li