Perspectives

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  • Perspective |

    Mental accounting refers to the mental budgets people use to organize and track resource use. In this Perspective, the authors demonstrate how principles of mental accounting can be applied to energy behaviour and decision-making, and outline future research directions.

    • Ulf J. J. Hahnel
    • , Gilles Chatelain
    • , Beatrice Conte
    • , Valentino Piana
    •  & Tobias Brosch
  • Perspective |

    Zinc metal batteries (ZMBs) provide a promising alternative to lithium metal batteries but share the formidable challenges in reversibility. The authors discuss the key performance metrics of ZMBs and propose a protocol to assess the true reversibility of zinc metal anodes.

    • Lin Ma
    • , Marshall A. Schroeder
    • , Oleg Borodin
    • , Travis P. Pollard
    • , Michael S. Ding
    • , Chunsheng Wang
    •  & Kang Xu
  • 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
  • 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
  • Perspective |

    Evaluating the impact of renewable energy innovation research funding is important to design more productive research and development programmes. Pless et al. discuss the key challenges in effective evaluation of research funding outcomes and identify solutions.

    • Jacquelyn Pless
    • , Cameron Hepburn
    •  & Niall Farrell
  • Perspective |

    Energy use occurs in homes, workplaces and communities in which complex webs of social relations already exist. In this Perspective, the authors draw on recent qualitative research to propose a typology of social relations that shape how people engage with and use energy.

    • Tom Hargreaves
    •  & Lucie Middlemiss
  • 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
  • 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
  • Perspective |

    Jun Liu and Battery500 Consortium colleagues contemplate the way forward towards high-energy and long-cycling practical batteries.

    • Jun Liu
    • , Zhenan Bao
    • , Yi Cui
    • , Eric J. Dufek
    • , John B. Goodenough
    • , Peter Khalifah
    • , Qiuyan Li
    • , Bor Yann Liaw
    • , Ping Liu
    • , Arumugam Manthiram
    • , Y. Shirley Meng
    • , Venkat R. Subramanian
    • , Michael F. Toney
    • , Vilayanur V. Viswanathan
    • , M. Stanley Whittingham
    • , Jie Xiao
    • , Wu Xu
    • , Jihui Yang
    • , Xiao-Qing Yang
    •  & Ji-Guang Zhang
  • Perspective |

    The energy transition has been alternatively characterized as a gradual transformation, a technological disruption or a systemic change. This Perspective argues that the transition is entering a new phase where it has unique characteristics, and research and policy can no longer treat it as a gradual transformation or mere disruption.

    • Jochen Markard
  • Perspective |

    Positive and negative impacts of energy transitions will not be evenly distributed. In this Perspective, the authors present a framework to map geographic variation in vulnerability from energy policies that can be built on in future work to support just policy-making.

    • Sanya Carley
    • , Tom P. Evans
    • , Michelle Graff
    •  & David M. Konisky
  • Perspective |

    In recent years, Middle Eastern and North African oil-exporting states have begun reforming their energy subsidies. This Perspective argues that a number of trends — both local and global — have offered political cover for the changes, and that the reforms challenge existing governance theory.

    • Jim Krane
  • Perspective |

    Battery safety is a key focus in the design of electrified vehicles. Here, the authors survey literature approaches for modelling and testing battery safety under abuse conditions, and propose a multi-physics modelling and testing framework for real applications.

    • Jie Deng
    • , Chulheung Bae
    • , James Marcicki
    • , Alvaro Masias
    •  & Theodore Miller
  • Perspective |

    Coal-generated electricity forms a significant contribution to global carbon emissions. This Perspective explores the factors behind Great Britain's recent rapid switch from coal power to natural gas, which brought a large decrease in emissions, and discusses savings potential for other coal-using nations.

    • I. A. Grant Wilson
    •  & Iain Staffell
  • Perspective |

    The rise of prosumers has led to creation of virtual power plants and peer-to-peer trading to help manage a diverse and distributed array of energy sources. This Perspective proposes the federated power plant, which combines these concepts to meet some of their individual challenges and offer new value.

    • Thomas Morstyn
    • , Niall Farrell
    • , Sarah J. Darby
    •  & Malcolm D. McCulloch
  • Perspective |

    The UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development has 17 goals with 169 targets for action across a range of issues, with access to sustainable energy for all being Goal 7. This Perspective analyses interlinkages between energy systems, Goal 7 and the other goals at the target level, identifying synergies and trade-offs between them.

    • Francesco Fuso Nerini
    • , Julia Tomei
    • , Long Seng To
    • , Iwona Bisaga
    • , Priti Parikh
    • , Mairi Black
    • , Aiduan Borrion
    • , Catalina Spataru
    • , Vanesa Castán Broto
    • , Gabrial Anandarajah
    • , Ben Milligan
    •  & Yacob Mulugetta
  • Perspective |

    A policy sequence for low-carbon policy that is politically effective continues to face challenges of environmental and cost effectiveness. This Perspective outlines ways to address these issues within political constraints.

    • Jonas Meckling
    • , Thomas Sterner
    •  & Gernot Wagner
  • Perspective |

    Urban households in the global south face unique energy access challenges. This Perspective outlines a research agenda based on understanding the needs of urban energy users to promote inclusive urban energy transitions.

    • Vanesa Castán Broto
    • , Lucy Stevens
    • , Emmanuel Ackom
    • , Julia Tomei
    • , Priti Parikh
    • , Iwona Bisaga
    • , Long Seng To
    • , Joshua Kirshner
    •  & Yacob Mulugetta
  • Perspective |

    Despite being currently under-represented in IPCC reports, PV generation represents a growing share of power generation. This Perspective argues that underestimating PV potential led to suboptimal integration measures and that specific deployment strategies for emerging economies should be developed.

    • Felix Creutzig
    • , Peter Agoston
    • , Jan Christoph Goldschmidt
    • , Gunnar Luderer
    • , Gregory Nemet
    •  & Robert C. Pietzcker
  • Perspective |

    Heterostructures with alternating layers of different 2D materials are finding increasing attention in energy applications. Pomerantseva and Gogotsi survey the opportunities and challenges of both developing the heterostructures and their implementation in energy storage devices.

    • Ekaterina Pomerantseva
    •  & Yury Gogotsi
  • Perspective |

    Perovskite solar cells have emerged as a potential low-cost alternative to existing technologies. In this Perspective, Park et al. explore a strategy for the commercialisation of perovskite solar cells.

    • Nam-Gyu Park
    • , Michael Grätzel
    • , Tsutomu Miyasaka
    • , Kai Zhu
    •  & Keith Emery
  • Perspective |

    Technology breakthroughs will tilt the long-term balance between oil demand and the resource base of oil and gas. According to Amy Myers Jaffe, energy markets will be characterized by the growing tension between low carbon efforts led by the US and the strategies of large oil exporting countries.

    • Amy Myers Jaffe
  • Perspective |

    The US National Labs will continue to play a crucial role in developing energy science and technology, yet their operation is not without its problems. Anadon et al. discuss the challenges faced by the Labs and propose changes that can help them to better meet their goals.

    • Laura Diaz Anadon
    • , Gabriel Chan
    • , Amitai Y. Bin-Nun
    •  & Venkatesh Narayanamurti
  • Perspective |

    The development of rechargeable batteries that use metallic lithium anodes faces challenges such as dendrite formation. Here the authors review recent advances in preventing the proliferation of dendrite and discuss design principles for electrolytes and interfaces in lithium-metal batteries.

    • Mukul D. Tikekar
    • , Snehashis Choudhury
    • , Zhengyuan Tu
    •  & Lynden A. Archer
  • Perspective |

    Cheap energy can encourage economic growth but it can also force economies into specific energy-intensive futures. Roger Fouquet argues that path dependence in energy systems has profound implications for an economy and should be considered carefully before governments make choices about energy provision.

    • Roger Fouquet
  • Perspective |

    Organometal halide perovskites have drawn remarkable attention in photovoltaic applications due to their optoelectronic properties. In this Perspective, the authors outline the potential of these materials in a variety of energy-related applications.

    • Wei Zhang
    • , Giles E. Eperon
    •  & Henry J. Snaith
  • Perspective |

    Current approaches to energy systems invoke individual rational consumers, despite the fact that their decision-making cannot be simplified so readily. This Perspective explores the concept of consumers as part of a wider transition, offering a typology of the users who are shaping and enacting system change.

    • Johan Schot
    • , Laur Kanger
    •  & Geert Verbong
  • Perspective |

    When making decisions about energy, consumers and policymakers typically overlook moral issues, which can have profound societal consequences. This Perspective explores how ideas from justice and ethics can provide a framework to reconsider energy problems and better inform decision-making processes.

    • Benjamin K. Sovacool
    • , Raphael J. Heffron
    • , Darren McCauley
    •  & Andreas Goldthau
  • Perspective |

    Small-scale renewable energy systems and smart technologies are enabling energy consumers to become producers and service providers as well. This Perspective explores this ‘prosumption’ phenomenon, highlighting three promising prosumer market models and the challenges for future implementation.

    • Yael Parag
    •  & Benjamin K. Sovacool
  • Perspective |

    Ontario, Canada, has seen a number of policy measures introduced since 2009 to increase wind energy production. This Perspective explores the impacts and implications of those policies on wind energy disputes in terms of health, financial benefit, community engagement and the landscape.

    • Stewart Fast
    • , Warren Mabee
    • , Jamie Baxter
    • , Tanya Christidis
    • , Liz Driver
    • , Stephen Hill
    • , J. J. McMurtry
    •  & Melody Tomkow