News & Comment

  • News & Views |

    The sustainability of biomass production for energy depends on site-specific biophysical and socio-economic conditions. New research using high-resolution ecosystem process modelling shows the trade-offs between economic and environmental performance of biomass production for an ethanol biorefinery.

    • Floor van der Hilst
  • News & Views |

    Smart integrated transport and energy systems need to interact with end users to enable the exploitation of demand flexibility. New research shows that relying on assumptions about user behaviour, rather than on data-based empirical models, inflates the benefits of smart-charging programmes.

    • Nicolò Daina
  • Editorial |

    US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry may have lost his bid to prop up coal and nuclear power, but he has started a valuable conversation about the grid and its resilience.

  • News & Views |

    Electrochemical conversion of CO2 to fuels is an attractive pathway to store electrical energy in chemical form. Isolated, low-valent Ni species in nitrogen-doped graphene are now demonstrated to selectively convert CO2 to CO electrochemically with high intrinsic activity and stability.

    • Guido Mul
  • News & Views |

    One third of industrial processes occur at high temperatures above 1300 K, but current methods of waste heat recovery at these temperatures are limited. Now, reduced graphene oxide is shown to be a highly efficient and reliable thermoelectric material up to 3000 K.

    • Gabi Schierning
  • News & Views |

    Biological photovoltaic devices (BPVs) use photosynthetic microorganisms to produce electricity, but low photocurrent generation impedes their application. Now, a micro-scale flow-based BPV system is reported with power density outputs similar to that of large-scale biofuels.

    • Matteo Grattieri
    •  & Shelley D. Minteer
  • Editorial |

    Investment in clean-energy technology is increasingly seen as a clear opportunity. Definitive plans would spur more concrete action.

  • News & Views |

    Understanding interfacial charge transfer in water-splitting photoelectrodes is complicated by the delicate interplay between catalyst and light absorber. Now, an approach based on atomic force microscopy is exploited to measure the surface electrochemical potential of nanostructured catalyst-coated electrodes in operando.

    • Francesca Maria Toma
  • Editorial |

    Cold temperatures put financial strain on millions of households for whom sufficient heating is prohibitively expensive.

  • News & Views |

    It is challenging to unlock anionic redox activity, accompanied by full utilization of available cationic redox process, to boost capacity of battery cathodes. Now, material design by tuning the metal–oxygen interaction is shown to be a promising solution.

    • Sung-Kyun Jung
    •  & Kisuk Kang
  • News & Views |

    Hydropower represents about 20% of sub-Saharan electricity, and expansion is underway. Rainfall varies year-to-year in geographical clusters, increasing the risk of climate-related electricity supply disruption in dry years.

    • Harald Kling
  • Comment |

    Although nearly all 2 °C scenarios use negative CO2 emission technologies, only relatively small investments are being made in them, and concerns are being raised regarding their large-scale use. If no explicit policy decisions are taken soon, however, their use will simply be forced on us to meet the Paris climate targets.

    • Detlef P. van Vuuren
    • , Andries F. Hof
    • , Mariësse A. E. van Sluisveld
    •  & Keywan Riahi
  • News & Views |

    Understanding individual energy use can inform interventions for energy conservation. A longitudinal qualitative interview study shows that energy use behaviour is not simply a matter of individual choice, but rather is influenced by unique personal circumstances and familial and social relationships, which change over time.

    • Kate Burningham