Latest Research

  • Analysis |

    The concentration of rooftop solar photovoltaics among high-income households limits deployment and access to benefits. Here the authors find that some policy interventions and business models increased photovoltaic adoption equity in existing markets and shifted deployment to underserved communities.

    • Eric O’Shaughnessy
    • , Galen Barbose
    • , Ryan Wiser
    • , Sydney Forrester
    •  & Naïm Darghouth
  • Article |

    Two-dimensional Ruddlesden–Popper layered metal-halide perovskites show better performance over three-dimensional versions, but are typically based on quantum wells with random width distribution. Liang et al. show that introducing molten salt spacers gives phase-pure quantum wells and improved solar cell performance.

    • Chao Liang
    • , Hao Gu
    • , Yingdong Xia
    • , Zhuo Wang
    • , Xiaotao Liu
    • , Junmin Xia
    • , Shouwei Zuo
    • , Yue Hu
    • , Xingyu Gao
    • , Wei Hui
    • , Lingfeng Chao
    • , Tingting Niu
    • , Min Fang
    • , Hui Lu
    • , Han Dong
    • , Hui Yu
    • , Shi Chen
    • , Xueqin Ran
    • , Lin Song
    • , Bixin Li
    • , Jing Zhang
    • , Yong Peng
    • , Guosheng Shao
    • , Jianpu Wang
    • , Yonghua Chen
    • , Guichuan Xing
    •  & Wei Huang
  • Review Article |

    Ultrathin solar cells attract interest for their relatively low cost and potential novel applications. Here, Massiot et al. discuss their performance and the challenges in the fabrication of ultrathin absorbers, patterning of light trapping structures and ensuring efficient charge-carrier collection.

    • Inès Massiot
    • , Andrea Cattoni
    •  & Stéphane Collin
  • Article |

    Hydrogen is a promising vector in the decarbonization of energy systems, but more efficient and scalable synthesis is required to enable its widespread deployment. Towards that aim, Serra et al. present a microwave-based approach that allows contactless water electrolysis that can be integrated with hydrocarbon production.

    • J. M. Serra
    • , J. F. Borrás-Morell
    • , B. García-Baños
    • , M. Balaguer
    • , P. Plaza-González
    • , J. Santos-Blasco
    • , D. Catalán-Martínez
    • , L. Navarrete
    •  & J. M. Catalá-Civera
  • Article |

    Lead leakage from damaged perovskite photovoltaic modules poses health and environmental risks limiting the potential use of the technology. Now Chen et al. show that the encapsulation of perovskite modules with a cation-exchange resins reduces lead leakage to 14.3 ppb in waste water.

    • Shangshang Chen
    • , Yehao Deng
    • , Hangyu Gu
    • , Shuang Xu
    • , Shen Wang
    • , Zhenhua Yu
    • , Volker Blum
    •  & Jinsong Huang
  • Article |

    Home energy reports convey information about others’ energy use (descriptive norms) and social approval for energy saving behaviour (injunctive norms). This study shows that the combined effect of descriptive and injunctive feedback depends on their consistency and relative strength.

    • Jacopo Bonan
    • , Cristina Cattaneo
    • , Giovanna d’Adda
    •  & Massimo Tavoni
  • Article |

    Solid-state caloric cooling is a promising alternative to vapour-compression refrigeration yet practical devices are not sufficiently efficient for applications. Meng et al. combine cascade device design with charge recovery and improve the cooling efficiency and temperature lift of an electrocaloric device.

    • Yuan Meng
    • , Ziyang Zhang
    • , Hanxiang Wu
    • , Ruiyi Wu
    • , Jianghan Wu
    • , Haolun Wang
    •  & Qibing Pei
  • Article |

    Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are increasingly being explored for electrocatalytic oxygen evolution, which is half of the water splitting reaction. Here the authors show that, under reaction conditions, mixed metal oxyhydroxides form at the nodes of bimetallic MOFs, which are highly catalytically active.

    • Shenlong Zhao
    • , Chunhui Tan
    • , Chun-Ting He
    • , Pengfei An
    • , Feng Xie
    • , Shuai Jiang
    • , Yanfei Zhu
    • , Kuang-Hsu Wu
    • , Binwei Zhang
    • , Haijing Li
    • , Jing Zhang
    • , Yuan Chen
    • , Shaoqin Liu
    • , Juncai Dong
    •  & Zhiyong Tang
  • Article |

    The appropriate descriptors for a catalyst’s hydrogen evolution activity in alkaline electrolyte are debated. Combining simulations and single-crystal studies of metal-decorated Pt surfaces, McCrum and Koper show that activity exhibits a volcano-type relationship with the hydroxide binding strength of the catalyst, providing a target for catalyst design.

    • Ian T. McCrum
    •  & Marc T. M. Koper
  • Article |

    Estimating the costs of green home improvements is not possible without accurate estimates of their impact on house prices. Now, Shen et al. use the sales data of more than 400,000 properties in the United States to determine how heat pump installations increase house prices.

    • Xingchi Shen
    • , Pengfei Liu
    • , Yueming (Lucy) Qiu
    • , Anand Patwardhan
    •  & Parth Vaishnav
  • Article |

    Low-bandgap tin–lead perovskites are key to all-perovskite tandem solar cells but simultaneous improvement in efficiency and stability has proven challenging. Now, Li et al. fabricate tin–lead perovskite cells with reduced methylammonium content that are 20.4% efficient and stable under illumination for 450 h.

    • Chongwen Li
    • , Zhaoning Song
    • , Cong Chen
    • , Chuanxiao Xiao
    • , Biwas Subedi
    • , Steven P. Harvey
    • , Niraj Shrestha
    • , Kamala Khanal Subedi
    • , Lei Chen
    • , Dachang Liu
    • , You Li
    • , Yong-Wah Kim
    • , Chun-sheng Jiang
    • , Michael J. Heben
    • , Dewei Zhao
    • , Randy J. Ellingson
    • , Nikolas J. Podraza
    • , Mowafak Al-Jassim
    •  & Yanfa Yan
  • Article |

    Batteries need to be energy-dense as well as safe. Yi Cui and team develop an ultralight polyimide-based current collector with embedded fire retardants that enables lithium-ion batteries with much-enhanced safety and energy density.

    • Yusheng Ye
    • , Lien-Yang Chou
    • , Yayuan Liu
    • , Hansen Wang
    • , Hiang Kwee Lee
    • , Wenxiao Huang
    • , Jiayu Wan
    • , Kai Liu
    • , Guangmin Zhou
    • , Yufei Yang
    • , Ankun Yang
    • , Xin Xiao
    • , Xin Gao
    • , David Thomas Boyle
    • , Hao Chen
    • , Wenbo Zhang
    • , Sang Cheol Kim
    •  & Yi Cui
  • 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
  • Article |

    Ensuring both stability and efficiency in mixed lead–tin perovskite solar cells is crucial to the development of all-perovskite tandems. Xiao et al. use an antioxidant zwitterionic molecule to suppress tin oxidation thus enabling large-area tandem cells with 24.2% efficiency and operational stability over 500 hours.

    • Ke Xiao
    • , Renxing Lin
    • , Qiaolei Han
    • , Yi Hou
    • , Zhenyuan Qin
    • , Hieu T. Nguyen
    • , Jin Wen
    • , Mingyang Wei
    • , Vishal Yeddu
    • , Makhsud I. Saidaminov
    • , Yuan Gao
    • , Xin Luo
    • , Yurui Wang
    • , Han Gao
    • , Chunfeng Zhang
    • , Jun Xu
    • , Jia Zhu
    • , Edward H. Sargent
    •  & Hairen Tan
  • Analysis |

    Nuclear and renewable energy are considered two of the most important technologies towards decarbonization though it is not clear how their adoption relates to national emission reductions. Sovacool et al. look at data from 123 countries to examine emission reductions associated with nuclear- or renewable energy-focused strategies.

    • Benjamin K. Sovacool
    • , Patrick Schmid
    • , Andy Stirling
    • , Goetz Walter
    •  & Gordon MacKerron
  • Article |

    Nickel-rich layered oxide cathodes are at the forefront of the development of automobile batteries. The authors report an atomic and microstructural engineering design for a Li[Ni0.90Co0.09Ta0.01]O2 cathode that exhibits outstanding long-term cyclability and high energy at full depth of discharge in full cells.

    • Un-Hyuck Kim
    • , Geon-Tae Park
    • , Byoung-Ki Son
    • , Gyeong Won Nam
    • , Jun Liu
    • , Liang-Yin Kuo
    • , Payam Kaghazchi
    • , Chong S. Yoon
    •  & Yang-Kook Sun
  • Article |

    While electricity production has a significant impact on air quality, the opposite effect has been suspected but not empirically demonstrated. Now, using pollution and electricity consumption data, He et al. show the impact of air pollution on domestic electricity consumption.

    • Pan He
    • , Jing Liang
    • , Yueming (Lucy) Qiu
    • , Qingran Li
    •  & Bo Xing
  • Article |

    Understanding the severe voltage hysteresis in the first cycle of Li-rich cathodes is essential to realize their full potential in batteries. P. G. Bruce and colleagues report the formation of molecular O2 on charging rather than other oxidized O species is the cause for the voltage hysteresis.

    • Robert A. House
    • , Gregory J. Rees
    • , Miguel A. Pérez-Osorio
    • , John-Joseph Marie
    • , Edouard Boivin
    • , Alex W. Robertson
    • , Abhishek Nag
    • , Mirian Garcia-Fernandez
    • , Ke-Jin Zhou
    •  & Peter G. Bruce
  • Article |

    The impact of energy consumption on air pollution in various forms has been studied extensively though less is known about how ambient air pollution affects energy use. Here, Eom et al. show how ambient air pollution increases domestic energy use in South Korea.

    • Jiyong Eom
    • , Minwoo Hyun
    • , Jaewoong Lee
    •  & Hyoseop Lee
  • Article |

    Outdoor field testing is crucial to understand how solar cells behave under operational conditions. Here, Aydin et al. show that a lower perovskite bandgap than that calculated at laboratory standard test conditions enhances the performance of perovskite/silicon tandem cells in the field.

    • Erkan Aydin
    • , Thomas G. Allen
    • , Michele De Bastiani
    • , Lujia Xu
    • , Jorge Ávila
    • , Michael Salvador
    • , Emmanuel Van Kerschaver
    •  & Stefaan De Wolf
  • Analysis |

    The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy aims to fund high-risk high-reward clean energy technology in the United States, but evaluating its impact is difficult. Goldstein et al. compare startups that won Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy funding to other cleantech startups, and find that Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy awardees tend to gain more patents but that more is needed to help them overcome the valley of death.

    • Anna Goldstein
    • , Claudia Doblinger
    • , Erin Baker
    •  & Laura Díaz Anadón
  • Article |

    Bio-oil derived from biomass has great potential as a more sustainable fuel but its formation typically relies on energy-intensive processes. Liu et al. show how a tri-phase hydrogen-transfer catalytic system can drive hydrodeoxygenation in water under mild conditions to achieve up to 90% hydrocarbon yield.

    • Wei Liu
    • , Wenqin You
    • , Wei Sun
    • , Weisheng Yang
    • , Akshay Korde
    • , Yutao Gong
    •  & Yulin Deng
  • Article |

    Local content requirements are designed to promote development of local industry; however, their economic and technological benefits are not well understood. Using data from Indian solar photovoltaic auctions, Probst et al. show the economic costs and technical benefits of local content requirements in energy auctions.

    • Benedict Probst
    • , Vasilios Anatolitis
    • , Andreas Kontoleon
    •  & Laura Díaz Anadón
  • Article |

    Donor–acceptor systems with low energy-level offset enable high power efficiency in organic solar cells yet it is unclear what drives charge generation. Classen et al. show that long exciton lifetimes enable efficient exciton splitting and thus generation of free charges while also suppressing voltage losses.

    • Andrej Classen
    • , Christos L. Chochos
    • , Larry Lüer
    • , Vasilis G. Gregoriou
    • , Jonas Wortmann
    • , Andres Osvet
    • , Karen Forberich
    • , Iain McCulloch
    • , Thomas Heumüller
    •  & Christoph J. Brabec
  • Analysis |

    Clean energy technology manufacturing relies on global value chains, yet the patterns of these chains are poorly understood, obscuring the underlying drivers. Surana et al. analyse data on wind power global value chains to assess how technology complexity shapes the location of suppliers and evolves over time.

    • Kavita Surana
    • , Claudia Doblinger
    • , Laura Diaz Anadon
    •  & Nathan Hultman
  • Analysis |

    To meet climate goals, electric utilities should be decarbonizing their power production, but historical analyses of this process are scarce. Using machine learning and data from more than 3,000 utilities globally, Galina Alova shows that even utilities that prioritize renewable energy continue to grow their fossil fuelled generation capacity.

    • Galina Alova
  • Article |

    Selective photocatalytic conversion of CO2 into fuels without using sacrificial reagents and external bias has proved difficult. Addressing these challenges, Wang and colleagues fabricate wireless photocatalyst sheets comprising a molecular cobalt catalyst and metal oxide semiconductors that convert CO2 and H2O into formate and O2.

    • Qian Wang
    • , Julien Warnan
    • , Santiago Rodríguez-Jiménez
    • , Jane J. Leung
    • , Shafeer Kalathil
    • , Virgil Andrei
    • , Kazunari Domen
    •  & Erwin Reisner
  • Article |

    Tracking a battery’s chemical and thermal states during operation offers important information on its reliability and lifetime. Here the authors develop optical fibre sensors and decouple temperature and pressure variations in the measurements inside of batteries, allowing chemical and thermal events to be monitored with high accuracy.

    • Jiaqiang Huang
    • , Laura Albero Blanquer
    • , Julien Bonefacino
    • , E. R. Logan
    • , Daniel Alves Dalla Corte
    • , Charles Delacourt
    • , Betar M. Gallant
    • , Steven T. Boles
    • , J. R. Dahn
    • , Hwa-Yaw Tam
    •  & Jean-Marie Tarascon
  • 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
  • Review Article |

    Negawatt trading or trade in wattage of energy saved from consumption has been a much debated idea that has evaded wide-scale practical application. Tushar et al. look at the challenges to wide-scale negawatt trading and explain how recent technological developments can help address those challenges.

    • Wayes Tushar
    • , Tapan K. Saha
    • , Chau Yuen
    • , David Smith
    • , Peta Ashworth
    • , H. Vincent Poor
    •  & Subarna Basnet
  • Article |

    Anode-free batteries have emerged as a promising storage means to offer high energy density but still suffer from long-term reversibility. The authors analyse the cell failure mechanisms and present an optimized electrolyte to extend the lifetime of anode-free pouch cells.

    • A. J. Louli
    • , A. Eldesoky
    • , Rochelle Weber
    • , M. Genovese
    • , Matt Coon
    • , Jack deGooyer
    • , Zhe Deng
    • , R. T. White
    • , Jaehan Lee
    • , Thomas Rodgers
    • , R. Petibon
    • , S. Hy
    • , Shawn J. H. Cheng
    •  & J. R. Dahn
  • Article |

    Widespread deployment of electrochemical CO2 reduction requires low-cost catalysts that perform well at high current densities. Zhang et al. show that methoxy-functionalized nickel phthalocyanine molecules on carbon nanotubes can operate as high-performing molecularly dispersed electrocatalysts at current densities of up to −300 mA cm–2.

    • Xiao Zhang
    • , Yang Wang
    • , Meng Gu
    • , Maoyu Wang
    • , Zisheng Zhang
    • , Weiying Pan
    • , Zhan Jiang
    • , Hongzhi Zheng
    • , Marcos Lucero
    • , Hailiang Wang
    • , George E. Sterbinsky
    • , Qing Ma
    • , Yang-Gang Wang
    • , Zhenxing Feng
    • , Jun Li
    • , Hongjie Dai
    •  & Yongye Liang
  • Analysis |

    Climate change may affect energy systems by altering energy consumption patterns and production potential, with varying levels of impact across regions. This review synthesizes key findings of climate impact studies in regional and global scenarios and sets the stage for future multi-model assessments to support energy planning.

    • Seleshi G. Yalew
    • , Michelle T. H. van Vliet
    • , David E. H. J. Gernaat
    • , Fulco Ludwig
    • , Ariel Miara
    • , Chan Park
    • , Edward Byers
    • , Enrica De Cian
    • , Franziska Piontek
    • , Gokul Iyer
    • , Ioanna Mouratiadou
    • , James Glynn
    • , Mohamad Hejazi
    • , Olivier Dessens
    • , Pedro Rochedo
    • , Robert Pietzcker
    • , Roberto Schaeffer
    • , Shinichiro Fujimori
    • , Shouro Dasgupta
    • , Silvana Mima
    • , Silvia R. Santos da Silva
    • , Vaibhav Chaturvedi
    • , Robert Vautard
    •  & Detlef P. van Vuuren
  • Article |

    Electrochemically reducing nitrogen-containing molecules could provide less energy-intense routes to produce ammonia than the traditional Haber–Bosh process. Here the authors use a catalyst comprising Cu embedded in an organic molecular solid to synthesize ammonia from nitrate ions.

    • Gao-Feng Chen
    • , Yifei Yuan
    • , Haifeng Jiang
    • , Shi-Yu Ren
    • , Liang-Xin Ding
    • , Lu Ma
    • , Tianpin Wu
    • , Jun Lu
    •  & Haihui Wang
  • Article |

    Offshore wind power has often been assumed to be costly and dependent on subsidies to survive. Using the latest auction data from five European countries Jansen et al. show that in mature markets offshore wind is already competitive without subsidies.

    • Malte Jansen
    • , Iain Staffell
    • , Lena Kitzing
    • , Sylvain Quoilin
    • , Edwin Wiggelinkhuizen
    • , Bernard Bulder
    • , Iegor Riepin
    •  & Felix Müsgens
  • Article |

    Electrocatalytically reducing CO2 to ethanol can provide renewably generated fuel, but catalysts are often poorly selective for this conversion. Here the authors use a Cu catalyst to produce ethanol with high selectivity. Cu dispersion is key to the performance and operando studies indicate that it changes under reaction conditions.

    • Haiping Xu
    • , Dominic Rebollar
    • , Haiying He
    • , Lina Chong
    • , Yuzi Liu
    • , Cong Liu
    • , Cheng-Jun Sun
    • , Tao Li
    • , John V. Muntean
    • , Randall E. Winans
    • , Di-Jia Liu
    •  & Tao Xu
  • Article |

    Antimony chalcogenides are emerging photovoltaic materials, yet difficulties in fabricating high-quality films limit device performance. We show that hydrothermal synthesis affords good morphology and reduced defects in antimony selenosulfide films, enabling solar cells with an efficiency of 10%.

    • Rongfeng Tang
    • , Xiaomin Wang
    • , Weitao Lian
    • , Jialiang Huang
    • , Qi Wei
    • , Menglin Huang
    • , Yiwei Yin
    • , Chenhui Jiang
    • , Shangfeng Yang
    • , Guichuan Xing
    • , Shiyou Chen
    • , Changfei Zhu
    • , Xiaojing Hao
    • , Martin A. Green
    •  & Tao Chen
  • Article |

    Interconnecting layers are critical to the efficiency of tandem solar cells and a high number of layers is typically needed to ensure good electrical properties. Yu et. al show that a fullerene/tin-oxide interconnecting layer enables 24.4% efficiency and improved stability in all-perovskite tandem solar cells.

    • Zhenhua Yu
    • , Zhibin Yang
    • , Zhenyi Ni
    • , Yuchuan Shao
    • , Bo Chen
    • , Yuze Lin
    • , Haotong Wei
    • , Zhengshan J. Yu
    • , Zachary Holman
    •  & Jinsong Huang
  • Article |

    The upscaling of layer treatments and processing that afford high efficiency and stability in small-area perovskite solar cells remains challenging. Liu et al. show how the efficiency and stability of perovskite modules can be improved using an integrated approach to interface and layer engineering.

    • Zonghao Liu
    • , Longbin Qiu
    • , Luis K. Ono
    • , Sisi He
    • , Zhanhao Hu
    • , Maowei Jiang
    • , Guoqing Tong
    • , Zhifang Wu
    • , Yan Jiang
    • , Dae-Yong Son
    • , Yangyang Dang
    • , Said Kazaoui
    •  & Yabing Qi