Latest Research

  • Article |

    Dedicated energy crops are an important feedstock for bioenergy systems, but uncertainties remain over how best to integrate them into agricultural landscapes. Here, the authors use high-resolution ecosystem modelling to explore how selection of the soils cultivated and fertilizer application rates affects feedstock costs and emissions footprints.

    • John L. Field
    • , Samuel G. Evans
    • , Ernie Marx
    • , Mark Easter
    • , Paul R. Adler
    • , Thai Dinh
    • , Bryan Willson
    •  & Keith Paustian
  • Article |

    Protonic ceramic fuel cells use oxide electrolytes with high protonic conductivity but suffer from low power densities due to sluggish oxygen reduction kinetics and high contact resistances. Here the authors integrate a PrBa0.5Sr0.5Co1.5Fe0.5O5+δ cathode and a BaZr0.4Ce0.4Y0.1Yb0.1O3 electrolyte, achieving exceptional power density and stability.

    • Sihyuk Choi
    • , Chris J. Kucharczyk
    • , Yangang Liang
    • , Xiaohang Zhang
    • , Ichiro Takeuchi
    • , Ho-Il Ji
    •  & Sossina M. Haile
  • Article |

    Electrocatalysts with improved activity and stability for the conversion of CO2 to CO are being sought. Using operando spectroscopies, the authors identify atomically dispersed Ni(i) as the active site in a nitrogenated-graphene-supported catalyst with high intrinsic activity and stability over 100 hours.

    • Hong Bin Yang
    • , Sung-Fu Hung
    • , Song Liu
    • , Kaidi Yuan
    • , Shu Miao
    • , Liping Zhang
    • , Xiang Huang
    • , Hsin-Yi Wang
    • , Weizheng Cai
    • , Rong Chen
    • , Jiajian Gao
    • , Xiaofeng Yang
    • , Wei Chen
    • , Yanqiang Huang
    • , Hao Ming Chen
    • , Chang Ming Li
    • , Tao Zhang
    •  & Bin Liu
  • Article |

    The Carnot efficiency and the power output of thermoelectric power generation increase with temperature but current thermoelectrics are characterized up to 1,500 K. Here, Li et al. develop reduced graphene oxide films that can convert heat up to 3,000 K with high power factors, opening the door for novel applications.

    • Tian Li
    • , Andrea D. Pickel
    • , Yonggang Yao
    • , Yanan Chen
    • , Yuqiang Zeng
    • , Steven D. Lacey
    • , Yiju Li
    • , Yilin Wang
    • , Jiaqi Dai
    • , Yanbin Wang
    • , Bao Yang
    • , Michael S. Fuhrer
    • , Amy Marconnet
    • , Chris Dames
    • , Dennis H. Drew
    •  & Liangbing Hu
  • 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
  • Article |

    Electrification of transport offers many benefits for the energy transition but introduces a number of complexities around the electric system. This study undertakes modelling of residential power demand and electric vehicle use to understand the impact of uncoordinated vehicle charging on the electricity load.

    • Matteo Muratori
  • Article |

    Molten-salt batteries such as Na–NiCl2 are promising candidates for grid storage, but suffer from fragility of ion-selective ceramic membranes. Here the authors report the operation of a Li–Pb||PbCl2 battery fitted with a robust TiN mesh membrane that functions by protective faradaic reaction.

    • Huayi Yin
    • , Brice Chung
    • , Fei Chen
    • , Takanari Ouchi
    • , Ji Zhao
    • , Nobuyuki Tanaka
    •  & Donald R. Sadoway
  • Article |

    Three-dimensional printing is changing the way we manufacture objects. Here, Kim et al. develop inks of inorganic thermoelectric materials to 3D print the legs of conformable thermoelectric generators, allowing waste heat recovery from hot water pipes.

    • Fredrick Kim
    • , Beomjin Kwon
    • , Youngho Eom
    • , Ji Eun Lee
    • , Sangmin Park
    • , Seungki Jo
    • , Sung Hoon Park
    • , Bong-Seo Kim
    • , Hye Jin Im
    • , Min Ho Lee
    • , Tae Sik Min
    • , Kyung Tae Kim
    • , Han Gi Chae
    • , William P. King
    •  & Jae Sung Son
  • Article |

    Catalysts are required to increase the rate of H2 evolution over silicon photocathodes, but their presence can lead to parasitic light absorption. Here, the authors explore the contributions of catalysts and light absorption to the overall performance of Si microwires, depositing Ni–Mo catalysts spatioselectively to optimize efficiency.

    • Wouter Vijselaar
    • , Pieter Westerik
    • , Janneke Veerbeek
    • , Roald M. Tiggelaar
    • , Erwin Berenschot
    • , Niels R. Tas
    • , Han Gardeniers
    •  & Jurriaan Huskens
  • Article |

    The stability of perovskite solar cells depends on each layer and interface in the device. Here, Christians et al. systematically design the entire device stack focusing on stability, creating cells that retain 88% of their initial efficiency on average, after 1,000 h of unencapsulated operation.

    • Jeffrey A. Christians
    • , Philip Schulz
    • , Jonathan S. Tinkham
    • , Tracy H. Schloemer
    • , Steven P. Harvey
    • , Bertrand J. Tremolet de Villers
    • , Alan Sellinger
    • , Joseph J. Berry
    •  & Joseph M. Luther
  • Article |

    Biological photovoltaic devices (BPVs) use photosynthetic microorganisms to generate electricity, but their efficiency is low. Here the authors report power densities of over 0.5 W per m2 for a flow-based BPV system, by decoupling the charging and the power delivery units.

    • Kadi L. Saar
    • , Paolo Bombelli
    • , David J. Lea-Smith
    • , Toby Call
    • , Eva-Mari Aro
    • , Thomas Müller
    • , Christopher J. Howe
    •  & Tuomas P. J. Knowles
  • Article |

    Electric power grids exhibit frequency fluctuations brought on by changes in demand, trading and intermittency of renewable sources. Schäfer et al. analyse fluctuations in real power grids from North America, Japan and Europe and find deviations from Gaussianity and substantial contributions due to trading.

    • Benjamin Schäfer
    • , Christian Beck
    • , Kazuyuki Aihara
    • , Dirk Witthaut
    •  & Marc Timme
  • Article |

    Future demographic changes will impact on energy use and hence carbon emissions through time-use and consumption pattern shifts. Using representative national time-use data, Yu et al. model scenarios for demographic transitions in China to explore shifts in energy demand as households change in size and age.

    • Biying Yu
    • , Yi-Ming Wei
    • , Gomi Kei
    •  & Yuzuru Matsuoka
  • Article |

    Perovskite solar cells suffer from poor operational stability. Stability measurement conditions used in various studies differ widely. Here, Domanski et al. systematically study environmentally induced degradation in an effort to drive the community towards a consensus on how to age perovskite solar cells.

    • Konrad Domanski
    • , Essa A. Alharbi
    • , Anders Hagfeldt
    • , Michael Grätzel
    •  & Wolfgang Tress
  • Article |

    Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) are attractive electrodes for supercapacitors but generally suffer from low electric conductivity and chemical stability. Here the authors report stable conductive MOFs based on hexaminobenzene linker with volumetric and areal capacitances in excess of 700 F per cm3 and 15 F per cm2, respectively.

    • Dawei Feng
    • , Ting Lei
    • , Maria R. Lukatskaya
    • , Jihye Park
    • , Zhehao Huang
    • , Minah Lee
    • , Leo Shaw
    • , Shucheng Chen
    • , Andrey A. Yakovenko
    • , Ambarish Kulkarni
    • , Jianping Xiao
    • , Kurt Fredrickson
    • , Jeffrey B. Tok
    • , Xiaodong Zou
    • , Yi Cui
    •  & Zhenan Bao
  • Article |

    Photoelectrodes used to split water, driven by solar energy, often suffer from a lack of stability. Here the authors demonstrate that a V5+-saturated electrolyte can be used to inhibit photooxidation-coupled dissolution of a BiVO4 photoanode, suppressing photocorrosion and allowing stable photocurrent generation over hundreds of hours.

    • Dong Ki Lee
    •  & Kyoung-Shin Choi
  • Article |

    Photoelectrochemical water splitting to produce H2 is dependent on the electrochemical potentials between photoelectrodes and the electrolyte, which are difficult to measure. Here the authors use an electrochemical atomic force microscope technique to sense the potential of catalyst-coated electrode surfaces in operando.

    • Michael R. Nellist
    • , Forrest A. L. Laskowski
    • , Jingjing Qiu
    • , Hamed Hajibabaei
    • , Kevin Sivula
    • , Thomas W. Hamann
    •  & Shannon W. Boettcher
  • Article |

    It is challenging to exploit anionic redox activity to boost performance of battery electrodes, especially for anti-fluorite structures. Here the authors report simultaneous anionic and cationic redox in Li5FeO4, which enables its high capacity and eliminates the undesired oxygen gas release.

    • Chun Zhan
    • , Zhenpeng Yao
    • , Jun Lu
    • , Lu Ma
    • , Victor A. Maroni
    • , Liang Li
    • , Eungje Lee
    • , Esen E. Alp
    • , Tianpin Wu
    • , Jianguo Wen
    • , Yang Ren
    • , Christopher Johnson
    • , Michael M. Thackeray
    • , Maria K. Y. Chan
    • , Chris Wolverton
    •  & Khalil Amine
  • Article |

    CO2 is often found alongside CH4 in natural gas wells; therefore, separation of the gases is an important industrial process. Jalilov et al. demonstrate that the adsorption selectivity for CO2 over CH4 can be significantly enhanced through introduction of water into the pores of a high-surface-area carbon.

    • Almaz S. Jalilov
    • , Yilun Li
    • , Carter Kittrell
    •  & James M. Tour