Reviews & Analysis

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  • Understanding what drives household-level decisions to keep cooking with polluting cookstoves and fuels must be grounded in theory for sustained change to occur. New research examines the literature through a behavioural model and finds that affordability, technical aspects, and fuel supply are the main drivers of fuel stacking.

    • Lisa M. Thompson
    News & Views
  • Managing climate risk exposures of assets and loan portfolios is increasingly important for actors within financial markets. This Review examines how such risks affect investor behaviour and hence the wider energy sector, and highlights areas for future research into the interactions between them.

    • Arthur A. van Benthem
    • Edmund Crooks
    • Johannes Stroebel
    Review Article
  • Flexible all-perovskite tandem photovoltaics open up new opportunities for application compared to rigid devices, yet their performance lags behind. Now, researchers show that molecule-bridged interfaces mitigate charge recombination and crack formation, improving the efficiency and mechanical reliability of flexible devices.

    • Martin Stolterfoht
    • Felix Lang
    News & Views
  • In the intensive search for novel battery architectures, the spotlight is firmly on solid-state lithium batteries. Now, a strategy based on solid-state sodium–sulfur batteries emerges, making it potentially possible to eliminate scarce materials such as lithium and transition metals.

    • S. Ohno
    • W. G. Zeier
    News & Views
  • One of the key targets for further development of sodium-ion batteries is to improve their cycle life. Now, an electrolyte formulation is proposed to tackle the dissolution of both the solid-electrolyte interphases and the transition metals in cathodes, leading to enhanced cyclability.

    • Gustav Åvall
    • Philipp Adelhelm
    News & Views
  • Electrification models used to plan future energy systems have become increasingly sophisticated, but typically oversimplify the financial landscape. New research shows that more accurate accounting of the costs of capital significantly changes the least-cost pathway to providing electrification across sub-Saharan Africa.

    • Jonathan T. Lee
    News & Views
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) on energy access and Goal 5 (SDG 5) on gender equality are inextricably linked. A new study utilizing field-based data from India unpacks how levels of women’s empowerment in households influences their awareness, usage, satisfaction, and preference for energy services.

    • Praveen Kumar
    News & Views
  • Metal halide perovskite solar cells have shown promising performance, but mainly on small-area devices and under laboratory conditions. Now, researchers have demonstrated the fabrication of large-area devices assembled and packaged into modules and reported on their operation outdoors.

    • Timothy J Silverman
    • Laura T. Schelhas
    News & Views
  • Nitrogen-coordinated iron catalysts are exciting potential replacements for platinum at the cathode of proton-exchange membrane fuel cells, but still tend to have poor long-term durability. Now, a thin and porous nitrogen-doped carbon film deposited at the surface of a highly active but unstable Fe–N–C catalyst is shown to drastically improve its stability.

    • Jean-Pol Dodelet
    News & Views
  • Often presented as a bridge technology to a future zero-carbon energy system, natural gas infrastructure expansion remains hotly debated. Here Kemfert et al. discuss recent research to argue how such expansion hinders climate targets and energy transitions and suggest how research can support better planning.

    • Claudia Kemfert
    • Fabian Präger
    • Hanna Brauers
  • Legal mandates are critical to supporting action on sustainable development goals and climate change targets. Yet, new research highlights the importance of initial endowments for energy transitions, and how they can lead to disparate outcomes across regions.

    • Shaikh M. S. U. Eskander
    News & Views
  • All-perovskite tandem devices are promising due to their high efficiency and low cost but their development is hindered by narrow-bandgap absorbers. Now, researchers combine two large organic cations to improve the optoelectronic quality of narrow-bandgap tin–lead perovskites, enabling single-junction and tandem cells with enhanced efficiency and stability.

    • Pengchen Zhu
    • Jia Zhu
    News & Views
  • Controlling the crystallization of perovskite films over large areas is key to the manufacturing of solar cells, but is difficult with existing fabrication methods. Now, researchers tailor the composition of the precursor ink to fabricate uniform and phase-pure perovskite layers, enabling a 15.3%-efficient photovoltaic module with an area of 205 cm2.

    • Francesco Di Giacomo
    News & Views
  • In a step towards the industrialization of perovskite photovoltaics based on 2D materials, the fabrication of numerous perovskite modules and panels and their integration into a standalone solar farm is demonstrated. Outdoor field tests provide insight into device performance under real-life conditions over 8 months.

    Research Briefing
  • High-performance electrolytes are urgently required in the development of reversible lithium-metal batteries that offer high energy densities. Now, a versatile liquefied gaseous electrolyte is demonstrated with inherent safety, temperature resilience, high recyclability, and promising electrochemical properties.

    • Nauman Mubarak
    • Jang-Kyo Kim
    News & Views
  • Blockchains offer a lot of opportunities for efficiency and decentralized management in energy systems. Researchers now show the electricity dispatch is a useful problem uniquely suited to serve as proof of work in a new consensus mechanism for decentralized grid management.

    • Mahmoud N. Mahmoud
    News & Views
  • The instability of the rear electrodes in perovskite solar cells limits the long-term durability of the devices. Now, researchers have developed a composite electrode consisting of Cu–Ni alloy sandwiched between graphene layers to considerably improve the operational stability of perovskite solar cells.

    • Jingjing Xue
    News & Views
  • Considering the probability of occurrence of an extreme cold event similar to that in February 2021, winterization of the Texan power system pays off for risk-neutral utilities in the medium term. Risk aversion can cause under-investment, and policymakers should therefore take into account extreme event risks in decision-making and implement measures that increase winterization efforts.

    • Katharina Gruber
    • Tobias Gauster
    • Johannes Schmidt
    Policy Brief
  • Formic acid is a promising hydrogen carrier, but more effective and economical catalysis of both its synthesis from H2 and CO2 and its dehydrogenation is needed. To this end, a Mn-based complex, in the presence of an α-amino acid, is now shown to promote efficient catalysis of both reactions and enable retention and reuse of CO2.

    • Sheri Lense
    News & Views
  • The energy transition offers oil and gas companies an opportunity to shift to new business areas such as renewable energy. New research looking at four oil majors finds limited investments in and revenues from renewable energy, despite ambitious climate strategies.

    • Galina Alova
    News & Views