Reviews & Analysis

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  • An interlayer of aluminium oxide with fixed charges is shown to boost perovskite solar cell performance. The open-circuit voltage is increased by 60 meV, and there is no significant efficiency drop after 2,000 hours under one sun illumination at 85 °C.

    Research Briefing
  • Nickel-rich layered cathode materials deliver high energy density but suffer from rapid capacity fading owing to various side reactions at the cathode–electrolyte interface. A proposed near-surface modification of nickel-rich cathode materials increases their cycling stability, enabling the realization of high-energy-density and durability requirements for practical application.

    Research Briefing
  • A high-quality tunnelling-recombination layer composed of a boron- and phosphorus-doped polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) stack is obtained by suppressing dopant interdiffusion. Strong adsorption of the hole-transport layer on the poly-Si substrate enables efficient charge-carrier transport and extraction, enabling the realization of a perovskite/tunnel oxide passivating contact tandem solar cell with 29.2% efficiency.

    Research Briefing
  • The diverse structures of energy system models result in disparities in computed energy and climate outcomes. Through a systematic quantification of five diagnostic indicators, new research offers a comprehensive ‘energy model fingerprint’ that will enable better contextualization and comparison of models in climate mitigation studies.

    • Yang Ou
    News & Views
  • As the climate gets more extreme, buildings need to dramatically reduce energy use for heating and cooling. A new model reproduces the relationship between local climate and hourly building energy use, allowing us to reliably quantify the impact of modified indoor or outdoor climatic conditions such as thermostat adjustment or climate change.

    • Christoph Reinhart
    News & Views
  • The electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction can produce carbon-based fuels; however, the design of more efficient catalysts has proved challenging. A tandem electrocatalyst comprising SnS2 nanosheets and Sn single atoms bound to three oxygen atoms on a carbon support is shown to exhibit high catalytic performance for CO2 reduction to ethanol, including high selectivity.

    Research Briefing
  • The long-term operational stability of perovskite photovoltaics is critical to their successful real-world deployment. New research shows that ammonium cations with a high acid-dissociation constant can inhibit degradation reactions and impart excellent long-term stability in solar cells operating at high temperatures.

    • Alexandra J. Ramadan
    News & Views
  • Electrochemical methods are emerging as potential ways to electrify the production of ammonia (NH3). Now, researchers have discovered a copper–tin electrocatalyst that can efficiently and selectively achieve high production rates of ammonia from nitric oxide (NO) feedstocks, marking a key step forward in decarbonizing ammonia synthesis.

    • Chase Sellers
    • Thomas P. Senftle
    News & Views
  • Irreversible structural transitions and disorder in electrodes during battery operation can cause electrochemical performance to deteriorate. Now, an innovative design that turns an irreversible phase transition into a partially disordered phase is shown to be effective in improving disordered rocksalt materials.

    • Wontae Lee
    • Won-Sub Yoon
    News & Views
  • Solid electrolytes may enable a step-change in battery performance, but their brittleness often complicates their use. Now, a new inorganic electrolyte has been developed: it is a glassy material that offers viscoelasticity as well as good ionic conductivity.

    • Felix H. Richter
    News & Views
  • Lithium-ion battery manufacturing is energy-intensive, raising concerns about energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions amid surging global demand. New research reveals that battery manufacturing will be more energy-efficient in future because technological advances and economies of scale will counteract the projected rise in future energy demand.

    • Chris Yuan
    News & Views
  • Offshore wind energy could have an important role in decarbonizing regional power systems in the USA. By modelling a range of scenarios, power system uncertainties related to policy, technology costs, transmission, and siting are assessed to understand how they influence the deployment of offshore wind.

    Research Briefing
  • The solid–electrolyte interphase between the negative electrode and the electrolyte is vital to the performance of rechargeable batteries, yet it is challenging to quantify its physical properties. Now a way of directly measuring the electrical properties of the interphase has been devised, revealing voltage-dependent conducting behaviour.

    • Yue Qi
    News & Views
  • Aqueous polysulfide-based flow batteries are candidates for large-scale energy storage but the sluggish reaction kinetics of the polysulfide electrolyte limit the operating current density and energy efficiency. A molecular catalyst, riboflavin sodium phosphate, is applied to catalyse polysulfide reduction, enabling the demonstration of long-life polysulfide-based flow batteries with high energy efficiencies.

    Research Briefing
  • Justice is increasingly recognized as a core proposition for energy transitions, but questions remain about how it manifests in energy transition innovations. This Perspective introduces a framework for centring justice consideration in these innovations across levels, illustrating its use through two case studies.

    • Patricia Romero-Lankao
    • Nicole Rosner
    • Scott Schnur
  • Protonic ceramic electrochemical cells (PCECs) have the potential to operate below 450 °C, but their performance is poor at such temperatures. Through the development of a low-resistance electrolyte and the in situ formation of a composite positive electrode, a PCEC with good fuel cell and electrolysis cell performance at <450 °C is demonstrated.

    Research Briefing
  • Capacity expansion modelling (CEM) approaches need to account for the value of energy storage in energy-system decarbonization. A new Review considers the representation of energy storage in the CEM literature and identifies approaches to overcome the challenges such approaches face when it comes to better informing policy and investment decisions.

    • Todd Levin
    • John Bistline
    • Audun Botterud
    Review Article