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Volume 1 Issue 5, May 2016

Volume 1 Issue 5

Power grids put to the test

Failures in power distribution grids can affect thousands of customers but understanding their causes remains elusive. Ji et al. analyse large-scale power outage data during both a hurricane and daily operations and find that local failures disproportionally affect non-local regions of grid infrastructure.

See Ji et al. 1, 16052 (2016).

Image: Yun Wei, Henry Mei.Cover design: Alex Wing.


  • Editorial |

    In this issue, Nature Energy takes a closer look at some of the ways in which the social sciences are addressing problems in energy and climate change.

Comment & Opinion

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The resilience of distribution power grids is put to the test by daily operations as well as by extreme weather events such as hurricanes. An analysis of blackout data in upstate New York now reveals that larger blackouts have a disproportionate effect on grid reliability.

    • Ian Dobson
  • News & Views |

    Rechargeable aqueous batteries are attractive energy storage technologies owing to their low cost and high safety, but suffer from poor electrochemical performance. Now, an aqueous mild-acid-based Zn/MnO2 battery that operates via a conversion mechanism is shown to have a long-term cycling stability.

    • Seongmin Ha
    • Kyu Tae Lee
  • News & Views |

    Oxygen reduction at the cathode of fuel cells typically requires a platinum-based material to catalyse the reaction, but lower-cost, more stable catalysts are sought. Now, an intrinsically conductive metal–organic framework based on cheaper elements is shown to be a durable, structurally well-defined catalyst for this reaction.

    • Mark D. Allendorf
  • News & Views |

    Economic agents have varying expectations on oil price fluctuations that play an important role in determining the timing and magnitude of oil price shocks. A study now shows that heterogeneous expectations should be included when modelling oil price shocks to grasp their impact on macroeconomic outcomes and energy policies.

    • Baltasar Manzano



  • Article |

    There is an intensive effort in developing multi-shelled metal oxide nanostructures for lithium-ion battery applications. Now, a metal anion-adsorption mechanism, as opposed to the conventional cation adsorption on carbonaceous templates, is demonstrated in the synthesis of vanadium oxide hollow microspheres, which exhibit excellent battery performance.

    • Jiangyan Wang
    • Hongjie Tang
    • Dan Wang
  • Article |

    Power grids often fail during extreme weather events such as hurricanes, leaving millions of customers without electricity. A large-scale analysis of the operation of power grids in an extended geographical area now reveals that such events exacerbate vulnerabilities that are obscured during normal operation.

    • Chuanyi Ji
    • Yun Wei
    • Robert Wilcox
  • Article |

    Efficient catalysts for the oxygen-evolution reaction, especially in alkaline media, are highly desired because of their application in various energy technologies. Now, a gold-supported NiCeOx catalyst is shown to have excellent catalytic activity due to synergistic geometric and electronic effects.

    • Jia Wei Desmond Ng
    • Max García-Melchor
    • Thomas F. Jaramillo

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