Volume 2 Issue 10 October 2017

Volume 2 Issue 10

Swimming like a solar cell

Lightweight, flexible and stretchable solar cells can be processed from some polymers and organic molecules. Jinno et al. expand on these mechanical capabilities and use ultrathin barrier layers to make the flexible solar cells stable in water. Making flexible solar cells washable multiplies their integration prospects into everyday objects.

See Jinno et al. 2, 780–785 (2017) and News and Views by Li & Brabec.

Image: Hiroaki Jinno, Kenjiro Fukuda and Takao Someya. Cover Design: David Shand.


  • Editorial |

    We all stand to gain by doing more to combat gender inequality.

Comment and Opinion

  • Comment |

    President Trump has proposed severe cuts to US government spending on energy research, development and demonstration, but Congress has the ‘power of the purse’ and can rescue US energy innovation. If serious cuts are enacted, the pace of innovation will slow, harming the economy, energy security and global environmental quality.

    • Laura Diaz Anadon
    • , Kelly Sims Gallagher
    •  & John P. Holdren

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News and Views |

    Confining sulfur in high-surface-area carbon is a widely adapted approach in Li–S batteries, but it often results in low sulfur utilization and low energy density. Now, controlled nucleation of discrete Li2S particles on a network of low-surface-area carbon fibres provides a possible solution to the endemic problems of Li–S batteries.

    • Yang-Kook Sun
    •  & Chong Seung Yoon
  • News and Views |

    The shale gas revolution has led to a boom in construction of shale oil and gas wells in recent years. New research offers a more accurate accounting of its growing land-use footprint.

    • Joseph Fargione
  • News and Views |

    Light-weight and stretchable, organic photovoltaics offer unique integration prospects. Now, organic solar cells and modules can also be washed while maintaining good photoconversion efficiencies.

    • Ning Li
    •  & Christoph J. Brabec
  • News and Views |

    Household income is a typical measure of inequality, but it is limited by under-reporting, especially for rural Chinese households. A new study shows that energy consumption measures service flows of household durable electronics, which can provide more precise measurement of rural wealth inequalities and distributions.

    • Dabo Guan


  • Perspective |

    Urban households in the global south face unique energy access challenges. This Perspective outlines a research agenda based on understanding the needs of urban energy users to promote inclusive urban energy transitions.

    • Vanesa Castán Broto
    • , Lucy Stevens
    • , Emmanuel Ackom
    • , Julia Tomei
    • , Priti Parikh
    • , Iwona Bisaga
    • , Long Seng To
    • , Joshua Kirshner
    •  & Yacob Mulugetta


  • Article |

    Organic solar cells can be thin, bendable and strechable. Now, Jinno et al. develop flexible organic photovoltaic devices that can also be washed in water and detergent, opening future integration routes into everyday objects such as fabric.

    • Hiroaki Jinno
    • , Kenjiro Fukuda
    • , Xiaomin Xu
    • , Sungjun Park
    • , Yasuhito Suzuki
    • , Mari Koizumi
    • , Tomoyuki Yokota
    • , Itaru Osaka
    • , Kazuo Takimiya
    •  & Takao Someya
  • Article |

    Membranes that can separate hydrogen from mixed gas streams are important for the production of high-purity hydrogen for use in energy applications such as fuel cells. Here the authors demonstrate that titanium nitrides are promising for ambient temperature hydrogen separation via conduction of hydride ions.

    • Chiharu Kura
    • , Yuji Kunisada
    • , Etsushi Tsuji
    • , Chunyu Zhu
    • , Hiroki Habazaki
    • , Shinji Nagata
    • , Michael P. Müller
    • , Roger A. De Souza
    •  & Yoshitaka Aoki
  • Article |

    Inequality in China ranks as one of the highest in the world. Using household energy consumption data, this study shows that deriving energy from biomass, use of energy for space heating and cooking, and intraregional differences are major contributors to consumption inequality in rural China.

    • Shimei Wu
    • , Xinye Zheng
    •  & Chu Wei
  • Article |

    Understanding land-use requirements for the life cycle of electricity generation allows for consistent comparisons of different technologies. Jordaan et al. present a method that leverages highly resolved, empirical data sets to give robust estimates of land use for natural-gas-fired electricity.

    • Sarah M. Jordaan
    • , Garvin A. Heath
    • , Jordan Macknick
    • , Brian W. Bush
    • , Ehsan Mohammadi
    • , Dan Ben-Horin
    • , Victoria Urrea
    •  & Danielle Marceau
  • Article |

    Sulfur encapsulation with nanoporous carbon is a widely adopted approach for Li–S batteries, but this often results in low sulfur utilization and low volumetric energy density. Here the authors report a non-encapsulation approach for the growth of S-containing species with low-surface-area carbon and high energy.

    • Huilin Pan
    • , Junzheng Chen
    • , Ruiguo Cao
    • , Vijay Murugesan
    • , Nav Nidhi Rajput
    • , Kee Sung Han
    • , Kristin Persson
    • , Luis Estevez
    • , Mark H. Engelhard
    • , Ji-Guang Zhang
    • , Karl T. Mueller
    • , Yi Cui
    • , Yuyan Shao
    •  & Jun Liu
  • Article |

    Hydropower represents the largest source of renewable energy currently available, yet its potential provision remains poorly characterized. Gernaat et al. present a high-resolution global assessment of technical and economic hydropower potential based on an analysis of over 3.8 million individual locations.

    • David E. H. J. Gernaat
    • , Patrick W. Bogaart
    • , Detlef P. van Vuuren
    • , Hester Biemans
    •  & Robin Niessink

Amendments and Corrections