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Energy storage coupled with solar panels is increasingly viewed as a way for homes to cut reliance on utilities. Exploiting data from real homes in Texas, USA, Fares and Webber investigate the impacts of solar energy storage, and find that although peak demand could be reduced, average annual consumption and emissions may actually increase.
See Fares and Webber 2, 17001 (2017) and News & Views by Eric Hittinger, article 17006.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo. Cover design: David Shand.
Conventional positive electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries, such as intercalation and conversion compounds, feature a host structure to reversibly insert and conduct lithium ions. Now, electrochemically activated transition metal oxide-lithium fluoride composite materials are shown to be a promising class of positive electrodes.
The combined effect of increased variability of demand due to distributed generation and domestic storage deployment represents a new feature in modern electricity systems. A recent study shows that while storage can reduce peak demand, it could also increase overall consumption and electricity system emissions.
Thermoelectric converters built with high thermoelectric activity p-type and n-type materials have the potential to replace mechanical heat-to-electricity converters. Now, efficient n-type SnSe has been prepared, ready to complement its previously reported p-type counterpart.
Despite their impressive performance, more efforts are required to develop industrially scalable perovskite solar cells from less toxic solvents. Towards that aim, this study presents the use of colloidal nanoparticle inks for room-temperature fabrication of CsPbBr3 solar cells.
Solar water splitting is often performed in highly corrosive conditions, presenting materials stability challenges. Gu et al. show that an efficient and stable hydrogen-producing photocathode can be realized through the application of a graded catalytic–protective layer on top of the photoabsorber.
Bioenergy may be used to replace fossil fuels, but the potential greenhouse gas benefits, and limits thereof, are rarely studied at a global scale. Staples et al. model land availability, areal yields and life-cycle emissions to study the link between bioenergy availability and emission reductions in 2050.
Understanding surface carrier dynamics enables the design of optimal optoelectronic devices. Yang et al. find that surface recombination limits the total carrier lifetime in polycrystalline lead iodide perovskite films, meaning recombination at surfaces is more important than within and between grains.
Positive electrode materials for lithium-ion batteries feature lithium element and lithium-ion conduction paths. Here the authors report transition metal monoxides that contain neither the intrinsic lithium nor conduction channels for high-capacity positive electrode materials.
Tariff structures and network constraints might incentivize storing solar energy in the home to reduce reliance on utilities. This study shows that storing solar energy rather than exporting it to the utility grid could increase electricity consumption as well as CO2, SO2 and NOx emissions.