Volume 2 Issue 3 March 2017

Volume 2 Issue 3

Additives work wonders

Lithium-metal batteries offer great potential for high-energy-density storage but suffer from limited charging capability and cycling stability. Zheng et al. report that by tuning a dual salt electrolyte composition with additives, the performance of lithium-metal batteries (whose working lithium electrode is shown here) can be significantly improved.

See Zheng et al. 2, 17012 (2017) and News and Views by Zheng & Wei, article 17029.

Image: Zheng et al. Cover design: David Shand.


  • Editorial |

    A continued lack of coordination and a focus on short-term decision-making threaten to undermine long-term energy system ambitions intended to meet objectives in future decades.


  • Q&A |

    Ellen Williams served as Director of the US Department of Energy's ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy) from December 2014 until January 2017. Nature Energy caught up with her shortly before the end of her tenure to learn more about the agency's role in energy technology innovation.

    • Nicky Dean

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    Transportation fuels such as diesel contain organosulfur molecules that, when combusted, form sulfur oxides that are toxic and poison vehicles' catalytic convertors. Now, a method is demonstrated that can reduce the sulfur concentration of diesel fuel to very low levels at low temperatures and pressures.

    • Carole Lamonier
  • News and Views |

    US conservatives receive a steady stream of anti-environmental messaging from Republican politicians. However, clean-energy conservatives sending strong counter-messages on energy issues could mobilize moderate conservatives to break away from the dominant right-wing defence of fossil fuels.

    • Aaron M. McCright
  • News and Views |

    Deployment of lithium metal batteries requires fast charging capability and long-term cycling stability. Now, a small amount of LiPF6 in a dual salt electrolyte is shown to enable stable cycling of lithium metal batteries at fast charging rates.

    • Guangyuan Wesley Zheng
    •  & Tang Wei
  • News and Views |

    The bottom-up approach promoted through the Paris Agreement and signed in 2016 requires the definition of accurate and realistic national pathways to cut emissions. A recent study applied to the UK energy system shows that current UK policy on climate change is incompatible with the most stringent climate objectives.

    • Alessandro Tavoni



  • Article |

    Electrodes of solid oxide fuel cells need to be stable during operation. Here, the authors use tungsten as a substituent to stabilize a perovskite oxide as a two-phase composite. The resulting material dynamically adjusts the phase compositions to keep a high catalytic activity at operation conditions.

    • J. Felix Shin
    • , Wen Xu
    • , Marco Zanella
    • , Karl Dawson
    • , Stanislav N. Savvin
    • , John B. Claridge
    •  & Matthew J. Rosseinsky
  • Article |

    The complexity of electrochemical storage systems makes it difficult to study ion dynamics between electrodes and electrolytes. Here the authors present an approach combining in situ X-ray scattering and Monte Carlo simulation for a comprehensive understanding of ion confinement and desolvation in nanoporous carbon supercapacitors.

    • C. Prehal
    • , C. Koczwara
    • , N. Jäckel
    • , A. Schreiber
    • , M. Burian
    • , H. Amenitsch
    • , M. A. Hartmann
    • , V. Presser
    •  & O. Paris
  • Article |

    It is challenging to probe ion dynamics in supercapacitor electrodes, which has significant implications in optimizing their performance. Here, the authors develop in situ diffusion NMR spectroscopy to measure and illustrate the diffusion of the charge-storing ions in working supercapacitors.

    • Alexander C. Forse
    • , John M. Griffin
    • , Céline Merlet
    • , Javier Carretero-Gonzalez
    • , Abdul-Rahman O. Raji
    • , Nicole M. Trease
    •  & Clare P. Grey
  • Article |

    Hydrocarbon fuels contain organosulfur molecules that poison catalytic converters and release toxic sulfur oxides when the fuel is combusted. Here the authors demonstrate that the sulfur concentration in diesel fuel can be reduced to very low levels using a potassium tert-butoxide and silane system.

    • Anton A. Toutov
    • , Mike Salata
    • , Alexey Fedorov
    • , Yun-Fang Yang
    • , Yong Liang
    • , Renan Cariou
    • , Kerry N. Betz
    • , Erik P. A. Couzijn
    • , John W. Shabaker
    • , Kendall N. Houk
    •  & Robert H. Grubbs
  • Article |

    Deployment of rechargeable Li metal batteries requires fast charging capability and long-term cycling stability. Here the authors demonstrate the battery application potential of using a small amount of LiPF6 in a dual-salt electrolyte.

    • Jianming Zheng
    • , Mark H. Engelhard
    • , Donghai Mei
    • , Shuhong Jiao
    • , Bryant J. Polzin
    • , Ji-Guang Zhang
    •  & Wu Xu